Erik Naggum's Ideas and Principles

The Market

The market is not a force. The forces involved are those of the creative designers and marketing departments. The market is the momentum resulting from the successful application of these forces. The market has no will of its own that could even make it a force: buyers do not cause products to exist; they are forever limited to choose among existing ones, and which they choose is not random. If they cannot choose reasonably good products, such as when the choice is severely restricted by vendors who produce dirt cheap and low quality goods that cater to the immediate needs and wants of the mass market to the exclusion of robust, safe products, we need to react because the products are harmful to users and they no have means to know it until it's too late.

When deficient products are sold outside the software industry, customers sue for damages and the government sets quality standards through laws and regulations to protect users who cannot be expected to have the technical knowledge required to judge the quality of the goods they buy, or whether statements about the quality are honest, so that a baseline quality exists above which to choose products. When deficient products are sold in the software industry, they are hailed as if the "market as chosen", and as (de facto) standard-setting. Why is this? When will the first class-action suit be brought against a software vendor who has knowingly sold deficient products for the past 15 years? (And not just this one vendor -- with the increasing popularity of the Internet, products that offer "internet access" show a surprising disdain for the specifications and the protocols they claim to implement.)

Erik Naggum