Subject: Re: Microsoft may publish some source code
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: 18 May 1999 04:31:23 -0000

Craig Brozefsky writes:
 > Is it "The Open Source Acid Test" article by Ted Lewis, or another set
 > of articles?

At least one more article.

 > Your comment about it possibly being motivated by a erroneous
 > understanding that somehow IP protected shrink-wrap software is the
 > only type of software development that matters seems plausible to me.
 > Whenever I am asked to describe a Free Software Business model it is
 > assumed that the model is not viable or worthwhile if it is not some
 > analog of the shrink-wrap software business.  If I describe a service
 > based model, or something else which does not center on the
 > manufacturing of a discreet shrink-wrap product, a common response is
 > hand-waving about how it's not viable in the 'real world'.

<anti-rant type="inspirational">
The point I didn't make terribly well was that the very concept of
"crossing the chasm" (that is, making the leap from the early adopter
market to the MIS market) implies that the product will not be a
financial success and will die if it fails to cross the chasm.

Indeed, the very idea of "financial success" invokes ideas of ROI,
burn rate and ventura capital (y'know, Minneapolis) [apologies to
non-US readers -- it's a US joke, you wouldn't understand ].  If you
introduce a proprietary product too early, you'll run out of money and
won't get past the chasm.

But a piece of free software -- so long as it solves problems for
people able to reinvest in it (whatever that may need to mean) -- will
never die.  It will always be there on the wrong side of the chasm
from MIS, until one day a need provokes someone in MIS to get out the
binoculars and say "Hey, what's that over there??  We could use that.
Let's build a bridge and go get it."

Our job, in the free software business industry, is to meet these
bridges halfway.  That's all we have to do.  And when we do, we get to
put a toll plaza on the bridge, and MIS doesn't care because they've
got their problem solved.  A problem solved is worth a lot of money.
I just made $15,000 last week by solving a $50,000 problem using free
software.
</anti-rant>

-- 
-russ nelson <rn-sig@crynwr.com>  http://crynwr.com/~nelson
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