29 May 2005

Ain't that a scream?

I saw a little van on the freeway last night, labelled Scream Savers. Cute, I thought, and went browsing today.

Much to my amusement, Scream Savers currently only supports computers using one of the Microsoft Windows operating systems. Perhaps even more revealingly, they don’t seem to support OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, ClamAV, and a whole host of common FOSS applications.

The take-home lesson, of course, is that FOSS packages evidently don’t support a profitable level of discontent. How sad.

I’m betting from this specific absence that these guys regard FOSS projects in general as tools of the Devil, a mortal business enemy with whom they are locked in struggle. This is doubly sad from their perspective, because sooner or later, they’re going to lose, and doubly sad from ours because their business is predicated on such a high default level of user discontent, they’re not always going to be around to provide pay-for hand-holding to those people who truly benefit from it when discontent levels fall. They’ll go the way of the dinosaurs, and just as suddenly.

Now, before anybody gets their knickers in a twist over the industry and income (AUD$148 per PC per year + $17 per site + $110/hr after the first hour, I think I need to bump my rates) which that MS-Windows fallout represents, I suggest reading "The Broken Window Fallacy" first.

The problem from our perspective is that they have a strong vested interest in maintaining the broken status quo. Can you think of a way of encourage people in their position to transition a more sustainable business model involving FOSS?

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