Re: Working Within the System

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 08:35:43 MDT

On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 10:05:00AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Martin Ling wrote:
> >
> > On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 08:28:17AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > I bought SuSe on a CD that was part of a linux book, that retailed for
> > > $49.00. I bought it on remainder at a used book store for $15. A used
> > > dual processor server I just bought from a guy for $50 happened to have
> > > a Red Hat cd stuck in the drive (and he just moved out to Arizona, oh
> > > well ;) ), so you could say i got that for free. But I doubt that most
> > > people are as cheap as I am. Both are 'previous release' issues, and
> > > I've likewise seen Windows 3.1 and Win95 disks available for nothing or
> > > next to nothing in similar venues...Buying the latest release of an OS
> > > is not likely to be gotten for free or next to nothing.
> >
> > Yes it is. You can always download the latest version of RedHat, SuSE,
> > Mandrake, Debian, Slackware, and all the others I could come up with, or
> > obtain the CD for $2-3.
> The issue isn't downloads, its hardcopy, and I'd be very interested in
> finding sources of cds for 2-3 dollars. is a good US source. Most of the major
distributions can be had for $1.99

> 100M or more, especially if your local phone usage rates are not capped,
> is less than going out and buying the CD.

Not if you're in the UK :(

> Knowing cd production costs,
> they are losing money distributing at that rate. Moreover, the business
> models of companies like these are focused on making money on tech
> support. I doubt very much that half of the linux companies will be in
> business in a year or two.

Probably a lot will die off, but that's the free market :). The open source
business model is viable.

> > Corel is a rather unusual example (it includes some commercial software,
> > namely the personal version of WordPerfect).
> Yes, and Corel is also coming out with linux versions of all of its
> applications. It intends to give Microsoft a run for its money through a
> user freindly version of the linux platform and a full linux product
> line, so long as they don't run out of money first. Michael Cowpland,
> CEO fo Corel, seems to be afflicted with the gee-whiz virus, and even
> though they are short onf cash, went ahead and bought Kai, at the same
> time that they are finalizing their Borland/Inprise merger. He is doing
> little to improve existing applications, preferring a strategy of making
> applications pay for their own improvements. Ventura, for example, is in
> many ways a superior DTP application to Quark, PageMaker, and
> FrameMaker, but lacks some features that I consider to be of utmost
> importance to be truly wonderful (though few other DTP apps offer them
> either, and in the rare cases they do, they are expensive aftermarket
> plug-ins from third parties.)

Sun have produced StarOffice, which is fully compatible with MS Office
and free for personal non-commercial use. It's distributed with several
of the Linux distributions.

With a combination of StarOffice and, say, Mandrake or SuSE, I think Linux
is already a very viable desktop alternative to Windows for a lot more
people than many realise.

(I would add Corel to that list, but their distribution is currently a
little quirky - I look forward to the next version).

(my own systems, in case anyone's wondering, are custom and self-built
from source)


| Martin J. Ling              Tel: +44 (0)20 8863 2948   |
|      Fax: +44 (0)20 8248 4025   |
|  Mobile: +44 (0)7940 482675 |

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