Subject: Re: Questions about Symbolics lisp machines
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 10:24:18 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* 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.