Subject: Re: Reasons why being proprietary hurts you more than it helps
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 12:39:40 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rn" == Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com> writes:

    rn> Brian Bartholomew writes:
    >> > There is no track record which associates proprietary
    >> > documentation and drivers with greater success in the
    >> marketplace.
    >> 
    >> I disagree.  Most highly successful vendors today are as
    >> proprietary and monopolistic as they can get their customers to
    >> accept.

    rn> So were the unsuccessful vendors.  Should I then conclude that
    rn> being proprietary drives one out of business?

Bzzt.  Russ, you're right about the statistical argument of course.
But it's the wrong one.  You could lose it.

The right place to hit back is: Which vendors?  You defined your
vendors implicitly by the examples you gave.  But you need to pin
Brian down.  And you could probably stand being more precise
yourself; it's not clear whether you're referring to market leaders as
the group or hardware manufacturers as the group; if it's the former,
Ian's "small is secretive" argument may apply.  But you want to argue
that this is the way to get big.  So I second his request for
(formerly ;) small, open and (now highly) successful examples.  If you
can document that proposition for the examples you gave, you kill
Brian's argument and avoid Ian's shaft simultaneously.

Re: Ian's arguments about shoddy products.  Answer is obvious: if
you're proud of your product, use open source to differentiate
yourself.  If you're not, put "Not for reference implementation: we
want to have the best drivers in the business, and we know we're not
there yet: maybe these will help you, though" prominently in the
(meager) docs until your engineers shape up ;-)

-- 
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