[sf-lug] OLPC to become more like Microsoft...

RBV GoodWriter2548 at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 11 12:08:29 PDT 2008


I presume that one of the things that will always differentiate  
open-source / FOSS software from commercial software is the fact that  
FOSS isn't compelled to artificially create "features" on order to pad  
out an upgrade list.

Most users quickly tumble to the fact that in order for a software  
manufacturer to maintain its expensive stable of captive software  
developers, the company needs to put its user base on an upgrade  
treadmill.  Indeed, in enterprise situations the upgrade treadmill is  
so important to a company's economic health that the company will,  
practically speaking, give an initial installation of software away  
(a.k.a. "buying the business") as a way of enticing a new corporate  
customer to step on to that treadmill.

The need for regular upgrade revenue also explains why so many  
feudally-minded software vendors are now trying to establish  
subscription models.  They're trying to establish alternative  
packaging schemes for the functional equivalent of those regular  

Alas -- most programs quickly reach a level of features maturity  
wherein additional features are at best superfluous, and in some cases  
actively interfere with the ability to use the program productively  
(Microsoft Word, anyone?)

My point being that FOSS is, at least in theory, immune to the need to  
cram superfluous features into a program simply to pad out features  
list that's too short to justify an upgrade fee.

That offers two possible benefits: reduced direct expenditures, and  
fewer if any superfluous and potentially productivity-sapping features  
crammed into a program simply to pad out an upgrades list.

Sounds highly desirable to me...


More information about the sf-lug mailing list