Call to Vendors 
Author Message
 Call to Vendors

For a long time now, I've been of the opinion that there is no money to be
made in VM development.  Squeak gives you one for free and you can get any
number of them for free in the Java world.  So, vendors in the Smalltalk
community are only kidding themselves if they think that fine tuning the
garbage collector is going to yield any increases revenue.  In fact, most of
the vendors probably already sense this and only spend time on such core
issues as absolutely necessary.

The real dollars are in higher level abstractions.  Nobody buys a VM.  They
buy an environment because it has superior legacy integration, or a better
Windows interface, or 100% portablity, etc, etc, etc.  Performance only
comes into the equation when it's bad.  Sometimes it's difficult for vendors
to realize this because they don't track the profitability of the VM and
core libraries separate from other parts of their product.'s my point and my challenge...can the vendors recognize these
facts and move to a common, portable open source platform and focus their
energies on their own specialties?  I doubt it, but wouldn't it be nice.  It
seems to me that Squeak would be a natural choice given that it has a good
start and a strong following.



Wed, 18 Jun 1902 08:00:00 GMT  
 Call to Vendors

>The problem is not to recognize these facts; they are obvious.

If these facts are obvious then they need to be acted on.

>The problem is
>to develop a transitional business model which keeps the vendor in business
>while they transition their business.

I agree.  It's tough, but these days, business models need to be almost
constantly re-evaluated.  Usually, by the time a company figures out that
it's business model isn't working, it's too late.

> If you can tell me how to maintain or
>even increase ObjectShare's revenue while we make VisualWorks open source,
>tell me how to transition to at least a growing business after the
>then I will happily support making VisualWorks' VM open source.

I don't have the answers...merely the questions  :-).  Perhaps the parceling
ability could allow you to open up the VM and still charge for the parcel
add-ons and some of the tools that are currently included with the VM.  But
opening up source code isn't a silver bullet either.  More important than
the open source technology is the community around it.

>In the mean
>time we'll continue to attempt to maintain or increase VisualWorks revenue
>adding value such as the plug-in and OpenTalk, NameSpaces, ODBC, Linux
>platform(s), by working closely with a growing number of partners who bring
>their own value, to increase the visibility and popularity of the system
via the
>non-commercial version, and so on.

These are great things and I think their value proposition is that much
better when built upon and open source platform.


>But if you expect the vendors to simply give away what they have on the
>that such a move will increase revenue in some unspecified way at some
>unspecified time in the future then you're in for a disappointment from all
>those vendors with the deepest pockets. [And I doubt even the rich one is
>unlikely to make a move any time soon.]

I have no such expectations.  :-)

History tells us that the open standard ultimately beats the closed
proprietary one.  This has mostly to do with cheap availability and
mind-share.  I think VM technology will be no different in this regard.

I actually don't think opening up the VisualWorks VM is a good idea
(although ObjectShare is probably the best positioned of any of the vendors
to pull it off).  I think there are better and more practical alternatives.

If the VisualWorks integration and development tools and the Dolphin Win32
interfaces were both available on the same, open source, Smalltalk-80
implementation, I am quite sure I'd be a customer of both and probably be
willing to pay more than their current combined price (the whole is worth
more than the sum of the parts).

These are only my opinions based largely on my observations as an outsider.
And being an armchair CEO is easy.  I have a great amount of respect for the
VisualWorks product and think you guys have made some great achievements
with it over the years.

- Stephen

Wed, 18 Jun 1902 08:00:00 GMT  
 [ 2 post ] 

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