Subject: Re: MSIE "Smart Tags" -- what's the real deal?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 12:27:42 +0900

>>>>> "Stephen" == Stephen J Turnbull <> writes:

    Stephen> In what way does it help _open_ source?  As opposed to
    Stephen> say gated communities of developers?  The fact is that
    Stephen> most OSS developers are interested in personal
    Stephen> satisfaction or financial rewards.  Neither of those
    Stephen> accrues to "usability" work

I should clarify that.  Obviously VARs like Crynwr are doing usability
work, as customization.  What doesn't pay is usability work in
mass-market software.

Eg, at a recent talk in Tokyo, Adrian Havill of Red Hat was very
careful to point out that Red Hat's glibc and gcc were "better" than
anyone else's -- because they are so heavily patched that no 3rd party
in their right mind would distribute them.  Usable?  Hm....

But he was equally careful to point out that Turbolinux (among others)
has adopted _and improved_ Red Hat's installer technology.  May be
partially due to the presence of a Turbo developer in the front row.
:-)  Be that as it may, it does suggest that he doesn't think of
"usability" as a competitive advantage for Red Hat.

I don't know whether this indicates that his judgement is that
usability "can't" be a competitive advantage, or that the mass market
is not a profit center for Red Hat so it's ignoring that.  (FWIW my
take was that his whole presentation was trying to say: if you need
new features and support for them, only Red Hat makes sense as a
vendor---we do glibc, we do gcc, we got Cygnus, we even are gracious
enough to contribute to usability.)

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