Subject: Re: Questions about Symbolics lisp machines From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 10:24:18 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Thomas Bushnell, BSG | I'm happy to let free software quietly take over. My view on this is a little differentiated: (1) I think operating systems and systems software should be open source, but I also think that those who want to take some piece of open source or free software and accept accountability for it, should get paid well for that. There is no support for this model in the current Open Source world, and especially not in the Free Software world. This keeps much commercialization back, in my view. (2) I think development tools should have trial editions, but generally cost money and come with all source, and the vendors should encourage responsible local changes and offer regression testing for a fee, so that they can maintain accountability for the base product towards end-users. (3) I think end-user applications should come with (limited) source access for customers who want it, but not generally, and that it is _wrong_ to give away end-user applications that users clearly have commercial value for. I also think end-user applications should pay a small fixed fee per unit sold back to the vendors of the tools they have used to build it, in order to support the development of much better development tools. (All other industries accept license fees and royalty costs from patents and the like, but I think software patents are currently badly implemented and should not be used at this time, so the payment back to the developers and originators of good ideas should go through fixed fees per unit sold of some application.) The wrong solution to this problem is to have the operating system, environment and development system come from the same vendor -- that only encourages a payment of that "royalty" in the operating system deployment, instead. I think free software and open source should take over in the operating system and utility markets. (This was GNU's original purpose, if I read it correctly back when I started to like this thing.) MS-DOS and the shareware community that arose around it has meant nothing but harm to the world of computing, including, but not limited to, the virus vehicles that Microsoft refuse to fix, the virus creators that spring up because of it, and the anti-virus industry that is necessary to fight it. The main reason I want it to take over is so that we can have real choice and real innovation. Applications can be changed at little cost (at least if they are not holding the information the user has entrusted to their care hostage), compared to the operating system, not only in the cost of having to reboot a machine (which a certain "operating system" vendor has made into a requirement to install applications, so one should be able to change these "operating systems" just as easily), but if a computer is at all useful to a person beyond a fancy typewriter, it runs more than one application, holds a context for the user with all open windows, etc, (and ironically, the least intelligent vendor of all has opted to "solve" the problem of reestablishing this context _instead_ of not causing their operating systems and applications to crash). If applications were written to an abstract interface to the operating system, such as POSIX, the only operating-system--dependent applications _should_ be those that fall in the system utility category. Even games should be able to run on many different operating systems since they take over and talk to the various hardware directly, anyway. In my view, Microsoft is not evil for their packaging browsers and window systems (ha!) with the "operating system", but for having managed to make the operating system able to both exclude and lock in their applications. So if GNU's original intentions were met, and Microsoft's evil influence over and even control of the operating system "market" came to an end, they would still be allowed to peddle their virus-spreading crapware -- only there would be no incentive to produce crapware to lock people into the bug-ridden operating systems. Letting Microosft get away with their "operating system" jokes for so long has done the world so much harm that it will probably never recover until the rotting ruins of Microsoft is but an archeological curiosity. /// -- In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none. In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.