Chuck Shotton's Logic Faults
Things that make sense to me (and maybe only me).

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Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Stopping the Sniper
I was chatting with a friend this afternoon when an interesting meeting of minds happened. We were on the subject of the Washington sniper when he started a sentence with "If I was a witness to one of those shootings..." and I finished with "... I'd run after the guy as hard as I could." We both agreed that the same sentiment that kept a plane full of hijacked passengers from becoming another guided missile aimed at the Capitol should apply to those near any of the 13 shootings in the DC area. Why aren't people motivated to run down this lone gunman when whole plane loads of passengers wouldn't hesitate for an instant to do the same thing to a hijacker?

And while we're on the subject, here's my $.02 on the roadblocks the police keep trying to set up after the fact. Rather than spend 5 or 10 minutes of precious time trying to use police to close interstate on-ramps, etc., why not simply broadcast to all drivers via the radio they're probably already listening to to simply stop driving, put their cars in park, and wait for further instructions? The authorities could shut down every road in the area in a matter of seconds if they adopted this approach, rather than tens of minutes it takes now. Just wondering...
6:45:44 PM    comment [] 

Mystery Image
One of the kids dragged this in this afternoon. Every kid has probably played with one at one time or another. Anyone care to guess what it is? (Note, it's 60x normal size. Answer tomorrow.)

6:38:14 PM    comment [] 

Don Park: "What I am afraid of is the erosion in the sense of value for software. If OSAF succeeds, consumers will have access to a wide array of high quality software for free. Most likely, every PC will start to ship with them preloaded. Every time a new OSAF product ships, a market segment will dies. OSAF paints a picture of the future where consumers are expected to pay for contents and services, but software is free."

The flaws in Don's argument are manifold. The biggest is that OSAF kills market segments. All OSAF does is introduce a new competitor into the marketplace who happens to have a different source of funding their development activities. The capital requirements are the same for development, regardless of whether they are amortized in the retail cost of the product or subsidized by donations to a non-profit organization. Capital flows out of the general economy into the pockets of the developers.

It's a safe bet that OSAF will not provide the same level of customer support, documentation, or other amenities that come with buying commercial software. Their economic model won't allow it, not to mention the fact that open source software generally substantiates the "no documentation, no support" contention. So why get your panties bunched up over this? The short answer is you shouldn't, because all we're doing is seeing the introduction of yet another competitor. This one has chosen to compete at a very low price point and very likely with limited support and service.

And what's the worst thing that happens? Huge corporations that make owners and shareholders rich will cease to be a viable economic model and lightweight coops of engineers and product specialists will become the norm. The creators of the IP still get compensated either way. Everyone should be glad that someone with a philanthropic bent is actually trying to address one of the most fundamental needs in desktop software -- one that has been woefully underaddressed by the market because everyone perceives it as a commodity. [Scripting News]
8:17:14 AM    comment [] 

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