Subject: Re: Do We Need a New Evangelist
From: Bob Weiner <weiner@altrasoft.com>
Date: 01 Apr 1999 02:49:18 -0800

>>>>> "BB" == Brian Behlendorf <brian@hyperreal.org> writes:

   BB> I, too, fear an "open source winter", by which I mean a failure of a
   BB> series of high-profile experiments that causes companies to either
   BB> denounce publicly the approach, or privately have enough distaste for
   BB> it that they don't attempt new Open Source projects.

Some potential examples would help here to understand what kind of `failures'
you believe would trigger such a response.  At this point, I have no such
fear.

If a firm releases a commercial-quality product as OSS with the expectation
of deriving significant revenue from service but fails to do so, reasonable
people will realize that there are many other reasons than the mere fact
that the product was OSS that could have produced this lack of revenue; the
unreasonable people and certain pundits may attack OSS but that is nothing
new and certainly nothing that will kill the many independent OSS projects.

Fortune 500-type companies have for years set policies against the use of OSS
and freeware on the oft mistaken basis that they could not pay an
organization to take as much responsibility for the packages as proprietary
vendors do.  Yet OSS solutions have continued to stream into their
organizations for pragmatic reasons alone.  Thus, if an OSS solution were
deployed and then deemed a failure and this created a backlash that led to a
policy banning OSS in a division of a firm, that would represent little
change from the status quo.  Also consider that large firms tend to have
built up resilience over the years and thus can weather project failures
without large scale repercussions throughout the organization.  In fact, the
better firms expect certain levels of pilot failures.

History indicates that despite widescale media publicity throughout the
years:
	that UNIX has become irrelevant as Microsoft will control all software;

	that the Internet is a mere academic curiosity;

	that free software cannot meet commercial needs; and

	that no one will work for fame without fortune,

all of these trends continue unabated.

I'll further stick my neck out and say that the community developments you
will see over the next two years will strengthen OSS diversity and longevity
to such a point that there will be little question of its long-term viability.

Regards,

Bob