Subject: Re: free software as a delivery vehicle for lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 23:30:50 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Raffael Cavallaro
| Since you are rightly concerned about balance, I think you should see
| that, on balance, the commercial software world has favored precisely
| those companies who do *not* care about customers getting reasonable
| products at a reasonable price.

  This sounds like "the commercial software world" is an entity of itself,
  distrinct from the same customers who get screwed.  I do not think this
  is even possible.  The customers _believe_ they have received reasonable
  products at a reasonable price, and the companies care very much that
  they believe this.  If the facts are so different, how come they are so
  _unable_ to destroy the belief?  This is not sinister religion or cult,
  it is simply business, right?  That should mean that someone who can show
  that the prices or the products are unreasonable should get a fair
  hearing.  When this does not happen, something is clearly wrong with at
  least one party's perceptions of the situation.  The computer world has a
  long history of abandoning whole product classes when something else came
  along.  The death of CP/M, for instance.  All the excellent hardware and
  software that came from Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett Packard,
  Honeywell Bull, etc, is all gone, in favor of Unix-like software that
  takes more people to maintain and which some people argue cost more in
  total ownership.

  However, the almost religious belief in "the future" has made a lot of
  people opt for things that are bad today but which has some "promise".
  Microsoft has managed to capture that notion of delivering the "promised
  land" and Windows was perhaps the best evidence yet -- it killed off so
  many so much better "alternatives" because people believed that Windows
  would be "the future".  They have been willing to pay for entertaining
  this belief, but that belief is under serious threat.  At the very least,
  there are now more futures, not just one.

| You say "these issues are debated every day in congress," but
| congresspeople are *not* the commercial software community.

  I read "in [the] Congress" to mean politicians and "in congress" to mean
  the community of business leaders.

| The Free Software movement is a truly grass roots movement that seeks to
| redress this correctly (again, IMHO) perceived imbalance between motives
| of profit v. quality and fair value for customers.

  But the customers actually have a ver different take on all of this.

| When the dominant commercial software companies begin to ship products
| that show the same sort of care that, for example, automobiles do, then
| there will be less of a clamor for Free Software, because people will
| recognize the value of a quality professionally produced product.

  If it were a grass roots movement, it would be concerned with the same
  things that made the automobile industry concerned with quality and
  safety.  Richard Stallman is no Ralph Nader.  Instead of realizing that
  we need the software industry and then force it become responsible, the
  Free Software movement aims to hurt the industry in ways that does not
  teach it to be more responsible, since there is no guarantee that the
  attack on the industry will stop if they _get_ more responsible.  In
  other words, Ralph Nader had a constructive purpose.  Richard Stallman
  has a destructive purpose.

| However, since most shipping commercial software is shamefully unstable,
| buggy, (often never fixed without the payment of *additional charges* for
| "upgrades"), not to mention poorly documented, Free Software will
| continue to gather support as a necessary corrective balance to the
| billionaire-making juggernaut of shoddy commercial software.

  The only commercial software for which this is _really_ true, is the crap
  that emanates from Microsoft.  Other companies, having seen that this one
  large company can become so rich by providing 80%-solutions, figure that
  they do not have to make more than 80%-solutions themselves.  This is one
  of the major reasons for the massive number of software failures.  It is
  not particularly hard to write bug-free software, when you actually try,
  but if you think it is "impossible" or that bugs are acceptable, it will
  _seem_ very hard.

  There are other software makers besides Microsoft.  Do not believe _any_
  of their propaganda.  Microsoft is completely irrelevant.  The people who
  want Microsoft products are _not_ your market.  Do not buy _any_ of their
  stuff.  Just do without it.  This is not even difficult, much less hard.
  What do you want crap for, anyway?

  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.

  Post with compassion: