Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Nov 2008 00:11 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Windows Every now and then, an article pops up which argues that it would make sense for Microsoft to offer a free, ad-powered version of Windows. "We are all aware that Google is the king of online advertising. Microsoft has wanted to compete in that space forever, which is why giving away Windows 7 makes so much sense," Business Pundit argues, "Let's look at the numbers; Microsoft's operating systems are on 90% of the world's computers, or roughly one billion machines. That's penetration on a massive scale. Even Google has to be impressed." While these articles make some valid points, they rarely dive into the actual details.
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RE[2]: How sustainable is this?
by Yamin on Mon 24th Nov 2008 20:23 UTC in reply to "RE: How sustainable is this?"
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

Fair points... however, I question when you speak of 'commodity' software as somehow being useless to support. There are certain industries where the knowledge base exists and you need to support that knowledge base... even if it is inefficient per say.

For example, even if your country stops space exploration, does it make sense to stop spending money on aerospace? No, because the knowledge base is very deep and specific. To train people in those fields in the industry is very difficult and time consuming. You have to keep those industries running even if it is not the most efficient. You can keep all the books and knowledge on paper and have some people hacking away at things but to have industry experts trained and ready to go when needed is very difficult without them being active on a product. This is similar to power plants which keep running at night even when there is no demand, because to shutdown/restart them would be too costly.

What you classify as commodity software is a very shallow layer. More important than the software itself is the domain level knowledge. In the case of Microsoft, it is Operating System design... In the case of Cisco/Juniper... networking, chip design Intel or AMD. There is a huge gap between industrial knowledge of these systems and just knowing about them from an academic sense.

As I said, I think as an industry we haven't given enough thought to the long term preservation of industry knowledge. Everyone is thinking of short term growth and profits and cost savings... including apparently some engineers.

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