Subject: Re: Paper on dual licensing
From: Tom Lord <>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2002 19:44:45 -0800 (PST)

       In the example cited I was criticizing M$ for ignoring one of
       the larger problems with their software.  I could have just as
       easily cited other fundamental flaws in their operating system.

The FS world has analogous flaws.  In the FS world, social hacks are
(in my guesstimate) the greater risk (poorly reviewed, subtly
malicious code sneaking in).

	At heart these problems can not be fixed with an update.

Indeed.  ("The process is the solution.")

	More importantly, Microsoft is the only ones who can address
	the root problems with their software.

What, you think the transition from RH to SuSE is automagic?  Smaller
than the transition to or from NT .... but that's an argument for
unix, not free software.   Generally, RHAT and its partners are winning
because they're achieving what 80s standardization efforts promised
but failed to deliver;  they're losing because they are stopping
there, and simultaneously creating new problems.

You're arguing from the oft repeated belief that if you don't like
what RHAT has sold you, just hire someone else to work on the source.
Bullcookies.  How many enterprise customers currently posses (in any
meaningful sense) complete source for their RHAT systems?  How often
do they rebuild from scratch?  What testing infrasture do they have in
house?  How many competing vendors are ready to take over maintenance?
From the customer perspective, it's just another proprietary unix that
happens to have a fire-sale price.   They win cause it's "fuck you
solaris -- there's a unix standard now" -- but there's deeper problems
they aren't dealing with yet.

	I am not sure what you mean by "distribution infrastructure".
	As far as "hacking talent" (I assume you mean the pre-FUD
	definition of hacking) this sounds like education.  I agree
	that a technically smarter user is highly desirable.

Yup.  The organizational infrastructure, IT depts, seems to be very

	That is why I founded a local Linux user's group several years

Neat.  Congrats.  Thanks.  But that won't reach the big-money players.

       > Those products exhibit vendor lock-in,


If you build your enterprise against up2date -- how do you then switch
vendors?  Ok, RHAT's answer is that if you bought via IBM you can
switch to HP -- but how do you switch from RHAT?   Sounds like a cool
monopoly - but that doesn't make it wise.

	>  But they're still built on a lie (that
	> their prices and commercially supported infrastructure reflects their
	> current quality and sustains it's continutation).


They didn't have to pay for most of the code they sell.  They aren't
funding a sustained engineering effort.   They are parasitic and
regressive, as currently implemented.  (Let's hope it's just a
bootstrapping phase.)

	> So, in my view, they are successes that will be successful
	> if they lead to their subsequent refutation and replacement.
	> In other words, "good job, now fix it."

	You've lost me.  Which products?  They who?

up2date and RHAT, primarily.  Who else is there, these days?  (In the
U.S., that is.)   Maybe they'll have a great quarter and start to be
reasonably proactive.

	> Looking back I think got lost at the distribution
	> infrastructure.  Are we talking about FOSS and the various
	> distros i.e. Mandrake, Suse, Red Hat, Slackware, etc?

Yeah.  I come from a source mgt. background.  I evaluate distributions
in that context.