Subject: Re: LispWorks status
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/11/05
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* "Fernando D. Mato Mira" <>
| In essence, I don't think it's right for people to go saying "use X (the
| leader) because it's technically superior", failing to emphasize the fact
| that vendor Y produces a product which is also good, and makes a serious
| effort to try to adapt to the current market reality.

  the reason you don't think it's right is that you falsely and staunchly
  believe that "market reality" is a singularity.  it isn't.  "the market"
  is a collection of an enormous amount of conflicting considerations and
  needs.  that's what makes it a market.  what you are complaining about
  (and it is complaining since you don't talk to the people in question to
  have a problem _solved_, which is what I was alluding quite strongly to
  when I said WORK TOGETHER and hinting as best as I could that you aren't
  making any effort to do that -- now you are actively working AGAINST
  somebody's decisions) is that _some_ users or customers or would-be
  customers or you are unable or unwilling to express a business case for
  yourself.  this is not somebody else's fault -- it is entirely your own
  problem that you are unable to convince somebody.  taking it out on them
  in public is unfair and also stupid: it means people who listen to you
  will not want to make any deals with you, either, in case you are unable
  to get a deal you want out of them because that would mean you go public
  with your complaints.  you are acting very unprofessionally with this

  competitors have no reason at all to fight in the same market segments,
  by the way -- they frequently have a desire not to.  so just because you
  are in one segment that is profitable and deemed more valuable to one
  vendor does not mean you have a case for somebody else to compete with
  them on their terms in your market segment.  there are number of hard
  decision here for which I think you fail to appreciate the ramifications
  of making mistakes when making fairly arbitrary choices.  it is always
  impossible to use hindsight as a criterion for decisions, but I'll tell
  you one thing, about a great Norwegian hardware maker that tried to break
  into the U.S. market with their decidedly superior hardware:  they could
  not figure out how to price their products, so they went promiscuous and
  sold units to people with enormously varying prices.  instead of being
  happy that you could get a great deal if you pushed hard enough or were
  big enough, they were virtually chased out of the market for dumping and
  unfair business practices.  the principle at work is that people want to
  be able to have _certainty_ about your pricing model and how to influence
  it in whole or in part.  this means that some people will not be able to
  get what they want because it would be detrimental to the vendor to be
  seen as unreliable.  rather, a vendor and customer needs to WORK TOGETHER
  (there those words come up again) if they want special deals.  royalties
  is ONE WAY of doing this, for CERTAIN market realities.  if they can't or
  won't do it with royalites, they have to make the same money somehow.  if
  you have a SUGGESTION to them for how to do that, one good way to do this
  would be to approach them and tell them about your grand new scheme that
  will make them loads of money.  however, if all you are concerned about
  is getting a product at a lower price and you are not actually working
  with the concept of vendors making money, you're not dealing with ANY
  market reality, but are egoistically, short-sightedly worried about your
  own wallet, only, and as long as that is your only concern, nobody should
  listen to you, because there's never going to be anything in it for them.

| I believe that one makes a better service to Lisp not by sharing profits
| with the market leader, but by buying the `underdog' product, and in case
| you reach a point where the implementation fails to suit your
| requirements in some way, then switch to the other vendor.

  some people always think the "underdog" needs special treatment.  I don't
  believe in underdogs.  however, I do believe in special treatment where
  there are clearly long-term benefits that are hard to measure or realize
  with the standard shorter-term deals that reflect normal behavior.  this
  is what working together means.  how closely determines how special.

  however, if you don't want to work with the vendor, feel free to use a
  vendor that think this is normal, and by all means, use one that doesn't
  give you much support, either.  there are lots of languages to choose
  from where you take all the responsiblity for everything yourself and
  where you pay for upgrades and incompatibilities and whatnot.  I think
  such languages create a working-against environment between user and
  vendor, and my favorite company to dislike intensely for this is also the
  one company that people mistakenly assume is the singular market reality:
  anyone who chooses a different strategy should be chosen because they
  cause a much healthier market structure and better relationship between
  programmers in its chosen market segments.

  also, it seems unreasonably short-sighted to me that some programmers do
  not even look at the business side of their OWN work and realize that the
  less friendly their vendor, the more likely that they will have to work a
  lot harder with stuff that they are much less well equipped to handle
  well.  my quality concerns are causing huge alarms to go off when I see
  people sit down and write their own database interconnection support (to
  take but one random item I have heard about) _primarily_ because they are
  pissed at the vendor's pricing model -- and if these guys are actively
  working against the vendor, I know that the vendor and the developers
  aren't communicating to their mutual best interest, which _I_ will pay
  for by not being able to upgrade one or the other, a situation which will
  be exacerbated exponentially with the number of such packages used this
  way.  the same concern once prompted me to reject free software when it
  was obvious that there was a significant fight between vendors and the
  free software producers.  that has changed considerably and free software
  is now _often_ better than commercial software (but not always), and some
  (hardware) vendors are judged based on how well they enable cooperation
  with free software producers.  the only concern I have with any such deal
  is that the software that comes out of the process is trustable and that
  the parties involved are in it for the duration.  otherwise, it's better
  for me to use something else if I'm in it for the duration.

  if not, and it's only a short-term thing for me, too, long-term quality
  assessment is a waste of time, and I'd immediately grab the cheapest
  product with zero royalty and no support or upgrade policy and then I'd
  see what to do when I want to make another quick buck.  for some people,
  this is what constitutes "market reality", and I loathe them for it,
  because it makes it more expensive up front to get quality goods, yet so
  much easier to get cheap goods that cost more to own in the long run,
  which is a downward spiral that benefits only the cheap-product vendors,
  which are by this reasoning far from underdogs, but instead undercutters
  of a sustainable business environment.

  there is also a serious concern with companies whose assets are valuable
  enough to be salvaged from bankruptcies, but whose business strategies
  are not good enough to make the customers pay for their development: they
  instead make their creditors and investors pay for it.  this is not good
  for anybody and it is particularly bad if a product whose development
  costs have been written off in this way are then very profitable to the
  vendor at _any_ price -- the result is that bankruptcy becomes a part of
  the _survival_ process of smaller companies and longevity becomes a joke.

  I'm not going to live forever, either, of course, but it always seemed to
  me that by optimizing so heavily for the short term, there would be an
  enormous waste over the course of several short terms, and since we're
  all going to live for quite some time, _only_ thinking about what is
  possible in the youth of any short term seems completely idiotic to me,
  yet that is what people seem to delight in.  this leads me to wonder what
  values they actually get from what they are doing, but I'm digressing.