On Linux Journal.
How Much is Free Worth?
Chris Anderson bravely tries to put a figure on the value of the "free economy" - those businesses that use free as part of their model.
What struck me is the extent to which the ecosystem that has grown up around GNU/Linux dominates everything else in this admittedly back-of-the-envelope calculation: $30 billion out of a rough $50 billion. Which confirms the extent to which open source continues to be the bellwether in this area - the first and still best example of how to make money by giving stuff away.
I Have an Intuition
Of all the complaints about open source - there's no support, poor security, lack of a business model etc. etc. - the one that still has a semblance of truth is that it lacks certain key applications on the desktop. Prime among these is Intuit's QuickBooks personal finance software. It looks like that final obstacle is about to fall. Not only has it set up a Linux Business Site, but there are indications it is aiming to break its dependence on Microsoft technologies:
We are actively working on making our product compatible with other browsers (including Safari). We have a large product that currently uses ActiveX and was initially tuned to work with Internet Explorer. Therefore, it will require a large amount of work and will take some time on our part to accomplish. As you can see from the iPhone application, we have passion for Mac within our team!
Additionally, we too would like to use Firefox. We are in this with you; we just need some time to make it all happen.
(Via Jim Zemlin.)
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and...Vista
One of the things I like about Roy Schestowitz's Boycott Novell site is the way it brings back the Golden Oldies - statements from documents that Microsoft would really rather you never knew about.
One of my favourites is a series of documents about Windows Evangelism. These are really extraordinary, because they prefigure practically everything slightly dodgy that Microsoft has done over the years. But sometimes, Fate can be cruelly ironic.
Here's a statement about how you should kick a competitor when it's down:
Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.
Or, as we would say nowadays: “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and...Vista.”