Subject: Re: Debian GNU/Linux project's model a good starting point for fsb
From: "R. Brock Lynn" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 02:20:29 -0500

"Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:

>     shapj> Obsolete means that the function served is
>     shapj> either no longer necessary or is now better served by
>     shapj> something else.  Once it has been checked out and budgeted
>     shapj> and such, the availability of new and better software
>     shapj> certainly causes the previous software to become obsolete
>     shapj> from the perspective of that customer.  If, however, the
>     shapj> customer ceases to need what the old software does it also
>     shapj> becomes obsolete.
> True.  Brock's "definition" doesn't deal with that, either, which is
> why I elided that point in the first place.
>     shapj> There are discontinuous changes in which old stuff becomes
>     shapj> obsolete by virtue of replacement with a whole new way of
>     shapj> doing things.

I guess the point I was actually trying to make was obsolescence though the
production of shoddy, or low quality, product that easily "wears out" or as you
use it, or it becomes more and more apparent that it is of poor quality, and
thus the customer is motivated to buy a "new improved" one, to make up for the
continued discovery of the product's poor quality, ad infinitum...

Perhaps that doesn't fit the definition of "obsolescence" at all, but it
certainly seems to be related. "Obsolescence through the discovery of poor
quality"? Maybe that is a better name to give this kind of arguably "morally
questionable" business practice.

That's what I called disgusting, at least from a moral standpoint. And it's
wasteful in terms of the greater economy, as it adds more stress due to
repetitive production where much less productive effort is actually necessary to
solve the economic "need", and thus by reducing productive effort in one area of
the economy, you can increase productive effort in another area, and cause a
higher level of overall "production or discovery of value".

I think a well designed "Free Software Production Economic Model" will help to
curb these tendencies to keep trying to make a profit on "new improved versions"
that supposedly "fix" the "bugs" or rather deficiencies and shoddy work of
previous versions, and also hopefully will help curb the tendency of software
business men to try to make profits from continually changing standards to cause
the consumer to constantly keep buying new products that have obsoleted the
older ones, even though the older technology is not any worse, just operates on
an older standard (that may or may not be better or worse.) [beta vs. vhs for
example... but I don't know all the details of that scuffle, but I do know that
beta was the superior standard.)

But anyhow, all business and economic planners for the/a "new" way to produce
software (free software!) should definitly consider how their proposed
development models will deal with planned obsolescence through constant changing
of standards driven by the need for higher profits, and also the planned
"obsolescence" due to releasing very poor code, which doesn't at first rear it's
ugly head of poor quality until later down the road, which then would spur
consumers to buy "new improved" versions... We need to steer clear of these
"bumps in the road"... They ultimately will hurt the greater economy and only
benefit a select few... at the expense of the greater economy...

So that's all I have to say for planned poor quality and planned obsolescence
for now.

---------------------  PGP key ID: FED76A3D <> 4 / 5 / 1999

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