"Just because a market exists for a commercial version does not mean a
market no longer exists for the free version."
"The free version will continue to be improved for the indefinite future."
Both are obviously true.
The latter is simply guaranteed by all the good reasons for it. This is a
powerful enabling technology for scientific and engineering research and
development, and all levels of education, and has just begun to see its
potential realized. We have no intention of walking away from such useful,
interesting and fun stuff. There are loads of research problems and
development challenges in front of us.
As to the former:
The world is a complex place; markets are fragmented and are really
composed of numerous sub-markets, which themselves have niches. Some
people (users, markets) will be happy to put up with our foibles and our
interest in trying new things out. Other people (users, markets) will be
much more interested in just having something that does whatever job they
are most interested in, thank you very much. Different needs, desires,
goals = different markets. The public version of NCSA Mosaic was built as a
tool to enable research and education, and NCSA will build on this base to
further its research and public service mission. And, not surprisingly,
part of this public service mission is to promote open standards; good for
everyone, I think, no matter which 'market' you are in. It is there that
people can expect to see the most sharing and exchange among WWW and NCSA
Joseph Hardin (email@example.com)
Associate Director, Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
(217) 244-7802; fax (217) 333-5973