Subject: Re: Studies
From: Phil Hughes <fyl@a42.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 05:55:06 -0800 (PST)

Bernard Lang stated:

   I do not think the main problem is up-front payment. It is simply
convincing decision makers that free software will be maintained as
well as commercial software. Hence, once the idea of free software is
accepted (and it is not yet the case), there should be much business
room for people who will offer maintenance. In a way, that is
precisely what Caldera is selling: responsibility for an otherwise
free product (I know they add some commercial software, but in my
opinion it is more to justify the price people want to pay and pretend
to preserve the accepted model.

Free software is accepted in more and more places every day.  One big
issue is how we represent that software.  By that I mean there is a big
difference between attempting to get the world to believe in the
politics of free software (if you agree with RMS then you are worthy of
using free software) and offering the solution first, then hoping that
the politics will follow.

Over the past four years of publishing Linux Journal I have seen an
amazing change in attitude and acceptance. While Linux isn't the only
answer, I really feel the Linux community's "try before you buy (the
politics)" attitude has been one of the significant reasons for its
acceptance.

My decision to have the "Linux Means Business" column as a regular
monthly feature in Linux Journal has, I feel, also been a significant
impact.  We went from trying to find a business using Linux to now
having enough LMB columns for an entire issue (coming up in a couple of
months).  The feedback we get is that technical people bring these
columns to their managers to show that free software is being accepted
and is doing useful work.

Check out the articles.  Some are on the Linux Journal web pages
(http://www.linuxjournal.com) and the table of contents of every issue
is up there so you can at least get an idea what is happening.

As for Caldera, they really aren't the "Linux competition". I really see
three Linux markets and I see products that are best fits for those
markets:
  * The politically pure plus the "I want it free" -- Debian (Note that
    we use Debian at SSC to produce Linux Journal and just about
    everything else. I must admit, however, that our choice was
    based on it being the best fit rather than being pure)
  * "I want a Unix-like system". This can be a student, an engineer or
    technical management within a company. This is the Red Hat or
    S.u.S.E. user.  The technical decision is made internally.
  * "Solve the problem". This is a non-technical manager who wants a
    solution. These people used to go to Novell or SCO VARs for
    answers. They want the hands-on approach of the small VAR with the
    appearance of a big company behind the VAR.  This is where
    Caldera fits.

As for web pages for Linux-related stuff, I would like to encourage
people to consider "connecting with" www.linuxresources.com.  By
connecting with I mean contact our webmaster and either tell her what
you are doing so she can add a link or, if you have a good idea and need
a place to put it, suggest this to her. We (SSC, publisher of Linux
Journal) maintain the site and are working toward making it the answer
of where to get information.  (I contrast informat to code.  We don't
want to be a kernel download site but we do want to be the place to look
for documentation and general answers. For example, we just did a
Lexis/Nexis search for Linux in the press and will have that information
up on the site in the next week.)

This is a new URL for an old site. Our committment to this site is to
keep it non-commercial. We are not going to put advertising up on the
site like has happened with many other sources of Linux information.

-- 
   Phil Hughes ++++ FYL ++++ fyl@a42.com ++++ Phone/FAX (360) 276-4232
              P.O. Box X, Pacific Beach, Washington 98571
  To find out about Pacific Beach, check out http://www.pacificbeachwa.com/