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2003 May 10 01:22

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IBMs support of Linux is not that surprising. They can
invest some money and programming effort to somewhat
direct the development effort in areas that they want
without having to cover all of the development costs.  
Linux, being detached from IBM, does not leave IBM as
venerable to the OS/2 like attack from Microsoft and
provides IBM with what they really care about, cheap
commodity software that runs on their hardware.

It may not be the ideal situation for IBM, but I
suspect they have been happy with the results.
Depending on how you define the "server" market, Linux
(has become) is becoming a dominant player and IBM is
in a position to exploit their expertise that comes
from a closer relationship with the community.

I think that IBM has recognized that the open source
movement or maybe more generally community based
software development is a "disruptive technology"
which shifts software companies from selling a high
value basket of intellectual property into companies
that _have_ to maintain low value and possibly lower
quality intellectual property, which can be the rough
equivalent of dead weight. It comoditizes the software 
market and is probably frightening to any pure software
company like Microsoft, who will have to work _much_
harder because the "free" competition offers a product
that is as good or better.

The big question with community based software is
how the software companies can make money.  There
are two ways that I can see: legal constructs like
patents and trade secrets, business manipulations
where you tie the basic function of the OS to the
commodity hardware (Palladium), creating software
that isn't "fun" to work on, or a shift to the 
software service side where you customize or 
support the software the customer can get for "free."

I know many of the OSS, Stallman style, purists
would disagree, but the success of OSS and other
community based software will depend on the
ability for people and companies to make money 
off of it. There will be plenty of creative 
"non-profit," software, but it will be impossible
to keep the talent focused on projects without the
possibility without some monetary renumeration. I
am not saying that all software will be paid to be
produced, but there has to be a business case for
employers and engineers to "donate" their time to
these projects.

The next decade will be an interesting one with 
companies like Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and Oracle all
having to find their compromise business plans.
It will not stop there... Intuit, Peach Tree, and
a number of other companies could find that the 
community is tired of their software games and 
willing to move elsewhere. We shall see...


On Thu, May 08, 2003 at 09:15:28AM -0700, Eric D. Pierce wrote:
> Per the presentation from IBM, does anyone have any
> observations on why they are so enthusiastic about Linux,
> but they never properly supported or marketed OS/2?
> Conventional wisdom is that top management at IBM never
> intended to let the OS/2 group really "bust loose", and
> OS/2 was even specifically torpedoed by top IBM management
> once its incredible potential became obvious.
> I'm mainly interested in "business philosophy" or
> sociological observations.
> thanks,
> ep
> _______________________________________________
> vox mailing list
> vox@lists.lugod.org
> http://lists.lugod.org/mailman/listinfo/vox
vox mailing list

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