Subject: Is the party over? was Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 11:29:54 +0900

>>>>> "Thomas" == Thomas Hudson <thudson@tomy.net> writes:

    Thomas> I'm sorry if I seemed overly antagonistic. But lately I
    Thomas> find myself realizing that my joy that free software had
    Thomas> stemmed the tide of the great monopolist is to be short
    Thomas> lived.

Be of good cheer.  Free software is alive and well in the heart of the
beast.

XEmacs builds on Windows ME because of a contribution of VC++ by a
Microsoft employee.  At least a few MS employees use some version of
GNU Emacs as their development environment of choice.

IBM has contributed not only an entire Linux port, but an excellent
set of foundation classes for Unicode and much work on Apache.

Apple is going to bet the next couple of years on FreeBSD.  Knowing
Apple, they'll turn around and bite the hand that feeds them, but it's
still a boost.

Sun probably still doesn't "get it", but they do understand that the
community is not happy with what they're doing.  Their "semi-free"
licenses become more free all the time.

Intel will not let free OSes die, else Microsoft will get the same
stranglehold over them that they got over IBM.

    Thomas> If they hit 95, will web sites only cater to IE?

Sure.  Many already do.  I really have no idea because I just don't go
there.

    Thomas> Someday will I be forced to use windows to surf the Net, or listen
    Thomas> to music, or read a book?

    Thomas> As long as PC's are shipped only with windows installed,
    Thomas> they'll be no serious market penetration. Hardware vendors
    Thomas> are slowly moving back into M$ fear mode.

And so are customers.  The British government just signed a pact with
the devil, but British schoolmasters are pestering the Sheffield LUG
with questions because they have seen what Windows NT does to their
time and money budgets, and they can't afford it.

    Thomas> Getting VC for a free software business is currently
    Thomas> impossible. Jobs for free software programmers are
    Thomas> non-existent.

There are plenty of jobs for free software programmers.  All (but one)
of the dozens of (non-student) free software programmers I know
personally are employed.  More than half work in free software
environments (ie, on their own workstations).  Of course, only two
work for Linux companies; the rest work on proprietary software in
their day jobs, and many do have to use NT or MacOS, but they often
fight back with Cygwin and the like.  Many have some explicit freedom
to work on free software projects during work, where their bosses can
see direct productivity benefits.  (And sometimes the boss even
pitches in.)

Jobs in free software programming?  When developing free software
makes a profit, it will generate jobs.  But free software
intentionally renounces the most powerful means of generating revenue
from software development.  So there probably won't be many pure free
software development companies.  But as Raymond points out, most
software is developed inside for internal use, and there are reasons
to believe that much of this software could be freed.  Look for
_those_ jobs.

    Thomas> Someone please tell me I'm just having a bad day.

You're just having a bad day.

I wish I could tell you tomorrow will be much better, but the price of
freedom is eternal vigilance.

-- 
University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
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What are those straight lines for?  "XEmacs rules."