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Corel

Corel Chief On Corel, Open Source, .NET And Others 215

taylor_b writes "CEO Chief Derek Burney has some interesting ideas about open source. Among other things he says in this interview that the open source concept is 'one notch better' when you keep the code to yourself. And Corel wonders why the community never received them with open arms?" It's actually more interesting than just that comment - Burney has an interesting perspective on what's needed to make Linux/Open Source ultimately work. I'm not sure I agree, but I'm sure you folks can debate it *grin*
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Corel Chief On Corel, Open Source, .NET And Others

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  • http://www.google.com/search?q=packet+sniffer&hl=e n&lr=&safe=off&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

    my apologies if you are using a browser other than ie. slashdot adds spaces to hrefs, ie doesn't seem to care though. I've heard complaints from the linuxy netscape bunch, though. irony.
  • "Or how about the hundred times I've asked where I could start from to be able to tweak the virtual memory management of Linux because I have certain needs to take care of. No one can tell me."

    Well, I'll tell you. Or rather, I'll give you this link. [byte.com] It's a good start.
  • I am constantly amazed that the morons on Slashdot moderate up posts like yours, posts that do nothing but point out the obvious caveats that go along with any non-dissertation length post.

    Of course software, like (almost) every other type of asset, depreciates over time. Is writing program like having a perpetual license to print an infinite amount of money? No. Do clients' needs change over time, giving developers opportunities to do follow-on projects? Yes.

    But the fact -- uncontested by you -- is that without proprietary software, programmers' compensation structures look like this:

    pay = hours_worked * hourly_rate

    In other words, you are a high-paid burger flipper. You may boost your hourly rate because you are a damn fast burger flipper, but there are only so many hours in a day for you to stand in front of the grill.

    How does Microsoft make so much money? By capturing labor in an asset (software) and selling it to millions of people. A neutron bomb could go off in Redmond, WA, killing every Microsoft employee, and yet Microsoft would still be worth billions of dollars, because the software can still be sold, some of it perhaps for years to come.

    If the staff of an advertising agency or a law firm or RedHat was wiped out, the value of the company would be zero, because revenue is proportional to services provided by employees.

    Setting aside your probable dislike of Microsoft (hey, as someone who bleeds six colors, I consider them Evil Incarnate), there is no disputing that their business model is far more stable and liberating than RedHats. There is no gun pointed to their head.
  • I for one am glad that Microsoft bundles in the add-in software that one used to have to buy separately (i.e. Norton Utilities). The price of their basic Operating System hasn't gone up, but the functionality has increased over time.

    The only people bemoaning this are the people who developed the original add-ins, and the 'hot dogs' whose seat of honor as the local 'PC Guru' is threatened when Microsoft gives their cherished 'bag of tricks' to every user by default.
  • Hehehe.
    You cannot escape reality, no matter how much you try.
  • Water ? hmm ...

    It looks like most people prefer to pay for Microsoft water than to go and hassle with free stuff like Linux.
  • In the latest issue of Maximum Linux (which, unfortunately, I left at home, so I can't quote directly), there is an op-ed piece about Corel. Now, due to the lag time for preparing print media, this article was written before the announcement of Corel spinning off their Linux. What's sad about the article is the optimism that Corel wouldn't do that. As proof, they pointed out that Burney was to be attending a Linux show (I believe in Paris, but it could have been LinuxWorld in NY) along with other Corel personnel.

    I presume he's attending to spread the new "sort-of-open-but-not-open-source" philosophy.
  • Really ?
    So tell me how many people are using "free" products on Windows as opposed to commercial stuff NOT from Microsoft ?
  • I dont know. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. But when people say "IE is great" ... well Maybe for pr0n... but besides that, gecko is perfect for all my browsing. Fuck microsoft's API.s Embrace and extend my ass. Sounds more like a method for extracting sperm from livestock. I think in this case, the bull has cummed.

  • Burney: I don't think distributions in general are profitable for anybody. Really, in what way can people make money at all on Linux?

    Wow, now that's a fine statement. It seems to be quite profitable for the CUSTOMER and the USER. Maybe some old school technology companies should focus more on the needs of their customers than just the needs of their shareholders. RedHat, Mandrake and Suse all seem to be figuring out how to create revenues by focusing on service solutions instead of holding their customers hostage. For those distros that remain true to the values of the communities that support them, they will surely create profits. It quite early in this new paradigm to decide that one cannot make money.

    Burney: Proprietary [software] is a good way to make money; with open source, there's no way [to make money] because you don't control your intellectual property.

    Another enlightened statement. A weather balloon doesn't control mother nature, but the designers have understood that there are forces that can be tapped with incredible potential. Just don't @#$% with mother nature or you can quickly meet your death. The problem here is that it's difficult to change a proprietary closed control oriented company into an standards based, open, cooperative oriented company. When you start from scratch with the right corporate DNA, it can work. The new open sources companies are more aligned with their users, and this will ultimately win. The ways to make money are just being developed.
  • Don't look now, but I think something tragic is happening to 'the commons.'

    'You make baby RMS cry!'

    heh
  • And a great thing about .NET is, it's not mutually exclusive with Linux. Basically .NET just means that some of your application runs on the desktop, and some on the server. There's no stipulation that the desktop has to be Windows.

    There's no stipulation that the desktop must be Windows, but how about the server? I've ignored this .NET thing from the beginning, so I'm speaking from ignorance, but is the thinking at Redmond that the desktop, which essentially becomes a browser on steroids (and hence free as in beer), is a loss leader and all revenue generation comes from leasing software time on the server end? This way they can claim compatibility with Linux, Mac, etc., but continue to corner the software market.

    Am I way off here?

  • Well, it's the open source concept, but one notch better, because the source wouldn't be open ... so the companies that write them can keep them and sell them, but from the user's perspective you get the benefit of open source because you can have the content coming from a variety of companies. So I see that model as being a nice bridge between proprietary software on one side and open source on the other.

    I think we've see this. It's called Windows and all of the small companies that tried to make a buck writing useful, "plug-in" utilities. For example, disk compression, internet browsers, etc.. If history is our guide, if your utility/plug-in is unpopular you make no money (of course), but if your utility/plug-in is popular the 800 lb. gorilla incorporates a rip-off version into the next release and you make no money anyway.

  • Well the article is not totally clear, but the implication is that Corel feel they would have to "aquire" control of the software to be able to be a one-stop shop, not acquire expertise. So in order to support Apache they think they have to own Apache. Which just shows even more that they don't "get it". (Admittedly the article can be interpreted in a different way).

    You've gotta respect them a little for at least trying to market Linux as a desktop OS though.


  • OK. Mod me down as "plain stupid"


    -1, Redundant.
  • First, the spreadsheet example is a bead one: You have some x^y numbers, and you want a median. You send all the numbers to a server, that computes the median, and sends the result back. This means, you send some MB of data to a server instead of downloading some bytes of the formula. The server may examin your data, that may be sensible data, and you cannot control that and the server may be overloaded, as it may do the number crunching for several packets of multiple MB od data.
    Second, the ability to make money from proprietary software depends on the ability to make money from intelectual property without further development on that technology and preventing others from further development. So needing closed source is just a sign of a bad development section. When you make a great piece of software and realease it open source, your technological knowledge advance should be big enough to compete and make further development, as all others first have to read and understand the source and the concepts.
    Third, the bad support is just wrong. There are almost never solutions from just one company (maybe except a full IBM server solution), and you always have to phone several companies to get support. But in open source, all information you need can be found on the net, for free. Of course you need a skilled maintainer in your own house for that, but someone with a serious project should always have a maintainer in the house.
  • And of course the wonderful '640K should be enough for anybody', which becomes increasingly amusing as Windows memory footprint blossoms.

    --
  • It's all good. Sorry about blowing up. Just a wee bit tired over here. I finally broke down and installed Linux over my entire hard drive, not just a partition of it. Runs like a charm, but took a while to configure, but it's done. Now I can snooze... let's call a truce, shall we?

    On the subject of that racist asshole TRoLL, kick his ass, I hate guys like him.

  • he says in this interview that the open source concept is 'one notch better' when you keep the code to yourself. And Corel wonders why the communnity never received them with open arms?

    Maybe the second realization relates to the first in some way?

    Corel needs to crawl under the rock they came out of. I'm trying to think of something corel has actually produced, not word perfect, which they inherited from novel. A graphical installer? I mean, what?! Either they have 10 employees or the Canadian government heavily subsidises them.

  • This also applies to machines with intermittent low bandwidth connections (56k modems). These big companies are really pushing new systems and ways of distribution that assume cheap broadband for all is a reality, when it isn't, and won't be for a very, very long time. I'm in one of the better broadband connected areas of the UK, and some friends I know who live about 100 yards away cannot get it, while I can. Many countries aren't going to have broadband at all.

    I can see it now: "sorry , you can't run the new version of Excel because you don't have cheap broadband access"


    --

  • Burney's standpoint regarding open source is quite simple: Corel is in deep trouble, mostly because of the former CEO's business adventures. What Corel needs now is to focus on its core business to survive, and to be able to do this they cannot afford to distract themselves with open-source.

    From business perspective, he may be right. Open source has proven itself as a better way for creating software, but there is no bussiness model yet that had proven itself as a good way to generate money from open source. The companies that do generate income like Redhat may get enough money to survive but no more than this.

    A company like Corel can't afford that risk. They have too much to loose and not enough financial backup.

    It is a pitty Burney have so little technical understanding, however. The "great" things about .Net are nothing new - it can be achieved through all the various component technologies we have for a long time. Well defined standard interface is a good thing, though.
  • I can see your point, but on the other hand, an individual or small company determined the need, took the risk, developed the product, and built a customer base (even if that customer base was 'hot dogs'). If they were unsuccessful, they suffered the consequences. If they were successful, the operating system platform (whether it's Windows, .NET, or whatever) incorporates their idea and puts them out of business.

    In the context of this thread, the question is not whether MS is good or bad but whether the Corel CEO's vision of small companies able to make a profit from designing plug-ins and utilities to interoperate with .NET is valid or not. My contention is that his vision is not valid in the future for the same reasons it wasn't valid in the old/current OS-centric world.

    There are, of course, exceptions. MS doesn't bundle a competitor to ArcInfo or AutoCAD with their OS and there will be some companies that will develope a product that either fills a small-enough niche that it's only competition is other small companies. In the .NET world, don't expect to make a living writing useful extensions to Word, EXcel. If they are really useful, they'll be included in the next release and you'll be out of a job.

  • Are you so-o sure that consumers don't want to be dominated. I'm willing to argue that statement. From what I've seen going on these days, people want to be coddled like little babies. Most people are pathetically afraid of looking after themselves and damn large percentage of people don't look at the longer-run issues unless it affects them today.
  • I switched almost entirely to Opera about a month ago. Opera 5 is really good. Now that they've got SSL and decent Javascript support, there are only a few sites that I have problems connecting to. Opera isn't free, though (they do have the new 'advertising supported' version for those who won't pony up a bit of cash). It's definitely superior to Netscape on Win32.

    I pitched Outlook for Eudora and Forte' Agent at about the same time (it was definitely my big month for sending money to shareware developers.) I use Windows 2000 to connect to the 'net but nary a Microsoft client app once I'm connected.
  • I am reminded of the Ameritrade commercial, where the woman dumps 300 shares of stock because she "didn't like the management."

    In all fairness, I did make good money when the stock went from $6 to $40 per share, my mistake being to buy it back at $12 and ride it down to $4. Nevertheless, when it became clear that Corel didn't understand Open Source or Free Software and that their Linux strategy was more of a flirtation than a strategy, I dumped their stock like a hot potato and ate the $8 per share loss. (I still made $26/share overall, so I can't really complain I guess)

    I only wish I'd done it sooner (having tried their Linux product and discovering how closely tied it was to their particular distribution and how unfriendly it was to other distros such as Red Hat and Mandrake, I certainly had plenty of early warning). The cluelessness of this fool's comments underscore the entire company's inability to think outside of their little box. Their willingness to sell their soul to their most dangerous competitor, while ignoring and downplaying an emerging market (Linux) that, in world wide terms, will probably grow much larger than Microsoft's share of the pie over the next several years, is indicative of their inability to form any coherent strategy beyond "survive for the moment, hope for the best, and remain as buzzword compliant as possible."

    With solid commercial products like Applixware available today and emerging products like Koffice and gnome office it is unlikely Corel will get much if any market share at all so late in the game. Whatever chance they may have had they've now squandered and sabataged, both with the belated releases of the Linux version(s) of their software vs. the Windows versions and with their openly dismissive rhetoric of their (Linux) customer's and the communities values and philosophies. No PR company on the planet can rehabilitate Corel's image at this point.

    I am glad I made so much money on their stock's brief ascent, but am ever so glad to be rid of it today. I do not give the company as such more than two years of continued existence, although I'm sure someone will purchase the WordPerfect product and keep it alive, as their is an existing market in the legal profession that, if managed correctly, can remain profitable.
  • ...typical capatalist pig, "look at the expensive dead animal hide satchel I carry and my nice $7,000 watch" nonsence". ".(..)..will be better because it won't be open." Yeah, how else will you pay for the $10,000 chair you slide under your piss ass and the Mercedes and the "paté de fois gras" you feed to your rug rats...?
  • However, if what you meant was that people continue to use Windows because it is good enough, then you're right. For most people, the marginal cost of moving to another platform is greater than the percieved benefit of doing so.

    The cost is not always marginal. For a large enterprise, the cost can be downright large. Doing an install (and potentially retraining) across thousands of nodes is no small feat. The vast majority of people you are trying to hire already know how to use windows.

    There are other examples, though. I had spec'd out a pair of PIX-515s for our firewall, and was informed that we would not be spending the money to buy them, so could I come up with something free instead? At first, I had planned to use linux, but had problems with the install and the operation of the system; Odd, because it's a very straightforward intel-chipset PC clone with a P3 chip, a Trident VGA card, no sound, and 3com 3x59x cards. It doesn't get much more vanilla than that.

    Granted, that was redhat, but if I'm going to deploy linux, I want to use something with a lot of support, and which unix newbies can understand. If I'm not going to be able to do that, I might as well go with BSD.

    So I install OpenBSD 2.8 from CD (I bought it mostly to add my voice to the others who think that TdR is not a choad.) The install goes well (and quickly), and I install src and ports trees, update 'em, and build a new kernel, and install some other stuff.

    And now the fun begins; I set up ipfilter rules, tracking state, and in about six hours, my state table has filled up.

    After many trials and tribulations, I ended up tweaking my kernel to dramatically increase the size of the state table (to something like 100 times its original size) and lo and behold, everything works now, but the defaults were lame. I had to get on the openbsd tech mailing list to solve this problem (thank god it's there) and it took me three days. If we had bought a PIX, we would never have had the problem.

    The costs of using open source tools and operating systems are real, not imagined. So far, we have saved some money, and I still do love openbsd, but it would have been easier to just buy cisco's product, and I'd spend less time worrying about whether or not I'll have a new ipfilter-related problem crop up.


    --
    ALL YOUR KARMA ARE BELONG TO US

  • Corel failed at Linux because it tried to slap a pretty face on Linux, and to sell it to the mass market.

    OK. What Corel did not understood is that Linux is not ready for that. Linux distros are still more a set of nice tools than an out-of-the-box system (and Corel was based on Debian, nevertheless).

    If one can/like fiddle with his computer and his OS, one can use a Linux distro to transform his computer in a better and more powerful tool.
    If one wants the soup ready, the best chance is NOT to buy a distro, but to get a PC with Linux pre-installed, on which soneone else already fixed the miriad of little problems a Linux user usually face. And he shall remember to always ask his Linux vendor before buying pretty new hardware for his PC.

    Corel failed at Linux beacuse its goals were stark and unappreciated in the world of dedicated computer lovers.

    This was irrelevant for Corel objectives, since, as you have said, computer lovers are only a 0.5% of computer user.

  • I can mention at least 2 other failures.

    • MSX [eunet.at] - MS designed an 8 bit home computer that was not very popular
    • AT Work [byte.com] - MS tried to add "intelligence" to Fax, Printers and Copiers by putting an OS in them
  • this guy seens to be at large of the open source movemment in general. Strange things....
  • by Patoski ( 121455 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @08:44AM (#447444) Homepage Journal

    Their perspective on OSS is now very warped, but the sad fact is that the Corel case may indeed prove that a successful company has to concern itself with whether or not OSS can be long-term viable - especially for operating systems. Perhaps they have a point - that giving away and adhering to open standards and api's is a better solution than giving away all the source code.

    Quite frankly your case here is paper thin. Corel has been a technology chasers for years always in search of "The Next Big Thing"(tm). Perhaps you'd like to ask Corel how their Java based office suite is coming? Or their Linux based office suite? Or their .NET office suite? Please, this is an old company which has no spring in it's step and no creative vision left in them. They are merely content to chase the lastest passing fad much like that dog in your neighborhood who cases every car that zooms by. Corel finally got it's nose clipped for chasing one passing car too many. The company has lacked a clear vision for their future for some time now and they're finally paying the piper.

    I find it amusing that you use Corel as your model of a "long-term" linux company. How long were they even actively in "The Linux Market"? six months? a year perhaps? If anything Corel proves that an old company can't reinvent itself by sprinkling a bit of linux pixie dust (or insert buzzword here) on itself. Corel was a grandiose failure all right but it wasn't because of any inherent flaws with making money from OSS. Corel's ultimate failure was that of it's flip flop management. Changing the wholesale direction (and culture) of your ship every 6-12 months won't get you anywhere and you will likely find yourself lost at the end. Corel proved this in spades. Call me when you start to see the likes of Red Hat, IBM and Mandrake pulling up stakes and moving out of the OS bazaar. Then I'll really start to become concerned about the long term viability of OSS business models. Until then we'll have to wait and see how well OSS businesses scale.

    But companies like Corel, even to a degree RedHat, and especially Microsoft, (also, to a lesser degree Sun) really don't care much about the slashdot crowd. This is for a few reasons.

    This type of knee jerk bashing of Red Hat is becoming all to common nowadays here at /. The kind that goes, "You know Microsoft, Corel, Red Hat all those big morally bankrupt companies." Just ask RMS what he thinks of RH and he'll tell you that RH does the right thing for Free Software almost all of the time (who can agree with RMS 100% of the time anyway?). Anyone who employs Allen Cox full time doesn't belong in the dubious company that you place them. And no, I don't use Red Hat but I think your grouping of them with the likes of MS, Sun and Corel is highly unfair and distasteful.

  • Burney: And a great thing about .Net is, it's not mutually exclusive with Linux. Basically .Net just means that some of your application runs on the desktop, and some on the server. There's no stipulation that the desktop has to be Windows. And in fact, the Corel Linux distribution is on the list to have .Net put in, to tie in to the Web. So I think it's great for the Linux community. It gives them access to the .Net Web services. It's also good for Microsoft, because it's a convenient way for them to accept the fact that Linux is here to stay, and [you can] still generate some revenue from it.

    After reading this paragraph a few times, I started to wonder if Bill Gates is actually thinking of trying to market .Net to Linux users. First of all, I don't see how that's technically feasible, unless he (heaven forbid!) made all his Windows applications Linux-compatible. Second, I don't see how anyone will accept it, because don't many people use Linux specifically because they don't like Microsoft?

    Just a thought.

  • Also, the CD-ROM in the cover of the second edition of the book actually runs on Windows NT. (the CD in the first edition wouldn't, *snicker*).
  • Among other things he says in this interview that the open source concept is 'one notch better' when you keep the code to yourself.

    By that logic, Windows is Opened Sourced, and "One Notch Better" than Windows.



    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    slashdot:
    Burney has an interesting perspective on what's needed to make Linux/Open Source ultimately work.

    Burney:
    I don't think distributions in general are profitable for anybody. Really, in what way can people make money at all on Linux?

    I'm inclined to insightful rather than interesting, actually.
  • .NET and app subscriptions is a project of Titanic proportions that simply cannot fail, being run by the chief architect, Mr. Goldfinger himself. Smart money'd be loading up on Msft stock - antitrust is going to quietly fade away, and their value only goes up on major paradigm shifting releases like this, no matter what happens.
  • If that example of how to use a formula in a spreadsheet was an analogy of .NET then M$ is on drugs. How crazy can you get? If you dont know how to calculate something, you dont keep sending your friend the data to do your work. You learn how to do it from him, get the formula etc, and thats that.

    Whats going to happen when a server goes down? Sorry couldnt do your tax today, the formula server was down!
  • Yeah - Microsoft is good at looking down the road a few years and talking about what that world is like... The fact that they're looking down the wrong road is irrelevant. And they're particularly good at the talking-about-it part.

    Hmmm, a bit like Slashdot... :-)

    --
  • Actually he says that the concept of open API (like supposedly will be the ones of .NET) is a notch better than opensource, because it allows to keep software proprietary (and so make money by selling it) while still allowing cooperation among companies.
    Yes, copoperation may happen, if the company that controls the API (M$soft, nevertheless) do not use that control to screw competitors ... but this will never happen, will it ;)

    Corel has definitively changed his skin : from 'big adversary' of M$oft, they are now faithful ans subservient allies. So they hope to sleep better and get some of M$soft money.
    Fine. But be aware, Corel : when M$oft is hungry, it can eat allies as well as enemies.

  • The cost is not always marginal. For a large enterprise, the cost can be downright large.

    I'm not sure if you were making a play on words here, but just in case: I meant "marginal" in the sense it is used by economists. That is, meaning the incremental cost. I didn't mean marginal in the sense of small or inconsequential.

    Your point is a good one, though. The cost of most software does lie only in the purchase price. So, free-as-in-speech software will never really be free-as-in-beer.

    Well, not until OS's and apps can install, configure, update, and maintain themselves! :)

  • He *literally* doesn't know what he's talking about. The spreadsheet example just proves the point. It's a really bad example of application components and middleware creating complex systems.

    In business you want to share information between business departments and different applications. You'd use some sort of middleware system to share the information. Invoicing information, financial results, dispatch confirmations etc. You wouldn't rent an algorithm the way he's describing. There's a short article at http://www.yelm.freeserve.co.uk/middleware/ which describes how middleware can be helpful.

    Thing is, it isn't even that difficult to set up your own middleware system. I assembled my own because the commercial systems were so expensive. It's just a news server and some scripts but it works and handles hundreds of messages per day. (http://www.yelm.freeserve.co.uk/appsnet/)

    With the openadaptor stuff (http://www.openadaptor.org/) application integration is getting easier and easier. What's .Net for again?

  • There's one other way that you can profit from OS software that I almost never see mentioned - simply sell it! That's right, sell the software but also keep the code open. With every CD would be the source for the app as well, and online you could download the source for free but possibly have to pay to download a compiled or pacakged application.

    That way the project is still wide open to those that want to work on it, but you make money from the people who simply do not have the time or inclanation to compile that particular project - to help increase rate of adoption you could also include typical time or feature limiting code that most demo apps have. It seems like madness to provide a time limited version when you could just download the source and have the full thing but I think it would work, as long as you keep the cost of the software low.

    This strategy would probably only work for mass-market kind of applications, but who knows! Perhaps it would work for most apps.

    I really agree that the main way OS sofwtare can compete is to add value, and keep innovating. I've always thought companies were pretty stupid to guard internal IP so closley, when they just let the creative people that developed the IP wither and leave!
  • Microsoft's model only works as long as everyone else is willing to play by their rules.

    If another software developer decides that they would like a piece of Microsoft's market, and they are willing to give the software away and make money on support then Microsoft (or whomever) is vulnerable. The reason for this is simple. Software is not an asset, or at least it isn't an asset that has a great deal of intrinsic worth. Once the software is created it can be copied at little or no cost.

    The value lies in the ability that created the software.

    For many years most people writing software carried out their business the Microsoft way. But that is no longer the case. As a purchaser of software and software support I now, in many cases, can choose to use software that comes without strings or license fees attached, and simply pay for the support that I need. As free software gets better, and it will, I will have even more choices.

    Right now Microsoft makes its money from operating systems and office suites. Soon these will be commodity markets, with plenty of Free pieces of software to choose from. At that point Microsoft's business model will be ludicrously outdated. They might as well flood the market with buggy whips for all of the good it will do them.

    Now, they could move on and sell different non-commodity pieces of software, but compared to what they do now any such move will be towards a relatively small niche market.

    Yes, this does mean that software programmers will be nothing more than high paid burger flippers, but then again so are doctors, lawyers, and a whole host of other professionals. There are very few professions that can create assets out of thin air. Even writers generally have to put their work to paper and get paid for a physical book.

  • by JoeWalsh ( 32530 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @04:38AM (#447469)
    Commerically successfuly OS's like Windows are popular and profitable not because they are the best, but because its good enough.

    Lest it be forgotten, Windows is popular because Microsoft used illegal tactics to make sure everyone who bought a computer also bought a copy of Windows, not because it's "good enough."

    However, if what you meant was that people continue to use Windows because it is good enough, then you're right. For most people, the marginal cost of moving to another platform is greater than the percieved benefit of doing so.

    I love free software. My wife and I have been free of Microsoft products at home for almost three years now, and free of commercial software at home for well over a year. I've successfully integrated two FreeBSD servers and two OpenBSD servers into my employer's network after convincing management that it was the right thing to do. I really, truly believe in free software.

    But I don't see the masses switching to it for their OS and apps anytime soon, unfortunately.

  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @04:52AM (#447471) Homepage
    Insightful? Not really.

    RedHat seems to be making money (Just so very close to turning an actual profit per share... If they weren't making money on it, they'd not be in that position). Others seem to make money off of it- IBM, for example.

    You just can't make money the way Corel attempted to do it.

    They screwed up bigtime. Rather than making solid apps for Linux, they attempted to embrace and extend it- tried to offer an "end-to-end" solution in a position where they weren't ready to provide it. (And on reflection, I don't think they could have ever really pulled it off- it'd take a company with the resources of IBM or HP to pull it off if at all.)

    They wasted time and money on NetWinder (which is an amazing piece of hardware) by designing it and then going nowhere with it. Dumb move.

    They wasted time and money doing a Linux distribution on their own when they could have partnered with another distribution vendor and worked together. It's now been revealed why they wasted that energy- they wanted total control of it all.

    They spent time and money that could have been spent making cross-platform versions or slightly differing, but functionality complete of their applications (a' la WordPerfect 8 for Unix) doing WINE upgrades so that they could be lazy and migrate the Windows versions over. While the benefits to WINE have been immense, the results on their apps have been lackluster. The applications require quite a bit more muscle than other contemporary comparable applications under Linux.

    Do you really think they've got a solid grasp on things as they are? They've been grasping at straws for years now, since they lost their focus on things and started buying up WordPerfect, etc. I mean, look at all the other spectacular failed business decisions (that were debatable at best) such as that all-Java version of their office suite (when Java really wasn't ready for that sort of thing!). They've not a clue. Apparently haven't had one for a while from the looks of things from this end.
  • by AdmrlNxn ( 247481 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @12:06AM (#447478) Homepage
    What gold? The guy was right. You cannot make a profit off an item that is free. It does not generate revenue. Revenue is money and without it, a company cannot run. Linux is not gold, gold is money. Linux is free, it is sand between our toes that gets irritating from time to time.

    To be perfectly blunt, I guy as far up in Corel as he is knows a thing or two about business. Not some kid from Ohio who has yet to take Economics. A good business man knows when somthing has gone awry and the best thing to do is back out. I agree totally.

    Open Source maybe a good thing for some, but it is not the answer to the computing world. If it was, it would be Corel and RedHat buying Microsoft stock and not the other way around. It amazes me to see how many Linux fans walk around with their eyes closed. People smart enough to use a complex OS can't even see the reality of the situation.

    ~AdmrlNxn
  • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .tteksehnad.> on Thursday February 08, 2001 @12:09AM (#447482)
    We all know that alot of slashdotters say its about Free as in Freedom. But in fact, thats not the case for the rest of the world.

    The slashdot crowd is compromised of a large number of serious hackers, computer lovers, and software coders. As a crowd, and as a group, the people who visit are very technical crowd.

    For alot in this crowd, computers arent a means-to-an-end. For lots of you, you are a computer lover just 'cause. You have principals, and a sense of what software is meant to be. Chances are you respect RMS and ESR for their coding skills, followed closely by their ethical and moral standpoint on software.

    I salute you people who have that attitude. I commend it, and am almost envious of you.

    But companies like Corel, even to a degree RedHat, and especially Microsoft, (also, to a lesser degree Sun) really don't care much about the slashdot crowd. This is for a few reasons.

    First off, these listed companies try to sell the most software possible. Thats the goal. The slashdot crowd is that half of one percent of computer users who want it all - free as in source code, free as in beer, elegant design, customization, ability to run on out of the ordinary hardware, interoperability and stellar community involvement. The majority of the rest of the world though, doesn't care much at all for these things. The ninety-nine and half perfect of computer users want free as in beer, and a product that works good enough, and someone definite they can talk to get help.

    Corel, and Microsoft, and lots of other companies see this large majority as the goal, the target to be acquired. Why spend 90% of your resources to satisfy one percent of the audience? It doesn't make logical sense. Instead, they spend 100% of their resources to satisfy 90% of audience. Commerically successfuly OS's like Windows are popular and profitable not because they are the best, but because its good enough. Most people dont care that a better, cheaper product is available. Whats more, most people don't care that a more free, more elegant, and more interoperable product is available.

    Corel tried to emulate MS, and sell a Linux distro to this mass market that makes up ninety-nine and half percent of the world. But what they really didnt get was that for people who currently use Linux, its not good enough to sell a "good enough" product. Linux users are generally computer lovers. You are the computer pioneers, the computer patriarch's - you are Linux.

    Corel failed at Linux because it tried to slap a pretty face on Linux, and to sell it to the mass market. Corel failed at Linux beacuse its goals were stark and unappreciated in the world of dedicated computer lovers.

    Corel saw an opportunity to take Linux to the next level, to open the world to Linux. Corel failed miserably. We'd all like to think it is because Corel didn't understand OSS, or the philosophy behind it. But chances are, that is not the case. Corel failed because Linux was hyped hard, buzz-word compliant, and easy to adopt. They failed because Linux users don't appreciate a Linux-based OS that is designed for the "good-enough" market. Corel failed because its goals were all wrong.

    In one way, interviews such as this one are heartening. A person who feels this way about OSS deserves to hemorage money out of his Linux-buzzing ears. But on the other hand, its very worrisome. Corel didn't always have a good repore with the OSS community - they took more than they gave - and they still failed. Corel though, in an odd way, has proven at least partially that OSS stills has many hurdles to face.

    This isnt an issue which will be solved soon, but Corel tried to bring Linux to the whole world, tried to make an easy-to-use OSS operating system. Corel failed, and failed hard. Their perspective on OSS is now very warped, but the sad fact is that the Corel case may indeed prove that a successful company has to concern itself with whether or not OSS can be long-term viable - especially for operating systems. Perhaps they have a point - that giving away and adhering to open standards and api's is a better solution than giving away all the source code.

    And that, more anything, is why I am sad that Corel failed.

  • Gee, how can you accuse the poor guy of not getting it when he comes out with insightful comments like:

    Well, it's the open source concept, but one notch better, because the source wouldn't be open ...

    What could be finer than open source software to which you don't have the source? Sounds like an even better idea than decaf.


    --
  • It seems to me that he's right in one respect - if more apps had a good API that you could develop plugins for, that would be great. But even better than that is when you can see what the plugin is going to be hooking into, how it will behave - and being able to make a change to better the API and submit that to whoever is maintaining the code when the plugin API isn't quite enough for what you want to do. Now that's power!

    Also, the other thing that makes me think .Net might be unpleasant in apps - let's look at the example of the spredsheet he gave where you pull down a menu, it connects to the web, and presents you with an updated list of formulas. Sounds great, right? Well not when you actually experience the 1-4 second delay it takes for that menu to come up EVERY TIME you try and use it. Imagine what apps would be like if most menus behaved as badly as the drive letter pulldown in the file selector when you have mapped network drives.

    Personally, I think the model that will end up working is one where you can have the app look for (or point it to) useful plugins and then download those to reside locally with instant lookup.

    Not to say .Net cannot support that model, it just doesn't sound like that's where it's going at the moment. Plus of course Corel was trying to get Microsoft to seperate subscription models from the web plugin model, and they seemed reluctant. I also am personally not sure about where security fits into the world with a myriad of plugins, like when you download a PGP plugin for outlook from a company that's really a front for the NSA.
  • Oh, that's because everyone doesn't know about the better water (and it's NOT the one they're paying for...)- if they did, they'd be using it instead.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @05:05AM (#447490) Homepage Journal
    I most heartily disagree with this sentiment. There are many ways to make money with open source software, but it is more work because you have to ADD VALUE. If you cease to add value, no one has an incentive to come to you for customization work, or assistance integrating the software into an existing system. Tech support doesn't cut it.

    I think a better way to put it is that there is no way for a company like Corel to make money with Open Source. This is not a moral criticism, just a fact. Corel is structured in a way that they need to recoup money from licenses to create software. It's not that coding can't get paid for, it's that you need a revenue stream to support overhead.

    I personally am in a similar position, although orders of magnitude smaller. I'd like to open source the project I'm working on, but I work with a team of people, a sales person, an office manager, an engineer, all of whom contributed in critical organizational and conceptual ways to making the project a possibility. They all have to paid out of the fruits of my labor. There are consulting fees, but they are too low and transaction costs too high to support everyone we need. If the product were open source, I would have a much easier time selling my labor -- I'd give the product away for free and charge for changes and make a good living adding value. All the other people who have worked just as hard but who aren't coders would be out of luck.

    In other words, I'm stuck with overhead. And overhead in this case is people. My friends and coworkers.

    When projects like the Linux kernel or Apache self organize around a group of hackers, there is no overhead, no secretaries or salesmen or janitors to be paid. This is a good thing, when it can happen.

  • Its fuckin pathetic.
  • I most heartily disagree with this sentiment. There are many ways to make money with open source software, but it is more work because you have to ADD VALUE. If you cease to add value, no one has an incentive to come to you...

    Precisely: it is more work. It also makes you a slave. With propriertary software, you can create an asset that has lasting value and generates money over an extended period of time. With "free" software, you can create no such thing. You wrote a spreadsheet yesterday? Well good for you; go out and write me a word processor today or else you're fired.

    That's the thing people don't get with consulting. If you want to earn twice as much money, you need to work twice as many hours. While you can earn very impressive hourly rates, if you are at all competent, your clients will develop a tendency to run out of problems. And that leads to you running out of food to eat.

    It is the Holy Grail of consultants everywhere to "productize" their services. The more that you can create software assets that can be re-used -- and re-billed -- the less you need to work for an additional dollar of revenue.

    This is what the Richard M. Stallman doesn't get, and it's no suprise when you consider that he's spent his life in a cloistered academic environment: proprietary and free software have a symbiotic relationship. My ability to make lots of money creating and selling proprietary software gives me the time and the freedom to work on projects for the common good.

  • He does say:

    Proprietary [software] is a good way to make money; with open source, there's no way [to make money] because you don't control your intellectual property.

    I most heartily disagree with this sentiment. There are many ways to make money with open source software, but it is more work because you have to ADD VALUE. If you cease to add value, no one has an incentive to come to you for customization work, or assistance integrating the software into an existing system. Tech support doesn't cut it.

    He also says:

    I don't think distributions in general are profitable for anybody. Really, in what way can people make money at all on Linux?

    Hmm... So suppose that a company that makes servers and, say, also manufactures their version of UNIX. By switching to Linux, opening up their proprietary technologies, and cutting the amount of development work while leveraginb other OSS projects, they can increase the quality of their servers while decreasing the cost, thus undercutting their competition. I suspect that IBM is moving in this direction. It is a business decision which is very sensible and avoids every problem that Burney raises.

    However, he is right in some respects. Corel can't make a profit in this market. However, I still think I can.

  • Open Source isnt, of course, the solution to companies in the consumer productivity software producing buisness. It is their death. They have no place in the Open Source world (not that they have one in the Microsoft world either).

    That is the reality of a finite number of needed features, code reuse and a virtually costless reproduction capability.

    It is, however, a very good solution for the consumers of that software, for vertical software companies, software services companies, dedicated devices companies, etc.

    In my opinion, Microsoft already sees its own death in the numbers. They cannot sustain a consumer buisness on unneeded features and random incompatibilities indefinitely. They have to switch over to a for-hire model in .net, to have a future sustainable buisness model (not because there is any form of consumer advantage in it). However, with Linux and the free alternatives here, they will find it rather difficult to get people to buy into that model.
  • They werent illegal. They were required by canadian law which stipulates no one under the age of 18 can be held accountable to a license

    From paragraph 7 of the GPL v2: "If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all."


    If Canadian law really prevented them from offering the software to under 18s, then they wouldn't've been allowed to distribute the software at all.


    Actually, Canadian law does no such thing. It might make it so that the original copyright holder can't enforce the license against a minor, but that's not Corel's problem, and they shouldn't have to (and indeed cannot) change the license to avoid that.

  • Your whole comment is based on the idea of there being this 99% of computer software users that don't care about the benefits of open source. That may be true about the people that use computers, but it isn't true of those who plan, manage and pay for the deployment of software.

    I am guessing that you think that the majority of software sales by value come from consumers, and that the most significant software in terms of sales is office applications, games, etc. That is simply not the case. Those software sales are worth a lot of money, but they are not king. Software bought by governments and private companies is worth a lot more. The people sitting at their desks using a computer to write a letter or enter some financial information may not care for open source, but the head of IT, the CFO and ultimately the managing director are open to its benefits.

    This is especially true for large organisations, who also make up most of the sales. The opportunity to get software for low costs, and then have as much control over that software as they need is a significant attraction. Interoperability is another significant attraction, along with the ease of doing your own integration work on serious system software - which led to a large bank open sourcing their business to business connection software last week (reported on /. and throughout the IT industry). It is also why IBM is moving so fast on using open source, and opening their own sources - they see open source as very attractive for their customers. Don't forget that they are still the largest software (and hardware) company in the world.
  • One of the reasons I've gotten into web services like XML-RPC [perl.org] is that with them you can create platform independent and language neutral components. In a weird way, web services remind me of unix shell pipes; as long as programs agree to read from STDIN and write to STDOUT, you can string any of them together. Web services promote an Open and Documented architecture because you can easily read the communication going over the wire between clients and servers. This, for most applications, is a Good Thing (TM).

    The .NET strategy from M$ seemed to me to be the best idea out of Redmond in years. It seemed like .NET would finally provide a level playfield for M$ competitors by opening up application component APIs.

    I was greatly disappointed (but not really surprised) to read in this article that Corel and Microsoft see .NET as a way to charge customers more money for the same functionality that traditional desktop apps already have.

    Instead of a playing field, .NET is going to be another Gated Community, where customers lose.

  • Well, it's the open source concept, but one notch better, because the source wouldn't be open ...

    This reminds me of a college comedy sketch I saw once:

    "So... did you like our song?"

    "Yeah, it was great... but I thought you said it was going to be a'cappella."

    "It was. We're an a'cappella group."

    "But... you were playing the guitar. And he was playing the bass. And you had a drummer."

    "We're taking a'cappella to the next level: a'cappella... WITH INSTRUMENTS!"

    "But... but... that's ... that's what a'cappella means! I mean, that's what it doesn't mean. A'cappella means without instruments."

    "Why're you always trying to bring us down, man?"

    Courtesy of The Garrens [garrens.com]. See if you can find their CD and listen to it...

    --
  • What you've got to remember is that when the last IT monopoly (IBM) was seen off we got Microsoft. Be careful what you wish for......
  • But that's exactly the point of the post I was replying to. Sure, someone could do that - but as long as YOU keep releasing new versions with better value, and better packaging you'll get more of the profits. To be successful at making OS software means that you have to keep adding value.

    In addition, you'll (obviously) have thought to register the demian ahead of time, so when a user hears about "CoolThing" they'll just go to coolthing.com (or .net or .org) and order/download it there - so you have an advantage of a well-known distribution point.

    And if someone does re-package the program and manage to get it distributed at Best Buy, I say all the better! Perhaps I didn't want to have to worry about supplying a buyer that large, but I still get the user base (with potential upgrade fees) coming to me (if they didn't rename it). And if it ever gets big enough I can get it distributed at BestBuy myself. Remember, the program is being added to and improved all the time so I'm still ahead by being the central distribution point for the latest version. Eventually I might even have the other company be an official distrubtor, and get a cut of the profts - more easy money for myself.

    Remember that the goal in all of this might not nessicaily be to become rich, so much as make a good living while working on a project you enjoy. If people REALLY believe in free software, I don't see where they'd have a problem with other people making money on it as well as themselves, as long as the code is open.

    Now, if the other company released a version of the program with no source and a modified name, then you could go after them with lawyers - and get even more money. Perhaps such a situation is where the GPL will really be tested.

    To simplify things, I suppose you could try and say that no redistribution for profit is allowed. Personally, if someone with a lot of bandwith wants to redestribute a project while still noting I am the creator, that's fine with me.

    Also remember that one key is low, low prices - if they have to have much overhead at all to produce thier version you can always beat them on price, being the original producer with as little overhead as you like.
  • While I agree that one of the primary goals of OSS is to be Free (as in Freedom), that was not what the author was getting at. Corel was a company with a mandate to make money, as most corporations try to do.

    so why didn't they base their distro on BSD? Apple's doing it correctly, and while they're being slammed by the Linux zealots, they'll probably make money off of their "open source" software.

    at any rate, it's very obviously that Corel didn't understand the market they were getting into, and they're spiraling downwards because of it. it serves them right: to change the direction of your company without fully understanding the market you're getting into is very dangerous.

    so the original poster is correct in his main point: they had no idea what they were doing.

    i just hope that when they go out of business they don't take down the great software they bought from Metacreations with them.

    - j

  • Well, it's the open source concept, but one notch better, because the source wouldn't be open

    All I can say is . . . wow!

    I won't even bother to comment otherwise, because there's no way I could improve on the perfection of his admission of idiocy.
  • Rares Marian wrote
    Or how about the hundred times I've asked where I could start from to be able to tweak the virtual memory management of Linux because I have certain needs to take care of. No one can tell me. I suppose I could meditate in front of that humongous 2.4.0 call trace poster.

    You know, someone who was used to working with medium-sized C programs and who wanted to tweak the virtual memory code would probably just cd to /usr/src/linux/mm (where I simply guessed that "mm" stood for "memory management") and start there. The Linux kernel is organized fairly well and is no worse documented than most of the source I've inherited over the last 10 years of embedded-systems programming that I've done. However, you do have to be prepared to do some detective work on your own.

    Just about any large project is going to be, as you put it, a "zoo" because it is tough to write large programs. Programmers that expect to spend any time at all working with other people's source are going to anticipate this and develop a toolkit to deal with it and, although it is difficult to become familiar enough with a source set to find your way around it without trouble, the more experience you have with the source set, the easier it is.

  • My point was that the users won't be fscked because they won't pay for something they can't use. They'll just use the old versions and not be too bothered about being at the forefront of technology.
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @05:46AM (#447531) Homepage Journal
    Derek Burney: We don't have a date set for it, but [we plan on porting] many of our major applications. Ideally we would like to have all of our applications running on Linux. We'll take that as it comes depending on what the business model looks like.

    Looks like he also said that he has no idea of where he's going next and (later on in the intervies) that if he did, the legal department would make him keep his mouth shut. Mostly, he was self contradicting and vauge. That's what happens when you get Borg implants.

    Eliminating Corel's MS dependency was a good idea poorly deployed.

  • Corel failed with their Linux distro because Linux isn't windows. People forget that Linux works differently from windows, has to be employed differently from windows, and needs different software. Corel didn't grok that, and as a result, we all saw(much to our horror) what Linux looks like when it is mauled to be a clone of Windows.
  • That's the downside of being a programmer - you sometimes have to wade through shedloads of godawful code to find out what you want to know because there's little to no documentation. I'm sure a source-summariser tool exists, have a look on freshmeat.
  • Why pay for 150 formulas, when you only use 5?

    Here's another thing on how they can make more money : Suppose I have Excel with 5 formulas and you have Excel with 5 different formulas.

    What happens if I email you an Excel sheet using my 5 formulas (which would certainly happen)? Either you'd have to pay a single charge for using 5 new formulas, or I get charged extra. Either way it means more money for Moneysoft. Almost like a tax.

  • I agree.. I mean there are severe security issues, but think of the network overhead. Every time you change data, it's marshalled and sent via SOAP to somewhere and then back. Of cource we can go back to old days when you had to press button to calculate formulas.

    It's funny how business is waving from thin client to fat client. Using web services like this client is somewhat in the middle. And that's in my opinion worst possible solution.

    There can be also a techinal problem with XML based services. You have to make damn sure that the DTD (or better Schema) you do for the services is well done. If you have to change that, all the 'clients' have to update. If data would be trasfered as Objects, there is no harm done if attributes change, because service won't even see them.
  • Exactly, but .NOT is being pitched primarily at businesses. I doubt they'll try and force the home market onto it, as people won't buy it.
  • by KNicolson ( 147698 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:11PM (#447552) Homepage
    He says that public APIs (COM-like interfaces for .NET, I would guess) are better than full OSS as you get the 'benefit' of many developers, and the developers get the 'benefit' of being able to keep the code private, as he believes in the proprietary software market over OSS.

    Of course we can all disagree with him on that too, but misquoting him doesn't look professional!

    PS: And please run your submissions through a spellchecker before publishing.

  • by Zaxo ( 60646 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:12PM (#447553)
    I think that interview adds up to "We didn't really get it, so we sold out". Does anybody else recall the illegal copyright notices on their first distro?

    Zax

  • I've made one or two comments before about Corel and my opinion of what happened them....go back and find them if you like cause I have other fish to fry here! To contextualise this I am an ex-Corel employee who worked supporting their Linux offerings.

    To do that right now, you have to get a server version from some company, a desktop from somebody else, and utilities from a few other people, and it's not something that's going to happen, because [end users] don't want to trade 1 support call for 15.

    Explain Netwinder (that was Corel wasn't it!) and your plans for creating a server version of Corel Linux? Oh yeah, you also provided the core ingredients for an end to end system with your OS. Some hacking was required to get routers and the like out of it (they didn't support dual nics properly). You did however give people a ftpd, httpd, sambad, nfsd, Desktop (plus your Office if you wanted) not much more to do really.

    We did some back-of-the-envelope calculations, and making the appropriate acquisitions to fill in the holes would have cost us around $300 million.

    Yep, those calulations were definetly done on the back of an envelope! Good to see those new pen and ink technologies are taking hold.

    No, it was the perfect approach. If you remember, the first thing we announced was that our applications were going to be coming out on Linux. We were definitely headed down that road. But, at that time, there was not a single easy-to-use Linux distribution.... Rather than waiting for somebody to come up with [a distribution], we decided to do one ourselves.

    The Perfect approach? So why were the applications released for all platforms simultaneously (well rpm and deb, no slackware support)? Your distro's distinctive features were KDE on Debian with a "simple" installer and control panel.....how did these have anything to do with a Wine Application?

    Well, it's the open source concept, but one notch better, because the source wouldn't be open ... so the companies that write them can keep them and sell them, but from the user's perspective you get the benefit of open source because you can have the content coming from a variety of companies.

    And that about sums it up, this guy is a fscking idiot (or a spin doctor, but their the same thing aren't they? ask Peter Mandelson). The Open Source concept but better cause the users can't get the source so people can make money of it. Come on, Corel have never and seemingly will never get the idea of Open Source, let alone Free software. While I worked there all their servers ran Solaris and that about says it all for the corporate commitment to Linux.

    I think it is a big pity that the Borland merger never happened as maybe then someone might have managed to do something with Corel (Copeland long ago lost his worth to the company, probably as soon as it first turned profit) and judging by what has come since I don't think they are going anywhere. Corel gambling on .NET is pure submission to Microsft and their business model and it leads to failure. If MS succeed with .NET it will be because they price their basic lineup cheaply enough for Joe Schmoe to "rent" it, and that is going to have to be damn cheap to stop people looking elsewhere (how many people do you know who don't pay a penny for software and only run proprietry software). If MS is releasing a range cheaply enough, where is the space for Corel? They get to exploit the same pathetic niche of the people who are willing to look beyond their nose (MS Office and Adobe) AND prefer the Corel way....good luck Guys.

    PCW: That would seem to dispel the notion that you decided to spin off the distribution as a result of Microsoft's investment.

    Burney: Oh, the two are completely unrelated.
  • To the extent that we believe that you are correct, we should also believe that we must be independant of the major companies. If they don't consider us significant, then we can at most consider them as possibly useful, not as allies.


    I'm not sure that I can accept this as a basic postulate, but it is certainly clear that the possibility is ever present. This kind of transform of a technology company doesn't usually happen until the second or third generation of managers.


    OTOH, as you pointed out, MicroSoft already has this mentality, and Corel seems to, also. It is to be expected that Red Hat will drift in that direction, but probably slowly. What should be prepared for is for one of the smaller distributions to take up where Red Hat left off, but it isn't time yet. Still, one wonders which of the new startups is most >. Were this the right time, there might be many choices.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

  • They are accused of being a monopoly, they have not proved Microsoft of being a monopoly.

    This is like saying the sky isn't blue because no one has thought of a way to prove it to a blind person (or a person pretending to be blind in your case). Everyone knows it, who cares if you want to pretend they aren't? Go ahead, knock yourself out.

    there is this company who specifically purchased the code base and used it to write optimizations in their OS so that the chip and the OS would run more compliant with each other.

    Try English next time. What code are you suggesting Intel sold to MS? Why would MS need to buy code from Intel to know how to make Windows more compliant? Couldn't they just read the manual?

    Intel are not happy at being leaned on and have said so in public. They are not happy to repay some bizarre favour that occured in your head but not in reality. Intel know that MS can buy AMD and start using their chips' custom registers and/or instructions and Intel would be fucked overnight. Why? Because they have monopoly power. Once again, however, you and the MS legal dept are the only ones who even bother to deny it. The rest of the world isn't interested in bullshit claims that black is white.

    Wanna knnow there vision? To connect everyone.

    I agree that that is their intension but it's not really visionary; that is the aim of almost everyone involved in the net from long before Bill changed his mind about it not being important. MS has spent the last four years trying to find a way of doing this while preventing anyone accessing the net without paying their tithe to the good old church of Bill. .NET is their solution and they are going to push it down everyone's throats. Those of us that haven't already touched our toes in readiness, that is.

    100 years from now when people look back at the internets origins. The first name that will appear in every history book will be either (A)Bill Gates (B) MIcrosoft or (C) Windows.

    What are you? 12? 15 years old?

    Linu$ Torvald$ or Linux won't even be mentioned.

    Since neither have much to do with the history of the internet, that's not really a big deal is it?

    Well if there products are soooo bad. Then why does everyone use them?

    Because they're a MONOPOLY, that's why. Who's software is pre-installed on 95% of all computers? Who did IBM give control of the market to? Who designs stupid extensions to Internet standards to lock in their customers?

    If Windows programs are so bad then they wouldn't have even had a chance.

    In the real world this is not, sadly, true. The current versions of Windows and Word are crap but the first version of Windows was one of the worst programs ever released on a commercial basis. Windows v2 was not only bad but in competition with much better systems. Systems which did not have a monopoly position as pre-installed software and so failed.

    Frankly, if Office 2000 was offered on the Linux Plat, I bet you would use it and if you say "no"... (This is my way of saying go to hell) I would reply... "I DON'T BELIEVE YOU."

    Well, gee, do you think I might have a computer here now that can run Office 2000? If Office 2000 had anything to offer me then I'd have it installed. In fact it would make life slightly easier when dickheads send me a half page of plain text notes in an 80K Word attachment. But in the long run, using MS is just paying someone to beat your head off the wall. I did it for five years and it was really good when I stopped.

    I am not even touching three and four, if you are that dense then you aren't even worht argueing with

    Actually, you did touch four. It was the first thing you argued about. Are you not even reading what you wrote?

    As for three, I have explained what the intent of .NET is and it's not like MS is hiding the fact. The whole idea is to get you to pay them to run programs on their computers which you could have run on your own machine. Oh, modem broke or line down? Guess you're not going to do any spreadsheets today, then. Was it important?

    Well for a man who has 50+ billion dollars... he can't be dumb. Chalk another stupid remark made by you.

    I said he was a genius, just not the one the astroturf makes out. Chalk up more evidence that you aren't even reading what you're arguing with. Does it bother you to think that you might fail the Turing Test?

    Well at least I can run xchat in root mode without a problem. Whereas every Linux user is insane to do that. Hell someone with enough braisn could shut you down. Then again i wouldn't call Linux secure, it has its holes.

    I tried to run this through Babelfish but they didn't have a setting for "gibberish".

    I am sure only one or two recruiters came there to get a resume.

    There were 30 of them. In a big truck thing.

    Doens't mena you will get the job. YOU HAVE TO BE A GOOD RPOGRAMMER! Just in case you didn't know.

    I knew some of the people that got jobs; they were not good programmers. They had no trouble getting a job with MS because MS has a recuitment shortfall since, as I said, any decent programmer would be ashamed to be associated with them.

    Better luck next time.

    TWW

  • ..are we going to witness a reply by M$ to this statement, just as SUN replied to M$ [slashdot.org] earlier this week?

    SUN is really putting that reply in perspective now. Read it again and the whole thing sounds a bit less profound.

  • Yow, if that were true we would all be using 8 bit programs on some ancient machinery, because all of the problems would have been solved years ago.

    The part that you are missing is that no software has "lasting" value. When was the last time you paid for Appleworks, for example. Software that doesn't change dies. There is no such thing as a software gravy train that goes on and on without requiring more effort.

    And if, for some reason, you have planted your software in a niche that is narrow enough that your customers have to come to you, whether or not your program actually gets better, then all you have done is create an environment where competition is not only inevitable, but it will be easy as well. After all, the tools available today make creating applications much easier than whenever you wrote your application with "lasting" value. One determined hacker could probably easily recreate your software. And he might even give it away for free.

    As someone who both produces software and pays for software, I can guarantee you that your customers are already looking for alternatives to your software, and they might be writing it themselves this very minute.

  • This man doesn't know what he's talking about!!! As far as the 'free' concept goes, he's talking out of his ass.

    On a side note: I have done a bit of research with regard Microsoft's .Net framework. I'm wondering if any company or individuals have taken it upon themselves to play catch-up with Microsoft and adopt .Net for the open source platforms. I understand that the technologies .Net has to offer are equivilent to what we already have (SOAP, Java, Corba, ...), but I believe the adoption can only help the community as a whole... If I had the time and skills to tackle such a thing, I'd call it .Nix :)

  • by Trepalium ( 109107 ) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:18PM (#447566)
    My favorite quote from that article has to be:
    Let me give you some more specifics. In my opinion, one of the things Microsoft is good at is looking down the road a few years and talking about what that world is like. But sometimes, because it's so far away, the casual consumer doesn't understand what they're talking about because they've skipped a couple of years.
    Now, I don't know how many people read Bill Gate's book, "The Road Ahead", but in there he predicted a number of things, such as the concept of the Internet would never take off, and that proprietary online services like the Microsoft Network would be much more popular, only relying on the Internet for e-mail. Just about the only vision that has come anywhere close to coming into being is the idea of a PC in [nearly] every home.

    Microsoft has a consistent business strategy of waiting to see what their competitors do, watch them make the mistakes, and then release software that's a generation behind what their competitors are sporting, but tie it close enough to their other products that the other vendors' products aren't as worthwhile to use. With a few exceptions (Microsoft Bob), few Microsoft products have ever failed miserably due to the level of integration and marketing, although Microsoft still refuses to acknowledge that Bob was a failure (official company line is it was 'ahead of it's time').

  • I didnt mean to group RH and MS together as morally bankrupt, but more realistically, a company who needs to concern itself with its long range plans. All of the companies I mention, MS, RH, and Corel have serious issues regarding their long term planning and viability.

    I think you miss my jist, I am worried about the long term viability of an OSS software company, specifically OS's. OS's are not like alot of other software, and I worry about many commerical distro's dying.

    I am not saying Linux will die, we know thats not possible. BUT I am worried about the viability of commerical distro makers.

    A world without linux distro companies would be bad. Many companies who use linux use it expecting the same thing as closed source software. Distro companies offer that. Without them, I think Linux's mainstream use would seriously decline. GNU/Debian distros and of course the Slackware esque types will always exisit, but without a company behind them, I fear they will suffer into obsecurity.

    Companies like IBM and Sun provide the best hope, in my of sustaining the commerical viability of Linux. As for Corel, Corel failed to be able to stay long term in the market because it didnt remember that Linux isnt a closed source product. Thats the way I see it.

  • Actually, Microsoft has boatloads of failed, cancelled, or unreleased products, mainly because their business model is to try to prevent any competitors from detracting from Windows as a platform. Generally it works like this:

    1) Some company announces something that could potentially affect Microsoft.

    2) Microsoft realizes this and announces something similar, with boatloads of hype.

    3) The Microsoft minions spread the word about their new product, hyping it up through the usual marketing channels (zdnet columnists, etc).

    4) It turns out that the original idea was a nitch product, or nobody really wanted it anyway.

    5) Microsoft quietly kills their product, removes any trace of it from it's website, and generally wipes it out of people's collective memories.

    6) The original company goes out of business, gets bought, or does something else. Microsoft still has its Windows/Office profit centers and is happy.

    Of course the thing that they totally missed the boat on was the current resurgance of Unix for small servers. (Which they could address by bundling Interix + some GNU tools in with the OS and making the GUI startup optional.)
  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @12:49AM (#447573)
    What Burney further fails to understand is that there is no surviving viable market for proprietary consumer applications either. That market is squarely divided between Microsoft (who will ensure there is no serious competition to their products in proprietaryland) and the free alternatives. There simply isnt any niche to fill between anymore.

    People would rather go with a pirated copy of Office than buy a decent cheaper office suite that fulfills their needs. Or they will go with the entirely free one.
  • Okay, let me explain what he meant by that. You see, open source is better than closed source. Then if you close the open source that's better than open source because it's closed, which is... ummm... better than clos...

    ARRRRGH! Oh God My Head!

    (Note to self: Really need to avoid trying to make sense of this man)

    (Additional note: At 2 5/8 this stock still has room to sell short)
  • by Surak ( 18578 ) <surak@mai[ ]ocks.com ['lbl' in gap]> on Thursday February 08, 2001 @03:02AM (#447587) Homepage Journal
    Well, FWIW, Gates did rewrite the book and changed the whole twist from "the Internet will never take off" to "the Internet will be in your refrigerator." Actually, Gates probably didn't even write the book, but that's another story. :)



    Microsoft has a consistent business strategy of waiting to see what their competitors do, watch them make the mistakes, and then release software that's a generation behind what their competitors are sporting, but tie it close enough to their other products that the other vendors' products aren't as worthwhile to use. With a few exceptions (Microsoft Bob), few Microsoft products have ever failed miserably due to the level of integration and marketing


    You're right... but let's not forget Microsoft Money. I wouldn't put it in the category of miserable failure, but I'll bet some people at Microsoft do. They intended that thing to take over the personal finance market, but Intuit continues to beat 'em...Microsoft even tried to buy Intuit until the FTC came in. :) In any respect, Quicken continues to be the most popular product because they beat Microsoft at their own game... to begin with, it was first to market, but Microsoft underestimated the popularity of market because they felt you could do everything you can do with Quicken in Microsoft Excel (which is ostly true). Then they came out with a product that was too little too late... Intuit just couldn't be tripped up, because they had done their research, and they knew that they could continue to own that market. They continued to innovate, and Microsoft continued to chase them... now they've rolled the whole thing into MSN to try to make Quicken irrelevant, but i don't think it's working ...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @11:19PM (#447589)
    This guy's lack of understanding about the fundamental concepts behind Open Source Software is almost painfull.

    How do you miss the fact that it's about Free as in Freedom, not Free as in Beer? Isn't that repeated so many times, over and over again, from thousands of directions?

    No wonder they couldn't pull off a Linux distribution; all they saw was the early marketing hype, the high stock prices, and tried to capitalize on the buzz.

    Linux was the big thing on the horizon; now that the market has cooled a bit, and the next big buzz is .Net, lo and behold, Corel is racing to be a market leader.

    What a useless company.

  • Their Linux-based office suite is going quite well, thank you. Ever heard of WordPerfect Office for Linux?

    You know I still remember when the Slashdot crowd actually liked Corel. Sure they made mistakes in their licensing for their distro, but was it not all fixed? Christ get over it already. The /. crowed was cheering Corel on until they came out with their distro, then suddenly said "this sucks" and has been bashing Corel ever since.

    I'm reminded of that great line of Homer Simpson: "Son, you tried your best, and failed miserably....the lesson is, never try."

  • I've been following this .Net thing and I'll give Corel and MS the credit that they're the famous ones of the bunch who've been thinking the same things. That's as far as I go.

    I have a different tack on the whole source deal. Source is useless nowadays from a reuse standpoint. Do you want to wade through OpenOffice? or Mozilla? It's a god damned zoo.

    Or how about the hundred times I've asked where I could start from to be able to tweak the virtual memory management of Linux because I have certain needs to take care of. No one can tell me. I suppose I could meditate in front of that humongous 2.4.0 call trace poster.

    What I'd prefer is function source. A scan of source is performed so that a functional subset is produced. Second every mountain of source can be translated into the internal source standards a company lives by. That way you have internal standard A, performance filter A1, General functional core B, performance filter C1, and internal standard C.

    Companies A and C keep their respective source and the standards, where as B becomes a general resource.

    Benefits: an end to fragmentation. The translation is performed by a computer therefore any claims of incompatibility and vendor lock-in are erased. The standards could even be derived by the computer so that teams that wish to perform a rock solid translation by hand can avoid doing extra work during the next patch. They'd be teaching the computer so to speak.

    Companies compete on performance as they open up the possibility of people to do their own work and actually own software without putting the company at a risk of losing its edge.

  • His facts are correct, his thinking and reasoning are correct, but he is just ending up with the wrong conclusion because of his distorted perspective on Linux/Open Source. Comming from a commercial side, he's just not used to to Open Source.

    He says "people would be willing to pay, for lack of a better term, for an end-to-end solution" and follows that by "you have to get a server version from some company, a desktop from somebody else, and utilities from a few other people".

    He misses the fact that has his company, along with RedHat, Suse, Mandrake etc, address that with packaged Linux distributions. He sees his companies Linux sojourns as 'Ohh, let's jump on this Linux bandwagon, I heard Dvorak say something about it, it must be good or something.'

    And he can't see that by being able to get server from one company and utilities from the other company is a Good ThingTM because it means that you can pick and choose to end up with the best possible combination, rather than one-size-fits-all solutions (or 'you can have any colour as along as it's black and from next year dark blue') from certain companies.

    He/his company got burnt by the Linux because of their bad approach ('let's assimilate everything Linux') and now he thinks that Linux is evil. Kind of like companies that ended up with shody web designers and crappy websites and when no one visitied thought 'ohh, look at all the money i spent and got nothing - Internet must be just a scam.'

    Pittyfull...

    -----

  • Ah. I still think it would work though, based on my own experience before with some programs. For instance, when I was trying to find a precompiled version of XVFB (virtual frame buffer for X) I gladly would have forked over five bucks for a working Solaris 6 binary. Sure, I can (and did) get it all compiled myself in an hour or two of messing around with the source, but why waste the time?

    Plus, the market of people without compilers (or the ability to use compilers if they had them) is a lot larger than the number of people who could download and compile the code,

    But all that is really dancing around your original point (which I think I misunderstood before). Someone could just download the source and make a binary availiable on thier web page. That's OK by me though - again, I'm selling it so cheaply that most people won't bother to download it from anywhere else. Also, being the central maintainer they have a certain degree of trust in the binary I provide and might not be willing to take the risk of an unknown third party binary. I know I wouldn't, but on the other hand I'd be one of the people downloading the code and compiling it myself.

    A good point though, and it could turn out to be the case that other people making the binaries availiable would be enough to reduce any profit you might get. It would be interesting to try though!
  • Derek Burney says:

    with open source, there's no way [to make money] because you don't control your intellectual property.

    Wrong! I have complete control over my intellectual property in the open source software that I have written. With that control I have chosen to allow other to use it as they see fit. That makes me much happier than a few dollars.

    I have no control over the closed source stuff I write to pay the bills. My employer controls that. They use that control to restrict the freedom of the purchasers of that software.

    I think what Derek Burney actually means is that open source software removes his ability to extort money from his user base.

    And what's up with the Microsoft ass kissing? I guess someone thinks you can't beat them, join them. And then give an interview pretending that they are joining you. Way to go Corel! You've earned my contempt.

  • Ah, but there is a small problem with your GPL'd service. And that is that it becomes impossible to hold your customers hostage. You have to add real value. After all, just as you can create a service and sell "access" using nothing but GPLed tools, so can I, and so can everyone else. If your customer service is poor, then your customers will look around for another provider, and they will quickly find that nearly everyone has the same product to sell.

    It will be much like the dial-up ISP business today. And like the ISP business expensive proprietary software will be the exception instead of the norm. Honestly, point to an ISP that doesn't rely heavily on Free Software, and I will show you an ISP that isn't long for the world. And no, Microsoft's money pit MSN doesn't count.

    This is why Sun is jazzed enough about the ASP model to actually give away the source to Star Office. They know that this model will require some serious hardware on the server side. Since they are a hardware company they can afford to give away the software and sell the hardware.

  • by Sommelier ( 243051 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @06:24AM (#447607)
    "in there he predicted a number of things, such as the concept of the Internet would never take off, and that proprietary online services like the Microsoft Network would be much more popular"

    Actually, I think Bill got this one mostly right, just that MSN didn't turn out to be the proprietary online service of choice - AOL did.

    AOL has by far more subscribers than any other online service, and the vast majority of those people are not accessing the "Internet", but are instead using it for AOL E-mail, AOL Instant Messaging, AOL chat rooms, AOL shopping and AOL bulletin boards. Sure, the underlying backbone of this is the Internet, but the entire experience is wrapped in a nice, proprietary front end essentially design to keep you in AOL's area of cyberspace.

    I think the AOL-Time Warner merger serves to underscore this. I don't think anyone (not even Bill ;-) could have imagined that an online service would eventually be big enough to purchase one of the largest media companies in the world. If you don't think there are millions of people who equate the terms AOL and Internet now, just wait...


    Sommelier

  • In addition, I think that people need to realize that ALL LINUX COMPANIES ARE NICHE MARKET COMPANIES and plan accordingly. Even if Linux becomes _the_ operating system, the above statement will still be true. This is because as long as there is a RedHat, there will be a CheapBytes selling RedHat for $2. This isn't a problem, as long as both companies realize they are in different niches. I think RedHat understands this quite well. I think that any free software company must realize the first fact before they can do anything else. This is where most people blew it.
  • "I don't think distributions in general are profitable for anybody. Really, in what way can people make money at all on Linux?"

    Hmm... So suppose that a company that makes servers and, say, also manufactures their version of UNIX. By switching to Linux, opening up their proprietary technologies, and cutting the amount of development work while leveraginb other OSS projects, they can increase the quality of their servers while decreasing the cost, thus undercutting their competition. I suspect that IBM is moving in this direction. It is a business decision which is very sensible and avoids every problem that Burney raises.

    It sounds to that your described scenario isn't making money off a linux distribution, but off of the reduced cost by using linux instead of aa more expensive OS with their hardware.

    I think the author of the original question was asking how you can make money directly from a linux distribution, or indirectly with services relating to it. You scenario describes using linux as a less costly replacement for one component of the computer system. That's apples and oranges.

    Or were you suggesting that the hardware in this case would be the value added to the linux distro?

  • This is *way* too late to get modded up, but such is life. I'm going to say what I've got to say, ignoring the fact that it's already been said here before ;)

    In the interview, Mr. Burney said that at the time Corel Linux was being designed, there were no easy to use Linux distributions available.

    WRONG. Oh, so WRONG.

    Let's try to understand each other here, and seperate a few things:

    Ease of use: The ability to easily get work done. If you can get more work done in less time, it's "easy to use".
    Ease of learning: How long it takes you to start being productive. If you can sit down at a computer and immediately start writing a spreadsheet, it's "easy to learn".
    Ease of maintenance: How easy it is to keep your system running. If you have to re-install all your software once a year to keep stuff running, it's *not* "easy to maintain.

    Now, Linux in general is *very* difficult to learn. However, once learned, it's laughably easy to use. Easy-to-access scripting, pipes, the reliance on text-format data all makes Linux easy to use, if difficult to learn. I'd say on a score of 1-10, Linux has about 7 on ease-of-use, 2 on ease-of-learning, and 8 on ease-of-maintenance.

    Windows, on the other hand is generally easy to learn. Hell, there's not much to learn in the first place :) However, to get work accomplished often takes longer, and involves more convoluted steps(that is to say, it's not particularily logical). I'd give Windows a 4 on ease-of-use, 3 on ease-of-maintenance, and 9 on ease-of-learning.

    But Linux is *still* easier to use :)

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  • by Trinition ( 114758 ) on Thursday February 08, 2001 @03:16AM (#447614) Homepage
    One of the points the author was making was that Linux/OSS isn't profitable.

    Now, you go off spouting that he missed the point that "it's about Free as in Freedom, not Free as in Beer". I think it is *you* who missed the author's point.

    While I agree that one of the primary goals of OSS is to be Free (as in Freedom), that was not what the author was getting at. Corel was a company with a mandate to make money, as most corporations try to do. Obviously not enough people wanted to pay for freedom, so the freedom concept of Linux wasn't profitable -- not to mention the respect of the Linux concepts as pertaining to Corel. Corel didn't make the money they wanted to, so, they dropped it.

    Corel is not a non-profit organization.

  • It's so much like a could_better_than_java but wont be.

    It seems to be that this is a semi good idea, but at the same time using something like photoshop on a localcomputer is slow enough. He said that the numbers will go back to the server to be crunched, that seems like a big waste of bandwidth as well as a good idea to learn about .net servers in clusters.


    It seems that this is all leaning tword the subscription based model, this is one step into the furture of that in my oppinion. I for one would never want to pay for this, its not like cable at all, becase I dont get charged a huge rate for having my tv on all day when I forget to turn it off. This seems like it would charge you when ever it can. See next comment for why I say that.


    They seem to want to drain every penny from people, Why pay for 150 formulas, when you only use 5? I would say the big reason to do that is because I dont want people knowing that you use those five, that I shouldnt be charged for the features because everything has bugs, and if you pay for 5 formulas and 4 dont work because of a .net problem on microsofts side, your going to be waiting along time for a patch, and getting a refund will probley be unheard of.


    It seems aparent that this is slowly turning us into a society uncapable of even_thinking_about software piracy.


    Can we expect to see a .net implementation in any large number of linux systems(not just redhat)?


    Wasnt there a story on slashdot in the recent past that talked about the software police, and about "so and so giving out their password even though its agaist the law"?


    As home computer's get better and better, why would you want to use this at all? Why use a client server model when you could just use the app on your desktop?

    I see no motivation to do this at all. Whats your take?



    Fight censors!
  • I'm probably one of the people that "missed a few years" regarding .Net

    But from the beginning of the talks around .Net and other distributed systems (client server or multi tier over Internet), one big question never was answered: What about all those systems that aren't connectoed to the Internet????

    There are lots of systems that are not connected to the Internet for safety reasons or simply becouse there is no need to. If everybody (read M$ and Linux) start working on these Internet-needing-programs, who will make programs for all those other systems?

    When I say systems not connectod to the Internet I do not only mean nuclear powerplants but also my mothers recepie computer. (generalise yourself please :-)

    I think there still is a very big market for product that come in a box of the shelf (including the "105-functions-from-which-I-only-use-5") that won't need Internet simply to work.

    If I missed something (see first line of post) that nullyfies my objections please inform me!

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