Re: Article: Document or else

Subject: Re: Article: Document or else
From: Lou Quillio <public -at- quillio -dot- com>
To: Katie Kearns <katie -dot- kearns -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2006 23:05:11 -0400

Katie Kearns wrote:
> And the fine is a pretty big deal -- $2.5 million per *day*, backdated
> over a year! Well, that means it starts at over a billion dollars, just
> off the bat. Sounds something like highway robbery to me.

Sounds like the only way to get a multinational scofflaw's
attention. There's nobody to throw in jail, so fines are the only
enforcement device. Think you don't have a daddy? Yes you do, and
at a certain price you'll know it. The price depends on your
recalcitrance. Microsoft chose its fine.

> Saying, "Hey, we hate your format, we won't buy it" isn't the same thing
> at all. That's the way it's supposed to work, and has worked for a very
> long time.

Well ... you said "ridiculous" before, so I'll say "juvenile" now.
"Supposed to" has a lot of moving parts and Western markets are
hardly meritocratic now, less so historically.

In the end, to me, getting fined for flouting predation laws and
having your best lock-in technique rendered impractical are the same
thing. The people own the marketplace in which you profit, so they
make the rules. If you can figure out how to make a market without
the people, go forth and exploit it.

> Proprietary formats are not always about "locking people in".

I know what you mean in the abstract but, no, by now they are.

Imagine you had an idea for a whole new kind of atomic data store.
Completely new. Not a document format or spreadsheet format or
image format or project format, etc., etc., but something the world
doesn't yet know it needs, but does.

As you privately developed it and the apps that manipulate it, you'd
write the data files in something readable (maybe XML, at least some
kind of plaintext) so you could see how it works, get it right.
Only later would you "optimize" the file format. That optimization
involves a choice: (1) simple compression, which any user can undo,
or (2) inscrutable and private binary encoding.

In fact, all of the proprietary formats we live with today followed
that development path. Only toward the end did somebody encode
them. The choice to encode them arcanely *is the moment* when you
sought to lock users into your product.

But there aren't any newly needed data-store types on the desktop.
That's over -- which is good for consumers and good for meritocracy
and good for market-worshipers. Now we can truly see who makes the
best document manipulation app, for instance.

Yet there are a few very big tyrannosaurs to re-educate. The people
-- who form the market and express themselves through government --
will out. Just a question of how messy it'll be.


ps. We're just talkin' here. Not personal.

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Article: Document or else: From: Stuart Burnfield
Re: Article: Document or else: From: Lou Quillio
Re: Article: Document or else: From: Katie Kearns
Re: Article: Document or else: From: Lou Quillio
Re: Article: Document or else: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Article: Document or else: From: Katie Kearns

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