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Re: [oor-forum] OOR Sustainability

To: oor-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 13:12:12 -0400
Message-id: <4C93A16C.3040203@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 9/17/2010 12:25 PM, Adam Pease wrote:
> I see most companies selling services or custom software.  That's what
> has worked for me.  A few very large or well-funded niche providers may
> sell shrink-wrapped software.  Many seem to take a model of keeping the
> software proprietary mainly as a way of keeping their competitive
> advantage and barriers to entry, while still mainly selling services.
> Using LGPL would allow incorporation of open source code into commercial
> software and seems to me to be the best option on balance.    (01)

I agree with the broad outline, but I'd like to make a distinction
between several kinds of things:    (02)

  1. Language-like things (Java, KIF, CL),    (03)

  2. Resources (WordNet, EDR, SNOMED)    (04)

  3. Tools,    (05)

  4. Platforms,    (06)

  5. End-user products and services.    (07)

For #1, it is extremely difficult to get anybody to adopt a new
language, and cost is a major deterrent to students who can become
the major users when they graduate.  For example, Simula 67 and
Pascal were two successors to Algol 60 that came out around the
same time:    (08)

  1. Niklaus Wirth gave away the Pascal compiler he implemented,
     many people adapted it to a wide range of different hardware,
     and it rapidly became an attractive alternative to the extremely
     complex Algol 68.    (09)

  2. Simula 67 was the first object-oriented language, which was
     superior to many OO languages that came out 20 years later
     (e.g., C++).  But the Norwegian government expended a lot
     of money developing it, and they charged a huge amount of
     money for it.  As a result, almost nobody bought it or
     even heard of it.    (010)

For #2, I summarized the problems with EDR, and Alan Rector
summarized the problems with SNOMED.  A good solution is to
give it away and encourage a community to develop extensions
that benefit everybody.  Meanwhile, the original developers
can earn money by consulting and earning money from #3, #4,
and #5.    (011)

For tools, platforms, and products, there is no single
one-size-fits-all solution.  IBM originally developed Eclipse
as a product, but they couldn't sell it in competition to MSFT.
So they gave it away and took advantage of the community
efforts.  Other companies give away a basic component (such
as the Adobe reader) and charge for the development tools.
Other companies give away a simplified version, and charge
for the full-function version.    (012)

John    (013)

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