Subject: Re: "Well, I want to switch over to replace EMACS LISP with Guile." From: Erik Naggum <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 16 Oct 2002 00:12:58 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <email@example.com> * Nathan Whitehead | The whole rationale of forking is that the owner (or leader, or manager) | disagrees that your idea is the way the product should evolve. Quite so. | If I have a new idea for Windows and Microsoft doesn't like the idea, | what am I to do? The same thing you do if you have a better idea for anything else in any other industry: Decide if you think the market for your improvement may be big enough that it is worth your time to build a competitor. People have actually done this very frequently in every other industry. I have no idea why people consider software so hard that they could not develop something better with their own money and source base. Perhaps the lack of working intellectual property mechanisms (e.g., patents, which are horribly unfit in their current application) in the software industry makes it so much harder to build on the past, but I fear that the real reason is that we all know how shoddy most software products are and how little /real/ value is produced in software development. Microsoft's crap would never have gotten off the ground in a market where the customers were competent to judge the quality of their products. It was all about enticing ignorant people in "future" gains. The belief in the rosier future confused the financial markets for a long time, too. I marvel at the sheer evil of the manipulativeness and propaganda skills of those who could actually lie to so many investors about the ability to make money with the investments they sought. Microsoft has been built on deception and fraud from the get-go. Their incompetence and the amazing manipulativeness of the marketing nonsense around their inability to get a working version of Windows on the market when promised should have been enough for anyone with half a brain to realize that this swindling outfit was slated for DoJ investigations if not criminal proceedings not too far down the line, but, no, people bought MSFT shares and their products. What /appears/ to be true, therefore, is that if you have a better idea for the software, that is wholly irrelevant with such a fraudulent gang of incompetents as "market leader" -- what matters in software is how many people you can con for how long, or so people think. This may not even be possible to change with a really much better software idea, but mostly because Microsoft has convinced so many people that to produce even their crapware, you need /many/ billions of dollars and nothing short of hundreds of thousands of man-years. The Open Source world has not disproved this point at all: counting the amount of effort that goes into the Linux kernel and the GNU software suite alone is intractable. So if you sit there with an idea you think you could realize with a few months' worth of effort at most, there is nothing to build on that would make it possible to do this without practically infinite amounts of money. But this belief is actually very, very wrong. It is perhaps the single most successful deception that Microsoft has foisted upon us: Software is so hard to get right that even they cannot do it. This is the one point where the Common Lisp community knows better, but how can we tell people this when they are deluged with viruses and their source of trust, the very same Microsoft, says that they cannot fix the problems and that malevolent people take advantage of their desire to help users work smarter and more efficiently? (The latter is also wrong. Very few administrative tasks in the running of any business costs less than they did two decades ago.) The question I ask is therefore: Why do you think you could succeed any better if you had the source code? | If I have a new idea for Linux and Linus doesn't like it, I can fork the | linux kernel and still do it. You are right, maintenance, bookkeeping, | finding users, etc. make this option almost impossible a lot of the time. Some of the Linux distributions have used deviant Linux kernels and some weird versions of GNU utilities, such as the GNU C compiler. This is a source of nothing but trouble and much hostility in the Linux community. It is partly because of the idiot waste of effort and lack of ability to cooperate in the Linux community that I consider free software less able to succeed in its stated goal than commercial software development. The important thing to remember is that there is more commercial software than Microsoft. Being better than Microsoft in software quality is easy. Being better than any of the other small companies that are better than Microsoft is not that easy. Microsoft holds the whole industry hostage with their own incompetence and the almost religious faith in Microsoft's ability to cater to market needs has made it very, very hard to succeed for the *huge* number of small companies who can do better than them. Had Microsoft not been so incompetent at software development, their competitors would have been fewer, stronger, and better, and thus more able to succeed in competing with them. It is not the first time in our modern industrial history that low quality and good marketing has been a strong winning bet. The only solution to this problem is good education and people who have /learned/ to think long-term. Since our business schools are not exactly churning out that kind of leaders at this time, we are not likely to come out of the "IT winter" any time soon, but my bet is that some small company that just does /much/ better than the idiot behemoth will take the world by storm. -- Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.