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   Re: [xml-dev] The non-future of XHTML x.x [LONG]

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You raise some interesting points.

Your arguments demonstrate that what you seem to consider intrinsically impossible has already shown by history to be possible.

Inline responses below.

Andrew Watt
"XHTML 2.0 - the W3C leading the Web to its full potential ... to implement yesterday's technology tomorrow"

In a message dated 21/11/2002 20:22:27 GMT Standard Time, paul@prescod.net writes:

AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:

> 1. Indefinite continued development of not-charged-for Web browsers is an
> unsustainable business model

I don't think it matters whether it is a sustainable business model. The
question is whether it is a sustainable _practice_.

I take that slight realignment of the goalposts as tacit agreement that not-charged-for browsers are not a sustainable business model.

OK, let's look at whether or not it is sustainable practice.

There has always

been at least one and usually several open source web browser projects
since the invention of the Web.

The first browser I used was Lynx in (I think) 1994. I assume it was and is open source. Anyone remember what open source browsers came before that?

Lynx was (still is??) a text-only browser.

When Netscape came along with a graphical paid-for browser users voted with their feet and bought it in droves.

Netscape, for the time, was the rich-client which added sufficient value compared to the open source alternative(s) of the time that it took a sizeable slice of the market.

A rich-client (rich by whatever the standards of the time are) can survive and grow market share despite the existence of open-source competitors. But it must provide added value.

You commented that open-source was always there. History shows that, at least at times, a paid-for rich-client  can prosper in an environment where there is competing open source. So my premise is not intrinsically impossible, as history as shown.

Whether it can happen again is a separate question.

The practice seems sustainable. If

Netscape goes out of business, someone else will pick up the torch for
the simple reason that the open source world (ranging from individuals
like you to huge corporations like IBM) would abhor that particular

No vacuum. :) It isn't a vacuum that IBM fears. It's Microsoft. :)

If you want to claim that open source software needs a "business

model" to survive then you'll have to explain the existence of
technologies created without any clear business model such as Linux,
Gnome, Emacs and Apache.

A significant part of that is fear of the vacuum/Microsoft.

At the risk of over-generalising the fundamental business model of open source software is Microsoft-paranoia and Microsoft-phobia by competitor companies. Of course there are enthusiasts who donate time but isn't at least part of the motivation for some of those developers the same Microsoft-phobia and Microsoft-paranoia? Try to imagine how limited open source software today might be without the kick start donations and ongoing funding from the corporate interests intent on spoiling Microsoft. If hatred and fear of Microsoft were not so widespread there might be virtually no open source software!

I don't recall precisely who donated what to Apache. Didn't IBM donate Lotus XSL -> Xalan and Sun donate [something] -> Tomcat? I seem to recall that many other (anti-vacuum/Microsoft) donations were also made to Apache.

Open source is not a business model and does not depend upon any
particular business models.

I think you are wrong there.

One key business model is the fear of the vacuum/Microsoft.

It isn't a black or white thing. Open source could progress but at a slower pace without those donations and funding.

And even if it did, I would say that the

relationship of this argument to XHTML is quite remote.

Well, perhaps. But I suspect you said that partly because you viewed my argument as intrinsically improbable. As mentioned above history demonstrates that paid-for rich-clients *can* at times win out *for a time* over not-charged-for clients.

Without the prevalance of Microsoft-phobia I suspect that we would still have paid-for Web browsers.

> ...
> But if, hypothetically, AOL/Netscape realise that they can create a
> rich  client for which they can charge

ROTFLMAO! Who do you know that is getting money for rich clients?

The future != today

My point was about the *future*. I didn't claim that anyone is making money from rich clients today. Did I? My point was that a change is possible, maybe likely.

The key issue is whether in the (near??) future a rich-client can provide sufficient added value for users versus the "poor man's client".

If you can move to accept a position that paid-for rich-clients in the future might, at least in principle, be *possible* then perhaps we can go on to discuss how likely/unlikely that is and what relevance (or not) XHTML 2.0 might have to such a future.

Andrew Watt

> will they, in a fierce business climate,  continue to subsidise
> Mozilla? Would an alert shareholder population allow
> them to?

AOL does not sponsor Mozilla because they have not noticed that it costs
money. They have a variety of strategic reasons for avoiding absolute
reliance on Microsoft, their feircest competitor. They realize that the
only way they can catch up is with the help of the open source
community. Therefore they do the only thing they can, which is develop
Mozilla. And if they go out of business, IBM or Sun will run with the
ball for the same reason. Do you think IBM wants the Web to be owned by
Microsoft the way that the PC was?

> XHTML 1.0 and 1.1, to be fully implemented, need a new generation of
> browser clients. Which companies are going to invest in clients to
> support these when better business cases can perhaps be built on rich
> clients using alternate technologies?

There is no business case in rich-clients-for-sale. Anyone who tries
that survives only until they are commodotized out of business by either
Microsoft or open source (if not Mozilla then something else). There is
no venture capitalist insane enough to fund this business model and
that's saying quite something.

  Paul Prescod


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