Subject: Re: A few thoughts.
From: Michael Tiemann <>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 18:01:35 -0700

    This is an important distinction that I was going to make in response to
    your original message, but you have already done it for me.  It leads in
    turn to an interesting question: Under this definition, which of today's
    "name brand" open source products represent actual "from scratch"
    innovation?  Such software products as Linux, Gnu Emacs, GCC/G++, GNOME,
    Apache, and Mozilla seem rather to be (re)implementations of existing
    product categories, namely Unix-like operating systems, text editors,
    C/C++ compilers, desktop managers, web servers, and web browsers

Sorry, but the "from scratch" issue is a red herring.  Netscape's
browser was a "reimplementation of existing product categories", as was
Microsoft's Excel, Oracle, and a million other bits of proprietary
software.  Truly "from scratch" software is truly rare, and would
probably be almost unusable, since it would be compatible with nothing
anybody knows how to use or manage.