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Re: Your Microsoft Alternative to Antitrust

  At 07:54 PM 11/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
  >>        The idea of defeating monopoly by making an equal or superior
  >>substitute product available at zero cost to the public is certainly an
  >>appealing one.  But can a group of users really be found that would put up
  >>the development money and then give away the fruits of its investment?  None
  >>of the software companies would have an incentive to do so nor would, say,
  >>the general consumer (the home user and the smaller businessman).
  >A group has already been founded, assembled, and been busy at work for 10 plus
  >years. Have you ever heard of the free Unix movement: GNU
  Quality free operating systems can be great  alternatives. In addition to
  the fantastic Linux and BSD products there are also commercial companies
  that do believe there can be a profit in giving away a product. Although
  they may charge for other software, there is a lot of good will to be earned
  with a free offering.
  For instance there is Caldera, which in addition to a Linux product also
  give OpenDos (DR-DOS) away to private parties. There is also
  BEos which gives the power Mac user a free alternative (grab it
  fast it may not last forever), and  Eudora which gives away mail programs
  such as the one I'm using in the hope of attracting customers to
  their commercial products.
  The big difference between them and Microsoft is that they give away a 
  product for the benefit of consumers just so that the consumer can have
   a choice. It is unlikely that they have any expectations of becoming a
   monopoly and it is unlikely they will ever do so.
  However they are helping  the individual while trying to make
  a profit from the business sector. I for one am thrilled there are 
  companies that forego some of their potential profit so that the
  consumer does not become trapped by Monolithic profit machines.
  They show that a company can be viable and still really try to
  help the consumer avoid the MS trap.
  And to the Linux and BSD programmers who have NO hope of a 
  profit yet continue to improve the products using their own time
  and resources, my sentiment is well beyond thanks.
  All of these companies and individuals may become our best
  alternative to the Microsoft trap.
  Ken Hamlett