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Re: I Have Seen the Glory

On Sat, 18 Apr 1998, Erik Walthinsen wrote:

> > I think I have seen SEUL and it might really be called BeOS.
> Nope.  BeOS is not free.  SEUL will fill the niche that no other OS has, or 
> can: a freely available OS that is more powerful than anything else widely 
> available (BeOS excepted, possibly).

Right, then we need to build out from the UI. The UI needs ultimate
priority and should be what is settled first. 

> Linux embodies the ideal that free software *works*, and while I don't have 
> anything against BeOS, I hope that Linux (hopefully in the form of SEUL) 
> takes over the majority of all desktop and workstation machines, as it is 
> well on its way to doing in the server market.

Agreed. Linux has tremendous strength in the server market. It might never
really make it in the desktop market because there is no one "Linux
Desktop" API unless gtk or qt becomes one by default. SEUL should pick one
early and stay with it.
> Also, as Aldo's pointed out, there are places all over the world where they
> can scrounge up enough hardware to squeak by (say, doing statistics on
> weather and crops somewhere in Africa), but there is no way they can pay for
> the software to actually do anything.  Many more organizations exist where
> buying one more copy of Office98 means turning away someone who desperately
> needs the services this organization provides.  If free software were only 
> to help cases like that, IMO it would be more than worth it.

Free software is fine and dandy as long as you have students needing the
experiance working on it.  It is not likely that they will stay and
nurture the product over a lifetime other than as a hobby/spare-time
effort.  The reason is that they need to pay their mortgage and feed,
clothe, educate the kids.  Hell, if someone paid me what I am making now,
I would LOVE to spend all KINDS of hours hacking at SEUL along with others
and make it a really world-class OS in short order but the money would
have to come from somewhere.  The only other alternative that I can see is
for companies to allow employees to work on open software projects on paid
company time or provide resources such as co-located servers for these

The economic reality of the world is, unless someone can make a living or
enhance their current living it will get a lot more use than improvement.
It takes a commercial effort to port the resources back to the free effort
(Sendmail, Inc ... stronghold web server and apache ... S.u.S.E and XFree)
There has to be some commercial gain somewhere or it is a college project
that just gets passed around from maintainer to maintainer until it hits a
bad one and dies ... like smail did/is.

> For some sites that may be a good idea.  It depends on how the market 
> responds to Be, and when SEUL is ready, how the market responds to us.
> If Be does gain popularity, some effort should be put into making sure 
> Linux and BeOS interoperate nicely, possibly to the extent of binary 
> compatibility or emulation.  It all depends on what's out there when the 
> time comes to decide.

The end user in the major markets do not care about free.  They want a GUI
OS that costs less than $100 that allows them to watch cartoons on their
computer and does not crash.  As for business, they want an OS for under
$100 per seat that does not crash and allows them to make cartoons to show
at board meetings and to send to clients. They do not give a rat's pair of
hips about the politics of free software or that Joe Blow designed the
world's fastest web server and gives it away for free.  It will only get
used if they can make their charts and graphs and policies and procedures
and send it to other people and the other people can read them ... that
and the system should not crash.

There HAS to be some commercial viability of some nature or people will
not support it.  Businesses are using Linux/Apache because 1) It works and
2) come consultant supports it. If it works and someone can make money
from supporting it or selling applications for it ... it will be a hit.
Do NOT expect it to be a hit because it is free and there are enough
Socialists out there that will use it just because it is of the proper
political genre.

George Bonser

If I had a catchy quip, it would be here.

Debian/GNU Linux ... the maintainable operating system.

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