very, very, VERY long tunnel...
Posted Nov 14, 2008 21:52 UTC (Fri) by roelofs
Parent article: NLUUG/ELCE: Embedded devices and free software
He does see "some very dim light at the end of a very far tunnel" ...
Sadly, I think that's the most realistic statement he made. While we all know about the benefits of the fully open-source model, the value proposition for hardware vendors will have to be demonstrated in a very visible way before they'll switch from their current business model--which involves relatively rapid, relatively minor iterations on the hardware, both to track the cheapest components and also to make secondary manufacturers and end users feel like they have to keep buying new hardware. Without a very public, very popular trailblazer kicking sand in their faces and showing real benefits of the same-hardware, software-centric FLOSS approach, they'll continue to focus on the costs, which Harald sort of glossed over. (Specifically, the time and engineering costs of working with the community; the IT costs of poking holes in their firewalls and setting up external servers; the legal costs of covering their horribly conservative asses; the competitive costs of telegraphing their plans to competitors; etc.)
I'd also point out that, if it didn't happen in the relatively golden period we just experienced, there's no way in hell it's going to happen in the current/coming economic environment. "Experimental" projects like a move to open source are always the first to get whacked, but it won't stop with a mere shutdown of the projects; there will be round after round of layoffs and all manner of associated ugliness to come.
Not that I'm pessimistic or anything. ;-)
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