What’s Going to Beat XP? BudgetXP on the Way.

I just saw a funny posting on GetACoder.com. In it, a seller requested:

Hi,

So I’m posting for a rather large project. I need someone to program me a new OS (Operasting System) that looks different than Ms Windows XP etc. but has the same style. It does not need to run on a mac but all the other PCs. It’s supposed to have a stylish look with clear edges etc. And ITS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE JUST A REDESIGNED WINDOWS as I’m going to sell that operating system later on. It’s going to be called BlueOrb.

These are some important points :

It should have ALL THE FEATURES that Windows Xp Professional has.
ALL the files that run on Windows XP ust also run on the BlueOrb OS.
It must have a very user-friendly interface (like MS WINDOWS XP)
When it gets Installed, the user needs to insert a serial number.
It HAS to be HACKER SAFE!
It must be quick and good looking.

Note that I only accept quality work and do not want any quickly done BS.

greetz,

M.Reinhardt

So, how much would you pay to have the source code of something that is exactly like Windows XP Professional, but “HACKER SAFE” and be more stylish?

Budget: $1000-3000

This guy’s naivete reminds me of many people I’ve met in my life. Sure, he could be ignorant towards programming, but that doesn’t excuse his desperately lacking business research:

  • Lack of marketing research: His awesome product name is already heavily in use. Including the dot com. That’s like giving money away.
  • Lack of competitor research: He is aiming to match, not beat, Microsoft’s old and aging operating system on the eve of Windows Vista. Note: many of Vista’s applications will not be compatible with XP, and, thus, his operating system.
  • Lack of market research: Windows has a monopoly due to OEM tie-ins. Macs sell because of the unique hardware and stability granted from UNIX. Linux “sells” because it is cost effective and proven. What chance does a new player with a shoe string budget and no history have?
  • Lack of cost analysis: $3000 is no less than 1/100th of what it would cost just to emulate Windows XP on a superficial level. And what about support costs?
  • Lack of product understanding: Which features does he mean when he says “all.” Literally all? Because Windows XP comes tied in with many applications including Outlook, an automatic update, Windows Media Player, a remote desktop client/server, a firewall, chat, foreign language support, DirectX, drivers for thousands upon thousands of appliances, and the ability to reskin the look and feel. All of these features too? Then you’d need 20 translators, a data center to host update, cd key validation, and chat services, and 10 graphical and audio designers. Oh, and are we emulating IE6 or IE7? Because IE7 uses a anti-phishing technology that communicates with a central server, and what technology will that server be running on?
  • Lack of consumer trend analysis: Due to declining demand and increasing competition, the industry is moving away from shrink-wrapped software to software as a service (over the web).
  • Poor Budgeting: Even if he recognizes all of the above points and plans to address them by spending a ton of money on marketing, domain acquisition, securing OEM vendors, and hiring support staff, he has horribly misplaced his resources. His primary cost should be the development of the product, and thus should be where he puts all of his eggs. No respectable software company in the world outsources their lifeline to strangers in other countries.

It is amazing to me that this guy is literally ready to burn money without doing the most basic business research. This may be an extreme case, but plenty of people do this sort of thing (albiet less visibly) every day. If somebody isn’t sure what a particular business may cost, the very first thing they should do is find out what the “hidden” costs are. I put hidden in quotes because these costs aren’t exactly hidden. I’m referring to costs that regular Joe never knew existed, but everybody else in the industry loathes. Every industry has them, especially the ones that look like they have so few.

Oh, and as a closing note, someone replied to his request with this gem:

Hi. I can do this for you next week, when I plan on taking a break from a nonotech based / atomic fission driven search engine thats going to make larry page wet his pants. 6 days to code, 1 to rest. It will be written from scratch and completely original in design, so don’t worry about copyright bs. I plan to write the entire OS in C, and blindfolded, if its all the same to you. 100% secure will not be a problem either…In fact the OS will be designed to leverage jedi mind tricks to kill anyone that even thinks about breaking in. (i was thinking maybe make them chop off their feet and jump up and down until their empty would be fair). Anyways, I’m gonna smoke some more crack, maybe you should do the same. Thanks!