Subject: Re: anti/Law
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:49:39 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 14 Apr 1999, Kragen Sitaker wrote:
> The users will generally try to eliminate interoperability problems,
> because interoperability problems cause problems for them every day.
> So free software will have fewer and smaller interoperability problems.
> This is not just a special case of free software having fewer and
> smaller problems in general, but a separate phenomenon.

Yep, I agree; let me provide the counter-argument I'm sure someone would
give, which is that sometimes you need to break interoperability to
introduce new, better standards.  Look at the problems Microsoft has had
in trying to support old Win16 programs on Win32 - the 8.3 filename hack,
for example. Doesn't a piece of software overtime collapse from the
heavyweight of all the legacy interfaces it has to support?  What escape
valve does an open source approach to software development have here?

The standardization of interfaces is an important issue, and I think the
existance of groups like the IETF or the LSB or other efforts are the glue
in between coding projects, and both are necessary for the model to work.