Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: Tom Lord <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2002 05:02:38 -0800 (PST)

       Ian specs:

       The free desktop has to be about as easy to use as the proprietary
       alternatives, and there has to be a significant number of available
       consumer applications, and those applications must be able to share
       data with applications running on existing desktop systems with
       significant market share.  I would say that none of those things are
       true of the free desktops today, although of course matters are
       steadily improving.

Are they?  Will XP fail?

As I understand it, once XP is widely deployed, MS can deploy new
versions at will.  That means they can deploy new features and new
formats as fast as they like.  Isn't part of the XP strategy that
competitors can never again catch up?

Combine the availability of XP with a few whiz-bang features that
excite the general public (e.g. voice recognition and home
entertainment control), and I fear the lemming-rush to individual
consumer lock-in will be overwhelming and permanent.  Around the time
the OSS community rushed headlong into "fixing" unix with MS-style
architectures, I think we missed some important opportunities.

Also, what consumer applications do you think are important to
individual consumers?  (Disclaimer: I'm interested in the (alas, open,
research) problem of exposing the combinative, novel-problem-solving
capabilities of computation to non-technical individual users, partly
because I have the belief that there are maybe a half-dozen apps that
are, to a first approximation, all anyone ever uses.)

"As easy to use as proprietary alternatives" is (for the moment) a
very low barrier.  In my experience, GNOME was there several years
ago.  The problems were bugs and a level of inconsistency (in areas
such as on-line help) that reeked of amateurishness and were a constant
source of low-level annoyance.