Subject: Re: Why Open Source Sucks for the Consumer
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 17:41:42 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <> writes:

    Tim> I see the Linux community largely taking its eye off the
    Tim> ball.

Well, yes.  It is the _Linux_ community.  If they were interested in
maximizing the potential for OSS as a whole, they'd be doing grubby
stuff (eeeewwww, marketing!) running FSBs, not hacking driver modules
for Winmodems and ever more tacky reimplementations of XTerm.

    Tim> We need to own a different set of heroes, and canonize a
    Tim> different set of projects.

Which "we"?

Real OSS and FSB advocates are already with you, I think.  The Linux
community is a different thing from the OSS community---you can't say
"Linux != OSS" and then in fairness implicitly include it in your
"we".  Both membership and interests overlap, but when it comes down
to needs and behavior they are distinct communities.

    Tim> What happens with Apache and Mozilla and other web-centric
    Tim> open source projects is WAY more important to the usability
    Tim> question than what happens on the desktop.

I don't get this.  Apache, yes.  Flexible HTTP-based services (eg,
modular XHTML, targeted at CGA-resolution personal phones) look to be
strong for some time to come.  Server, we do real good, always have.

But Mozilla is _the_ classic desktop application; you aren't gonna get
that on a Palm Pilot, let alone a personal phone.  And Mozilla is not
going to be strong on Windows, so you need an OSS OS on the desktop.

No?  Shouldn't you be arguing that Mozilla itself is a dead end?

    Tim> The other issue here is that we have to redefine what "open
    Tim> source" means in the days of hosted applications.

Hear, hear!

    Tim> At the end of the day, the message I'd like to see us all
    Tim> carrying out to the world is that "open source sucks for the
    Tim> consumer" is a vile canard.

Vile yes, canard, no.  Not when viewed through that consumer's eyes.
Open source has created a lot a great applications, but when you get
right down to it, when _delivered_ to the _consumer_, those apps came
shrink-wrapped with "Designed for Windows 9x" stickers on them.


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