Subject: Effects of economy, other OS's on success of Linux
From: David Welton <davidw@gate.cks.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 10:53:46 -0700

This is something else that has been floating around in my head, and
has made me wonder... hope it is of interest :-)

1.  What roll has the prolonged growth of the US economy played in the
    success of Linux, and other freeware?

The US economy has been doing very well for a rather protracted period
of time (at least that's what I have come to understand) - jobs for
programmers are plentiful, and well paying.  Do others suppose that
this has contributed to the success of Linux?  Ie, programmers are, by
and large, not worried about jobs, or even decent paying jobs.  People
can afford to work for free, and not feel like they are really missing
much.   Were the economy to take a turn for the worse, would free
software fare as well?  Would it have had the same level of success
had the economy not been in a boom period?  Or is this seen as mostly
irrelevant?

2.  What roll has the rise to near monopoly status of Microsoft
    operating desktop operating systems played in the success of
    Linux?  

Given the demise of other competitors such as Apple, has this led to a
vacuum that has been filled by free software?  Has the lack of
competition for Microsoft allowed them to become lax as far as
improvements to their OS?  I.e. if they had had stronger competition,
would that have spurred both proprietary efforts to produce better
efforts faster than free software OS's were doing?  A small,
coordinated, motivated team is almost always capable of turning out
something quicker than a bazaar style development model (it is pretty
obvious that many proprietary efforts are neither small nor
coordinated:-).  Would an enhanced level of competition driven two or
more companies into a leaner market with better products, instead of
just the one dominant corporation that we have now that (at least for
the moment) can afford to not do too much about quality...

OK, as I'm rather young, and not as experienced or knowledgeable about
the world as many people here, I'll stop, and wait for initial
comments.  Maybe I have overlooked something obvious to others that
discredits any value in my queries.

Thanks for your time,
-- 
David Welton                          http://www.efn.org/~davidw 

	Debian GNU/Linux - www.debian.org