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Date:      Sun, 17 Jun 2001 03:20:20 +0200
From:      Brad Knowles <brad.knowles@skynet.be>
To:        "Ted Mittelstaedt" <tedm@toybox.placo.com>, "Rahul Siddharthan" <rsidd@physics.iisc.ernet.in>
Cc:        <chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: Mundie, Perens, GPL, BSD etc again
Message-ID:  <p0510030bb751b0d4db9a@[194.78.241.123]>
In-Reply-To: <000001c0f6b2$85e71760$1401a8c0@tedm.placo.com>
References:  <000001c0f6b2$85e71760$1401a8c0@tedm.placo.com>

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At 3:20 PM -0700 6/16/01, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

>  No, the majority didn't turn their back on Beige because Apple never gave
>  them a choice.

	I really don't think so.  I have kept up with the various Apple 
press magazines pretty well over the last seventeen years, and there 
wasn't a single person I ever spoke to, or a single article I ever 
read, that didn't rave over how revolutionary and "sexy" the iMac 
looked, and how incredibly dowdy and ugly the old beige boxes now 
looked.

	If you can provide references to the contrary, I'd love to see them.

>  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.

	Not entirely true.  Whenever you make a significant change like 
this, there is a certain amount of redesign that has to go on.  There 
is a lot that can be used unchanged, but there are some things that 
simply won't work.  The Seat Leon and the Skoda Fabia share a lot of 
parts in common with the Golf and the platform that underlies them 
all, but the base platform only gets you 80% of the way there -- you 
end up redesigning that other 20%, and as we all know, that last 20% 
can make all the difference.

>                                                                     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?

	Certainly, the New Beetle is mostly about shrewd marketing, and 
playing on people's rose-colored memories of days gone past. 
However, there is no artificial shortage -- remember that they only 
share a common platform, and that there is still a certain amount of 
redesign that has to go on.

	This means that they can't all be built on the same manufacturing 
lines, and they simply don't have enough manufacturing capacity right 
now devoted to the New Beetle -- but I'm sure that VAG is working on 
that.

>                                                            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.

	There are lots of extremely successful cars that have re-used the 
base platform of other cars.  Indeed, much of the entire bloody car 
industry is built around this fact.  If you want to fault VW for 
doing this, then you have to damn the entire rest of the world along 
with it.

>  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.

	No, what it proves is that VW has a good and very well-proven 
platform on which they can base a number of the most successful 
models of cars in the world, and because of the level of attention 
they pay to detail, and the quality of the engineering that they put 
into their cars, the end result is that you have an extraordinarily 
large number of some of the best value-for-money vehicles that the 
world has ever seen.

>  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.

	Indeed, that is a very good criterion.

>                                                            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.

	Actually, there are some factories in Mexico that are still 
building the original Beetle design!  There is no other car design in 
the entire history of the business (that I know of) that can make the 
same kind of claim.

	Show me *ANYTHING* in this modern world where the same basic 
design has been built in factories around the world for over sixty 
years.  Yes, the original VW Beetle design pre-dates WWII, because it 
was with going back to building the same basic pre-war Beetle that 
Dr. Ferdinand Porsche made his first mark in history, as he helped 
re-build Volks Wagen back up from the ashes Allies had created with 
the strategic bombing, "de-housing", and incendiary/fire-bombing (the 
likes of which has never been seen since, not even in Nagasaki or 
Hiroshima), thus leading the new German economy back into Western 
Civilization to be the powerhouse that it is today.

>                     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.

	But what about the design?  Could it still be useful sixty years 
after it was first put to metal?

	Why don't you find me in forty years and tell me the answer to 
that question then.

>  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.

	True enough, but how many other factories in the US are allowed 
to build domestic and export models of their cars on the same line? 
None.

	Mercedes built the first, and so far only, factory in the world 
where the government would allow this sort of thing to be done. 
That's because they could prove to the government that they keep 
internal controls that meet or exceed the level of control that the 
US government itself enforces at its own borders.

>  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.

	No, the real reason is that these things are taxed and regulated 
as trucks, which means that companies like Ford can clear $10,000 
profit on each and every SUV built -- even on their lowest-end 
models, and probably something more like $20,000 profit on the 
high-end models.

	If that's not motivation for car companies to put murderous and 
intentionally lethal vehicles on the road, then I don't know what is.

-- 
Brad Knowles, <brad.knowles@skynet.be>

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