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

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AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:

> >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.

They were NEVER a business model, sustainable or otherwise. Free 
browsers are a strategy you use to support your real business model. The 
free Mosaic browser didn't have a business model. The free Netscape 
browser didn't have a business model. Now your claim is that after more 
than a decade the tap is going to run dry and people will stop working 
on free browsers. That doesn't make any sense.

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

That is not true. Netscape was always free for personal users. For a 
brief period they charged corporations but realized that was a doomed 
strategy so they switched to focusing on their portal and the server side.

> 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.

Netscape was not open source but nobody I know ever paid for it. I used 
to snicker when I would see the boxes in computer software stores 
because it was perfectly legal to download a free version from 
Netscape's website.

> 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.

I tend to think that people greatly exaggerate the importance of these 
big-company donations. Yes, they get a lot of press because they send 
out a lot of press releases. But the day-to-day integration of Linux 
patches happens by a guy who works at a CPU company, not a Microsoft 

> If hatred and fear of Microsoft were not so widespread there might be 
> virtually no open source software!

Open source software _predates_ Microsoft. And many people work on it 
because they love it. e.g. JBOSS is a product that does not directly 
compete with Microsoft, but directly competes with Microsoft competitors 
like BEA and IBM.

> 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.

If Xalan didn't exist, people would use one of the dozen other XSLT 
engines by people like James Clark, Michael Kay, Kieth Visco, etc. 
That's what is so misleading about these big company donations. Most of 
the time they donate stuff that was already available or would have 
become available if they didn't do it. It's the individuals who do 
random things that turn out to be important after the fact.

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

Fine. As long as it progresses, it progresses. The free browser would 
not die.

> 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.

I'm sorry: since the emergence of Mosaic, it has become intrinsically 
impossible to make more than a tiny amount of money selling a 
generalized rich client application. PERHAPS we could argue that 
Microsoft and AOL could bundle such things into their online services. 
And of course there is a place for specialized GUI clients like stock 
pattern visualization software. But generalized rich clients? The last 
one of those to make money was Lotus Notes.

  Paul Prescod


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