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Author Topic: Would/Should Robert sell VL for $50M?  (Read 5476 times)
rbistolfi
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2007, 12:22:51 pm »

Indeed, Incognu is right in something. It is an ethical question. I am not a fanatic, but I do have some ethical and political ideas. Is unfair to call "fanatic" to someone who just have a political / ethical idea, and wants to honor them. There is a dangerous concept there.
Whatever would be the answer to the "offer", surely ethical questions are involved. I could understand someone taking both decisions, and probably there is no universal, definitive answer to the question, there is no something like "given the arguments a,b and c, you should never, under any circumstances sell this linux distro to ms". But doesn't mean the ethical debate is not open. Someone should define the "pros and cons" and finally make a decision, and ethical statements would appear under both, the pros and cons titles.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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easuter
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2007, 04:38:05 pm »

At this point, desktop Linux is just a pesky gnat to Microsoft. It's the server market that scares them.
--GrannyGeek

Dunno about that....Linux has pretty much beaten the crap out of Microsoft in the server market, and MS is probably somewhat resigned to that fact.
Desktop Linux is what MS really fears. Windows + Office is Microsoft's bread and butter: it can live fine without the server market, but it will sink like a rock if it loses the desktop "war".

I probably wouldn't sell out (I also wouldn't tell my family and friends for the risk of being crucified  Cheesy), it would be immoral IMHO. A bit like the deal Novell struck with MS: lots of pissed-off devs would flock to other projects (or in this case would just be left out in the cold...).

The reason FOSS exists in the first place is because some people do care more about freedom than money, and just as well.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2007, 08:38:10 pm »

Reality check:

The Mac OS is far more likely to make a dent in Microsoft's dominance than desktop Linux. How many "regular users" do you know who are using desktop Linux? I don't know any personally, just through the Internet. But the Mac is growing in market share. Since Intel Macs can run Windows quite well, people can get a Macintosh with Mac's latest OS X and run just Windows and Windows programs on it if they want. But most likely they'll delve into the Mac OS, too, and maybe the next time they won't bother with Windows at all and just go with a Mac.

"Regular users" make up the vast majority of home and SOHO computer users. They have no interest in computers and just want to do what they want to do. They don't install operating systems. They don't post in online forums--or even go to online forums. They would never dink around with getting sound to work, or wireless to work, the way some of us have had to. They don't want to use something other than the version of Word they already know. I've had a hard time getting people to even give OOo for *Windows* a try. I don't know how many people are using OOo now, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of users are on Windows, not Linux.

There is quite a bit of free and open source software available for Windows. OOo, Firefox, Thunderbird, Scribus, Gimp, AbiWord, Inkscape, Audacity all have Windows versions--and those are just the ones that come to mind immediately.

There are many, many obstacles that desktop Linux must overcome before it'll be a force to be reckoned with. I wish it were otherwise, but...
--GrannyGeek
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BlueMage
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2007, 02:21:08 am »

I have to agree with GrannyGeek here - for the most part, many people fear change.  And Linux - even one as user- (and noob) friendly as Vector - is a significant change.  An enjoyable one to the enthusiast to be sure, but for the average user, who needs to call tech support because their screensaver has changed (and yes, I have had to help folks out on that) the very idea of using anything other than Windows is terrifying.  These are the sort of folk who would rather continue to use IE6 than upgrade to IE7 simply because it's different (and won't go anywhere near Firefox for fear of breaking their systems.  As you can expect, they nearly have a heartattack when I get going on it) and unfortunately, they are still the majority.

If it ain't broke don't fix it - great.  But an even more powerful urge in the minds of most is familiarity - better the devil you know and all that.  And if the brokeness is predictable (which, in my experience with Windows it is) then that just adds to the familiarity long-term, and the comfort derived thereof.

Ironically, were VL to be sold to MS, its coverage and market penetration would increase dramatically.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2007, 05:11:23 am »

All true, but do you remember when IBM was the big one?, Lotus? Word Perfect? All of them were giants once.
That does not mean MS will follow them, of course, but every body claims to know "the reality", the "regular user", and there is no argument there. "People is used to this, hence, things will not change ever." I dont think so. A lot of things changed since man is man.
Mac is growing? That probes linux can do it too, since both OS are pretty similar.
About sound and wireless, please, we all now the cause of that problem, we all know is not linux fault. If they can offer a Mac driver, a linux one is easy, they dont want to do it, or ms is pushing them to not do it.
MS is not afraid about linux desktop, but they want to see linux dead now, to avoid fear in the future.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2007, 04:17:19 pm »

I want to clarify that I *do* understood that selling out to Microsoft can legitimately be seen as a moral issue. Most non-trivial decisions can have a moral aspect to them. People differ on what they consider ethical and unethical choices, what's right and wrong. So we don't all agree on the right way to act. It's messy, but we have to live with it.
--GrannyGeek
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2007, 05:29:30 pm »

All true, but do you remember when IBM was the big one?, Lotus? Word Perfect? All of them were giants once.

Ummm, IBM is still a giant. Maybe bigger than ever. It's just not bothering with the desktop PC market (as well as hard drives, laptops, printers, etc.). WordPerfect made many missteps getting into the Windows market and couldn't recover. I've heard that Lotus was too complacent in thinking that nothing could ever displace 1-2-3. Meanwhile, Excel surpassed it in features and it never recovered.

Quote
Mac is growing? That probes linux can do it too, since both OS are pretty similar.

It's not on the strength of the OS. The success of the iPod gave a big boost to Apple and the Mac. Plus Apple spends huge amounts of money on clever and effective advertising. When was the last time you saw an ad for Linux? How could there be an ad for "Linux" anyway, since in a sense there is no such thing. Linux is the kernel; GNU/Linux is the kernel plus certain shells and utilities. The many diverse distros are how the consumer relates to "Linux." Windows and Mac are single products. Linux has no single product, and I can't imagine RedHat, SuSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu, Slackware, and Debian running a series of joint commercials saying "Get one of our products, or any of the hundreds of others."

The Mac's success has a lot to do with the physical design of the products--the "coolness" factor. Apple has always insisted on maintaining control over what the Mac operating system runs on. That means everything "just works." It's designed that way, and that's what can happen when you maintain top-to-bottom control. Another advantage the Mac has is that you can walk into a store, buy one, take it home, plug it in, and you're good to go. It's pretty difficult to find a Linux computer in a mass market retail store.

Quote
About sound and wireless, please, we all now the cause of that problem, we all know is not linux fault. If they can offer a Mac driver, a linux one is easy, they dont want to do it, or ms is pushing them to not do it.

Of course it's not Linux's fault. However, that won't impress the "ordinary users" who still have to get wireless working. They don't care whose fault it is that they can't make the connection, they just want it to work--and not after spending a week on Google looking for a solution.

All I can say is time will tell. It will be interesting to see if Linux penetrates farther into the mainstream desktop withiin five years. But then, in five years the desktop computer may be much less important than it is today, as Web 2.0 and software as a service grow as predicted.
--GrannyGeek
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2007, 10:27:02 am »

I agree Granny. I guess the conclusion is that Linux can do it in to the Desktop, but a lot of things must happen first. Anyway, I am not sure if the community could drive a movement like Mac or Ms does, regarding marketing strategy. Partnership with enterprises would be needed, the hardware manufacturers are already in the way.
I think Linux has to keep working on the market already own, like the server one, and reforce the presence on embedded systems, looks like there is a lot of room for linux there.
Of course, the strength of Mac (and even MS) is not the OS. Thats why Linux is good in any place where hi-performance is needed.
It is hard to predict what will happen, but I think the future of MS will be not rock solid for ever. IBM is a giant because they changed the strategy and found another place in the market, but indeed, they lost a battle with Mac and MS. Anyway, the examples are just to point that nothing lives forever, and there is a crisis and an oportunuty some times, Linux could take it or may be not, but is capable of make it in the desktop.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

--
Jumalauta!!
cintyram
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« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2007, 03:00:02 pm »

Lets see it this way:
. Would/Should he give it away for free?
. for ONE million $$ ?
. for ONE BILLION $$ ?
. for ONE TRILLION $$ ?

for infinte $$ ?

The point is, at some point the question is not about how much is offered, but what you want to do. if robert had started this to make money as the primary purpose, he is well in his right to sell, and the rest of us can support him in this decision or not.

what would he do after selling out? he'd get bored, he likes and enjoys the community.  this is something he and darrel created over a few years.  And like we always keep saying, the strength of VL is in the community!!  That cannot be sold.  Lots of people like tigger, ren, UKBill, johnvan, johnB and Hanumizzle and Headacher LLL Granny.. of course Kocil and others i cant fit the names in this space[ ala Fermat], all these people together are the reason people come to VL and stay here.  It is not the name or the features or ease of use or speed alone.

Having said that, M$ has proven to be a bad negotiator threatening simple folk like Robert with untold miseries [ Law suits etc].  if you think pragmatically, none of us is in a position to stand between M$ and Robert if they try arm twisting tactics.
Then the question becomes, should Robert protect himself and his family or fight for VL and us? and I'm sure all of us would recommend that he be safe and healthy,stress free.

This is not as Black/White as it looks!!
cheers
ram

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Vanger
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« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2007, 03:37:05 pm »

If he wants, he definitely can.

He started the distro, organized the community, without him we won't be here. So answer is "yes". It would be stupid to do otherwise.

Is it ethical - yes. He won't take anything from us by selling distro. Just a day or so of copying/renaming repositary and forum.

What will gain Microsoft without community? Don't know. There isn't much technical breakthrough in VL, sorry. It just works and works very nice.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2007, 04:54:00 am »

I agree with both, Vanger and Cintyram. I just want to point that there is an ethical issue in selling a Linux distro to MS. But as Cintyram pointed, it is not clear, is not black or white. A lot of arguments can be exposed in favor of each decision. I dont know Robert very much so I dont want to talk in particular about him or VL. I think is a little uncomfortable. But in general, you would have to check all the arguments, and make a decision based in those arguments. For example, if you sell your distro, you could make a lot of good things with the money, lets say, build a hospital. is ethical to reject that money knowing all the good things you can do with it, plus the protection to yourself and your family, as ram pointed? or in the other hand is it right?, giving away all your dreams and your work for years, just for money?
IMO, the right answer depends on the personal circumstances, as I said before, there is no universal, categoric answer for this.
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

--
Jumalauta!!
blurymind
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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2007, 05:08:49 am »

hehehe, microsoft CAN buy companies,but it cannot buy the masses, the open source comunity is made of hobbyist and people who do not work on linux because they are payed for. So lets see how will microsoft buy the masses,when all it does is losing their trust with naughty deals. Grin

this is why it is very important for devs to switch to gpl v3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YExl9ojclo

does this idiot look trusty to you?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B0GTYfPoMo
no
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hadxBZWxNrs
i dont think people would like to work for him

Quote
Residents of hell, start checking for icicles: Microsoft has gained Open Source Initiative (OSI) approval for two of its "shared source" licenses, making it an official backer and provider of open-source software.
they are sinking and want some of the success open source has. Well,for all these years of insulting attitude,i dont think they deserve any of it. Undecided

When will mS just give up and accept that their software sucks. Keep selling hardware,and stay away from those who have immagination. Only mS can think of the pattent laws,so they can steal good ideas from everybody,get away with it,and sue  and threaten the authors of the ideas.I believe this is what can be assumed as criminal activity. Roll Eyes not to mention its greedy and obviously monopolistic.Soo microsoftish. I hope they dont get away with it.

at least in europe,the pattent laws are not likely to be accepted.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 05:17:25 am by blurymind » Logged

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