Subject: Re: ...and even for those _NOT_ interested...
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 17:37:30 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Bakhash <>
> I have a strong feeling that more and more people will be migrating
> code from ACL to LispWorks, so it would be nice to make that as easy
> as possible.  This is what happens when companies charge an order of
> magnitude of difference for a very similar solution.

  I have a strong feeling that if people form a gang and attack a company,
  they will feel very good about themselves for destroying somebody else's
  work and livelihood and for scaring off their customers, too.  Human
  decency will have suffered another blow, the ability of people to make
  their own decisions will be curtailed by gang-menality "popular views"
  (agree with us, or else), the concept of fairness is once again shown to
  be completely inapplicable in the Comon Lisp community, respect for other
  people is once again proven to be worthless to Common Lispers, and we are
  perhaps left with a company that could not survive the demand that in the
  best of worlds would arise from being the only game in town.

  Short-sighted, vindictive people will have won another fight and will
  have killed Common Lisp in their zeal to force the world to be to their
  liking, because leaving people who think differently alone is not an
  option to them.  We have a lot of those people here -- people who are
  unable to deal with those who have another view, need, idea, problem,
  etc, than the "majority"; including people who want Common Lisp to be the
  language of the poor and the destitute who cannot even learn the language
  without getting the textbooks for free.

  Also, companies that go bankrupt are a danger to healthy competition.
  They are able to make their creditors and shareholders pay for their
  losses and bad management and then to start anew with assets that they
  essentially got for free, quite unlike the competition that has not gone
  bankrupt, who have to pay full price for their assets, but quite similar
  to how their customers have wanted their products, for too little money.

  Anyone who plans to waste the shareholders' money can undercut the
  competition.  The easiest thing in the world is to charge too little, it
  is just as easy as spending too much of other people's money.  Customers
  will flock to those who do because they are giving away some, if not all,
  of the value for free.  Somebody may even pick up the underpriced goods
  and sell them at a profit when the stupid company ceases to exist or
  raises prices to try to survive after all.

  People of very limited intellect just _love_ "free" stuff.  That is how
  they can be lured into bad and costly deals with free offers, miniscule
  chances to win some "prize", and other marketing techniques aimed at the
  non-thinking.  And then there are the cynics, who do not understand that
  by only taking the free stuff and not buying anything else, they are
  making everybody else lose, so that free stuff is no longer goodwill to
  honest people, but reduced to free crap for the fools.

  When something _must_ be widespread in order to be used, the only option
  may well be to give it away to lots of people until you have enough
  market share that those who want on the bandwagon later will be willing
  to pay for it, but then you need to be damn certain that you are able to
  keep your customers and not provide free marketing for your competitors,
  who do not need to recover those marketing costs.  Fax machines, cellular
  phones, even operating systems, have been sold with this technique.  Many
  other products have failed to gain the required market share and have
  lost all the shareholders' money.  Remember all the web sites that used
  this trick to cause people to use them, but who were left behind when the
  _next_ outlet for free goods and services sprung up to waste new money.

  Common Lisp has, however, been given away for free for a very long time,
  and the market share has failed to materialize.  This is very instructive
  to those who want the market share to increase: It simply does not work
  to give Common Lisp away to increase the market share -- you simply give
  something away without getting anything back, not even happy users!  To
  add insult to injury, those who get the demos for free, demand to get the
  product for free, too, based on their (claimed) inability to make money
  with it.  Now, _why_ should anyone cater to these people?  _Why_ is mass
  popularity a _goal_ with anyone at all?  It is merely a _means_ to reach
  the category of goals that requires lots of people.  Not _all_ goals are
  like that.  The most interesting goals require reaching only a handful of
  people.  Some things are even possible only if the mass market is kept
  out of it.
  The obvious _business_ solution to this problem for those who want others
  to give them free Common Lisps is to produce and market your own Common
  Lisp system, give it away to lots of people just like yourself, spend at
  least 100 million dollars in marketing, and expect to recover about twice
  that money in five years.  Anyone can do this.  Just go to your favorite
  bank and ask for a 100 million dollar unsecured loan, present them with
  your plan to give the stuff you make away for free, and you should be
  _very_ surprised if you are not met with enthusiasm and a willingness to
  pour the money over you.  This is how business works, you know.  That,
  and Disney movies with talking animals are really documentaries, the lion
  and the lamb already grace side by side, poverty is about to vanish, and
  peace and harmony will soon fall upon the earth.  Yeah, verily.

  Making money on a product that only a small number of people want, but
  which is expsneive to produce, is damn hard.  One company has shows us
  that it can be done for very little money, provided that they are bought
  out by someone who saw the bargain price for the assets of the bankrupt
  company, provided that you can fire key personnell when the product has
  reached maturity, and provided that you can continue to basically give
  away the results until the next bailout/bankruptcy occurs.  Here is a
  clue to which companies to avoid buying stocks in and products from: If
  _you_ cannot figure out how they are going to stay in business, with or
  without spending serious effort to find out, they will probably fold.

  Betting on losers is considered more "humanitarian" in some cultures than
  betting on winners (outside of sports, which for some bizarre reason is
  exempt from the criticism levied on every other kind of  competition).
  People are of course free to bet on whatever they like, but if the goal
  is to make everybody a loser so only "humanitarians" will bet on them, I
  take serious exception to this practice.  I want Common Lisp to be there
  when I need it, when I want it, and when I depend on it.  If Common Lisp
  were as hugely popular as, say, Perl or Linux, I would be able to rely on
  the momentum of the mass market to keep free stuff alive, but Common Lisp
  is and always will be an elite thing.

  People ask why Common Lisp is not more popular all the time.  One answer
  is that those who could help make it more popular are busy denouncing
  those who develop, make, and market the stuff they want to be popular.
  Another problem is some people are so upset about their inability to deal
  with other people that they cannot help themselves from running after
  them and attacking them, like what happened in just
  recently.  Their failure to focus on the good of the community and
  accepting the differing views about what is for the good of the community
  has produced a community of people who are very, very concerned about
  attacking people and companies.  "If you do not charge a price _we_ like,
  we beat up your company."  "If you do not use _our_ choice of polite
  words, we beat you up for it."  "If you dare to think something different
  than us at all, we beat you up."  This is particularly true of people who
  no longer _use_ Common Lisp in either work or play, those who no longer
  fight _for_ anything, only _agsinst_, and typically, they fight against

  If you have a personal gripe against anyone's pricing, David, keep it
  personal.  Other people are able to come to their own conclusions without
  your "help" to make it harder for people to come a conclusion they have
  to "defend".  It obviously makes business sense for _some_ people to do
  what you want _others_ (not just yourself) to do, so let them do it.  If
  this is all about envy and hostility towards those who _can_ afford what
  you can not, which I happen to think it is, just _can_ it.  Do something
  better.  Let us all find people who are actually _using_ Common Lisp and
  hear what they have to say.  The whining bastards who do not are not
  worth listening to.  There are easy ways to use Common Lisp for those who
  want to, and if something is lacking, let us hear about it and _inspire_
  someone to make it for you if you do not want to do it yourself.  "Gimme"
  does not an inspiration make.  Those who find it easier to whine than do
  something useful are a waste of time.

  Travel is a meat thing.