Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 15:52:53 +0900

Larry Rosen writes:

 > > Small-scale droplets of open source software in the hands of
 > > philologists (or even the hands of much more numerous lawyers)
 > > don't give us the FOSS growth-rates we need and are seeing.

I have to agree.  My feeling from looking at what people in my LUG etc
are doing is that FOSS has reached the point where one can do what
used to be called "systems integration" purely in software, and
because of that people are using cheap, reliable FOSS components where
they can.

Rich Bodo writes:

 > There is a case to be made that those droplets do form a wave,

Not really.  It's possible, but if it's true, what are we doing here?
The droplets will coalesce, or not, no matter what we do.

If FSB has a purpose (and I believe it does) it needs to identify
business-sized pools of users who have similar reasons to adopt FOSS.

 > or that a massive user-base grows a long-tail of contribution that
 > wags the dog.  The emerging markets that are shown searching for
 > information on Ubuntu via Google are going to create content for
 > the Ubuntu project.  The bulk of the contributions will be in the
 > form of questions and suggestions - small bits of documentation
 > that kick off the creation of better content and encourage others
 > to join the party.  If you believe that demographics of growth in
 > world computer and internet usage are going to favor FOSS heavily,
 > then the future for FOSS looks very bright indeed.

Not a certainty.  I think it's pretty likely that the next generation
of phones (the ones that come with the mind-killer of TV) are going to
kill personal computers as we know them pretty much dead.  You take
your phone home, you put it into its cradle, it provides the brains
and connectivity that drive the keyboard and TV^H^Hmonitor on the
desk.  In this scenario, non-technical people are going to prefer the
canned sites and simple browsing interfaces to monster apps like
Mozilla.

So, in terms of contributions from individual users, we may be seeing
the zenith of the free software movement right now.  That doesn't mean
that we won't see phones running Ubuntu, but after the absolute
disaster that Sharp turned the Zaurus into, I don't expect that these
computers "for the rest of them" will end up being platforms for
content creation, let alone app development.