It might be of interest to some advogato readers (let's fill
diary entries a little bit ;-). As I said in a previous
message in the
thread, I would love to see what is the current employment
shrink wrap vs custom software + support, and money making
David answered he would love to see it too. Any information?
From: Laurent Guerby <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Why open source is winning
Date: 21 Oct 2000 13:07:51 +0200
Laurent Guerby <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
It looks like to me that you're reducing the "software
industry" to the "shrink wrap proprietary software
David Masterson <email@example.com> writes:
Is there any other? :-)
Well, none of the people I graduated with (software
in the shrink wrap industry, they all work
software for big projects, or as contractors inside various
also developping/maintaining custom software for one client.
companies and people are making big money, and there's no
work to do!
It might be an Europe vs US way of doing software.
I would say you're missing all the one customized software
customer/problem industry [...]
I mentioned this later in my message as "contract"
programming (ie. first
user pays development costs). Its not an unreasonable
model, but it does
But you seem to imply again that all software is "sellable"
to the masses
(shrink wrap), and that's just not true. I see a large
"first user pays development costs" and no other user ever
But, of course, you're thinking like a bank employee with no
Just to clarify what I do, I work on financial equity and
derivative software, if you think there's no competition for
or otherwise in this market, I guess you don't know it at
Now think about it from the point of view of the bank. What
would the bank think of making *ALL* of the software that
you develop "open
source"? Can other banks now become more competitive with
your bank because
they pick up and use your software? Remember these other
banks are not
obligated to contribute to the development of the software,
so they would be
making use of your software for "free" (monetarily
I think you're completely misunderstanding the "open source"
scheme. You're NEVER obliged to release to the community
customization as long as you don't distribute binaries to
outside your organization (*). There are custom ports of GCC
used by only one company, and they don't have to release it
and this is perfectly fine with the FSF. The software I work
not intended at all for use outside our company, and we even
software protection and authorization scheme to make sure it
(*) There is some debate on how to have multi company
work on "unreleased" GPL software, but that's a bit special.
On the other hand, if your software is *not* released as
source", does that mean that all those other banks have to
duplicating your efforts? Isn't that wasteful?
Yes of course all other banks in this market are duplicating
efforts, this is where the competition is! The software
nearly all of the bank derivative product know-how, that's
secret as much as possible. The model is that if you want to
other banks are doing, you have to pay to get their
employees work for
you and bring you their knowledge. There are companies
kind of software (proprietary way, and may be open source
with much less advanced functionalities (often with a plugin
so that banks can put their know-how in).
Perhaps it would be a win-win if your bank sold the software
other banks (oh, but then you're into a "proprietary"
See RISK magazine if you're interested in learning what's
going on in
My employer decided to use an open source tool and pay for
support (not cheap!) a few years ago for this critical piece
software and this was an informed move. They hired me in
I know very well the technology since I worked on it, and
are available. In case of emergency I'm even able to fix
(we have very hard requirements on getting things to work
quickly). They can't get that level of insurance if they
choose to use
proprietary software since the selling company is the only
source access (monopoly), if you piss them off and have a
you're dead, no alternative, no incentive to fix things we
(except may be the low one to one 1/N with a big N since
selling to the masses). To put it otherwise, vendor lock-in
For other custom software developed in my bank where
proprietary tools are used, my coworkers have to make sure
together, and sometimes their vendors have conflicting
interest, I can
tell you that ends up being very costly and unsatisfying.
I guess this experience applies to other industries, a lot
businesses today are heavily depending on combining and
software for their own unique purpose. If your business
you'll end up being very interested to buy skills to do even
customization, and in this way, open source is very
it is ... the only option. Sometimes you might even end up
in a slight way with what your original vendor software
does, and you
just can't live with a proprietary vendor.
I firmly believe that the software market needs this kind of
competition, and I do not see it at all as putting every
engineer out of business, well on the contrary! But I can
imagine that people with different experience think
PS: I didn't notice your email at first, but your company is
a competing product to the free software we use (GNAT, an
compiler). I haven't tried yet to compile our software
Rational Ada compiler, but I'll do it one of these days, as
code portability at least ;-).
Laurent Guerby <firstname.lastname@example.org>