Subject: Re: Barriers to Lisp acceptance - a "survey" question
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/03/03
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Marco Antoniotti <>
| At this point in time, I believe that the vendors have some pieces of
| software well developed, which they actually charge premiums for
| distribution.  This is a repackaging cost.

  I wish these anti-vendor arguments could be a little more rational.  of
  course they have some pieces of software well developed, like the entire
  Common Lisp system, the compiler, basically _everything_, right?  the
  _purpose_ of charging for stuff that has paid for its development is to
  make it possible to respond to changes, continue to support customer
  needs, develop _new_ things, and/or to ensure financial independence for
  the founders or whatever.  you don't appear to like this very much, but
  as soon as you come out saying that you don't believe in profits or in
  making money or in financial security or independence, business people
  _should_ turn deaf to your concerns and your suggested "solutions".

  prices are set in the market based on what people want to give for what
  they get, and if this has worked well, it's really hard to argue against
  the success.  believe it or not, what you see today actually _works_, all
  the misgivings to the contrary notwithstanding.  people make money and
  make good money doing what they are doing.  you'll have to entice them
  with _more_ money now or even higher future earnings at reasonably low
  risk if you want to change their behavior.

| I do not buy the argument that there are still development costs to
| include CORBA support (or MK:DEFSYSTEM) in the standard distributions
| (...) of Lispworks and MCL and ACL.

  it doesn't really matter that _you_ don't buy it.  while it may change
  marketing impressions and cause loss of goodwill if you ignore somebody
  else's reality and try to force losses on them through the moral
  equivalent of strikes and boycotts, the rational way to deal with this is
  to convince whoever footed the development bill of your views, and then
  you show them enough respect to listen when they answer your claims.

  I'm in the business of selling software and my services to other people.
  I have done so for 15 years.  in these years, I have donated thousands of
  hours of work to various causes that I believed in, some as a form of
  marketing, some as more important than personal gain, i.e., I wanted to
  create a better environment to work in rather than first reap the
  profits.  over these years, what I have seen as the most astonishingly
  lacking in the demands and claims towards whoever should give people
  something is respect for their motivation.  I can only surmise that the
  reason is that people don't ever stop to consider why _they_ are doing
  what they are doing, either.  (and maybe that's good for them. :)

| Not doing so is short-sighted, as KMP has correctly pointed out with
| very good arguments.

  but who is he trying to convince?  it doesn't matter that you agree with
  him, as long as _you_ are not the person making the decision to repackage
  or provide something for free.  unlike what politicians believe, public
  sentiment doesn't actually and by itself change reality, it only changes
  how people will need to adapt to and change their experienced reality.
  if you deny them the right to affect their own reality, you engage in use
  of force, and you will therefore have to be treated as a hostile partner
  at best.  a lot of people find such tactics to be uninspiring, to put it
  mildly.  history is rife with people who stop doing whatever they were
  doing when somebody tried to force them to do stupid things, but usually,
  this happens to small businesses that just close shop when politicians
  try to force them into doing something that doesn't make sense to them.

  it actually doesn't help people change their ways into something more
  constructive to tell them that what they are doing is short-sighted or
  stupid.  the best you can achieve with that tactic is that they stop
  doing whatever they are doing and go away to regroup or do something
  else.  if you have a specific new behavior in mind, you have to motivate
  it inside the core premises of their existing behavior.  punishment does
  not work constructively, has never worked constructively, and will never
  work constructively.  you punish to destroy, and the only hope is that
  people have something else to do that is more constructive, but if you
  punish, that's none of your business.

| Note also that at this point, giving away these freebies is *not* (or it
| shouldn't be) a marketing gimmick.  It is the only way to expand your
| user base.  Assuming that that is what you want to do.

  this is what marketing is all about.  you seriously underestimate
  marketing if you think about their decisions and tools as "gimmicks".

  I suggest you guys make a solid business case for what you believe in,
  complete with market research and solid statistical groundwork, and I can
  promise you that you will be surprised by the reaction.  if you don't,
  you're basically asking people to take your word for it and risk money on
  sentiments that are openly hostile to making money the way they do now.

  note that I'm not saying that I disagree with any of your issues, but I'm
  _not_ whining about it on a newsgroup with a user-only "I need, so gimme"
  focus when I want a vendor to change his ways.  I also think your anti-
  business whining could make my own efforts fail or make them harder, and
  since I get everything I want, anyway, the question "why should I help
  whiners who make things harder for me?" may soon require an answer.