Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why aren't Linux based products successful?

A discussion broke out regarding Linux based products. There are very limited Linux design houses out there that can integrate a complete solution in to a product, and they are going out of business faster than they are being started up.

Why, though?

Take the most recent Linux hit, the Asus EeePC as an example. Asus employed a Linux design house to do system integration for them. The first stage seems successful, gaining traction in the market. What will happen next?

Because everything would be open source, the design house will have to release all the source code to the public. What may happen next, in nearly all previous cases, would be that the product owner would think that they could use a couple of engineers and maintain the software themselves, and so they terminated the 3rd party contract with the design house.

The design house didn't earn enough money to maintain their operation and went out of business. The product owner did not fund proper engineering resource to the project and their software were unable to improve and grow over time and thus the product failed and dropped out of market after a few months time.

I'm not saying the same thing is happening at the Asus EeePC. It might, though, and if someone from Asus sees this message, do please honor the value of your Linux design house and keep them on the job for as long as the product still rolls out, and remember to pay them generously for making the product actually work.

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