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Rant Mode Equals One: Shhh--We're Winning - page 2

Honesty: Hallmark of the Revolution

  • March 12, 2000
  • By Paul Ferris

Part of what's going on here involves the realization that the world has suddenly changed for proprietary vendors. In the past a vendor would want to specify what hardware, operating systems, software and even applications would be involved in a sale.

Today, if you want to be successful you need to realize that Internet culture is different. Today, you will work across the vast differences of the Internet, with people you've never met, with technology that's not necessarily in your control, with a time schedule that's definitely out of your control.

If you have a plan that involves scoping a customers' needs, creating a proprietary product, and then springing it upon those people on your own time schedule, you're going to be late--and worse, they're not going to trust you when you get there.

That's the big deal about Open Source and the Internet. It's too important, and both companies and countries are relying too much upon what's happening, to find out that their software phones home to a proprietary vendor in another country with private information. They're going to want to know what's under that hood, and they're going to want to know who's got the keys to their encryption subsystems.

The part that the folks in Redmond need to understand today is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The revolution is quietly changing, via word of mouth, the minds of everyone it touches. The change is permanent, and empowering, and engaging. The Open Source revolution is putting the fun back into computing, and putting the people at the console in charge of their destinies. It's not just the question of not wanting Microsoft software. It's now a point of not needing it as well.

I predict the battle will continue to rage anyway. Microsoft is still making an incredible killing on its software products at the PC end.

Right now, that is.

The server battle--and especially the Internet server battle--is blatantly and painfully lost. Microsoft will continue to spend marketing dollars on the Internet space and, much to its dismay, continue to lose market share at unbelievable speed. The Apache Web Server product will be the first Open Source item that truly proves that the Cathedral style of software development is deader than a doornail.

Microsoft carefully laid out its plans, as always, and meticulously executed its marketing strategies. The company hoped to create a proprietary platform for Web servers that would force people to use Internet Explorer and, therefore, force people to use Internet Information Server, which in turn would force them to use Windows NT, now Windows 2000.

Microsoft executed misleading benchmarks and marketing strategies that involved deceptive market share figures. It played its usual tricks, in other words.

Somewhere between here and the truth of the Internet, the plan went sour. Somehow, today, it's lost the battle, and the marketers are scratching their heads. The quiet revolution is in full swing.

Shhhhhh--I must whisper--we're winning.

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