Subject: Re: A few thoughts.
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 14 Aug 1998 02:40:43 -0000

On Thu, Aug 13, 1998 at 06:01:35PM -0700, Michael Tiemann wrote:
> Sorry, but the "from scratch" issue is a red herring.  Netscape's
> browser was a "reimplementation of existing product categories",

David Welton writes:
 > Anyway, I think Frank's view of things sum up what I was trying to get
 > at rather nicely.  It would be nice if someone could come up with some
 > convincing arguments why that view is wrong

How about this: that it is not the originality of the software that is
at issue, but the ability to bring it to market AND the ability of the
market to absorb it.  I could design any number of original products
-- the problem is not in being original, the problem is in filling a
need.  A product only sells if someone needs it.  I argue that
software categories change slowly because the ability of the market to
use them changes slowly.

If you'll notice from the above paragraph, I didn't have to invoke
proprietary software as a requirement to solve someone's problem.

Months earlier, shap suggested that there was no way you'd get a
capitalist to invest up-front in freed software (given his freedom to
also invest in proprietary software) because of a lower likelihood of
making a profit on it.  I would suggest that that is based on a
Cathedral (you can't escape esr these days :) model of software
development.  The Bazaar is one other method.  I don't doubt that
there are more, and that the Bazaar method can be refined through
study, as opposed to letting it happen willy-nilly.

-russ nelson <>
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