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Re: beta testing version

From: Ron Chmara <ron(at)Opus1(dot)COM>
To: Horst Herb <hherb(at)malleenet(dot)net(dot)au>
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: beta testing version
Date: 2000-12-04 07:38:04
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Horst Herb wrote:
> > > 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_.
> Oops. You didn't really mean that, did you? Could it be that there are some
> people out there thinking "let them free software fools do the hard initial
> work, once things are working nicely, we take over, add a few "secret"
> ingredients, and voila - the commercial product has been created?

That wasn't the _intended_ meaning, but I suppose that it's a related issue.

I was referring to companies expending variable amounts of time and resources
on a new closed source technology, only to have their marketshare shriveled up
by OSS coders rapidly duplicating their efforts, and releasing free code or a
less expensive product.

To put it in proper context:
If the project under discussion was reverse engineered (or even clean room
"re-engineered") and released as a separate, open source, product (or
even just "free" code), the demand for the PG, Inc. software is placed at

The actual size, and scope, of the project is irrelevant, as determined
OSS advocates have pretty much taken on any, and every, viable project. It's
not really about "stealing" code efforts, anymore than RedHat "stole"
linux, or that Pg has been stealing features from other ORDBMS's... it's that
OSS is a difficult market to capture, if you are selling closed source
code that can be created, or duplicated, by others.

Stronghold and Raven(?) were more sucessful products before the OSS
encryption efforts took off. Now anybody can build an SSL server, without
paying for licenses that used to cost thousands (I know there's the RSA
issue in this history as well, but let's be realistic about who actually
obeyed all those laws, okay?). Zend is trying to build an IDE for
PHP, but the open-source market moves fast enough that within a few
months of release, there will be clones, reverse engineered versions,
etc. SSH tried valiantly to close their code base.... which created
a market for OpenSSH. You see it time and again, there's a closed
version/extension/plug-in, feature, and an OSS clone gets built up
for it. GUI for sendmail? OSS now. New AIM protocols? gaim was on
it in days. New, proprietary, M$ mail software that took years to build
up, research, and develop? Give the OSS hordes a few months. New,
closed, SMB protocols? Give the samba team a few days, maybe a few

To wrap up this point, a closed derivative (or closed new) product is
now competing against OSS pools of developers, which is much harder to
stop than a single closed source company. It's difficult to compete
on code quality, or code features.... you have to compete with a
*product* that is bettter than anything globally co-ordinated code
hackers can build themselves.


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