Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 14th Mar 2004 09:03 UTC, submitted by Usman Latif
Editorial The software industry is very fearful of open source software, but this fear is irrational. The software industry can quite easily combat OSS as similar challenges have been met successfully in other industries. Part II of "Why Good Ideas Fail" discusses the future evolution of the software industry, and the implications of this evolution for innovative ideas.
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by anyname on Sun 14th Mar 2004 09:22 UTC

The intro for this article is misleading, because it doesn't do what a summary is supposed to do, i.e., give a good introduction to the central idea of the piece.

The author argues that innovation in software has stopped and that proprietary companies are relying on endless upgrades for revenue. He argues that the users will eventually stop upgrading, and that given how little innovation proprietary software houses are providing, it will be easy for FLOSS software to match the features. Thus, in the long run, FLOSS software will become the most common software with proprietary software relegated to niche status and markets. He draws an analogy between proprietary software houses and pharmaceutical companies:

""Generic drugs constitute a majority of the drugs available to patients, but this has not stopped pharmaceutical companies from growing and staying extremely profitable. Pharmaceutical companies make their money by targeting lucrative market segments; thus, they are able to charge fat margins. Trends in the software industry suggest the same thing will eventually happen with software. Most of the software in popular use now will eventually become open source, and software companies will need to target market segments to make money. "

The unstated assumption of the article is also wrong.
by anyname on Sun 14th Mar 2004 09:30 UTC

By the way, the unstated assumption of the piece and the one where he really gets it wrong is that more resources equal better code.

This is patently false and there is a good body of theoretical work that shows that throwing more developers at a problem does not make for better code or even code that ships on schedule.

While I do agree that certain market niches will remain proprietary, such as tax software, it is untrue to claim that most of the innovation is taking place in the proprietary world and the FLOSS world is just cloning what's out there.

There is also the fact that hardware makers of all sorts benefit from having a single infrastructure of code to maintain, something for which we ought to thank the GPL, thereby maximizing their developing investment by being able to leverage the improvements of other companies and thus concentrate and specialize in the development of truly innovative hardware. This is the reason why Linux is found on watches, set-top boxes, desktops, servers, clusters, etc...

...
by Roy Batty on Sun 14th Mar 2004 09:51 UTC

Microsoft is the most vulnerable company, but Microsoft has only wasted money on research

Does he care to back that up. Microsoft has only wasted money on research? Has he ever worked at Microsoft or have the inside scoop on what R&D has or hasn't panned out into something tangible.

once an open source software project takes roots, it starts improving at a pace similar to those of commercial offerings.

I don't know about that. Good developers are hard to find and their time tends to be more limited than someone that is getting paid to hack for 12 hours a day. If everybody in open source agreed on the "one desktop", or the "one IDE", then it could probably overtake a lot of commercial offerings. I like to imagine if Gnome had never been started and KDE was "the desktop" for linux, how far along it would be now...probably on par with Mac OSX. Just think if Linux had been forked into two dominant "linuxes". Things wouldn't be as good.

OSS has become a threat precisely because the software industry has not been innovating for the last 10 years

A lot of people tend to think that OSX is pretty innovative and that's only been around for a few years, and Be before that. I think .NET is innovative. It's not revolutionary(which hardly anything is), but some of the ideas are innovative. The same thing can be said for Java which isn't open source. Perl and Python have their niches and have been around for a while but haven't dominated and they're open source.

OSS developers cannot afford to waste development effort on everything that comes along; they have to wait and watch to discover the successful products, and then develop implementations.

I agree there. Open source does not have unlimited resources contrary to some people's thinking.

He goes on to say that Microsoft doesn't have the expertise to segment its OS market. Well, they do to a certain extent and they do have the expertise, but is it worth it? Also, we'll have to see what Longhorn brings to the table and whether all that "R&D has been wasted" as he said.

the pharmaceutical industry
by Anonymous on Sun 14th Mar 2004 10:24 UTC

Comparing the software and pharmaceutical industries is very difficult.

Pharmaceutical companies rely on repeat sales of very expensive drugs to patients. An individual patient may use a drug for 5-10 years. Drug costs are massively subsidised in many countries so a drug that costs $10,000 p.a may be free or very cheap. Most pharmaceutical companies also make cheap over the counter (eg aspirin and antibiotics) drugs for extra revenue

Pharmaceutical development relies on using publically financed basic medical research to a large extent (BSD type.

Th cost of manufacturing drugs is trivial compared to research. Drugs often retail for more than 100 times manufacturing cost.

Pharmaceutical companies spend far more on marketing than on research. Much of this marketing effort is indirect and very subtle.

Sigh
by rod on Sun 14th Mar 2004 11:02 UTC

Microsoft is the most vulnerable company, but Microsoft has only wasted money on research

Quite hard to continue reading the article after such statement...

From the article header I was expecting something more professional and less biased, not this time though.

Ditto
by me on Sun 14th Mar 2004 12:50 UTC

Re to rod,

I agree with you. The aticle is baised from my point of view. I dont think that MS wasted any money on their RnD team really. I think that the problem lies from the deployment of new features quote innovations unquote from consecutive release of any of their product line. To top it off also, the features that they releases are deemed minimal for the huge price you pay for upgrades. I guess that MS focus on security would leviate the price that you paid for any of their OS version, or may be its just me. I dont mean to focus on MS but there are other Software companies out there that practice this business approach more or less, who knows MS might have something innovative up their sleeves but lets just hope that its their own idea.

Until then there are a lot of alternatives out there who would offer significant upgrades and security checks at a reasonable prices.

wtf is floss?
by me on Sun 14th Mar 2004 12:53 UTC

is that a derivative of foss? is fos inst foss enough and we have to make floss to become more fosser? or do we simply want to take and violate the gpl idea copy the essence of foss call it floss and make it our own and feel special?

"Microsoft is the most vulnerable company, but Microsoft has only wasted money on research"

Quite hard to continue reading the article after such statement...

From the article header I was expecting something more professional and less biased, not this time though.


Well, the author is like most part time OSS coders, they just don't get it. If they see R&D but don't see a direct product from this R&D, then using their logic, it must be wasted.

Most of the R&D done by Microsoft now is in the human-computer interaction and making interacting with the computer easier by creating interfaces and applications that more accurately reflect the way humans think.

The whole point is to get to a stage where software is layed out and designed in a human centric form. Right now, we have to learn set proceedures to get something to work, what the eventual aim is to get applications that are able to do tasks for the end user without the end user needing to know what each of the individual steps do.

Although some here will say, "who cares, why don't they just **** learn how to use the ****ing computer!", the fact is, Microsoft is like every other company, they deliver what the market wants. What the market wants are applications that can achieve set results with minimum effort. If the end user is confonted with two packages but the one costing $20 more is considerably easier to use, then the customer, if they have the money, will always lean towards the one that requires the least effort; in a nutshell, people are lazy. They want great results for minimum effort.

human-computer interaction?
by me on Sun 14th Mar 2004 13:25 UTC

does this mean i can do realtime cybersex?

also in addition to my previews post, if MS took a different turn in putting more features in their OS line i betcha theyll be doomed with lawsuits on the premise that they are monopolizing the markets. heh so what do you call this situation? ironic, ambigous, contradicting or confusing?

people, particularly consumers have their own prefernce especially have their own will likewise speculators to. Dont make tell how other people should live or buy a product also dont assume that most people are dumb or lazy.
but assume however that a lot a people are practical. the best and finest things in life are free. i guess that saying is close to being practical. oh shit where is this paragraph going. for your own safety dont disregard this paragraph.

RE: Kaiwainz
by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Mar 2004 13:26 UTC

...and to complete your theory: people will only move to another product if that other product gives them the same or more as the 1st product, with the price being the same or less.

Makes you think....

RE: Kaiwainz
by Err on Sun 14th Mar 2004 14:11 UTC

""Right now, we have to learn set proceedures to get something to work, what the eventual aim is to get applications that are able to do tasks for the end user without the end user needing to know what each of the individual steps do. ""

As we have to do in every single aspect of our lives from learning to walk, brushing our teeth, driving a car up to flying a space shuttle. Human beings adapt very quickly, it's what WE are designed for.

Re: Kaiwainz
by Don Cox on Sun 14th Mar 2004 14:22 UTC

"people will only move to another product if that other product gives them the same or more as the 1st product, with the price being the same or less."

That depends on the cost of moving - if the product is software, the cost is the effort needed to learn how to use the new product.

In such cases, the new product has to be substantially better, and if it is, a higher price is not a big obstacle.

RE: Kaiwainz
by rod on Sun 14th Mar 2004 14:30 UTC

Most of the R&D done by Microsoft now is in the human-computer interaction and making interacting with the computer easier by creating interfaces and applications that more accurately reflect the way humans think.

..and then once the product is finished and hit the streets, the same zealots who call MS' R&D useless run to mimic the new stuff on their own platform ("Win95 is crap", most Linux desktops look a lot like Win95 interface-wise, and so on).

But they don't admit they're copying MS: they actually have better ideas, but it's just that they want to make the transition for the MS' users to Linux easier. Yeah sure! ;)

R&D
by keath on Sun 14th Mar 2004 14:42 UTC

Most of the R&D done by Microsoft now is in the human-computer interaction and making interacting with the computer easier by creating interfaces and applications that more accurately reflect the way humans think.

Exactly. As an example, the iLoo certainly comes to mind.
http://news.com.com/2100-1041_3-999509.html

But what was that $50 spreadsheet comment about? Microsoft Excel for $50? Where do I get my copy?

Re: iLoo
by rod on Sun 14th Mar 2004 14:53 UTC

The first thing I checked after reading this iLoo article is the date, it had to be a April's fool thing. But it seems to be serious. Oh my oh my ;) PPPPP

OSS w/o money
by Chris on Sun 14th Mar 2004 15:00 UTC

Developers eat too, and most of us wouldn't go to the depth of learning without seeing an ability to make money so that we can feed our families.
Proprietary may go OS, but it's not about to die. If it does you should expect OSS to die within a few generations. People won't stop upgrading because machine upgrades force software upgrades. At a minimum software has to be ported every once and a while.
Maybe when somebody manages to write the perfect software there will never be a call for upgrades.

OSS needs Open Hardware
by bbrv on Sun 14th Mar 2004 15:17 UTC

Biased or not the Author does bring up a few goods points concerning the OSS environment. Our favorite: Is Microsoft heading to XBox land? Seems possible in a age when Gateway makes more money on plasma televisions and Apple on iPods rather than the computers they promote.

We have been thinking that we may license OEMs to produce the Pegasos -- http://www.pegasosppc.com -- and are now trying to convince a couple of large CPU vendors that it make sense to sell the Pegasos IP with the CPU. We have a vested interest in seeing the system reach a lower cost and we are nearing the release/publication of our "Open Power Architecture." If we make the system truly "open" OEMs could easily clone a system that will run OSS and we could all break away from the twenty year old BIOS based on PC compatibility and the original IBM standard. We are willing to define that cloneable system such that the Instruction Set Architecture is PowerPC with AltiVec (for example) but the actual hardware implementation is abstracted to such a degree that one could integrate as many of the system components as possible without impact to application binaries or open source Operating Systems.

An O.P.A. system: consists of the following elements:

HARDWARE<->FIRMWARE<->OPA interface<->OS

In the definition of O.P.A., the firmware is treated as a subclass of hardware. All pieces used to build the O.P.A. interface are built from open standards and are certified free of any patents and non-public licenses. Any Intellectual Property created outside of known and freely available standards (like PCI, IEEE1275, etc.) will be secured in the name of OPA.org and then publicly sub-licensed to the O.P.A. community.

The OSS environment has proven itself and perhaps we could supply a foundation for a whole new generation of low cost pervasive devices.

R&B

where is the corroborating evidence?
by Anonymous on Sun 14th Mar 2004 15:55 UTC

Microsoft research is focused on producing papers and not products.

After reading such a statement -especially given that NO "facts" are given to back it up- I find it impossible to overlook the author's prejudice or bias, regardless of how evil their business practices are.

M$ may not be innovative, but to say the company spends billions of dollars doing nothing but creating one-sided white papers crosses the line into the realm of stupidity.

More research
by Dark_Knight on Sun 14th Mar 2004 16:04 UTC

First off I'm a Linux user and found this article seriously lacking. Also, I know it's part II but I think the writer should of done a better job of intruducing the article. At least refresh readers on the first part with a small introduction.

RE:"The success of Linux has emboldened open source developers, and people are now openly questioning the viability of the whole software business. Is the commercial software industry really necessary or will majority of software development become open source?"

I believe this is affecting not only consumers but developers such as M$, Apple, etc. If a developer ignores what the consumers needs are they that developers business is sure to fail.

RE:"Microsoft is the most vulnerable company, but Microsoft has only wasted money on research"

I may not agree with M$ tactics and business model but I don't consider any company that actually waists money on R & D. This makes the writer appear biased which only hurts his effort to communicate the issues in his article.

RE:" the average computer user is spending more on junk food than on software. If things continue the way they are going, soon investors will be convinced that all the money the software industry was capable of making has been made, and it is time to move on."

Am I the only one lost by this statement?

RE:"Software companies believe they can out-innovate OSS products. This is wistful thinking; once an open source software project takes roots, it starts improving at a pace similar to those of commercial offerings. Moreover, software upgrades suffer from diminishing returns: users care about the first few updates, but after a while additional functionality stops being of interest to them."

Another statement which proves this guy cannot logically write an article and doesn't offer any links to back up his theories. I have noticed that Open Source projects are developed and updated faster than Closed Source due to a larger developer base. Also, it has been shown time and time again that both Closed Source and Open Source will offer similar products/tools. This is not always copying but a reality that developers are listening to what consumers want. Another thing to consider is that developers wish to offer a familiar UI for consumers. Otherwise they will fear transitioning to a piece of software or another OS. Just a reminder that not everything that runs on Linux is free and there is still many ways to make a profit with Linux.

RE:"OSS has become a threat precisely because the software industry has not been innovating for the last 10 years."

Okay obviously this guy must be only refering to OS developers such as M$. What about all the other closed source developers that even port to Linux? Such as Alias, Softimage, SideFX, Eyeon, etc that not only innovate new ideas but also make a profit too.

RE: Pharmaceutical Analogy

7 paragraphs relating the software industry to the pharmaceutical industry. What does the pharmaceutical industry have to do with OSS or proprietory software development?

I will admit that companies like M$ have had it good for many years. Times have changed and there is now a larger consumer base of educated computer users. People will no longer tolerate inadequate product releases, poor support or costly investments. OSS offers many things Closed Source software cannot. At the same time it is developing to become more unified with file support, drivers, etc.

The main reasons I switched to Linux and the OSS model was cost, stability, security and support of Linux compared to Windows and other OS platforms. As for support the turn around for a user question is with in 24 hours due to the large Linux community. A lot of distro developers also offer very competitive business support packages. Consumers need to be more awaire and open minded. Don't always believe what you read in an article or see on a news flash. Do a little research to find the truth. In the end it's really your money and time that is being spent. Spend it wisely.

@Dark
by Anonymous on Sun 14th Mar 2004 17:09 UTC

Hi

The article isnt pleasing both the sides because of its stupid biases. I dont know what this article is trying to point to. I dont understand the flow at all
regards
Jess

@ Thom
by dpi on Sun 14th Mar 2004 18:20 UTC

"...and to complete your theory: people will only move to another product if that other product gives them the same or more as the 1st product, with the price being the same or less."

Only? Nah. Important -perhaps most important, obvious- ingredients? Agree.

For some service and stability is very important too. Try running unstable software on a traffic light, hehe. Also included: longer term price, development style/opensource, politics and ethics can influence one's opinion too. Hardware comes in play too, especially if software isn't portable or isn't FLOSS. SGI and Apple computers look "sexy" on the outside for a reason; attracting people who are rather on the organs of sense advanced than on intuition.

There's a certain balance too. If another product costs less but does less, there's a balanced choice between that and the more expensive product with more features. Only a company in a monopoly position can afford to ask more for their product whilefeaturing the same but not selling less. Like the assholes of the public transport in our country and the former phone company. Thus, competition is actually dangerous for the well-being regarding profit for the company. Economy zealots sometimes defend that monopoly position then while in reality it isn't good for overal economy at all because the Free market got screwed.

RE: ...
by crom on Sun 14th Mar 2004 18:36 UTC

About the one desktop theory. If Gnome hadn't been started back then, I believe KDE would not have gotten as far as it has today. Much in the same way if we had only had Intel for the last years and not AMD, processors would not be as fast as they are. This is also one of the gripes about MS's monopoly.

Competition is healthy. It brings innovation and progress, because there is someone else you have to measure against. This is why what MS does is illegal. They use their position to keep their position instead of just using quality to keep it.

I am of course also glad Gnome was started because I much prefer it to KDE ;) And they both beat windows hands down.

@ bbrv
by dpi on Sun 14th Mar 2004 18:54 UTC

Are you from the marketing department of Pegasos? ;) MorphOS ain't FLOSS, is it? OTOH, cool that you helped the OpenBSD developers with supporting the Pegasos. Thanks a bunch!

A few friends of mine and i are still considering buying one but can't find find resellers. Someone said the G3 one costed 180 EUR but i couldn't find that on the net.

A site decicated to open hardware is http://www.opencores.org and a company clearly not decidicated to open hardware is Sun http://www.deadly.org/article.php3?sid=20030127144228

Re: RE: ...
by Rajan R on Sun 14th Mar 2004 18:55 UTC

Competition is healthy. It brings innovation and progress, because there is someone else you have to measure against. This is why what MS does is illegal.

Natural competition is healthy. Government-instituted and regulated competition normally isn't all that good good (e.g. amongst telcos). Take for example AMD. They didn't come about because some court decided to restrict Intel. They came about because there was a market for their products. They grew because they had a market. They are slowing down because Intel is moving into their market.

Now, take Be for example. It had no specific market (other than the rather vague "multimedia"). When it came about, it didn't have a clear plan of selling Be, didn't have much of a guarentee that there is a market willing to buy a BeOS-like OS. Thus, it is a market failure.

Another example would be Linux. While we all can write books on how Linux is inferior to Windows in the desktop market, apparently the desktop market doesn't really care (almost 3% market share, not bad for a Finnish college hobby, aye?). Why is that the case? There's a market for either amongst the security-concious or the cost-concious.

In fact, if the courts had their way in the first place by spliting Microsoft up, things would have been worse for Linux (after all, the new company wouldn't have Windows as one of their cash cows, but their only cash cow).

Here are the mistakes
by Kon on Sun 14th Mar 2004 19:11 UTC

"Software is important to users..."
"Software industry has to innovate..."
"once an open source software project takes roots, it starts improving at a pace similar to those of commercial offerings"
"The software industry is very fearful of open source software"

News flash, not all R&D development is for user products. Not all software is GUI software that you get to touch and feel. As for the last two, yeah.... right. On what planet (News flash, Microsoft is not the software industry - stop confusing the two)?

This article is a wash and not based on any fact -- but rather, quite a lot of fiction and hand waving. I don't think I'd be putting it down if I classified it as amateur hour.

@ Rajan
by dpi on Sun 14th Mar 2004 19:23 UTC

"Take for example AMD. They didn't come about because some court decided to restrict Intel. They came about because there was a market for their products. They grew because they had a market. They are slowing down because Intel is moving into their market."

I always thought Intel actually had most market share while AMD became later.

"Now, take Be for example. It had no specific market (other than the rather vague "multimedia"). When it came about, it didn't have a clear plan of selling Be, didn't have much of a guarentee that there is a market willing to buy a BeOS-like OS. Thus, it is a market failure."

It sure had market! Because of Windows 9x terrible shortcommings which have partly been solved by the NT generation there were motives for a different solution. Plus ofcourse the political aspect which counts for some. It was innovative in some aspects too plus the OS was free as in costs while a "profesional" edition existed too. Free of cost was unique for a user-friendly desktop OS in that time.

"In fact, if the courts had their way in the first place by spliting Microsoft up, things would have been worse for Linux (after all, the new company wouldn't have Windows as one of their cash cows, but their only cash cow)."

Why is the latter according to you bad for competition? What exactly is the Windows OS? It would mean that for example the other company selling "MS Office" doesn't run on alternative platform instead of only Apple MacOSX. Why not sell it commercially for Linux/x86 if it means profit? THEIR interest is to sell their software. Microsoft's interest is to bind people to Windows/x86 and their software. Which all provides a lot software. Since the open source hype in '99 independant software companies (not Adobe obviously) start porting and selling their software; they have no interest to only support Microsoft Windows, they have interest to support any significant OS or platform.

Plus, you assert the company had only Windows to sell; i'm not so sure wether that would be true. How can you be so sure about this? If the proposal hasn't been implemented and that hasn't been made public how do you know a) how it would have been implemented b) what came out of that? It's purely hypothetic.

Some totalitarian powers (ie. monopolies) are so powerful and supported by higher Powers that be (ie. governments) that only a evolution (slow), a revolution (longer) can overthrow them and i believe that current Powers that be could have started a revolution instead of licking & keeping the evolution flowing.

Why my message was moderated ?
by Marcelo on Sun 14th Mar 2004 19:24 UTC

My english is not good but my message was no ofensive...

you think beos died because it didnt had a market?
by Anonymous on Sun 14th Mar 2004 19:35 UTC

Hi

You must be quite in some other world if you think beos didnt have a market. its dead today not because it didnt have a market but because a lot of manufacturers were selling a Microsoft OS which says a OEM copy shouldnt be bundled with any other competition. Intel was a monopoly but that itself isnt illegal. Anti competitive behavior is illegal which is what Microsoft is all about. AMD growed because Intel was just a monopoly. Beos didnt grow because Microsoft is anticompetitive.

regards
Jess

Eugenia, I was moderated and I am republising an edited version without "USA" word (I think it was the reason of moderation...).

My message is not ofensive. I am trying to compare generic drugs politics with free software politics...

----------------------------

I liked the comparation of software industry with the pharmaceutical industry. People generally compare software with cars and it is not good.

Linux and free software are exactly as the generic drugs. Here in Brazil there are laws saying that doctors may prescribe drugs using the generic name. Many amrerican and european laboratories were against these laws but they passed.

Now, here in Brazil, many people wants use free software like linux be used as "generic" software. They defend laws that compel government to give preference to free software when it is possible.

Why pay more for Aspirina (TM) if a generic equivalent drug can resolve ? Why pay for Microsoft Office (TM) when OpenOffice.org do the same job for less ?

Both pharmaceutical and software industries have fear of the "generics" and they are trying to use patents to maintain your high margins of profit.

Brazil are combating AIDS using generic drugs made by public laboratories and USA doesn't like. See:

http://www.american.edu/TED/brazil-aids.htm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1407472.stm

Now Brazil is a model for world:

http://www.globalhealth.org/news/article/3176

"In the past three years, 31 developing countries have adopted Brazil's guidelines for prevention and treatment. And Brazil's program was highlighted at last week's Group of Eight summit in Evian, France.

In the biggest milestone yet for Brazil, the incoming director general of the World Health Organization, Jong-Wook Lee, recently asked the chief of Brazil's AIDS programs to come to Geneva to help formulate new policies for combating AIDS around the world."


Now, Brazil goverment is actively promoving Linux and free software as alternative to Microsoft and proprietary software:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/36050.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3445805.stm

ugh, another day, another dumb author
by Brad on Sun 14th Mar 2004 19:42 UTC

like was allready pointed out, his MS research comment was idiotic. The whole thing about research programs is you don't see much of what comes out of them. Research doesn't produce products, it produces little tiny ideas to improve things. Without MS research many things introduced in the last decade probably never would have happened. Much of their research is on usability and user habits, these are things OSS don't do and don't understand. Also with any big research program much of their efforts will end up massive failures, and thats a good thing. If you're not failing alot your not trying hard enough.

On the money in the bank, come on MS spends a ton on developement, and you can only spend so much, projects can only handle so many people working on them. At somepoint you just need to give the people time, no more money will help. Also they have all the money in the bank because they are a smart company, they can survive a huge software slump. I don't know if he was just jelous that companies like MS arn't opperating in debt like most OSS companies or what.

I would hardly say closed source software companies have stopped inovating, OSS people most definitly arn't. Invotion is driven by the goal of making money, you may not agree with that, and there may be ocasional exceptions but for the most part it is true. It's also the reason you don't give inovations out for free. I think thats why so many bitch about closed source companies, because they know those companies are inovating, and since the companies arn't opensourcing it, and they can't duplicated it fast enough it's just easier to bitch about those companies and say they haven't done anything.

I don't know where he was going with the drug co.'s . Sounded like he wants companies like MS to spend tons of money to come up with ideas and produce product then turn around and open source them so the opensource people can take them and use them as their own ideas and use them as a virtue of opensource. Sounded like he admited that without a lot of money to spend you arn't going get very far inventing stuff.

"OSS people most definitly aren't innovating"
by dpi on Sun 14th Mar 2004 20:00 UTC

First of all be aware that an innovation is (simply said) something radically different, new (based straight on $ dict innovation). Now about the FLOSS innovations. Have you ever heard of: Y, Xen, Enlightenment, GPL? MANY people haven't.

Any _serious_ innovation which is radically different won't be easy to be find for the masses. That doesn't count for OSS alone it counts for ie. Microsoft too. A serious innovation is not necessarily something which became popular either; that's something (for example an innovation, just as well aripped idea) which has been marketed well for example because people thought they had a need for that.

Now tell me, are you interested in things which are very different than current standards? Have you researched your opinion or is this just what you've perceived without serious research? If the latter, i don't think your opinion is particulary strong because in most standards and obvious mainstream you will not find much innovations. I, for one, found some nice innovations on both research.microsoft.com and deeply in the squares of freshmeat.net.

Finally, innovation can be done by creative minds only and no those do not work for Microsoft alone. Think about students for example. The costs for a student differ per country, but still student projects are all about research and innovating and some use an open FLOSS model for that, yes (ie. Xen, Y ;)

Innovation
by Kon on Sun 14th Mar 2004 20:08 UTC

is *not* about GPL, closed source, open source FOSS, GPL, Microsoft, or anything that everyone seems to be attempting to (poorly) prove.

Its about the people that have the foresight to innovate. The *application* of their ideas could be any of the aforementioned.

A complete idiot can chrun out the same garbage, no matter what license or platform he or she uses.

Most comments in this list are blinded by faith in whatever system they perceive to be the best. So jump up and down all you like, but you're still on the wrong tangent, sorry to say.

RE: Innovation
by crom on Sun 14th Mar 2004 22:14 UTC

That is a very good point. Innovation is not restricted to closed or open source models. It is a result of creative minds and those minds can as well be using the GPL for their work as any other license.

Enlightenment was (and still is) innovative and creative. You could theme the heck out of you wm before you could theme an mp3 player in other oses + more.

In general I think many big projects do not account for as much innovation as one might think. They stay a little conservative and keep to the ideas they know work. They may use lots of money on research and this is bound to lead to innovation, but they still hesitate to go out on a limb and try something completely new.

It would be easier for a smaller oss project to try out new frontiers, because a failure isn't fatal, people do it for free anyway. Bigger oss projects are also bound by finances. People make money of it, and that means you have to be careful in what path you choose.

On another note, a newly started company could also try some really innovative stuff because they believe and if it works out it will produce and edge.

The point here is that even though the bigger players have lots of resources, they restrict their innovation. Also one voice has less bearing, so good ideas might be lost without even being tried.

One thing that is negative about the oss model is that a project has to go for quite a while before it gets the momentum to really get going. But when it does, good things happen, and crap doesn't go anywhere. I think there is room for both models, but I think the basic computing needs should be covered by free software.

RE
by hammer on Mon 15th Mar 2004 05:19 UTC

@Marcelo

>Brazil are combating AIDS using generic drugs made by
>public laboratories and USA doesn't like. See:
>(SNIP)
>http://www.american.edu/TED/brazil-aids.htm

Such actions may lead to a trade war and a decrease in the investment attractiveness to the venture capitalist in that particular area. AIDS virus is an adapting virus that needs constant investment, research and development.

The drugs concerned only prolong the AIDS carrierís life for limited extent and they don't fix the problem with AIDS in the long term i.e. there are cases that the AIDS virus adapts against these (so-called) anti-AIDS drugs.

A fine balance between these forces must be found. The situation maybe palatable if the said nation(s) partly contributes to the continual R&D cost.

>I liked the comparison of software industry with the
>pharmaceutical industry. People generally compare
>software with cars and it is not good.

Unlike the said anti-AIDS drugs product examples (i.e. "violate drug patent laws") Linux is (ideally**) a "clean room" implementation (Linusís POV).

In relation to X86 Win32 program execution, Linux X86/WINE is not much different to other X86 operating system choices e.g. IBM OS/2 Warp 4.x (with Odin Win32 execution layer).

**SCO's legal battle aside i.e. IBMís interest in AIX and Linux complicates the issue of "clean room" implementation. Lindows vs Microsoft battle is more on the "brand name" issue than the Linux itself e.g. Red Hat Linux is doing fine.