Subject: Re: street performer protocol
From: Crispin Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 07:26:47 +0000

"Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:

> I don't think anybody is good enough at producing software reliably to
> budget that more than a few firms can hope to survive long in the
> shrink-wrap market, period, and open source firms are at a
> disadvantage because they do not have a reasonably long "initial
> monopoly" period to build up reserves for the next "killer product."

This seems to predict exactly the opposite of observed behavior (over 100
Linux distributions).  I submit that open source companies get to use the
community's software development labors, and thus focus on packaging issues.
As a result, open source companies need far less in the way of resources to
survive until the next killer product.

Conjecture:  I suspect that Red Hat's staff at 2 years of age was about 1/10
of the size of Sun's staff at 2 years of age.  Wanna-be Linux distribution
companies start up with a staff of 2 or 3:  no way could any kind of
closed-source operating system consider starting with less than 50 people.

> So I think that the strategy for open source firms producing products
> has got to be highly customized, near one-of-a-kind installations.
> Which points to Jonathan's view of the pricing realities more than
> Brian's, I would say.

Or a strategy focussed on packaging, distribution, and service.

Crispin Cowan, CTO, WireX Communications, Inc.
Free Hardened Linux Distribution: