Subject: Re: [open-source] Sun to start charging for Star Office
To: netbsd-users <>
From: paul beard <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 03/26/2002 13:32:15
Stephane St Hilaire wrote:		
> Just being curious, but what real advances would you rather time was 
> spent on ?

Um, let's see. How about a platform neutral document standard (and 
no, I don't mean ASCII) that would allow users to share rich text 
or binary documents regardless of OS? How about a gestural 
interface that isn't just a chrome-plated version of X or the 
Xerox Star? How about other methods of interaction, like voice? 
Maybe a reasonably useful general purpose OS application that 
allows basic information retrieval and exchange (read: web and 
email) on less than a GHz of CPU and a quarter gig of RAM?

Do you think things are as good as they could be?

The "browser war" put an end to a lot of this: the promise of 
Netscape and the fact they made browsers for all OSes was to make 
the OS irrelevant to the common tasks of a business. Seven years 
ago seems like a lifetime, but in 1995/6, it seemed likely we 
could get away from the notion of a mainstream OS and various 
specialized ones (engineers have long had to contend with a 
Windows PC for basic office tasks while also having to use an 
engineering workstation: that costs time, money, and manpower to 
support). A browser could support a virtual desktop that was the 
same for everyone (and Java was just the first one out the gate: 
there could have been others).

But no, that wasn't to be. Anything that made the OS irrelevant, 
no matter how timely that might have been or even as an 
opportunity for real innovation, was a threat to the revenue 
stream of OS makers.

> Perhaps but there is no incentive for Ms to make Office available on 
> NetBSD.

Other than to sell it to a larger market: gee, what a concept.

>  > too cynical and pessimistic to merit a reply beyond this: pure
>  > unfettered capitalism and monopolies can't co-exist.
> True, but the goal of any company in a capitalist system is to grow and 
> keep on growing (if this is cynical than call me a cynic), which by 
> definition means that ultimately it wants to become a monopoly (the name 
> of the game). Now the fact that winning in the game of capitalism means 
> that the government is going to break you up (one nice reward for a job 
> well done) kind of makes you wonder about the validity of the game in 
> the first place.

What are they teaching in the schools these days?

Capitalism does not exist solely to dominate: it's a survival 
strategy. A business must make enough to cover its costs and stay 
in business, no more  and no less. If the mission of the business 
is to be ubiquitous and omnipresent, that has nothing to do with 
capitalism except as a mechanism. Coca-Cola's mission is to have 
an ice-cold Coke with an arm's reach of anyone on the planet, and 
that guides their decision making. Does BMW want everyone to drive 
a BMW? Not if they want to keep making the type of cars they make 
now: they make cars for a specific niche market, as does 
Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, et al. Apple makes computers for a  niche 
market, and while I'm sure they'd love to be the majority player, 
they exist because they make a profit and cover their costs.

Organisms that seek to fill all available space without regard to 
function are more akin to cancers or some kind of bacteria and 
general reflect an imbalance or harmful stimulus in the environment.

Paul Beard
8040 27th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98115
206 529 8400

Man usually avoids attributing cleverness to somebody else -- 
unless it is an enemy.
		-- Albert Einstein