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Re: Antitrust Alternative? Stop the Upgrade.
On Mon, 17 Nov 1997, Jordan Pollack wrote:
>The weakness in the argument for open competition for OS is that
>people and companies must protect their very large investment in
>appliances, like spreadsheets, wordprocessors, databases, cad programs, etc.
I don't think that this weakness is as damaging to the free software movement
as you seem to. Here's why:
If enough people are interested in providing a free OS, which is the equal of
anything so far developed by MS, surely it is possible for them to create
applications as well.
I for one have found it quite liberating to explore alternatives, not only to
MS operating systems, but to their Office suite of applications as well. Using
the combination of LaTeX/Emacs/pine/Gimp etc., I am more productive now than I
ever was using MS stuff.
Sure, those apps aren't for everyone, but the point is the same: if
independent and free-minded development communities can build OSs, they can
certainly build, and in fact do build, free applications.
I'm not suggesting that all software has to be free, only that if some
software is free, people ought to take advantage of it.
Finally, and this is the strongest point, if enough people started using free
OSs, I guarantee MS would port their applications to those OSs. They aren't
going to let any popular platforms go ``unpolluted'' with their applications.
The trick is to educate consumers, business owners, IT professionals that free
alternatives exist, that they work, and that there is a competitive advantage
to be gained by using them.