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Re: beta testing version

From: Ron Chmara <ron(at)opus1(dot)com>
To: PostgreSQL Development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Cc: Thomas Lockhart <lockhart(at)alumni(dot)caltech(dot)edu>
Subject: Re: beta testing version
Date: 2000-12-03 04:56:34
Message-ID: 3A29D282.9326554B@opus1.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Thomas Lockhart wrote:
> 
> > PostgreSQL, Inc perhaps has that as a game plan.
> > I'm not so much concerned about exactly what PG, Inc is planning to offer
> > as a proprietary piece - I'm purist enough that I worry about what this
> > signals for their future direction.
> Hmm. What has kept replication from happening in the past? It is a big
> job and difficult to do correctly.

Well, this has nothing whatsoever to do with open or closed source. Linux
and FreeBSD are much larger, much harder to do correctly, as they are supersets
of thousands of open source projects. Complexity is not relative to licensing.

> > If PG, Inc starts doing proprietary chunks, and Great Bridge remains 100%
> > dedicated to Open Source, I know who I'll want to succeed and prosper.
> Let me be clear: PostgreSQL Inc. is owned and controlled by people who
> have lived the Open Source philosophy, which is not typical of most
> companies in business today.

That's one of the reasons why it's worked... open source meant open
contribution, open collaboration, open bug fixing. The price of admission
was doing your own installs, service, support, and giving something back....

PG, I assume, is pretty much the same as most open source projects, massive
amounts of contribution shepherded by one or two individuals.

> We are eager to show how this can be done
> on a full time basis, not only as an avocation. And we are eager to do
> this as part of the community we have helped to build.
> As soon as you find a business model which does not require income, let
> me know. The .com'ers are trying it at the moment, and there seems to be
> a few flaws... ;)

Well, whether or not a product is open, or closed, has very little
to do with commercial success. Heck, the entire IBM PC spec was open, and
that certainly didn't hurt Dell, Compaq, etc.... the genie coming out
of the bottle _only_ hurt IBM. In this case, however, the genie's been
out for quite a while....

BUT:
People don't buy a product because it's open, they buy it because it offers
significant value above and beyond what they can do *without* paying for
a product. Linus didn't start a new kernel out of some idealistic mantra
of freeing the world, he was broke and wanted a *nix-y OS. Years later,
the product has grown massively. Those who are profiting off of it are
unrelated to the code, to most of the developers.... why is this?

As it is, any company trying to make a closed version of an open source
product has some _massive_ work to do. Manuals. Documentation. Sales.
Branding. Phone support lines. Legal departments/Lawsuit prevention. Figuring
out how to prevent open source from stealing the thunder by duplicating
features. And building a _product_.

Most Open Source projects are not products, they are merely code, and some
horrid documentation, and maybe some support. The companies making money
are not making better code, they are making better _products_....

And I really havn't seen much in the way of full featured products, complete
with printed docs, 24 hour support, tutorials, wizards, templates, a company
to sue if the code causes damage, GUI install, setup, removal, etc. etc. etc.

Want to make money from open source? Well, you have to find, or build,
a _product_. Right now, there are no OS db products that can compare to oh,
an Oracle product, a MSSQL product. There may be superior code, but that
doesn't make a difference in business. Business has very little to do
with building the perfect mousetrap, if nobody can easily use it.

-Bop
--
Brought to you from boop!, the dual boot Linux/Win95 Compaq Presario 1625
laptop, currently running RedHat 6.1. Your bopping may vary.

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