[conspire] Ah, another test subject for this Saturday's CABAL

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sat Apr 5 02:53:28 PDT 2008

2008/3/20 Christian Einfeldt <einfeldt at gmail.com>:
> > > something called "Ulteo" that I'm not familiar with.
> >
> > New distro from France, by the former head of the Mandriva company
> > (previously MandrakeSoft).  Like gOS, it emphasises _hosted_ (online)
> > proprietary applications at an ASP (Application Service Provider),
> > instead of providing local (real) applications in the distro itself.
> > This is sometimes called the "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model.
> SaaS hopefully will be a wedge that will allow Free Software to gain
> sufficient OS market share that it can start commoditizing even these
> non-Free SaaS offerings.  Right now, no competitor can easily get past
> Microsoft to gain sufficient market share to start getting network effects
> in its favor.

I believe that the network effect of Free Software has a stronger
network effect than Microsoft enjoys, which is why Linux is able to
grow from such a small base. It isn't just ideology. Of course
Microsoft's attitude to QA, security, customer service, and so on is
also part of the equation.

> Microsoft just sucks all the wind out of any competing OS.
> At some percentage of market share, say 20% for Apple and 15% for GNU Linux,
> we will see third party vendors start committing their resources to
> supporting GNU Linux in a meaningful way on the consumer desktop.

We already see vendors committing resources to Linux. What do you call
IBM and Oracle? It isn't at some threshhold value that this will
suddenly increase. It is increasing all the time, and accelerating.

It is a common mathematical error to suppose that there is a
"hockey-stick" inflection point in an exponential growth curve, or the
lower part of a logistic curve. In reality, the growth rule for an
exponential function is the same everywhere: proportional to the
current value. As is most obvious, of course, on a logarithmic plot.

> And more
> OEM vendors will selling Free Software boxes, at which point we will have
> real competition on the consumer desktop.  Right now, the only consumers
> that have real choice are those who are willing to pay the premium for Apple
> products, or those of us who have somehow stumbled into Free Software.

I don't follow your logic here. Consumer choice currently exists,
whether or not consumers are sufficiently aware of that fact. For
example, I am writing this on a computer from Linux Certified that
came with Ubuntu preinstalled. They select hardware that has GPLed
drivers wherever possible, which is becoming easier all the time.
Thus, for example, ATI (AMD) (hooray!) rather than Nvidia (Boo! Hiss!)

The naysayers say every year that Linux will never make it in some
area of computing. Usually the year before Linux makes it in that
area. I wonder whether there is a reason for that.

> _______________________________________________
>  conspire mailing list
>  conspire at linuxmafia.com
>  http://linuxmafia.com/mailman/listinfo/conspire

Edward Cherlin
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

More information about the conspire mailing list