[ic] Why I'm dumping Interchange

IC-Admin interchange@my-school.com
Sat, 14 Apr 2001 19:52:05 -0400 (EDT)

Mark, your article was the best I have read so far as a well
meant criticism of MiniVend/IC. Mike's answer so far was also
the classic answer he always gives in times like that. I think 
it's a very fair one too. 

I simply think, that if RedHat gets its act together and makes
out of IC a polished product for people who are *NOT* developer
and offer all the things a *developer* needs to understand to
handle IC, available as a service on subscription basis over
their RH network. 

My guess is still that the complexity of the MV/IC tag system is
related to the fact that MV/IC is and always has been open source

Had MV from the beginning been that powerful and that easy to use, 
you wished it should have been, then it would never have been grown
beyond the initial baby stages. 

I still think it is pretty amazing that Mike was capable to develop
something like MiniVend alone and fulltime. If the only revenue
to finance himself and the MiniVend package comes from consulting
your own package, it's pretty imperative that it better be a bit
complex, so that you have something you consult someone with.

I think, the committment to keep MV/IC open source, is considered
enough of a "help" from the point of view of a developers, the
committment to make it simple, powerful, open source *and* easy 
to use, is a bit too much to ask and takes second priority, not first.

In the past, that is. 

Now, where IC has truly a team of developers on which to grow on, things
have changed. (Hey, I don't know that, but that's what I expect and

I think the question is not wether IC could be made clearer, less complex
and more simple (I believe if they wanted to, they could do that on the
long run), the question is, if you can do so, keep it an open source
code package and still sell something with which it can generate revenues
for RedHat.

I simply believe that they *will* find the trick to do exactly that.
They will somehow *service* the complex parts of the package against 
a fee and push the simple parts out as a product embedded in a specific
Linux-IC ecommerce distro. Who knows, may be RH and VA merge one day (I 
think they should, they are buddies in a somewhat similar boat) and they
even could sell not only RH network based services specifically for their
Linux/IC disto, but also sell pre-configured Linux/IC hardware solutions, 
which they then can service over the RH network service center.

May be they think, we all don't want our own machines running, but
would rather just rent a server in a server farm and subscribe for IC 
maintenance on those servers. I hope they don't exclusively go in
that direction. 

I like the idea of getting the platform and applications I need to
host IC catalogs on my own machine over the RH network. I still want
the applications running on my machine, to which I have access on
the console, not only on some servers in server farms, where I have
to do everything remotely. I am really curious how this will evolve.

The way static IPs and faster bandwidth is not that easily available
everywhere, it seems to be as if they want to keep everything in their
own hands on server farms and just leave the miminum apps in the hands of
the enduser, but I hope they won't do that. It's too much centralized
and too far away from the business owner, I think.

So, to end your gloomy criticism, Mark, you may have some valid points,
but you  jump the ship at the wrong time. I think it just started to
become interesting again to invest work in IC. I make a bet... 
you will be back. :-)  Hopefully ! Your contributions were very much 
appreciated and read. I am sure, I don't speak just for myself. :-)