Subject: Re: Caldera will publish DR DOS source code
From: nelson@crynwr.com
Date: 21 Sep 1996 04:24:56 -0000

Please note that I agree with Peter's analysis of the market for freed
software.  I have just a few bits and nits to disagree with.

L. Peter Deutsch writes:

 > A free (I'm using the word in its common meaning of "cost-free" here) OS is
 > irrelevant (i.e., not attractive enough to draw users) if the applications
 > aren't cost-free, because Windows 95 is bundled with essentially every PC
 > sold today (i.e., 90% of all hardware units), and, from the purchaser's
 > point of view, costs nothing.

Ahhh, but from the computer assembler/reseller, it certainly *does*
cost something, and that will (if there's market demand for machines
with Linux) be reflected in the price.

 > Maybe Caldera's intention is simply to build up DR DOS to the point where it
 > can run Windows applications.  In theory, this could draw some OS $$ away
 > from Microsoft.  The problem with this approach is that (1) Microsoft keeps
 > raising the bar on what constitutes Windows faster than any modest-size
 > outside team of programmers can clone it (e.g., today it would have to be
 > W95),

This is a stated part of their business plan.

 > (2) Microsoft doesn't document its APIs nearly well enough to make
 > good cloning feasible without time-consuming reverse engineering,

This, too.

 > and (3) Microsoft now makes most of its money from things other
 > than the OS, and is obviously heading even further that way.

Yes, but.  The reason they've been able to raise and raise the price
for DOS and Windows is because they keep bundling more and more
software with the OS.  Look at Quarterdeck.  Look at the various
TCP/IP stack companies: they all do applications now.

And if you believe the Dept of Justice (and Netscape), Microsoft is
using their control of the defacto operating system to come out with
applications first.  As they change the APIs (to prevent cloning), the
applications need to use the APIs.  Since Microsoft application
programmers get to see them first, they get to program to them first.
So "all the good apps" come from Microsoft.

-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/~nelson
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