Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 18:12:58 +0900

>>>>> "Forrest" == Forrest J Cavalier, <Forrest> writes:

    Forrest> If the list admits an inclusive definition (even
    Forrest> including consumers like ISPs) I don't think we will be
    Forrest> overwhelmed.

Heh.  I don't fear the list be overwhelmed if the definition is too
inclusive; I fear it being underwhelmed.

There is a sort of Laffer curve for definitions.  If they are too
strict, the applicable cases are too few, and only academic
specialists are interested.  I'm certainly biased in that direction; I
both try to correct for it and admit it explicitly on a regular
basis.  But if they are too weak, then everything qualifies and S/N
goes to pot as everybody jabbers about what interests them in terms
they have more or less private definitions for.

For example, Tim says he wants to include Amazon, which clearly has
unnecessarily chosen the proprietary road on occasion (Amazon wins on
title coverage, economies of mass purchase, and stock management
including fast delivery; "one click" ordering just isn't that big a

I agree with him that Amazon wins if the best platforms are all free,
but this is a matter of pissing in everybody else's soup.  The point
is to make sure that nobody steals a march on you by introducing a
much better platform than yours, not that Amazon has a core competence
in use of platforms, much less development.  But Amazon is basically
an ASP, and they want to keep the software concerning their core
competences private.  To the extent that that integrates with OSS
they've pulled in, they are _not_ going to contribute back to the
community, and in fact they probably don't want their developers to
participate in the community.

Like Tim himself, Amazon is in the business of relying on IP---it
distributes it.  Unlike Tim (AFAIK), proprietary IP is also a core
competence (I would assume, and their IP strategy indicates that they
think so).  This is an FSB?  I think not.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
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