Subject: Re: Lehman Report, Software patents, and more
From: ghost@aladdin.com (L. Peter Deutsch)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 18:05:41 PDT

> Part of that is the cost of Unix, both in terms of the actual software
> itself, plus the cost of administering it.  But y'know, people are
> starting to complain about the cost of administering Windows, and
> Windows isn't even a real OS!  I think the potential is there for
> Linux to evolve into an end-user friendly OS.

The potential has been there for Unix to do that for almost 20 years,
and it hasn't happened.  Why do you think that is?

>    It has to include massive, well-written, well-packaged
>    documentation, which means there is much less of a separate market
>    for documentation.
> 
> Mmmm, I'm not so sure of that.  Why shouldn't printed documentation be
> a separate purchase?  People can buy it or not as they wish.

Because no sensible end-user will look twice at software that doesn't
include good documentation.  And I didn't say "printed".  More and
more companies are distributing documentation on CD-ROM, which costs
just as much to develop, although less to reproduce.

>    Having the source code is great, but it's not a substitute for ease
>    of configuration, documentation, or reliability, none of which Linux
>    has.  And as a producer, I get calls all the time (from end-users)
>    telling me that Ghostscript is too hard to install or use.
> 
> So Ghostscript is worth calling you about but not worth paying for?

What would they pay for?  I can't distribute a supported end-user version
of Ghostscript at a competitive price: my time would be nibbled to death
by support calls from clueless users.  I would either have to pay beaucoup
$$ to get end-user-quality documentation written, or beaucoup $$ to hire a
support person.  However, Ghostscript *is* competitive as an OEM product,
because its value to OEMs is high enough that they can invest the time to
learn about it despite mediocre documentation.

L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306
ghost@aladdin.com, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	    "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."