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Date:      Sat, 16 Jun 2001 15:20:17 -0700
From:      "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm@toybox.placo.com>
To:        "Brad Knowles" <brad.knowles@skynet.be>, "Rahul Siddharthan" <rsidd@physics.iisc.ernet.in>
Cc:        <chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: Mundie, Perens, GPL, BSD etc again
Message-ID:  <000001c0f6b2$85e71760$1401a8c0@tedm.placo.com>
In-Reply-To: <p0510030cb74fa4ad0890@[194.78.241.123]>

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Brad Knowles [mailto:brad.knowles@skynet.be]
>
>	The majority turned their back on beige because, for the first
>time in many, many years, Apple was getting a serious percentage of
>first-time computer users to buy their machines, instead of selling
>upgrades into the same mass of people that had bought previously
>bought their shlock.
>

No, the majority didn't turn their back on Beige because Apple never gave
them a choice.  Nobody will ever know how many Mac purchasers would have
preferred buying beige or black iMacs now, and so it's safe for the
pro-colors crowd to claim, as you are doing, that the majority would have
turned their backs on beige.


>>                                                                 This is
>>  just like the VW new-bug.  VW could care less about making a good
>>  car, what they want to make is a car that looks like the old 60's bugs
>>  because the baby-boomers all have fond memories of their old bugs and
>>  want to re-live their youth.
>
>	Problem here.  The New VW Beetle is basically a VW Golf, with a
>new body.  The VW Golf is widely recognized as one of the best cars
>in the world (in its sector), and is one of the most widely copied
>cars in the world (witness the new Nissan Almera, the Alfa Romeo 147,
>and the Peugeot 307, all three of which are almost exact rip-offs of
>the Golf).  It is one of the safest cars in the world (scoring four
>stars out of four that were possible at the time, in the European New
>Car Assessment Program or EuroNCAP), and is one of the very best
>selling cars of all time.
>

This just proves my point.  With the new-bug, now your saying that
VW didn't even _bother_ to design a new vehicle, they just slapped
different fiberglass on the top of a chassis they were already
grinding out.

I'm not faulting VW for attempting to take advantage of all the baby
boomers fond memories of their old bugs, that's shrewd marketing.  I'm
just pointing out that the new-bug _is_ all about marketing - why do you
think that VW has created an artificial shartage of them?  It's just to
drive up the price.  The new-bug is all about marketing and making
a ton of money and little about designing a good car - they didn't even
bother to do that they just re-used an existing chassis.  The fact
that this chassis may be highly rated was entirely beside the point,
if VW didn't have such a chassis on hand they would have just used
a different one.

>	Moreover, the other cars from the other members of the VW Auto
>Group, which share the same basic platform as the Golf (the Seat
>Leon, the Skoda Fabia, the Audi A4, etc...) are also extremely,
>extremely successful in the market.  If you were to add up all the
>cars sold in the world that are based on the same platform as the
>Golf, to the sales figures for the Golf itself, you would quickly see
>that this car has sold more copies than any other in history (almost
>certainly by at least one order of magnitude), and this record will
>not and indeed cannot be eclipsed for many, many decades to come --
>there simply aren't enough cars sold in the world.
>

In any auto sales, your always going to sell more cheap cars than
more expensive cars.  This doesen't prove anything about quality,
the majority of auto buyers look at price first, quality second.
All it proves is that this VW platform is designed to allow it to
be used to churn out vehicles cheaply and rapidly.

If you really want to know if a car is quality, then look at how many
of them are still on the road 20 years after production.  VW churned
out millions and millions of the old bugs but you rarely see one around
today, whereas there's still plenty of old Japanese manufactured cars
around and about.  Hell I've got a 20 year old 210 with 250,000 miles on it
and
it's still kicking along on the original engine, you could never get
that kind of mileage out of an old bug engine.

>
>	Note that the one of the primary production facilities for the
>Mercedes A-Class is in the US, in their new plant in Alabama.  This
>is the same one that is the primary production facility for the
>Mercedes M-Class.  Their policies and procedures are so well
>documented here that they are allowed to make cars for both the
>domestic and export markets at the same shop on the same lines,
>because the government is quite confident that Mercedes does
>literally track each and every individual bolt and nut, and knows
>which ones have had the appropriate domestic taxes paid on them and
>which ones are destined for export.
>

Auto manufacturing literally does need to track every bolt and nut.
Not that this is that difficult considering how it's so highly
automated.  There's quality reasons of course but the primary one is
cost - if you are churning out a million cars a year on a line, a
small mistake is enormously expensive.

>
>	I would not be at all surprised to start seeing the new
>long-wheelbase version of the Mercedes A-Class in the US (where
>bigger cars are the rule, and morons can't get enough of the monster
>SUVs that are getting bigger and bigger with every year -- pretty
>soon they will literally be as big as houses, and what used to be
>four-lane superhighways will instead be back-country one-lane roads).
>

I don't drive or own a SUV and I can't stand them.  But, there's reasons
besides pure marketing they are so popular here, for starters there's
simply more asphalt in the US than anywhere else, people waste more of their
lives driving. When your spending 2-3 hours of your life a DAY just sitting
in your
car, a lot of people want to drag the entire house along with themselves,
your analogy is pretty correct.  Another reason is they sit you way
up in God's ass so you can see over the tops of other cars - useful when
your stuck on a congested highway and looking at the ass-end of the
car in front of you is just too mind-numbing.  Of course since everyone else
has figured this out too and is now driving SUV's the advantage is
negated - but the SUV drivers are too stupid to have figured this
one out yet.

Of course, though, the big reason they are selling is still marketing - the
idea that the country is full of wide-open spaces and you need a big
car to get around in them - despite the fact that this isn't true
anymore and few SUV drivers spend more than 2% of the time driving anywhere
other than in the city.

>	You may be surprised to hear this, but the new long-wheelbase
>version of the Mercedes A-Class actually has *more* leg room in the
>back than the vaunted Mercedes S-Class, which is the choice of
>executives around the world as their roomiest and most comfortable
>car to be driven around in.
>

I still prefer a 1970's Lincoln Continental or Cadillac, or even an
Olds 98, those were made back in the days when the backseat was truly
designed for adults to have a comfortable ride.  Sadly, those cars
have almost all gone from the roads today and their like will never be
seen again.  Comparted to them, the modern Mercedes is a kiddie car.


Ted Mittelstaedt                      tedm@toybox.placo.com
Author of:          The FreeBSD Corporate Networker's Guide
Book website:         http://www.freebsd-corp-net-guide.com


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