[kwlug-disc] How Canonical makes money ...

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Sat May 15 23:43:08 EDT 2010

On Sat, May 15, 2010 at 11:58:18PM -0400, Bob Jonkman wrote:
> I don't understand the "Zing!"
> HTML *is* HTML, and CSS *is* CSS.  Any differences are errors in browser  
> implementation.

*bring* *bring* 


"Hello. I'm calling about the company website you designed for me."


"It's broken in Internet Explorer."

"Yes, I know. Internet Explorer has browser bugs that violate web

"But lots of people use Internet Explorer, and when they visit our
company's homepage they get a bad impression!"

"Tell Microsoft to fix their errors in browser implementation, then."

"... but I paid YOU to make me a good looking website!"

"I did make you a good looking website -- for all browsers that
implement web standards."

"You're right! Thank you for your enlightenment! I'm going to hire you
to design web pages for me in the future!"

Of course, this is an entirely fictitious conversation. But I think it
illustrates the point. 

There is a world in which what *ought* to be the case matches the
reality on the ground. I don't live in that world, and neither do
proprietary software vendors. 

I am not saying that I like the situation. It frustrates me greatly
when things that *ought* to work don't work properly. But I am often
in situations (say at work) where it is my job to make things work
even when they don't follow spec. Sometimes that involves reporting
bugs and pushing for advocacy (which are areas where free software
often seems more responsive). Sometimes that means putting up with the
dismal nature of an existence we never opted into. 

As William notes, in addition to quashing diversity there is the
factor that proprietary software companies are going to put resources
into supporting distros (such as Windows) where people are more
likely to pay money for support. 

Maybe that is why Canonical is doomed to wither away (but not without
the whining of millions of users who freeloaded off the distro but
don't have the aptitude or inclination to support it after Mark
Shuttleworth's deep pockets get shallower). One of Canonical's
founding principles is that the base operating system will always
remain free of charge. 
(All this, of course, ignores the fact that all (non-executable?)
specs have ambiguities that can be missed or exploited.) 

- Paul


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