lotus notes adoption curve

i might not always agree with joel, but this time he’s spot on with Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To It.:

“This is a chart showing the number of installed seats of the Lotus Notes workgroup software, from the time it was introduced in 1989 through 2000. In fact when Notes 1.0 finally shipped it had been under development for five years. Notice just how dang long it took before Notes was really good enough that people started buying it. Indeed, from the first line of code written in 1984 until the hockey-stick part of the curve where things really started to turn up, about 11 years passed. During this time Ray Ozzie and his crew weren’t drinking piña coladas in St Barts. They were writing code.”

“So, it takes a long time to write a good program, but when it’s done, it’s done . Oh sure, you can crank out a new version every year or two, trying to get the upgrade revenues, but eventually people will ask: “why fix what ain’t broken?””

the real question is this – are the truly successful opensource projects those that only try to copy software that is in the later stages of this adoption curve?

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