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From David Halsted <DHals...@CreativeSolutions.com>
Subject RE: Market Research (Was: Shane's comments on Arved's comment)
Date Fri, 02 Mar 2001 20:09:38 GMT
I'm not in a really big corporation, but a mid-size company that is part of
a larger corporation.  Here's what I've observed:

It's tough to sell any open-source or open-standard project given the
mentality, but I expect every Fortune 500 company in America is running
something somewhere and they don't even know it.  The company I'm with now
has been running a major service from a Linux box for the last three years,
but when I suggest using, say, MySQL in a production environment I get
immediate flack.  It's far less difficult with Apache.

Here's one idea: try to work on getting a list together of production-level
deployments of Apache software.  This is tough.  For one thing, Xerces and
Xalan are powering pieces of every site that uses Epicentric's portal
software, but if you ask an officer, the response will be that they bought
the software fair and square from Epicentric. They have no idea that Apache
components are in the package.  Corporate guys don't care if the stuff is
running Slashdot or Freshmeat, even though those sites handle far more
traffic than most of theirs ever will -- they want to know that they're
doing what The Big Guys are doing and imitate it, even if it's really
expensive and stupid.

It would be really helpful if somebody could get together a real list of big
corporations and how they're using this, and post it on the site somewhere.
Those of us in the trenches can use that to make the case.

I guess that's a more general comment than was really requested, but it
applies to Apache XML programming as well.

Here's another thought -- include information about potential deployment
options and scenarios on the Web site.  Just a little marketing.  I think a
lot of people don't quite understand how to use XML yet.  Most of the
applications I've seen seem to be missing a fundamental grasp of XML design;
hundreds or thousands of one-off XSLTs, for example, instead of leveraging
document() or include/import, or XSLTs that have only a single template,
projects that never get off the ground because somebody decides that there
has to be a Giant Universal DTD first and it never gets done, people who
always use SAX because they never quite figured out DOM so they make
everything really hard . . . I know there's material out there about this
but it's sort of scattered.

If anybody thinks any of this is a good idea, please let me know, either via
this list or privately.  I'm in the market for persuasive arguments; simply
saying "it's better, and it's free" doesn't seem to quite do it.

Best,
Dave Halsted

-----Original Message-----
From: David_Marston@lotus.com [mailto:David_Marston@lotus.com]
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 10:24 AM
To: general@xml.apache.org
Subject: Market Research (Was: Shane's comments on Arved's comment)



Shane Curcuru asks:
>But how do we drive new users to join the community
>in the first place? And do we care how/why/when/what kind of new users
>join? It feels like most of our users (at least in xalan-dev, where I
>have the most experience) are reasonably technical types who are working
>on their own small to medium size projects.  How many medium to large
>corporate IT managers actively come to xml.apache.org projects to
>evaluate them for large-scale deployment across their enterprise, and
>how easy is it for them to implement these projects in their
>organizations?

I think the starting point is to leverage the widespread acceptance of
the Apache server. I think the big-corp IT people are hearing about XML,
and they already know about the Apache Web server, so now we want them
to look favorably on Apache XML. And some IT staffers want to start
submitting patches, so much the better.

Perhaps the larger companies are still at the exploratory stage with
XML, deciding about markup vocabularies or whatever. We may get their
endorsements in due time. Is there anyone on this list who would works
in big-corp IT who would care to comment?
.................David Marston


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