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Article:
  Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution
Subject:   Thank you! Now if only...
Date:   2002-12-12 21:03:45
From:   anonymous2
you could convince the RIAA and MPAA members and all the congressional representatives that what you say is literally true.


What you say is, in a way self-evident. You only have to look at the history of the Micro software industry to see that. There were hundreds of companies that tried to limit copying by various copy protection methods.


The only company that survived and prospered was Microsoft which, until recently, paid little or no attention to casual copying.


It makes no sense to me to refer to someone who can only afford to own a program by copying it from someone else, as a pirate. No sale would have been made to begin with. But your program gets better distribution- and perhaps you keep a competitor from prospering in a market which you cannot afford to service because it simply would not pay.


Just ask all those companies MS put out of business by bundling an inferior work-alike with the operating system. It cost them money to develop every one of those programs, or buy them, but they made that and more back by ensuring that their operating system was the winner in the distribution wars. That was creative marketing and licensing agreements more than anything else.


Now that Linux is threatening, MS is suddenly scared to death that somebody somewhere is running a copy of Windows that they don't make money off of.


So they proceed to piss off existing customers and scare away possible new ones with draconian licensing agreements and audits that make Linux look all the more attractive.


That brings up a corollary to your points which is: GOOD ENOUGH WILL WIN OUT OVER BETTER IF IT'S CHEAPER, MORE CONVENIENT AND SIMPLER TO USE.


Microsoft won their crown by making it possible for the average person to use a computer. They simplified all that complexity and made it as simple as point and click. Now they are making things difficult and complicated for their corporate customers and the seams in their software are showing as viruses and exploits of every shape and kind proliferate freely over the net.


Now Linux shows up and has better security, is mostly free, or at least very cheap, and is making great progress at simplifying that computer interface and hiding all that complexity. It's already good enough for many people and that number grows every day, and those who do adopt it, proselytize to the unconverted.


It's already demonstrably cheaper, no matter how many questionable TCO studies MS funds, so how long before Linux just becomes "good enough" for everyone?


When it does, all of Microsoft's riches will not be able to recover their lost monopoly.


THAT's why Linux will win the game. They will be "good enough" for most and, eventually, for everyone. Good enough for most is quite enough to kill a company like MS though.


Those recording and movie companies had better watch out. No lawyer can sue enough people to change human nature.


As long as the commercial distribution network works WITH their customers they will willingly pay the price, but if they muck it up enough, people will go elsewhere for their entertainment.

Cheers,


Frank