Kindle Fire as the catalyst, kindle book deals

First, for your Kindle, some kindle book deals courtesy the Discounted Books Thread -

The Marrying Kind by Sharon Ihle. Price: $1. Genre: Historical Romance. Rated 5 stars on 5 reviews. 517 kb in size.

Don’t Tell by Karen Rose. Price: $1.99. Genre: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Fiction. Rated 4.5 stars on 69 reviews. 512 pages.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Price: $3.19. Genre: Literary Fiction, A Tale of Loss and Recovery. Rated 4 stars on 446 reviews. 368 pages.

Chicago Lightning: The Collected Nathan Heller Short Stories by Max Allan Collins. Price: $2.99. Genre: Hard-Boiled, Mystery Series, Thriller. 398 pages.

Diagnosis Death by Richard Mabry MD. Price: $2.99. Genre: Medical Thriller, Contemporary Fiction, Faith. Rated 4.5 stars on 17 reviews. 288 pages.

From outside the Kindle Store -

  1. Lilith by Jack L. Chalker. You will need to find the book on that page and then use this code: 9991439. Found via MobileRead.
  2. [ePub] 2011 Big 12 College Football Preview by Phil Steele. Works only with reading apps that support ePub.
  3. [ePub] Revel with a Cause: Liberal Satire in Postwar America by Stephen E. Kercher. 572 pages. Free ePub format book at University of Chicago Press. Again, you need an ebook reading app that supports ePub.

Next, a few thoughts on the Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire as the catalyst

Kindle Fire does a few very interesting things -

  1. It perhaps confirms the fact that there is a market for a low-priced Tablet. Nook Color had already proven this by shipping 700,000 units a month last holiday season. However, Tablet manufacturers didn’t learn the lesson and perhaps the supposed success of the Kindle Fire will convince them. Apparently, 95,000 orders for the Kindle Fire happened on release day. That seems around a third of what my estimate would be. In either case, we have proof that a low-priced Tablet sells.
  2. It puts pressure on ALL Tablet makers to lower prices and most are already responding. Best Buy has dropped the price on some Tablets.
  3. It gives a very good option to people who did not want to buy an iPad but still wanted movies and TV shows and music and web browsing and an app store that wasn’t a mess.
  4. It triggers a change in focus for Amazon. The article linked to above claims that Kindle Fire sold more units than the other three Kindles combined. My estimate would match that – Put together Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, and Kindle 4 sales and they would be perhaps 50% to 70% of Kindle Fire sales. Why? Because the market for people who read just isn’t that big.
  5. It makes a lot of people aware that a device can be the new store. Companies seemed reluctant to recognize that Phones and Tablets are a brand new channel to customers. Now companies have to recognize it because both Apple and Amazon are making very strong moves and might very well run off with the Mobile Device as Store market.

The Kindle Fire is probably going to be a catalyst for two very important things that will help grow Tablets from ‘iPads etc.’ to ‘high-end Tablets and low-end Tablets’.

  1. A major drop in price for MOST non-iPad tablets. There’s no choice any more.
  2. The start of an actual race to make better Tablets. Not just a token ‘let’s try to clone the iPad’ movement but an actual race to really compete. Which might help Tablets grow sales by a lot.

We have the second company that is looking at Tablets without the iPad filter. The first, B&N, showed there was a market. The second, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, is going to help all the delusional Tablet manufacturers realize that you can’t beat the market leader by cloning both device and price – that differentiation and attacking weaknesses is the key.

Kindle Fire is going to ignite the Tablet market

The biggest barrier to the success of non-iPad tablets wasn’t the iPad. It was the fact that they were expecting people to pay the Apple premium for a device that was not from Apple and was just a cheap clone. The success of tablets like the Asus Transformer and Nook Color showed there was a market for companies that brought innovative and original Tablets. The $100 HP TouchPad frenzy put an exclamation mark on it.

The non-iPad Tablet market is a huge market. The market of people who don’t want to spend $500 on a closed device that they aren’t sure what they will do it is massive.

There are so many ways to attack – lower price (Kindle Fire), different focus (Asus Transformer), niche focus (Nook Color), openness. It’s a long list. Yet, all we saw were iPad clones. It’s not that there was only an iPad market (and no Tablet market) – There was no market for iPad clones.

Kindle Fire ignites the Tablet market because it forces people to ‘Think Different’. How did Amazon manage to release the Kindle Fire for $199? Why was Amazon the only one to come up with things like Amazon Silk?

B&N did a ton of things right with Nook Color. However, B&N is off the radar because it isn’t what you expect to be a Tablet success. With Amazon people can’t ignore it any longer. The $200 to $250 Tablet Market is very real. The non-iPad Tablet market is very real.

In a market where you can choose between a $500 iPad and a $500 iPad clone – it shouldn’t be a surprise that Apple wins most of the time.

In a market with a $500 iPad, a $200 Kindle Fire, a $249 Nook Color 2, and lots of $200 to $400 Tablets from various companies – Everything changes.

Kindle Fire is like that little Hesperonychus elizabethae (a small carnivorous dinosaur smaller than a housecat) that managed to stealthily jump on the back of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and bite out a chunk. Suddenly, every other dinosaur realized that attacking Mr. Rex head on and using the exact same strategy as him was utter stupidity.

That’s exactly what’s going to happen. All the other dinosaurs (Tablet manufacturers) are going to realize that they need to start fighting in ways that actually give them a chance.

Apple is scared

The acolytes of Apple all over the web are writing all sorts of pseudo-analytical drivel. Horace D. thinks Kindle Fire is not going to be able to do low end Tablet disruption.

Here’s an example of the type of language he’s using -

Disruption requires asymmetry but it also requires the ability to go up a trajectory of improvement along the basis of performance that a majority of users demand. The first condition is met, but what of the second? In a combined system where one asset is used to leverage another–the subsidized being sacrificed to benefit the profitable–success is conditional on one element being “good enough” while the other “needing improvement”. Investment follows accordingly.

Ability to go up a Trajectory of Improvement? The Subsidized being Sacrificed to benefit the Profitable? We’ve found our next head of the Fed.

Horace D. – you’ll excuse us for knowing only plain English.

When people can get either a Tablet for $200 that lets them do most of what they do with a Tablet (surf the web, check email, watch movies, play games, check Facebook) or a Tablet for $500 that lets them do the same stuff and a little more and also get to show how artistic and special and well-off they are …

Guess who’s going to win with the majority of people? Guess what happens when there are 20 different Tablets in the $200 to $300 range competing with the $500 Aston Martin ‘James Bond’s Car’ Tablet?

We don’t need a trajectory of subsidized analytical mediocrity posturing as fortune-telling. Aren’t you the same Apple acolytes who wax eloquent about how Apple talks in terms customers understand – 10,000 songs instead of 2 GB?

Well, everyone understands $300 cheaper. Our friends and neighbours might not understand the ‘Trajectory of Improvement’ – but they sure understand $300 cheaper with 90% of the same functionality. They also understand recession and not paying a premium just to advertise a brand.

His three examples (to support his analytical drivel) are set-top boxes, video game consoles, and the Blackberry. Really? Perhaps when talking about ‘Post-PC’ devices we should look back to the bigger lessons from the history of the PC industry?

Kindle Fire will be the catalyst for the domination of low priced Tablets

Here’s what Horace D. ends his analysis with -

 this discussion on the asymmetry of device-based services to product models leads me to conclude that the Fire will not have the opportunity to disrupt the iPad or tablets in general.

I have no idea exactly what a ‘discussion on the asymmetry of device-based services to product models’ is.

However, given that every Tablet maker is cutting the prices of their Tablets drastically, and that even Apple acolytes are talking about Kindle Fire and how it is not going to affect iPad at all, my suggestion would be to wait 5-6 months before claiming that a $199 Tablet will not disrupt sales of the existing $500 Tablets.

Perhaps we could just wait a few years and then, when 80% of Tablet sales are not iTablet sales, we can look back at Tablets like the $250 Nook Color and the $199 Kindle Fire and perhaps admit that they did indeed kindle a transformation in the Tablet Market.

Just to be absolutely clear: It’s not that Kindle Fire will beat the iPad. It is that Fire will force Tablets in general to stop being iPad clones (on price and looks and features) and will thus lead to much more viable Tablet competitors. Those are the ones that will tear down iPad’s market share.

30 Responses

  1. one thing that I think is important to note is that Amazon is one of only a few companies that is really in a good place to compete on price in the tablet market. Amazon can get away with using a tablet as a loss-leader, since they are using it as a way to sell other things (movies, music, books, and also just general goods). HP, Asus, etc., will generally have trouble doing that. On top of that, while most of the rest of the retail world is struggling to just make ends meet, Amazon has been consistently reporting growth, success, and profits. So, if they don’t manage to get quite as much money as they may expect immediately from a tablet, they can make up for that in profit from other areas, until things balance out better. B&N doesn’t really have that safety net right now, with the current way that their business is headed. They *have* to succeed with ebooks, because DTBs aren’t going to buoy them up.

    I think Amazon is in a great position to be putting the pressure on everyone else here!

  2. The thing is — Amazon is subsidizing the Kindle Fire something fierce. Another company can bring out something similar, but not under $249 and more likely not really under $299.

    That subsidy is likely to bring Amazon a lot of sales — a 20%-33% discount is massive. I don’t think there are many of the competing tablet manufacturers that can follow.

    But, no, the Kindle Fire won’t cannibalise sales of the iPad much. Might slow growth a bit, and certainly cut into relative market share — not so much into absolute sales. It’ll make any other $4-500 7″ tablet sink without a trace, though, and be a serious headache for $500 10″ tablets other than the iPad.

    Keep in mind that if your reason for avoiding the iPad is a closed system, the Fire is not an alternative. But then there are not that many of those people around, they’re just all bloggers.

    • Agreed. Amazon is in a unique position. I think you might be surprised by what impact there is on iPad sales when all non-iPad manufacturers start competing with Amazon on price.

  3. I’m trying to hold off on upgrading my Kindle 2 until Amazon releases a hybrid Kindle – one with both e-ink and led. While the Fire looks like fun, I don’t want to give up reading.

    • You’re going to be waiting for a *very* long time.

      eInk and lcd are inherently incompatible. While there might a “color eInk” project and even a “Color eInk with video-rate refresh” (Mirasol might fit the bill), it’s not going to be anything hybrid — just something new.

  4. While I think your marketing analysis is pretty good, you seem to imply that Apple’s tablet is mediocre hardware with a top-notch ecosystem and premium price. I don’t think that’s the case. If my experience with low-end touch screen phones was any indicator, the cheap knock-offs are going to be frustrating to use. Motorola et al built tablets that could actually compete with the iPad in usability, and ended up with something priced similarly.

    As tuxgirl mentions above, Amazon has the luxury of subsidizing the Fire. That’s an advantage not even Apple has, because of the nature of the two companies’ ecosystems. Apple’s ecosystem provides media sales to drive hardware sales. Amazon’s is the mirror-image: they’re selling the hardware at breakeven or a slight loss to drive media sales. Note that the Fire is as much a closed system as the iPad; both can be jailbroken but neither has a “moral” advantage.

    • Agreed.

      I didn’t mean to imply its mediocre hardware. Just that its using the premium positioning to get more of a profit.

      Apple is making a good profit from each. What does that say? That they are charging a good price on a Tablet that is better than other Tablets.

      Which speaks to the second point you made, and which Tuxgirl makes -
      Amazon can undercut them on price.

      Not just because Amazon can sell more stuff but also because Amazon is willing to give up profit on Tablet sales.

      That opportunity is there – any company willing to forego profit on Tablet sales can undercut Apple.

      • Not really true. A company willing to forego profit might not even be able to match Apple. The reason is simple: Apple pays much less than anybody else. Partly, that’s economies of scale — making 10 million devices does not cost 10 times as much as 1 million, and *really* not as much as 100 times 100k devices.

        A big part of it though is that Apple is willing to pay up front to lock in production. They will say to you “I’m going to need so many million LCD panels over the next years. I’ll give you the money to build a factory for them, if you agree to give me all your production for the next few years and friendly prices after that”.

        The Macbook Air is a case in point — the major PC OEMs believe that — even with the difference in margins — they need $100-200 extra subsidy to compete with the MacBook Air on price.

      • You have a point. The wild card is that Apple doesn’t have everything in-house.

        Samsung manufactures a significant portion of the components Apple uses. That’s why it could get its new smartphone out and sell 5 million units.
        Foxconn does manufacturing – that’s why it can also make things like Kindle and can gradually get better.

        Right now we’re in the ‘Have your cake and eat it too’ phase. Where the manufacturers of components and devices themselves haven’t fully realized that they can do everything themselves (well, Samsung has, but it’s an exception). Once they do, then things will be different. Apple can’t beat Samsung and Foxconn.

  5. Some excellent thoughts that tell me I am clearly not a part of the mass tablet market as, regardless of brand, I am not the least interested in any other than a dedicated ereader to read ebooks. I wonder, have I embraced a soon to be extinct device mode and will it still be serviced in the days ahead?

    Why do I want a dedicated reading device? Well, because I am at a computer a large portion of my day. I do not want a computer-like device (which is how I view a multi purposed tablet – read-games-video stream-movie watching-web browsing-etc). No, when I need a break or it’s quits on the day, I want to read, without even potential distraction. It’s one of the reasons why, though I choose Kobo Touch as my device, I have zero interest in their apparently ground breaking social-reading side – which is a substantial side to their business modle and crosses over, or soon will cross over, all their device platforms.

  6. Switch, very good analysis BUT, why oh why the need for the invective against Apple… I realize there’s a lot of criticism for Apple from the Windows and Linux camps, but it really sounds like sour grapes at this point, with people jealous of Apples success, much in the same way that Apple fanboys bashed Microsoft during Scully’s reign at Apple, when Microsoft was doing well and Apple was on the ropes…

    Yes, the iPad is relatively expensive compared to a $250 Nook Color or now a $199 Kindle Fire BUT, it’s an elegant solution to the problem of a keyboardless computer which no one else seems to have been able to get right (to this point). I didn’t buy an iPad; it was given to me as a gift, but I still value the functionality it brings to my portfolio of portable tools.

    I’m not an Apple apologist, but I do believe that Apple, and especially Steve Job’s emphasis on customer experience have been a key to the revolution we’ve seen in the marketplace. Other companies, like Amazon, are catching on to that tune, and I think it’s a HUGE benefit for the consumer.

    Is there a market for a quality tablet priced like the Fire? Absolutely, but the Fire would be nothing but a pretty piece of hardware without the ecosystem, and in the final analysis, it’s the ecosystem of both Amazon and Apple that benefits the consumer the most.

    When it was time for me to upgrade my Verizon phone, I had a choice of Android devices or the iPhone. Guess which one I went with? The iPhone one year ago had the far better ecosystem for NON-HACKERS, and to me at least, Android with it’s cluttered and confusing app market was something to be avoided. Would my decision be different today, with the Android app store that Amazon has? Perhaps, because it filters our the garbage and makes it easier for a non-geek to get quality apps.

    I wish Amazon (and B&N for that matter) succes in the quest to establish a WORTHY competitor to the iPad. Consumers benefit from the competition and the competition keeps the manufacturers honest… But with a Kindle 3, I’ll be holding out for a Mirasol-based DX replacement (if it ever comes).

    All the best,

    Tony

    • Thanks. I don’t like Apple at all.

      They do make good devices but then they put a ton of effort into making the devices seem better than they are.

      That’s that part that I find very annoying. It’s dishonesty and a desperate need for validation.

      I saw an interview with a Commodities trader and that’s what Apple reminds me of. The trader was talking about how important his work was to make sure grain prices were the same.

      Apple was selling mp3 players and pretending they were doing something revolutionary.

      It’s a good thing Steve Jobs has retired or soon 40% of the population would be driving iCars which are revolutionary and magical because they have a square steering wheel with buttons for acceleration and braking.

      I am glad that all the Apple people are getting their chance to be #1 in some market (two to be precise). It’s just that they still aren’t validated and perhaps they never will be validated and secure.

      Which is strange. If you really have won then take joy in that. Why try to use terms like ‘post PC’ and pretend you have also won a war you got thrashed in.

      I think that’s the crux: Apple’s need for validation and it’s tendency to pretend the work it’s doing is revolutionary is annoying.

      They seem to think the iPad is the equivalent of the Steam Revolution or the invention of the Aircraft.

      When it’s just a more usable tablet.

      • While Apple does seem to go way beyond the norm when it comes to pitching their products, it does highlight a point that both Apple and Amazon have in common: they have an incredible amount of faith in their own products, and you can’t really fault them for it.

        Talk to someone with an iPad about how revolutionary the Kindle is and the replies you get would probably not fall well on your ears. Some of my friends actually found it strange that I would shell out $79 for a device that merely allows me to read books.

        Apple may not (and have not been for a long time) be the first company to bring a particular product to the mass market. Yes, there were MP3 players before iPods and tablets before iPads, just like there were dedicated eBook readers before the Kindle.

        This however does not make Amazon any less revolutionary in terms of opening up a new world of reading to a huge mass of people (me included). I enjoy watching new product launches like these and I see them as more than the sum of their individual parts. The iPad on its own would have been pretty blasé on its own but throw in a huge backend service like iTunes and the like, plus synergies from their other product lines and you get the iPad as it is today. Similarly, take away what is great about the Kindle (WhisperSync, note-taking, the Amazon store etc.) and you end up with, as how you would put it, just a more usable eBook reader.

        I do enjoy reading your entries but where I feel they fall short is when the very obvious vindictiveness against Apple shows. Which I find really strange, because both companies have managed to come up with intelligent solutions to problems where others have failed. There are very real people behind the successes of these companies and I think this bias-ness against them is really quite unwarranted.

        No matter how trivial something may seem, every little detail in every product that you see is the result of someone thinking through countless possibilities and alternatives, wracking his/her brains for days on end to finally arrive at the end product. It may seem pretentious to you, but these little details are what push the industry and the world forward. Indeed, the most well-designed products in the world may seem as though they haven’t been designed at all; it’s important that we do not forget that every single product today is the culmination of the past.

        I stumbled onto your site a few days ago after having ordered one of the new Kindles (my first!) and I’ve been following it ever since. I do wish that you try to be a little more objective in your reviews. I own both the iPad and the Kindle, and I’m typing this on a MacBook – not a fanboy by a long stretch but see myself as more of a discerning consumer. Whether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Amazon or whichever company, they’ve all had a part in sculpting the world into what it is today, and yes, even the commodities trader who keeps the price of grain stable and keeps the world running. We all have a part to play in this, no matter how small.

        I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, I’d just like to see a little less “bad blood” on this site. Nevertheless, keep up the awesome stuff and I’m looking forward to new articles!

        Cheers!

      • Thanks for your comment. It’s very well -written.

        But this blog seriously is not for people who think Apple’s products are revolutionary and it’s the greatest company ever. The blog really isn’t for Apple people. Daring Fireball, MacInsider, etc. are some very good blogs you will like.

        The whole point of having a blog is so you can write what you feel – and I really dislike Apple and think everything it has done is rather pointless. A status signaling phone – how cool and how meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Now that Steve Jobs isn’t around to keep the Reality Distortion Field going – soon people will being to stop seeing the magic. This is the beginning of the end because the house of cards was kept stable by Steve Jobs’ salesmanship and powers of influence.

        And for the Record: I am focused on books and the future of reading and the democratization of Publishing. I could care less what company plays a vital role as long as it happens. Apple is the enemy there – it helped create the Agency Model and it tried to trivialize eReaders and did stupid things like add animated page turns and wooden shelves and pretend that is important.

        that’s the crux of apple – animated page turns and wooden shelves are more important than reading. For a section of people – they are, and that’s fine. However, if you don’t fall into that group, then Apple isn’t magical or revolutionary.

        I don’t know quite how to explain this. For people who are not externally validated Apple represents no meaning – a very pretty status signalling device is meaningless if you don’t need to signal status. A device that gets you all emotional and validated is meaningless if you don’t want emotions and validation from your phone.

        **************

        That’s the crux: Apple is feeding people’s need for emotion and validation with pretty devices. Not everyone needs that.

        It’s a great product strategy – people have to keep buying more and more Apple products to validate their existence. However, it’s not really meaningful.

      • At the crux it’s a war.

        External validation versus internal validation.

        Now the General is gone and it’ll be hard for Apple to create the same sort of External Validation Magic. It’s gone. You can see it in the nervousness of all the Apple acolytes. How they are now claiming that Tim Cook’s organizational genius or jonathan Ive’s design genius was the real secret.

        The real secret was that Steve Jobs understood the human essence and human needs and desires. And he knew how to tap into them. Apple has perhaps 2-3 years left and after that the lack of Steve Jobs will destroy them. A downward spiral – they might keep going for a few decades but the magic has left the building. You can already see it with this keynote. Steve Jobs would have had everyone thinking the iPhone 4GS was better than the Electric Car and the Space Shuttle combined. He would have turned Siri into Knightrider.

        It’ll be like Mad Men without Don Draper. People can hear him talk about Emotion and Nostalgia and how to link products to human desires – but they can’t really do it. Thankfully there are not many people at Steve Jobs’ level and hopefully the ones left aren’t inclined to the same approach.

      • Here’s an example of what I mean. This is from Fortune’s resident Apple fanboy:

        I’ll say this: Apple could teach its competitors a thing or two about the care and feeding of the press. I’ve never been asked, upon entering a media event, “Cappuccino, sir?” and handed a pre-made cup with one packet each of white sugar, raw sugar and Splenda on the dish.

        Apple feeds the press.
        Inside the press are, well, feeding. There are tables filled with sweet rolls and fruit and nuts and yoghurt parfaits. There are chefs ready to prepare waffles and omelets to your liking. And if you are so inclined, you can break bread with some of the biggest names in tech journalism, including the Wall Street J0urnal’s Walt Mossberg, GigaOm’s Om Malik and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber.

        This is the sort of thing that is just – don’t even have a word for it. It’s just bribing the press. Think about it – Chefs waiting to prepare waffles and omelets to the liking of the members of the Press. How does that not create a bias? And the journalist writing it doesn’t even realize it. He’s praising it.

      • So, the Kindle wasn’t a revolution, it was just a more usable ereader.

        You’ve got some mighty high standards for “revolutionary”.

      • Yes, exactly.

        Gutenberg – revolutionary.
        Wright Brothers – revolutionary.
        If Elon Musk pulls off SpaceX and/or Tesla – revolutionary.

        Even big advances in Literature and Art and Medicine and Science are revolutionary. However, just as we wouldn’t call a slighly better surgical procedure revolutionary – because that’s reserved for things like Penicillin and mapping the human genome – we shouldn’t be calling slightly better technology revolutionary.

        I think our bar for what should be considered revolutionary has gone down because marketers have stolen it. Everything is revolutionary now – Kinect, iPad, Kindle, Cloud Storage, a slightly better social network, 140 character follower networks.

        In another 20 years new flavors of bubble-gum will be revolutionary.

  7. I really dislike Apple and think everything it has done is rather pointless.

    Okay, that’s fine. At least you don’t ruin your point with comments about fart apps. ;-)

    I’m mostly about using the best tool(s) for the job. For my technical writing dayjob (nearly 20 million manuals served!), I’m much more productive using MacOSX. Most of the tools I use for my work writing are Unix-based, so I wouldn’t have a problem using Linux either. But the administrivia part of my job works fairly well with the pretty part of OSX, better than Linux would.

    For fiction writing, Scrivener kicks @$$ without bothering to take names, and the production version is Mac-only right now. There’s a Windows beta, though. I don’t have to worry much about viruses just yet (same with Linux). In short, the $#¡+ just works for me, so I’m happy with it. I recognize that other people might be better off with something else.

    But for reading books? eReaders all the way. I have a Kindle because that’s what followed me home. Amazon’s ecosystem is keeping it there. The iPad fits into the FAR Manor ecosystem by giving everyone else a way to play games, check Facebook, etc. so they’re not bugging me to “borrow” my MacBook & I can get some writing done.

    And for all Apple’s perceived arrogance, they don’t do anything to stop people from running Linux or WIndows on Macs. Google “Windows 8 UEFI Linux” to see what’s coming on that side.

    • That’s a pretty crazy move by Microsoft. It’ll just force people who need/want Unix as an option to choose non-Windows.

      • They’ve responded to say that they will not force OEMs to go signed-only on the boot process — it will be up to OEMs whether or not they allow unsigned code to run on their hardware. Presumably they will also not use anticompetitive means such as giving makers who go signed-only extra discounts — they don’t *like* being sued under antitrust/anti-competitive legislation and paying hundreds of millions in fines.

        Also, stock distributions might well simply get their kernels/bootloaders/whatever signed. The main problem there seems to be that GRUB2, under the GPLv3, supposedly cannot be cryptographically signed unless the public key is distributed — this sounds incredibly fishy to me, since it rather defeats the point of signing, but that’s what I read when this particular storm in a teacup blew over.

      • Wow, that’s very interesting.

        It always confuses me how one of the caveats of Open Source is – you can’t do X and Y and Z. It’s almost like it’s anti-profit. Use our software if you will but we will try our best to prevent you from making money when you use it.

      • Heres how I see it. Lets say you were a farmer, and you noticed how many people just couldnt afford to buy produce because it is so expensive. So, you gave away your produce for free. Eventually, you find out that some of your customers have started grocery stores, selling your produce, which they received for free. How would you feel about that?

        There are some companies that do make money using open source, but they have to be careful to play by the rules that apply to the software they use. If im going to write software and make ot available to others for free, I want them to follow my rules for how I want it to be used. For some (bsd, iirc), that means not using it for systems involving nuclear weapons. For others (gpl, etc), you have to include the source with any distribution. People have the attitude that if theyre going to give away their hard-earned work, then they should have some say in what is done with it. That seems totally reasonable to me.

      • Yes, but then why do they consider themselves good and other companies evil. It’s just a strategy.

        Perhaps it’s just a small subset but it seems that there is a group of open source people who say – Here’s something you can have for free. Look at how good we are. Now don’t do anything with it other than what we are OK with it.

        It’s like conditional love. I’ll love you if you only wear pink skirts and never cut your hair short and stop shopping at Whole Foods and stop doing Taichi in the mornings.

      • Oh, and in case anyone doesnt notice, I do have quite a bit of interest in open-source. The “tux” in my name refers to the mascot of linux. Ive run multiple types of linux as well as freebsd… :)

      • I have a freeware app that I have on my desktop. It is only free as long as I take no more than two commercial flights (limited to only one return flight) per year. Once/year I get a pop up asking me about it. It is one of the strangest restrictions that I’ve run across. However, I like the app, so I keep it.

        The app is WordWeb a freeware “dictionary, thesaurus, and word finder.” If you are interested in reading their terms, they can be found at
        http://wordweb.info/free/licence5.html

      • That is amazing.

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