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Green Networking

Slashdot reported today that Bell Labs formed the Green Touch Consortium which is aiming for a 1000x decrease in network energy usage. And they want to do it by 2015.

This is a huge effort, since network hardware is immensely ubiquitous, and according to Acaltel-Lucent, it puts out 300 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Interestingly, they do seem to be focused primarily around mobile networks, given the members, but that makes a lot of sense, given that wireless looks like it’s going to become more, not less, common.

Mostly, it’s just really good to see the focus on the newer technology, though given the nature of the consortium, I have some concerns about this new ‘Green’ networking technology being prohibitively expensive as it become available. Though, since much of it’s going to be backend, non-consumer hardware, it may not likely be much of a concern. I just don’t see myself needing to buy a cell tower…ever.

At the end of the day, this does seem to be a push by Alcatel-Lucent to save their flagging business, and in that case I need to give Alcatel credit for reinventing themselves in a potentially responsible way, and I have hopes that the Green Touch Consortium will be able to accomplish their goal, and I’ll be keeping an eye on what they’re working on.

Moonlight Patent Coventant Extended

The Moonlight Team, with Mono 2.6 finally bringing the verifier to completion, was able to release Moonlight 2.0 to the masses. Moonlight’s been pretty stable for a while, so it’s really nice to see that development has finally reached the completion state, and should now be able to continue at a more rigorous pace (the team had been waiting to release Moonlight until the verifier was complete), since Silverlight 4 is right around the corner, and it’s difficult to wait when new releases of Silverlight fix so many shortcomings of the previous version.

What I found most interesting about the release was the changes to Microsoft’s Patent Covenant with Novell. Namely, that the Patent Covenant covers all versions of Moonlight (though not Mono, sadly), regardless of where you get it from. Before, only the version distributed by Novell was covered. With luck, this will alleviate a lot of people’s concerns about using Moonlight. The Patent Covenant doesn’t change the fact that, if you want to use Microsoft’s Media Pack (Audio-Video streaming codecs), you have to use Novell’s distributed version, but that’s probably okay, since it allows people to use Moonlight in a completely open source way.

Since Moonlight’s source is largely shared with Mono, the patent covenant does cover with parts of Mono, but unfortunately not all of it. Now, I, like Miguel, am not that concerned with it. Microsoft has a lot of patents, yes, but their history with the patent system has been generally to hold them in reserve, pulling them out to resolve patent disputes. Unfortunately, this strategy means that they’d have a lot of difficulty applying a blanket patent license to anyone, because then in the event they need that weapon to defend themselves, they won’t have it anymore. This idea makes them nervous, and understandably so.

In truth, this just shows the problems with the patent system as it relates to software. We have no reason, at this time, to think Microsoft will make a patent claim against Mono, but the fact that they, in theory, could, scares a lot of people. Hopefully this is a step toward protection for the rest of Mono, but in the meantime, if this is enough to make people feel safe about Moonlight, it’s a huge step forward.

The Problem of Monetizing Content on the Internet

Last week, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corp was seriously considering blocking all of their content from Google. Mind you, this is the same man who’s been talking about putting a pay wall up around Hulu, or at least parts of it.

Let me address the Hulu thing first, since I’m an avid Hulu user. If Hulu goes pay, I won’t say I won’t use it. I will only pay for Hulu if they dramatically increase the available content. I would pay for Hulu if I could then watch any episode of any show at any time. And if the subscription rate was right, I wouldn’t even bitch if the commercials (as they stand today) stay. That said, if the price is too high, or the amount of available content doesn’t improve, I’ll leave Hulu, sadly perhaps, but I will.

Murdoch’s argument is that content has value, and we, as consumers, need to be willing to pay fair market value for it. I agree, but Murdoch needs to understand, that at least as it relates to their Television outlets, or even their traditional web-based businesses, users are fully accustomed to getting this data for free. At the end of the day, even users who pay a monthly fee for cable service, tend to view the programming as free content, if nothing else for the sheer amount of content that we get for a relatively low amount of money on cable providers, makes the content seem far less valuable on an individual basis. Even in the newspaper and magazine realm, the subscription charges mostly cover delivery of the content, not generation of the content.

Music, movies and books don’t have this problem of people not wanting to pay for the content, because that content has never really been ad-supported, so we have no expectation of getting it for little or no cost, save the cost charged by the provider (ie, 99 cents a song). Admittedly, the price of this content has been dropping, but this seems to be at least because there is so much more content than their used to be. Cory Doctorow often talks about the information economy, and how we as a country have moved away from manufacturing to generating information. This low apparent value of content is a side effect of this world we’ve created. Generating content in the form of video and music is easy, just look at YouTube, Vimeo, and so on. But as we get more content, the content competes with itself, and eventually, prices have to drop. That’s the nature of the information markets. On the other hand, it’s easier than even to reach more people, so selling these low-cost copies of content is easier than ever.

But publishing, text on page publishing like newspapers (of which blogs are a cousin) and television have never worked this way. They’ve always been ad-supported in the US, so the idea has always been that they were functionally without cost. But now, Rupert Murdoch and the rest of News Corp is trying to put up a pay wall around content that people have always been given for free, and it’s going to result in a massive blowback.

For some reason, Internet Advertising has always had problems monetizing. And this is amazing to me. I can make certain assumptions about the readership of my blog. They’re into technology (these days probably web and MS Web Platform technologies), and/or they have an interest in sustainability and DIY type stuff. These are two fairly small segments, and could be targeted fairly effectively in the sense of those topics, especially since I try to keep the sustainability stuff to one day.

Hulu knows an INSANE amount about my viewing habits. They know what shows I’m subscribed to, how often I watch them, what my viewing patterns are, but they don’t seem to be taking advantage of that. Their advertisers advertise on certain programs, and I’m reasonably sure that pretty much everyone watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Hulu lately have been watching Verizon Droid ads to go with it lately. Why not take advantage of the profile that Hulu has on me (even just in the form of my subscriptions and non-subscription viewing), and try to customize their advertising to me. I mean, with Hulu, the advertisers can get hard statistics on exactly how many viewers they have, while in current distribution channels, all they can get are weirdly calculated estimates that seem to me to be nearly impossible to trust (except for things like American Idol, where people can text in to vote, that provides good clues as to viewership).

Do users need to need to think about paying? Yes. But content providers need to realize that we’re in the most content-rich society ever created by humanity, and that means that they’ve got a lot to compete with, both from the old houses, and the new upstarts. If they’re going to hit a wide market, they need to keep prices low, and they need to keep content availability high. I don’t know how many shows I haven’t started watching on Hulu because I couldn’t start at the beginning.

Angel Financing and Pitch Fees

Jason Calacanis has been on a crusade lately, one which I can fully back. Frankly, this was something of a surprise, since I’m generally debating unfollowing Calacanis on Twitter, and his voice grates on my ears from too many episodes of This Week in Tech where I grew to tire of his elitist attitude. While I acknowledge and respect his success, I’m generally far less sure about him being right than he is.

That said, I really like Calacanis’ focus on helping startups. He’s been involved with TechCrunch50 in the past, and lately he’s begun a crusade against Angel Investors who actually charge startups to pitch, including a followup where he discusses that one of the firms is threatening to sue him for telling the truth and expressing an opinion in an ugly fashion, something I can certianly relate to.

Why is it so unreasonable to charge investors to present? Simply because these angel investors (a term I consider to be somewhat dishonest) are usually given a pretty significant share in a company in exchange for their investment. I’m not saying this isn’t a deserved share, this is after all an investment, but these investors are looking to make money, plain and simple, and startups happens to be a pretty good way to potentially turn a good profit. Sure, there is more risk, but when a startup pays out, it pays out big, generally.

Anyway, enough complaining about the term ‘Angel’. The fact is these investors occupy a really import market segment. Of course, reading some of these rebuttals, it seems that the people charging are firms that represent investors, not the investors themselves, which says to me that they simply have a flawed business model.

Ultimately, what’s coming out of Calacanis’ post is simple: If you’re a startup, looking for venture capital, don’t pitch to any organization which requires fees to pitch, or put you in contact with investors. Investors want to invest their money in startups they believe in. Sure, finding investors can be difficult, but starting with people like Jason Calacanis, who know a lot of VCs, or any of the investors on the panels at TechCrunch50.

When you’re chasing a dream, make sure you don’t get screwed in the process.

Crappy Customer Service

Okay, this may be stretching the definition of sustainability a bit, but it is probably the single most important considerations for business’ continued success. Below are two stories of particularly heinous customer service experiences I’ve had recently. I’m going to try to make this more than simply a ranting post, but you’ve been warned about the content to come, and I won’t begrudge anyone for giving up on this post. The two organizations I’m planning to drag through the mud today are the Restaurant, Dupus Boomer’s, and the Magazine Organic Gardening (and their publisher Rodale.

First, Dupus Boomer’s. Dupus is a fairly local chain restaurant that opened up a location in the Compton Union Building at WSU. It’s the only non-fast food option in the CUB, and while it’s a bit more expensive, I would occasionally like to go up there for lunch. However, since the first two weeks of them being open, the service has been consistently degrading. It’s long been the case that to get faster service, you’d want to go grab a seat in the bar area, and generally you’d fairly quickly get some member of the waitstaff to take an order. However, as the last few months have gone by, every time I’ve been in the service has gotten consistently worse.

This came to a head last week. I sat down just after noon, knowing that I had a meeting to be at by 1pm. This is normally plenty of time. The Waitress approaches me immediately after I sit down, and I ask for water, and a few minutes to read through the menu. Fifteen minutes later, the waitress finally returns to take my order, but not deliver my water. That happened to be the last time I saw my waitress.

Now, it was reasonably busy in the restaurant that day. Almost every table was full, but due to the relatively slow kitchen, the turnaround was not such that the waitstaff should have had a lot of trouble keeping up with the crowd. Perhaps it’s because I used to work the lunch rush at a bar about the same size as Dupus, but I really have no sympathy for waitstaff feeling rushed during lunch. Most people only have an hour for lunch, that’s the way it works, and those people need to get in and out of the restaurant as quickly as possible.

My food finally arrived with about ten minutes before one. I ate, quicker than I really wanted to, and tried to get the attention of a member of the wait staff so I could get my bill. Oh, and that water which hadn’t arrived yet. A few minutes passed, I was unsuccessful, and I was forced to leave without paying. This is the first time I’ve ever walked out of a restaurant without paying. Even at my least happy with the food and/or service, I’ve never been forced to leave without paying. Some might argue that I shouldn’t have gone if I had a deadline, but I’ve always been of the opinion that a restaurant needs to be able to get a customer in and out within about thirty minutes. If you can’t manage that, you shouldn’t be open for lunch. Period.

This was, for me, the last straw in terrible service. I will not be returning to the restaurant, and I’ve been vocal in my being fed up with their lousy service. I already know others that were growing tired of Dupus Boomer’s, and I hope that they figure out a way to improve their lousy service, because a full-service restaurant in the heart of campus should be a lot better idea than it’s turned out to be.

I almost feel bad going after this second business, Rodale Publishing. They publish a lot of health related magazines and books, and honestly there seemed to be lot to like about the Organic Gardening magazine that I’d ordered a free trial issue of for my wife. Please note that this was a Free Trial Issue, which in my experience has always meant that if I decided I didn’t want the subscription, they’d stop harassing me about it. Sure, I’d probably get a few statements in the mail, but they’d give up within two or three months. Since I wasn’t entirely sure when I placed the order that we would subscribe, I just put in for the

This didn’t happen with Rodale and Organic Gardening. Now, mind you, we did fully intend to subscribe to the magazine. It probably didn’t help that it was the middle of winter, but we just didn’t get back to Rodale right away. We continued to get statements about once a month, and I’d continue to remind my wife that she should send in a check if she wanted to subscribe (which she did). Then, we started getting bills marked with things like ‘final notice’, culminating in an actual letter from what appeared to be a collections agency (it didn’t quite pass the smell test, so we’re unsure if it was a real collections letter).

A Collections Letter because we hadn’t paid for a subscription on the back of our free trial issue? Are you serious?

Needless to say, what had orignally been a subscription we just hadn’t gotten around to paying for yet, has now become a magazine, and a publisher, that we intend not to do business with. Unfortunately, this means that Catherine is currently in the market for a gardening magazine that actively discourages the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If anyone has any suggestions, please suggest away, we’re in the market.

So, here are two companies that have lost my business. And, I don’t doubt, won’t have their reputations tarnished by me telling of these experiences. In the case of Dupus Boomer’s, it was due to continued poor service on the part of the waitstaff. Having worked the back of house at a restaurant before, I sympathize with the problems a bad front of house can cause, but ultimately utter failure on both sides of that equation can cause major problems for a restaurant. As for Rodale… threatening me as a customer is the fastest way to cause me to drop my service with you. I’m not talking about cutting of my service because I haven’t paid. I earned that. But it’s like stores that have a no backpack policy. I understand the reason for the policy, but I’ll still leave the store without buying anything if I’m asked to turn over my bag. Respect me as the customer, and if you don’t think you can for whatever reason, be prepared to lose me.

Time To End The Billable Hour?

There was a story on the front page of the New York Times last Friday which discussed that many Law Firms are starting to reduce the importance of the concept of the Billable Hour. For decades, law firms have billed their clients based on the number of hours it’s taken to accomplish a task, often to the tune of hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour worked. Firms judge the performance of their associates based on how many billable hours they put forward. It’s been the standard for decades, and it’s deeply entrenched in the current law culture.

But has it’s time come?

My older sister works for Garvey Schubert Barer in Seattle, WA. As a new Associate, she’s apparently required to put in 1750 Billable Hours per year, which was apparently one of the lower hours requirements she was presented with. However, her interests mean she’s likely to do a fair amount of Pro Bono work, for instance right now she’s working on a case involving police mistreatment of the local homeless population. Clearly, the firm is not being financially compensated for this work, but my sister was able to get the partner’s to agree that her work on this case would count toward her billable hours quota.

Many firms would not have done that. Which could be incredibly difficult for a lawyer with a deep background in human rights issues. But should most firms deny that sort of request? I would argue no. The press interest and good will generated by working this case is going to extend far beyond the homeless population of Seattle.

But it’s deeper than that. Most people, including a lot of smaller companies, don’t want to deal with the uncertainty that ‘billable hours’ creates. I had a conversation with Spokane Lawyer and Family Friend, John Clark, of Crary, Clark, and Domanico, regarding this issue yesterday before the Superbowl kicked off, and he was ecstatic to have seen the NY Times article, though he was immensely disappointed that so few had seemed to have read it.

John’s practice, which involves a lot of DUI cases as well as Legal Malpractice and other Personal Injury-type cases, has long pushed the fixed-fee method of billing clients. In fact, if John qoutes you a rate, he’ll take your case to court if necessary, even if he didn’t think he’d have to when he made the quote initially. I think is probably the main reason John has proven to be such a popular lawyer in the Spokane area, customers know what he’s going to cost up-front. This works out well for John, because while some cases take longer than he originally thought, most don’t, so he ends up doing well overall.

Now, I still do programming consulting, and I have had several clients that I have made hourly arrangements with. However, I try to make available a flat-rate service, only going the hourly rate when it is expected that my service will be ongoing, and they want some flexibility in changing their priorities. If I bid well, I can get the job done at a price that keeps the client happy, but results in good income for me. If I bid poorly, I’ve at least made the customer happy, and I’ve learned something that will make me bid more effectively next time.

Plus, by bidding a flat rate, I am have no desire to drag out completion of the job. I’ll still want to deliver quality, since a happy customer is the best form of advertising in the world, but I at a flat rate the faster I can produce that quality, the better off I am. And my customer can benefit from my speed as well.

As in Law, I think that the time of hourly billing in my field is going to filter away as well. It will always be an option, but customers (business and otherwise), are likely going to want to know up front what a job is worth to them. Sure, I’ll misjudge my proposals sometimes, but just because I might occasionally mis-estimate, doesn’t mean my clients should suffer. The bid should only fail if the bid actually changes.

Microsoft, You're Killing Me

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While I want to say that Microsoft really had a good thing going with the Gates-Seinfeld ads, which I was kind of sorry to see die, Microsoft keeps putting out promotional videos that make me want to cry.

Some of you may remember the Bruce Springsteen inspired music video of a few months ago, and all I’m left with is the same reaction I had then. WTF Microsoft?

WTF Microsoft?

You know you have way too much money when you can produce a music video as an internal joke.

Seriously, watch the Video. It’s clearly all new video. Bruce Springsteen, I’m so fucking sorry on your behalf. Word is Microsoft made the video on purpose, as a way to help people in the company not take themselves so seriously.

While I still believe that Vista and the rest of Microsoft’s ecosystem still kind of suck, I will say that I want to thank Microsoft for some good laughs on this one. This video is so embarrassingly funny, and I shudder to think of the amount of money Microsoft probably spent producing it.

UniversiFee

University fee schedules can be ridiculous. Here at Washington State University, a recent request to raise the student fee for the Pullman Transit system was voted down by the Graduate Student/Professional Association (GPSA), some people are upset that the minority of the student body was able to override the Undergrad population, but the grad students feel that there are simply too many fees, and the proposal did nothing to address the needs of the Graduate Student population.

Right now, there are three “Express” buses that run most of the day that have a 15-minute cycle, but all run on the same roads. No buses go by the peripheral parking lots. No buses go by the Campus Graduate Housing. I understand that the Bus system feels that the students (and since the Undergrads are most of the students, the Undergrads) are it’s bread and butter. Part of this is that the buses have no mechanism to verify that all their passengers have paid their bus fees. Anyone with a CougarCard can simply flash that at the bus driver and get on the bus, no questions asked. The bus drivers don’t even really look at the photographs on the cards. No effort is made to ensure that the person has paid the bus fee.

They’d asked for the fee increase because ridership is up. However, I wonder how many people are riding the bus without paying for it? And how many people are riding without paying not understanding that they are supposed to pay? Pullman Transit is a great service to have available (hell, it’s better than Spokane’s Bus system), but they need a better mechanism to track usage and charge for usage, if they plan to be sustainable. They need to offer bus service to the periphery of campus, so that Staff and Graduate students feel better about paying that bus fee. Public Transit is important, but people must feel like they’re getting their money’s worth, or they won’t use it. Busses need to go where you’re going, and they need to do so timely. Pullman Transit is pretty good, but the improvements they needed were not the ones that the Graduate Students needed, so kudos to them.

The next set of fee increases proposed have some elements that are really quite funny. The Student Rec Center currently charges all students a mandatory $128.00 per term. This fee is assessed all students whether they utilize the service or not. The proposal reported on today would raise that fee $8.50 a term per student, which works out to nearly $150,000 increase in their operating budget per term. This is a state of the art facility, and $136.50 for four or five months of use by the students is a really fantastic deal for students, especially for those who are being subsidized by those students who don’t use the facility. As contrast, Faculty or Staff who buy SRC passes will pay $170.00 per term for the privilege.

The best part is the reason that they’re requesting the fee increase:

The reasoning behind the proposed 6.64 percent fee increase is that the Rec Center continues to see increases in the number of students who use the facility as well greater overall frequency of that use, according to documents presented at the meeting.

So, since people are actually USING the facility, they need to charge everyone (including those students who aren’t using it) more? Great. Certainly, they need to charge for their service, but perhaps the SRC should be an opt-in fee. I doubt they’ll go that route, as it eliminates a guaranteed revenue stream that they’ve been happily exploiting for years. At my alma mater we had a gym fee, and an athletic fee that granted us free tickets to sporting events, regardless of if we ever intended to use either (a point of great contention among many of my friends).

Universities have a tendency to nickel-and-dime the student body with a plethora of obscure fees, many for services that students aren’t even aware of. I feel that the WSU Student Recreation Center is a completely worthwhile service, but if they need to raise the rates for all students because more of the student body is utilizing a service they are required to pay for, I believe they need to revisit their funding scheme. The cost of operation may have gone up, but the reason cited suggests that they were banking on the fact that the majority of students would pay for, but never use, their service, which is just wrong.

Microsoft and Crack-Dealer Economics

Today, Microsoft posted a new interview on Channel 8 with Bill Gates regarding free software for students. Please note that I’ve not capitalized free software in the prior sentence, as Microsoft and Gates’ use of the term is likely to give Richard Stallman and the rest of the Free Software Foundation a collective aneurysm .

The program is called Dreamspark, and through it, Microsoft plans to make available full versions of Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio, Windows Server 2003 and the XNA Game Studio. All told, software that would cost me as a private consumer thousands of dollars to license. This isn’t completely new. As a student at Montana State University, I had access to Microsoft’s MSDN Academic Alliance, a progam by which students at select universities would be given free licenses to a variety of Microsoft softwares. While mostly targeting Computer Science students, MSDNAA made available consumer operating systems and software like Office. Dreamspark is interesting not because it’s new, but because it’s scope is unprecedented.

Who can get this right now? We are kicking this off in 11 countries/regions, giving DreamSpark to millions of students in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. If you are not residing in one of the countries listed keep checking back, we will be adding more countries throughout the year.

A frighteningly large number of students being given expensive software gratis, so that they learn it, and gain familiarity that they’ll carry with them. It’s the ultimate in ‘first-hit-free’ marketing. Give it away when they’re just starting, get them hooked, take them to the cleaners later. Don’t get me wrong, Visual Studio is a fine toolset, but the Pro version retails for almost $800 US, and frankly, I’m not sure it’s worth that much. Particularly when looking at tools like MonoDevelop or SharpDevelop both of which are Free is all senses of the word and are a very powerful, capable IDEs.

Microsoft has been shifting their business plan for the last several years. They’re migrating away from the importance of what most people considered to be their core-business, the Windows Operating System, and focusing more on Developers and Productivity Tools. Their Developer Tools are good, but they only work with Microsoft Systems, including databases, and they’re frighteningly expensive. Microsoft’s integrated Team System, a developers tool chest containing a lot of cool looking tools and integrated source management, costs nearly $10,000 per user. Yes, you can license sub-sets of the tools for individual users in the team, but Microsoft has completely priced themselves out of the medium-team market with this pricing. Not to mention, that you practically have to hire someone to install the system, as our Systems Administrator spent two weeks trying to install the system for evaluation before giving up on it.

Microsoft knows that without Developers for their platforms, they will fail. Platforms work that way. It’s why the classic Mac OS was failing, and why Apple gives away XCode for Mac OS X. It’s why the Free Software community has spent so much time in the last decade developing powerful development tools to ease the process and use of the already powerful tool chains created the decade prior. And it’s why Microsoft offers the Visual Studio Express line.

I understand what Microsoft is doing here. Universities across the globe tend to favor Free Software in their Computer Science programs. It’s cost-effective with no strings attached. It levels the playing field between all the students, without requiring that they all use University computers to do their work. I can think of only one course where we had to use windows for the course-work, and that was simply because we were doing x86 Assembly using MASM. More often than not, it would have been disadvantageous to try to use Windows in my coursework, which may not have been right either. Admittedly, most companies I’ve interviewed with and work with use Microsoft Technologies, so the familiarity will be nice, but ultimately, these are all just tools.

What makes me uncomfortable, was the requirements that Microsoft puts on organizations like my office, in an interesting position of having to release verifications of enrollment, something which federal law and policies govern. Now, Enrollment Confirmations are simple enough, however, the university has never been asked to supply Enrollment confirmations based on Single Sign-On technologies before. Frankly, I’m unsure how it will be received by the administration. We use SSO extensively internally (though many students feel not extensively enough), but to open that system to the outside, even if all that is being sent is “True/False” values.

Gates says in the interview that he’s just hoping to provide students with options, and that’s great. Really, it is. Options are what Free Software is all about. But there is no way in hell Microsoft would be providing these options if they didn’t expect to make it up on the back-end. Most business are already using Visual Studio and the Windows Platform, by ensuring that new students will be familiar, business are more likely to stick with that platform. And business in where Microsoft makes their money. Who cares if they give away a single license to a student? When that student enters the workplace, they’re likely to work for a company that will need to purchase dozens of copies. And all the support software, after all, Microsoft software only runs on other Microsoft software (save a few anomalies, like Office for Mac), and that dozen or so copies of Visual Studio also translate into a dozen or so copies of Desktop Windows, and a Windows Server with dozens of Client-Access Licenses.

By giving away the software, Microsoft is trying to ensure not that this student will continue to buy their software, but that their future employers will. It’s all about vendor lock-in, and tightening their already iron grip on the market. Gates’ comment in the interview that the Microsoft stack was more capable than the LAMP) stack is a potential misnomer, particularly with the excellent ASP.NET support in Mono, and clear FUD. Maybe it’s true, that the value of Free Software is skewed by the fact that it costs very little to have. We’re naturally wary of that which takes little effort to gain, which I hope some people apply to this latest offer. The best laid traps, are the ones that look the least threatening.