[linux-elitists] Ethicc v. Pragmatics (was: Why haven't you switched to MacOS X yet?)

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed Jan 15 02:36:40 PST 2003

on Tue, Jan 14, 2003 at 11:24:34PM -0800, Alan DuBoff (aland@SoftOrchestra.com) wrote:
> On Tuesday 14 January 2003 13:45, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > However, there are some very clear successes:
> > the Zaurus, iPaq, and TiVo come to mind.
> ???? The Zaurus has been considered a flop for the most part, they had
> to give most of the units away that are deployed, and the actual sales
> have been small from what I've heard. 

Quite possible.  There was also the Agenda, which AFAIK disappeared
before it ever hit market, though I saw a few prototypes.

Then again, can you name a *successful* handheld?  The Newton started us
off down this track (I can still remember asking a cow-orker in 1994
"what the hell would you want one of *those* for", and was right, at the
time...).  Palm did OK for a while but it suffering badly now.  I'm not
sure what Handspring's up to these days.  Xerox's reargard action to
protect its copier monopoly by patenting handwriting certainly hasn't
helped Palm.  WinCE's been poorly received (and the machine I looked at
a few weeks ago was even less friendly than the Zaurus).  The Psion was
a useful palmtop system, but never really got off the ground.

The market and pircepoints are likely going to dictate that nothing but
GNU/Linux or Symbian make it in the long run.  Unit prices are too low
and margins are too small for a proprietary OS.  The real killer is
getting the right mix of interface (simple enough to use while walking
down the street...or driving, while talking on the phone, eating lunch,
and shaving (or applying makeup)...while at the same time extending into
_something more_ when you actually do have the personal bandwidth to
expend on the device.  Given that next year's model will have the
compute power and capacity of my mid-1990s desktop, hardware enhancement
will make a full-fledged OS more feasible over time.

Hardware markets are brutal, period.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Keep software free.         Oppose the CBDTPA.         Kill S.2048 dead.

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