Subject: Re: Why EROS is Open Source
From: Crispin Cowan <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 19:30:17 +0000

Ben Laurie wrote:

> "Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:
> >     >> clear.  Could it change? Time will tell.  I made a call with
> >     >> EROS that was the best call I felt I could make at the time.
> >     Ben> That's a really dumb comparison to make, for the obvious
> >     Ben> reason that the inevitable conclusion we must reach, if we
> >     Ben> believe the comparison has any use, is that we should all go
> >     Ben> and work for Microsoft.
> > I can't make head nor tail of this.  Help!
> If the conclusion is that the "most popular" thing has the better
> licence, then we know that Windows is even more popular than Linux or
> FreeBSD, and hence we should adopt that licence.

Begging the question "most popular whith whom?" and "for what reason?"  We
care about the answers to these questions, because we may care about who
we're trying to reach.  In the early days of Linux, there was no reason to
care whether Windows users liked it or not, because they would be unable to
contribute anything, and the product was not suitable for them.

My seat-of-the-pants guesstimates:

   * very non-techincal people: Apple MacOS (for functionality, not the
   * non-technical people:  Windows (for functionality & price (i.e. cheaper
     than Mac), not the license)
   * technical developers:  Linux (for the functionality and the license)
   * developers who wanna make a proprietary product:  *BSD (for the license,
     and sometimes the functionality)
   * BSD advocates:  who knows :-)

Linux and GPL are quite far along in taking over the open source developer's
world.  The functionality of the Linux product attracted users, and the
GPL license attracted developers.

They are only just beginning to take on "world domination."  The license
won't make any difference.  From the above, we can see that the big market
slice of "windows users" is sensitive to functionality ("can it do what
windows does?") and price (as cheap as possible, for the *entire* system and
it's upkeep).

Crispin Cowan, CTO, WireX Communications, Inc.
Free Hardened Linux Distribution: