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"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.
Sat, 17 Feb 2001 15:54:05 -0800
text/plain (132 lines)
From: Bob Leif
To: Prof. Michael Feldman et al.

"Allchin said he's concerned that the open-source business model could
stifle initiative in the computer industry."

I might agree on the "Free Software" model. However, Microsoft is vulnerable
to open-source, which is the next step in the evolution of commercial
software development. As I have published, open-source provides significant
benefits to the vendor:

Benefits to the Vendors:
1. The customer already has, by custom, the Ada specifications, which often
include the private section. Together, these can provide significant insight
into the design and organization of the packages. Therefore, significant
information concerning the design has already been released to the customer.

2. Part of the vendor's responsibility for usability is transferred to the
customer, who can review the contents of the packages and can create and
perform white box (source code based) tests.

3. The customer will review the packages.
a) which will often result in an improvement in the documentation and/or
design in response to a request for an explanation of part of the source,
b) discovery of errors and suggestions on how to fix the problem,
c) or better yet, the customer supplies a patch to fix the problem.

4. Changes in compiler library formats will not require the developers to
recompile their packages.
a) The difficulty of managing compiled Ada '83 libraries was one of the main
sources of the negative image of Ada.
b) Source is relatively compact compared with compiled libraries and can be
shipped via the Internet.

5. The open source requirement protects against the copying of libraries.
Visual or computer comparison of two libraries supplied as open source
should permit detection of common elements. Effective copyright protection
requires that competitors publish their sources. Competitors who keep their
sources secret will have a very significant competitive disadvantage against
those who provide open source.

R. C. Leif, “SIGAda ‘98, Workshop: How do We Expedite the Commercial Use of
Ada?.” Ada letters XIX, No 1 pp. 28-39 (1999).

If "Linux is now capturing a 27% market share in installed units of servers
OSes", what would happen if an equivalent highly reliable, efficient Ada
product competed in this market?

Actually, Microsoft has never used the honest truth as its defense against
the antitrust. Its competitors have been technologically stupid and, except
for Sun, have done more to assure Microsoft's dominance than Microsoft! If
any one of Microsoft's competitors had used Ada, they could have developed a
reliable, well designed product, which would have vanquished Microsoft in
the market place. As has been demonstrated by the Java craze, Sun has
remarkably good marketing ability.
-----Original Message-----
From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Michael Feldman
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 2:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: microsoft lobbies gov't to control open source!

[said Jim Hopper]
>   Just when you thought MS couldnt do anything more outrageous they do
> ...
>    2/14/01 4:57 PM
>    Source:Bloomberg News
>    Redmond, Washington, Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp.'s
> Windows operating-system chief, Jim Allchin, says that freely
> distributed software code
>    such as rival Linux could stifle innovation and that legislators
> need to understand the threat.
>    The result will be the demise of both intellectual property rights
> and the incentive to spend on research and development, he said
> yesterday, after the
>    company previewed its latest version of Windows. Microsoft has told
> U.S. lawmakers of its concern while discussing protection of
> intellectual property
>    rights.

This is a bit off-topic for Ada, but...

There is no limit to Microsoft's arrogance. The same article discusses
Microsoft's $135 million investment in Corel (!) and mentions that Corel
has stopped being a contributor to Linux development. Linux is now
capturing a 27% market share in installed units of servers OSes.
No wonder Microsoft is worried.

BTW - I did hear on the radio yesterday that the US Justice Dept
is looking at the antitrust implications of M$'s big purchase of
Corel stock. Looks like even with George W. and John Ashcroft in
power, they can still recognize a company trying to buy up a

  * * * * *

GNAT fans will just love this quote from the article:


Allchin said he's concerned that the open-source business model could
stifle initiative in the computer industry.

''I'm an American, I believe in the American Way,'' he said. ''I worry
if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done
enough education of policy makers to understand the threat.''


  * * * * *

So now open-source folks are un-American, eh? Well, after all,
Linux was invented by some *&^% foreigner, wasn't it? He was
even rumored to be <gasp> Scandinavian! Isn't that the part of the
world where all the dirty movies come from? No wonder they're
out to undermine the American Way!

Proud as ever to be an unpatriotic spineless tekkie pinko,

I remain yours faithfully,

Mike Feldman