valinux goes propietary?

Alex Hudson home at
Sun Aug 26 20:41:07 UTC 2001

On Sun, Aug 26, 2001 at 07:37:23PM +0200, Wim De Smet wrote:
> > Good analisys, but there is something missing, the problem is not "yeah
> > my company is doing free software so the investors are preoccupied", the
> > problem is that the "old economy" is trying to put the "free software
> > economy" out of his market (this is a big problem and not only on the
> > software).
> Off course, it also has something to do with the fact that numerous
> companies went out of business the past months. Investor trust is hard to
> find, and a conservative business model is the way VA Linux is trying to
> convince them to stick with it.

Am I the only one not scared by this? I agree with your technical analysis,
but there are some profound implications. I found ESR's explanation poor to
the point of me losing what little respect I have left for his ideas, in
that I find his arguments weaken with every thing he publishes (the idea of
furbage I thought missed the point and begged the question; his explanation
of VA's 'change of tactic' is little more than a tacit admission of defeat).

What is particularly galling is that no-one seems to be coming out saying
how bad this is - OSDN in particular (vested interests, I know) seems to be
becoming more and more anti-Free Software. The fact of the matter is that to
attempt to please investors, VA are developing closed applications. Let's
buy ESR's explanation, and call it proprietary tinsel. And let's assume it
does very well. What do investors learn from this lesson? That closing
software makes more money. So the pressure to produce more closed apps will
be applied: investors will see no line, no law of diminishing returns. They
will keep pressing for more closure until they stop seeing the benefits, and
probably beyond.

Even animals, at a very basic level, learn by reward. VA closes app, VA gets
a cookie as a reward. Good VA. Investors want more of the same. They want
more cookies. Sad, very sad. 



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