[IAEP] [Olpc-open] [OLPC-SF] Microsoft Is Joining Low-Cost Laptop Project - New York Times
echerlin at gmail.com
Thu May 22 00:39:52 CEST 2008
On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 5:02 AM, Daniel Weinreb <dlw at alum.mit.edu> wrote:
> Edward Cherlin wrote:
>>> I think that the whole world is war weary, and I know that I certainly
>>> like war metaphors, but there is a fierce competition going on between
>>> Microsoft and the FOSS community, and it is a zero sum game.
>> This turns out not to be the case. Both Microsoft and the FOSS
>> community are expanding the market, and creating opportunities for
>> each other. Also, for Microsoft it's all about money, while for FOSS
>> it's about something more valuable. Microsoft makes billions of
>> dollars, and in strictly financial terms can be said to have created
>> even more billions of dollars of value for customers. FOSS lives on
>> donated time and rather little money, but creates trillions of dollars
>> of value. Or, if you don't want to set a value on lives saved,
>> incalculable value. Better than MS, in either case.
> I don't think there's any serious question that Microsoft is very threatened
> by any
> non-Microsoft platform. Microsoft has gotten rich by having a near-monopoly
> on the computing platform, and they have taken advantage of this unfairly
> years, e.g. by having useful but secret Windows facilities that only
> apps can use. The more people can run apps on desktop Linux or directly
> on the Web, the less valuable Microsoft's platform near-monopoly becomes.
No argument there.
> For a new kind of computer to appear, all over the world, in massive
> quantities, running a non-Microsoft platform, is one of Microsoft's worst
Look at my summary of the Liliputing.com article on ultra-low-cost
laptops on the Competition page on the OLPC Wiki. They list two dozen
products, with more Linux than Windows offerings.
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but
it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."--Winston Churchill
"The avalanche has begun. It is too late for the pebbles to
vote."--Kosh, Babylon 5
> If a certain subset of app developers start to say "Hey, we
> have a much bigger potential market for our software if we design it for
> Sugar/Linux than if we design it for Windows", Microsoft would be unhappy,
> proportional to the size of that subset and that market.
The FOSS community is paying attention, I can tell you.
> I'll bet that at least some corporate strategists at Microsoft are thinking
> although the putative subset for the OLPC would be just educational
Oh, no. They aren't that stupid. The war is about mind share. Whoever
gets the children now gets them for life. All of their future purchase
decisions ride on this. Once Linux becomes generally acceptable in
business, the superior and many times more powerful network effect of
Open Source and open standards will do the rest.
> over time there will be more demand for office software and other kinds of
> software, if the hardware gets distributed in large quantity. This is
> the way Microsoft has always thought, and if you look at it from their point
> of view, it makes a lot of sense.
In the same way that bloodshed makes sense to militarists.
> I agree that "zero-sum game" is greatly overstating the case. Some on each
> consider the other to be detracting, in various ways, but the whole field is
> indeed growing, rapidly.
The next billion users. That's what Google, eBay, Red Hat, and AMD are
supporting OLPC for, and what Microsoft and Intel fear, and are trying
to muscle in on.
I'm certain that those interested in market growth and software
freedom would come up with a lot more money if asked in the right way.
SugarLabs, among others, needs to do that.
> -- Dan
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay
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