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RE: filmscanners: open and control



Bob Croxford wrote (very interestingly):

> Daguerre was paid a pension by the French government to make his invention
free to everyone, (except the Brits). Fox Talbot on the other hand
controlled everything through his rigid patents. The result was that no one
tried to circumvent the daguerreotype while lots of inventors tried, and
succeeded, in
circumventing Talbot's patents. The result was a huge boost to neg/pos
photography while Daguerre's ideas stayed in a cul-de-sac.

This is a story that I haven't read up on sufficiently, to my lasting shame.
I know I *really* should stay out of this one, but you all knew I'd be drawn
in, didn't you? ;-)

It seems to me that George Eastman circumvented Talbot's and other patents
very successfully vis-a-vis sensitized-paper and celuloid negatives--and
then proceded to take over or eliminate almost every other film and
camera-maker in the USA within a short span of time. This probably relates
more to the variations of the nations' laws than to the hypotheses at hand,
viz "control" vs. "open," IMO.

There's no question that Eastman-Kodak exerted every bit of "control" they
could muster or buy, and squashed any "upstart" that dared rear their ugly
head--Universal Cameras in the '40's, for example. Ansco managed to hold out
the longest, but is gone now except for the name. Eastman and Kodak did in
fact start an "Industry" of affordable photography for people who otherwise
wouldn't have done it. They even produced some good cameras (largely under
pressure from European manufacturers--since they'd eliminated their local
competition, who made better and much more beautiful cameras). But they
haven't produced a "good" camera for a long time.

So, is Eastman Kodak supposed to be the ideal model for "control?" If you'd
bought their stock in 1920 (or whenever you first could buy stock), you'd be
rich now. On the other hand, if you'd bought their cameras, you'd only have
some fuzzy-focused negs to show for it!

I understand what Dick's saying--if you don't consider "profit," you won't
be around very long, any more than you'd change the world if you don't win
the election. That aside, if you insist on "control" without wisdom and
insight, you'll wind up an "R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Co." with nothing but your
money to comfort you as the barbarians batter down the gates. :-)

Yes, having it "both" ways is best. Daguerre will always be remembered as
the Father of Photography, although Fox Talbot beat him to it. What will
Bill Gates be remembered as? "The Man Who Forestalled the Future?" or "The
Man Who Ripped-Off Everybody?" Show of hands.

As I said, I should have stayed out of this--but it's too damned important
to dummy-up about. If we *have* a future, it should be open enough to
explore and expand upon. And screw Bill--he's got enough. His prosperity is
well taken care of. It's his *posterity* he needs to be concerned about. ;-)

Best regards--LRA


------Original Message------
From: TREVITHO@aol.com
To: filmscanners@halftone.co.uk
Sent: June 2, 2001 8:15:21 PM GMT
Subject: filmscanners: open and control



In a message dated 2/6/01 4:05:12 pm, dickmoyer@mail.earthlink.net writes:

<< The "Open" advocates seem to favor "freedom" (in a product/market

sense), and strongly believe that growth and innovation is greater

this way than with the "Control" people's way. They also seem to be

less aware of, or concerned with profits, and are more willing to

invest their energies based on passion rather than some assurances of

payoff. "Standards" are an anathema.>>

Dear Dick

In the earliest days of photography these two ideas fought it out. Daguerre
was paid a pension by the French government to make his invention free to
everyone, (except the Brits). Fox Talbot on the other hand controlled
everything through his rigid patents. The result was that no one tried to
circumvent the daguerreotype while lots of inventors tried, and succeeded,
in
circumventing Talbot's patents. The result was a huge boost to neg/pos
photography while Daguerre's ideas stayed in a cul-de-sac.  The history of
photography seems to be against your hypothesis.

Sticking with photography it was Agfa who gave us colour film we could
process ourselves while Kodak believed emphatically in the idea of a hugely
expensive factory owned Kodachrome line. Which idea is winning now? Kodak
also launched the PhotoCD and hasn't yet learnt the value of the home
scanner
market.

Another moral is what happened to Radstock Repro who spent 1.5 million
pounds
on a closed architecture digital scanner and film output system a few years
ago. They promptly went bust when someone had the bright idea of plugging a
Mac into existing scanners and invented Photoshop and Quark. 85,000 pounds
bought a better, more flexible system which unbelievably did typesetting AS
WELL!


Yours


Bob Croxford
Cornwall
England

www.atmosphere.co.uk


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