Subject: Re: Wal-mart drives software industry
From: D Henkel-Wallace <gumby@Henkel-Wallace.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:55:20 -0800

 Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:55:20 -0800
On Tuesday, February 26, 2002, at 01:31 , Tom Lord wrote:
>        http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/schrage0302.asp
>        as quoted by gumby
>
>        This power of procurement facilitates the procurement of power. 
> Suppose
>        Wal-Mart decided that it would be economically advantaged by 
> abandoning
>        proprietary software formats in favor of žopen sourceÓ to manage 
> its
>        supplier interactions.
>
> So, how do we get key representatives of Walmart, Compaq, HP, IBM, Sun
> -- heck even SGI, AOL, AT&T, Ericsson, GE, Sprint, Worldcom, et
> al. into a common forum of discourse along with a broad representation
> of open source and, more importantly, Free Software engineers?  We
> could use some economists and legal experts too.  Someone want to
> start a mailing list :-)?

The point of the article, which I highlighted in my introduction, is that 
you  don't need  such a "common forum of discourse".  Wal-mart alone is a 
driver; get them to move in a direction favourable to you, and the rest 
must follow.

A "dialogue" is the wrong place to start.  It's like the OSI protocols.  
Big business runs more like the IETF (rough consensus and running code).  
And yes, with politics and fashion too, of course.

Wal-mart is hard for a small FSB.  As I said, only IBM and Red Hat are 
likely to have any entrť (which is not the same as success, only a 
necessary precondition).  A niche FSB has to find something that is in and 
of itself valuable.  This is the same as with any other business -- but 
the angle is that Wal-mart might give you a much longer lever arm.