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From Rob McCool <>
Subject Re: netscape marketing
Date Fri, 08 Sep 1995 22:04:49 GMT

So I need to understand what your issues are with our marketing
department before I can tell them why they might be upsetting people
and what they should be doing instead.

Brian B, you called the mail you got unprofessional. Were you upset
because of unsolicited e-mail? Because he called it an upgrade?
Because he called Apache shareware when it's different?

Rob H, I'm not going to get dragged into a pissing match with you
about which server is better or worse than the other. Each server has
its pluses and its minuses. I think you all, especially Rob T, deserve
a great congratulations because you've assembled a fine product with a
lot of interesting features.

Is the problem really only a semantic problem of calling Apache
shareware when it's more accurately freeware? If that's it, then I can
have them call it whatever you like. Just tell me and I'll let the
appropriate people know.

Or is the problem that our marketing is trying to convince people that
Netsite might meet their needs better? If so, I'm having trouble
seeing why that is a problem. Freeware/shareware is not about market
shares, or establishing user bases, or piling every feature that
everyone else has into your own product. It's about something much
deeper than that and I hope you can see that.

For a while at NCSA, I watched market shares very closely. People
there are very enthusiastic in the same way, many of them seem to
think that the web is a great big competition for users attention. But
after the first couple of months, I began to realize that competition
wasn't what it was all about, and that market share wasn't very
important in the grand scheme of things. Why did it matter to me if
ten people were running my server, or fifty, or ten thousand? It
didn't make a difference because I was doing it because I liked to do
it. I liked creating new features and functionality and watching how
people put them to use. If people started to use CERN because it met
their needs better, I had no problem with that. The Apache goals I saw
when the project started were similar: provide an alternative, robust
public domain server for people who wanted it. That doesn't mean that
if less or more people want it, that it's any less valid.

So if you tell me, in rational terms, what you would like the
marketing people to stop doing and why, then I'll pass the information
on to them. I can't convince anyone to do anything with the
information and threats I've seen so far.


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