Software Costs Money
Tuesday, April 18, 1995 by Dave Winer.
The unannounced but very visible CyberDog inspired Gary Pearce, email@example.com, a longtime UK Mac developer and longtime email friend, to write:
"CyberDog is the most open product Apple will have ever shipped. It will probably be one of the biggest adverts for OpenDoc because it will be the only useful shipping app on day one.
"This will be the app to which you will be able to add things. Sure they will ship it as a full set of working parts. They have to do that. The real opportunity for third parties will be the provision of replacement parts that really work, or that add functionality.
"The analogy I would draw is cars. Ford couldn't ship a car that wasn't complete, but third parties can supply replacement engine parts, superchargers, turbochargers etc. Others can supply better tyres, wheels, trim or seats. And hey, after a while Ford wises up and notes that everyone is fitting Shelby bits. They cut a deal with Shelby and do the Shelby Mustang or whatever.
"That is what will happen with CyberDog. It's the win-win deal you are looking for. Especially as the version they will probably ship might have wheels but maybe not tyres. They will ship CyberPup, third parties will provide the pieces to make it a fully fledged dog.
My 10 pence worth. I would try and get a bit closer to this one if I were you."
Gary, first, I don't dispute the need to ship CyberDog with a set of sample parts. If I were doing it I'd do the same. Totally reasonable. Not controversial. But...
No matter how smart the technology is, you can't develop software without money. I already have a lot of my own riding on Apple-promoted standards. I haven't gotten a return on that investment yet. I'm determined to not invest any more of my own money in that direction (time is another story). Maybe I'm being too cautious, but I figure if I can't find partners for a project, I'm going to invest in other directions where I *can* find co-investors.
Instead of me watching Apple more closely, they should be paying more attention to what I've been saying, and act. I'm out there, doing exactly the kind of development they should want.
Basic fact of the universe: software costs money.
You can't make software just from inspiration. It requires people, who deserve to be paid, they actually insist on it. And money simply isn't flowing into Apple-promoted standards anymore.
Even so, CyberDog sounds cool! If the economics were right, I'd probably be interested. If they got me to invest in that direction I'd probably be totally shameless in promoting it. But I won't invest without other investors.
To be a total broken wheel -- if Apple is serious about OpenDoc, they should tweak the economics of the platform, visibly withdraw from markets they can't cover, invest in a few developers (so they lose too if they blow it) and maybe the money will come back. To really nail it -- get Quark and Netscape to adopt OpenDoc as their integration API.
Nothing like a good discussion with Apple to get the day going!
I'm in development mode, working on FTP uploads, I've been arguing with the operating system a lot the last few days. It works, but man it's cranky!
Looking at the new Internet Config standard, the one that coordinates the flow between Internet-aware apps on the Mac. Looks good. I'll support it. I'm looking for a pointer to Internet Config docs on the web. Can anyone help?
The current issue of MacWEEK has an editorial, presumably written by firstname.lastname@example.org. An excerpt:
"[Dave Nagel] is a fierce competitor who should give Microsoft Corp. a few sleepless nights. When he discusses his ideas for what a future operating system should do for users, he is light years ahead of his counterparts in Redmond. And now he has the organization to implement those plans.".
I wonder what that opinion is based on? I've heard a half-dozen Microsoft guys talk very intelligently about operating systems. Brad Silverberg, Nathan Myrrhvold, Bob Frankston, Bill Gates, Roger Heinen, Dave Cutler, Jim Allchin, even Mike Maples. I think I left a few people out. At least one of those guys is the ultimate software industry carnivore.
Mark, share with us! What is that opinion based on? I'd love to hear more.
Aside from that, I think operating system technology matters less these days than networking strategy. Or maybe it's the same thing?
I love it! Infoworld got a great story, is following it, covering it from lots of angles, and being entertaining, informative and insightful at the same time.
Nicholoas Petreley is leading the parade. Check out "Poultry in Motion," page 108 in the 4/17/95 Infoworld. Who is the poultry? Microsoft. What kind of poultry? Chicken! What's the egg? Windows 95. [Or maybe it's a turkey? Hmmm.]
It's a very funny piece about how Microsoft is dealing with resource problems and multithreading and the press in the Windows 95 beta process. The same story is covered from another angle on page 6, "Win95 beta far from frozen."
We're learning something new about flow of technology. And Infoworld is helping. Thank you.
The insight is that we had greater-than-reasonable expectations for Microsoft. As their market became larger, they got handcuffed.
The world, especially the reporters, kept demanding new, greater and deeper system software, or so Microsoft perceived. But it's very hard to turn a huge market like Windows into an incubator for new system software. Microsoft is struggling. They will certainly have to remove pieces of Win95 to get it out the door. How large are the pieces? Maybe very large.
PS: Also noticed in the same issue of Infoworld, page 75, an ad for Norton Utilities for Win95. Symantec says that the utilities market for Windows 95 already exists. Smart!
PPS: With recent publicity for the DaveNet website, the number of requests for new additions to the mailing list is soaring. Sorry to say, I can't add all the names to the list. It would change its character of DaveNet substantially, and I'm not ready for that yet. If you want to be on the mailing list, send email, please, but tell me something about yourself. I know most of the people on the DaveNet list, and that's important to me. I'm not comfortable adding total strangers to the list. Please don't ask me why! I haven't figured it out yet.