Simon Fell is working on an xmlStorageSystem clone. And of course we support that.
Prediction, if open source developers go it alone against Microsoft they'll flop over like a dead daisy. Makes for good headlines, lousy strategy. Inclusion inclusion inclusion.
When I read about open source militancy on Slashdot I laugh. It's not militant to post messages on a bulletin board. Creating software that makes users happy might be considered militant, but that's not exactly the word I'd use.
A first for me. On Monday I'm going to be interviewed on a conference call for investment bankers and venture capitalists about Microsoft HailStorm, Passport and .NET. Bear Stearns is hosting the event. If you're a financial person, send me an email and I'll make sure you get an invite.
I just did a rehearsal one-on-one with Chris Kwak who runs the show, and the question came up, will developers use Microsoft's .NET runtime and development tools. He seemed to think a lot of developers will. I don't think so. After battling with developers over freedom for much of the 90s, today, more than anything, we want independence from Microsoft. That's a big problem for them, don't underestimate how much developers make decisions based on freedom.
Another angle. What are developers? When Microsoft talks about support from developers, are they talking about people who could compete with Excel or MSIE? I don't think so. They don't even bother to lie about The Chinese Wall anymore. When I think of a developer, I think of someone who creates whole products that may in turn have their own developer communities. Microsoft does not support that view. That's one of the reasons Java got support from developers, and then, when Sun seemed to have the same attitude about developers as MS, the open source approach started getting serious support. Hey if you can't get paid to play, at least you can play the game for free. Neither Microsoft or Sun are willing to let a thousand flowers boom. So we keep looking for new ways to get what we want. That's what I have in common with all independent developers, not just open source independent developers. I don't want to be locked in any trunks or told what to do. That's one of my objections to the open source philosophy. They're too picky about who they work with. I have the opposite approach. I'll happily work with Microsoft, as I have in the past, but I know that when you start excluding people you lose power. That's where Microsoft is weak. But if you want to zig to their zag, you have to really do it, you can't fake it.
Here's another angle. In 1993, I can tell you from personal experience, everyone thought Bill Gates knew where the software industry was going. If you stood up and said "Some random person you've never heard of actually is going to define where the industry is going," everyone at Stewart's or Esther's would have laughed, what a silly idea, that's not how the world really works. But get this -- that was the right answer then, as it is now.
Yet another angle. The analysts seem to only be concerned about the antitrust trial because it could cause MS to be broken up. I think the impact of the guilty verdict is greater than people think. The culture in the US is basically law-abiding, with some exceptions, such as drug and sex laws. However, I don't think we are that relaxed, as a culture, about laws that restrain monopolists from destroying markets out of greed. We also understand that it's subjective, somewhat, but geez, these guys got caught red-handed after lying for years. Yes yes, Netscape was incompetent, but in destroying them MS was also destroying the hopes of developers. I doubt if many are going to willingly come back for more. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Yesterday I started working on a big-picture roadmap for XML storage, membership and other cool related stuff. It's a technical, economic and political document. It's not wussy. A declaration of independence from our Friends Up North. We can't get locked in the trunk with the rest of our friends, there's simply not enough room for comfort. We like lots of space.
Maybe the theme song for XSS should be Don't Fence Me In. A truly American song if there ever was one.
This reminds me of another song.
Joan Baez: "Yes I loved you dearly. And if you're offering me diamonds and rust, I've already paid."
On the Smart Tags list: "When we lose to Microsoft it's not only because they are hugely agressive, it's also because the rest of us are hugely passive."
From Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, via Adam Curry: "Hey you, get off of my cloud!"
Lance: "Who wants to be a subject when they can be a citizen?" Exactly.
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