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   Re: [xml-dev] Microsoft-phobia and the non-future of XHTML x.x [LONG]

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In a message dated 22/11/2002 12:19:16 GMT Standard Time, bill.dehora@propylon.com writes:

AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:

> In my earlier post I commented on what I believe is the fundamental
> business model of open source software:
> "At the risk of over-generalising the fundamental business model
of open
> source software is Microsoft-paranoia and Microsoft-phobia by
> 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
> might be virtually no open source software!"


I probably drafted that last sentence poorly. Would you buy the general idea if it read "... might be much less open source software!"?

That view lacks a historical perspective. You'd have to explain away
the hacker culture that existed in Berkely and MIT during the 1970s
for it make sense. There's been a tradition of giving code away for
as long as code has been distributable.

If we look at this in a historical perspective there have been maybe five or six phases / dimensions (other, possibly better informed, interpretations welcome):
1. Late 1940s on - software is only sold with hardware so software is implicitly chargeable
2. MIT / Berkeley hacker phase (for want of a more precise term) - utilities limited primarily to a fairly small circumscribed group freely shared (as far as I am aware)
3. DOS etc - chargeable software
4. Initial Web phase - new browsers chargeable
5. Recent Web phase - browser market killed by Microsoft making Internet Explorer free
6. Tomorrow - chargeable or not-charged-for? Who knows?

Headings 1, 3 and 4 had chargeable. Headings 2 and 5 not.

Packaging code as a product and selling it is something of an
oddball idea pioneered by Microsoft and a few others, that works
very well for some but not most software companies.

The fact that some companies with a service oriented model see open
source as a strategic tool to commoditize product oriented companies
and thus subsidize OS development strikes me as somewhat incidental
to OS itself. What's more important is the value companies get from
open code and open protocols. Once they realize the cost of *not*
having open stuff, they tend to support these projects in one form
or another. That's a 50,000ft view of what Daniel is telling you -
the cost of not having open stuff to him is a lack of control as a

> OK .... thoughts? :)

I don't think any of this matters that much wrt browsers. What will
really wake people are alternatives to browsing (such as IM), or
perhaps when the penny drops in the industry as to how much it costs
on the server side to subsidise thin clients - but I'm not holding
my breath.

My breath isn't held either. :)

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


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