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Not intended to be a silver bullet

Posted by: Administrator on August 27, 2006 12:42 PM
Each of the initiatives you mention addresses specific needs, none of which your article describes. For example, the BlueCurve theme was created to provide a distintive look and feel for a specific commercial implementation - Red Hat. Because the themes are openly available, they can be used elsewhere, and have been. That seemed to be a success.

The Linux Standards Base (LSB) has specified mamy common interfaces and has been widely adopted. Software can be distinctive, yet most major distributions meet these standards, so that initiative seems to have accomplished its objective.

The Desktop Linux initiative has made huge inroads in building components that can be used in desktop systems, and the number of implementations that use its work have mushroomed. That, too, seems to be a work that has had considerable accomplishments.

I do not see a lot of success in the various consortiums. The DCC is the latest consortium with limited success. United Linux is another example of a consortium that did not seem to work out. Yet even there, code gets developed out of these initiatives that can be freely used in other work (and has been), so to say that these efforts have been a complete failure is probably too strong.

I find that in free software, you can take the best ideas and run with them, and even when an idea doesn't work out, you can take the best of it and learn from both the best and worst.

To me, the only thing lacking in the free software movement is marketing. If a few of the big companies would put their full heads, not only into server systems marketing, which has seen some success, but into desktop systems marketing, I could see more success there. IF someone is looking for a market, I would use the inexpensive free software to develop underdeveloped markets first, particularly in relatively poor technology regions of the world, and use those markets to generate interest, testing, critical mass, and an income source. The US and Europe are unlikely to dump their large installed based of well established desktop systems unless the combination of lower cost and greater security and stability created such a compelling argument that people abandoned, en masse, the current status quo; fairly unlikely to happen, though it is, I suppose, possible.

Forget about that silver bullet, though. It could be that you are among the few looking at this in that way; I certainly am not.


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