Subject: Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 11:59:57 +0900

>>>>> "Zimran" == Zimran Ahmed <zimran@creativegood.com> writes:

    Zimran> not true anymore. Every website is non-embedded tech, and
    Zimran> those that deliver good experiences do *much* better than
    Zimran> those that do not.

Just as you weren't talking about free software in general
(apparently), I meant to use "embedded" as a metaphor for the general
problem.  Neither embedded systems nor ASPs are really susceptible to
open source.  The _users_ can not or will not upgrade to the newest
version; they will wait for the vendor to fix problems or improve
services.  But in free software rms (for one) regularly justifies
backwards incompatibilities or incompatibility with common usage (aka
"industry standard") on the basis that "the software's free, so quit
bitching and upgrade".

    Zimran> not sure who Tomy's VCs are, but I don't think VC
    Zimran> judgement is not held in too high regard these days ;)

No.  But they're the best judgement we've got access to.  The
developers _may_ know better, but their bias sticks out a mile---you'd
be nuts to trust them, as all too many fathers-in-law have found out
to their financial ruin.

    Zimran> Also, a usability guy who could code, or a usability guy
    Zimran> with a coder, could do much to improve services like
    Zimran> gnutella or jabber. Usability can easily improve the
    Zimran> uptake or usage of a piece of technology by 150%
    Zimran> plus. real numbers that will really help open source. I've

In what way does it help _open_ source?  As opposed to say gated
communities of developers?  The fact is that most OSS developers are
interested in personal satisfaction or financial rewards.  Neither of
those accrues to "usability" work (at least as far as I can tell from
looking at OSS projects).  Usability programming, however valuable, is
humbling drudgery, while OSS developers commit to foregoing financial
rewards of wider usage to a great extent.

    Zimran> done lots of usability, but only a little
    Zimran> programming. maybe i should learn how to do more code.

Now you're talking.  Pick your partners well, though; without
financial reward and the immediate gratification of implementing
features, few developers will be happy.


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