Subject: Re: Exploring the limits of free software
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 10:00:37 -0400 (EDT)

Craig Burley writes:
> My concern is that much of the growth in that market, if it happened,
> would come from people jumping off the MS bandwagon, thinking OSS was
> a magic bullet that, all by itself, would prevent bloatware.

Shrink-wrap revenues hinge on selling new instances of software.
Shrink-wrapped software whose users don't regularly upgrade puts its
makers out of business; their revenue stream from new users is tiny
compared to Microsoft's revenue from loyal upgraders.  So the
shrink-wrapped business model artificially favors bloatware, IMHO.

There is an undeniable tendency toward bloatware in free software too,
but I don't think it's as strong.

Another thing: bloat often comes from poor designs and the
just-get-it-out-the-door syndrome.  This tendency might be even
stronger in bespoke software development (like sXc) than in the
shrink-wrap market.  It is clearly much weaker in the charity free
software arena (FSF -- witness Hurd, which will be delivered this year
after a 15-year overrun of a 1-year schedule) and the
grad-student-writing-something-cool arena.  This may have something to
do with the generally higher quality and lower bloat free software
exhibits.

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
TurboLinux is outselling NT in Japan's retail software market 10 to 1,
so I hear. 
-- http://www.performancecomputing.com/opinions/unixriot/981218.shtml