[Linux-aus] Benefits (was: M$ buys off SA)

Craig Turner craig at craigturner.id.au
Tue Jul 15 17:41:02 UTC 2003


> Craig,
>> I understand that this doesn't quite achieve the goal of many within
>> the OSS movement(s), but I think this scores more in OSS's favour than
>> the ISC's, and how can the ISC argue against it?
> <devils advocacy>
> Opening up the format allows people to include extra features into the
> format thereby defeatin the whole purpose of open formats. Only a
> format controlled solely by Microsoft/Sun/Jesus/Mohammed can combat
> this type of creep.
> </>

Good example of a counter argument. Of course we all know that MS is one of
the worst offenders for 'extending' open standards.

I see where you are going, but I certainly think its no where near as
sustainable as their arguments against opening their source code.

Think about people who are not familiar with the OSS concept. OSS converts
should realise that for many people OSS DOES appear to be a bit counter-
inuitive at first...why should someone expose potential trade secrets? Why
should they open their software to exploitation?

People will compare it to other more traditional IP issues and business
models. They will be comparing apples with oranges, but they won't be aware
of it.

So when MS says 'We don't want to open our source because of
hackers...<insert more MS arguments here>' Joe Average nods his heads and
thinks, that makes sense.

We know differently, but we don't have as much PR capability to reach Joe
Average...who are these various individuals and groups that tell him that a
model he doesn't yet understand (nor really wants to) is better than what a
big 'respectable' company is telling him. He doesn't immediately trust our
argument because its counter inuitive to him.

But when you present it to Joe Average as 'Why should Microsoft force you
to close YOUR documents.', thats more understandable. When we say 'aren't
you sick of reformating your older documents, because MS upgrades keep
breaking backwards compatability?' He understands because he HAS
experienced that sort of thing.

When we say, Why can't Auntie Mary using AmiPro (is it still around?) read
your documents written in Word without you both jumping through hoops. The
they understand.

(or more significantly for this argument) Why is the state department of
health not easily send documents to the national department of health
because they are using software produced by different producers (or even
more ironic, software produced by the same company by different versions!)

Suddenly Open Formats makes sense, and they are begining to get closer to
understanding OSS, without 'us' making a direct confontation with closed
source software.

Its a more sustainable argument to present to a beauracracy, because this
is their headache as much as costs. Interoperability and accessibility.

Its a fight that is easier to win.


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