Subject: Re: Excuse me, but Linux is winning, not losing
From: adam@yggdrasil.com (Adam J. Richter)
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 1996 01:13:54 -0700 (PDT)

>> = Adam Richter
>  = Fred Hansen

>> I think the emphasis should be on emulation.

>Is this a suggestion that the free software industry should concentrate
>on ripping off those who have invested the development costs in finding
>how things should be done?

	Proprietary software developers do not have a monopoly right
against reimplementation of their interfaces, so their reasonable
expectations when they write software are not violated by somebody
else developing emulation software.  I think the term "ripping off" is
descriptive roughly of fraud and theft, so I do not think that term
is accurate in this scenario.

	Is allowing unlicensed emulation software a good thing?  I
think allowing emulation software still provides enough economic
incentive to make research and development profitable enough so that
people will continue to do it, so there is no reason to provide any
additional monopoly incentive, which would only cost the public money
and impede software development, which is mostly a matter of building
on a multitude of other people's ideas.

>If so, it is no wonder that the free
>software community is viewed in an unflattering light by the commercial
>establishment.

	What an odd inference, given the prevalence of emulation
software in the proprietary software world.  Running legacy software
is important for any operating system.  Few people would have bought
OS/2 if it could not have run the Windows 3 applications of that day
(I don't know if OS/2 runs Win32 apps).  Proprietary DOS emulators for
unix-like systems are big business.  Emulators for the Macintosh and
various game platforms also come to mind.  Beyond operating systems,
emulation in the proprietary world is everywhere, from spreadsheets to
printer control languages.  My original statement was in the context
of saying that emulation of Microsoft Windows will be strategic for
the future of GNU/Linux, but the proprietary software world already
has three MS-Windows emaltors: Sun's wabi, SoftWindows (?) from
Insignia, and a system from Willows Software which they may or may not
release as a standalone product.  So, your speculation should apply as
much to the proprietary software world as to the free software world.

	Regarding the proposition that "the free software community is
viewed in an unflattering light by the commercial establishment," I
think that is currently true in many cases and in a number of
different ways.  However, to get into that would be a very long
discussion, so I won't get into it in this message other than to say
that I think that working on the Windows emulator would certainly not
hurt the reputation of GNU/Linux in the eyes of commercial customers.

Adam J. Richter				  Yggdrasil Computing, Incorporated
(408) 261-6630				  "Free Software For The Rest of Us."