[linux-audio-user] Re: Is the Linux desktop really here?

John Bleichert syborg at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 10 13:43:41 EST 2003

Mark Knecht wrote:
> On Wed, 2003-12-10 at 10:13, Juhana Sadeharju wrote:
>>[ someone ]
>>>As someone who runs a business, why would I want to pay someone $600 to
>>>fix 10 documents when I can buy Microsoft's tools for $300 and have
>>>guaranteed compatibility? That's a tough sell...
>>Hello. We should have a law which says the file formats should be
>>open formats. People who write and make documents should have a vendor
>>independent access to the documents.
>>At meanwhile, why one should be able to read Word and Excel documents
>>in Linux? One can always ask clients to print to the good old paper
>>or to an image file.
> Juhana,
>    We should have a law? That's a big step. It's more likely to end up
> looking like DRM than something that opens word processing formats to
> the world...
>    But, really, why should we have a law at all? It's my business to
> buy, use and get stuck inside a proprietary format that I cannot get out
> of, isn't it?
>    Beyond that, if my vendors and customers have chosen to be stuck in
> this proprietary format, and if I want to do business with them, then I
> have to use this proprietary format. Isn't that our business and not
> yours or our respective governments? (Where do you live BTW?)

While in general I agree with you, the situation changes when an entity 
or file format reaches a 95% market saturation rate. At this point it 
should become a utility and should therefore be transparent to all users.

Capitalism succeeds in bringing products to light but it fails once they 
own the market. And no I'm not a socialist, I'm a realist.

>    I don't think we need a law. Far from it. A lot of good it would do
> to have the U.S., France and Germany arguing about what format to
> choose! ;-)
>    Better to let the market decide. I see the cost of M$ Office and
> Crossover Office as a small price to pay, or M$ Office and Windows XP
> even, vs. getting a bunch of legislators involved and getting a decision
> on this in 2010. By the time there is a law the world will have moved on
> making the lay ;-)

Market forces are irrelevant when a monopolist owns 95% of the market. 
Agreed about the length of time it would take to litigate/legislate such 
a matter.

>    I doubt this argument means a hill of beans to someone sitting at
> home, but this is the way business works. You make your choices and you
> get the rewards or pay the consequences.

There are no choices to make, even now. That's why capitalism fails 
where a monpoly is concerned. The toothless agreement MS made with the 
US last year should have been thrown in the trash, and their (MS's) file 
formats opened and frozen in time *or* held open (by mandate) for e.g. 
10 years.

Microsoft has given up their right to rely and depend upon market forces 
and to run unfettered. Their office suite is now a utility and should be 
treated as such. Of course, the Bush Administration is a wholly-owned 
subsidiary of corporate America, and is *not* interested in messing with 
the status quo, so nothing will change in the forseeable future.

Adam Smith never meant for 1 corporation to to own 95% of a planetary 
market, surely.

Off-topic, but interesting :)

> Cheers,
> Mark  


// John Bleichert
// syborg at earthlink.net

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