[Ilugc] Is the proprietary camp winning ?
toufeeqh at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 10:16:30 IST 2006
On 10/17/06, Ingeneur <goda.abishek at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/16/06, Kenneth Gonsalves <lawgon at thenilgiris.com> wrote:
> > On 16-Oct-06, at 12:04 PM, Ingeneur wrote:
> > > But, the point to ponder is *Should FOSS try to be business?*
> > this is a question for a philosopher. The question for a software
> > entrpreneur is: 'how to make money?'. And many of them have found the
> > answer in the FOSS model
> And the best have made millions remaining proprietary. Even if I am
> quoting examples, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Oracle etc.
> Every engineer (read professional) must be a philosopher. It will help
> your remaining creative.
What we tend to forget here when we make comparisons of FOSS vs
Proprietary models is the time-frame which it has taken for the above
mentioned companies to reach the stature of multi-million dollar
Let's just go back and have a look at their beginnings.
- Microsoft Founded in 1975, which means it has taken them 31 years
to reach the current position as leader in the Software business.
- IBM  : Founded in 1888, whew! more than 100+ years in existence.
- Apple and Oracle  : Founded in 1976 and 77 respectively, a
couple of 30 year old corporations.
Now I want all of you to make an assumption that we are in the 1970's.
A time when selling computer hardware (big iron b0xen) was considered
the most(only) viable business model in the software industry.
Hardware was 'proprietary' back then, not the off-the-shelf industry
it is today. With that in mind consider the mentality of Bill Gates,
Larry Ellison and the Steve's as they start to go about creating their
business plans. They would have asked the same question which we are
(sort of)asking today, 'How can proprietary software be a viable
software model when compared to proprietary hardware which has created
such million-dollar businesses ?'.
I'm sure they would not have had an answer to that question, as is the
same case today. But consider the fact that a few determined
individuals do take the plunge at the same time believing that the
FOSS-business model is the right way forward for the future of the
computer industry then think of the implications that these companies
will have after 30+ years of their inception.
Ofcourse, this is purely based on the fact that what they are
selling/marketing is unique enough that it creates a need in the
market and people would like to pay for it. I see RedHat/Canonical and
Novel worth keeping an eye on for the next 30 years. Remember, MS had
to wait nearly 30 years before their product (Win 3.0) could create
sufficient demand for them. Also, remember that Apple was once on the
verge of bankruptcy.
The real question to ask oneself is, 'Am I going to sit and debate
about whether the business-model which I'm seeing grow in front of me
is a good one or not or take a risk and plunge into it and see what
By the time a business model is stabilized and an industry has grown
around it, it's usually too late for a brilliant industrialist to make
his move. That's why you see so many web-based startups meet so much
success. The time is now ripe for a FOSS-based startup's to flourish.
The question is, 'Do you want to see them grow, or grow one yourself'.
blog @ http://toufeeq.net
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