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Microsoft

Mundie Speech @ OSCON - Blogged In Real Time 141

Posted by Hemos
from the debates-are-fun dept.
Thanks to Simone for pointing out Doc Searls' weblog as well as Dan Gillmore's weblog being updated about the Craig Mundie (of Microsoft)'s speech @ O'Reilly's Open Source Convention. Dan's take is excellent - that's what I'm hearing from people there as well.
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Mundie Speech @ OSCON - Blogged In Real Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Straight from Doc Searls' weblog:

    Brent Glass: ... GNU wants a monopoly ... no
    competition ...

    Duh !

    I can tell you that the GNU Fortran Compiler has
    ample competition, both from proprietary compilers
    (not Microsoft, mind you - they didn't find this
    market very interesting) as well as from GPL'd
    ones (the SGI IA64 compiler).

    Toon Moene.
  • That sounds like the typical 'wiggle around not saying too much' bull that is ruining our Universities and intellectual life.

    To be more expressive about my point:

    Which 'you' is the dominant culture? We are all 'you's and all parts of various cultures to different degrees.

    I don't see 'dominant cultures' as having an 'understanding.' They aren't entities, they are just constructs used to differentiate people.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    He's lucky they didn't break out the red armbands and stage a revolution.

    Oh wait! It's not October yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You folks just have to start to understand.

    It isn't just about slagging Microsoft.

    There are many, many other groups and corporations and financial interests, and even just intellectuals, who find what the GPL intends to do (corner the market on source code and wipe out all other forms of license) to be repulsive.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mundie just said something that is absolutely untrue, that "Microsoft has always published the APIs" that let programmers write software to run on its operating systems and other products. Does Mundie know that wasn't true?

    The Win16 and Win32 APIs have been published and well documented. Are they complete? No. But do they let programmers write software to run on its operating systems and other products? Of course.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Craig:
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588a-ss.rm
    Michael:
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588b-ss.rm
    Panel discussion:
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588c-ss.rm
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:46AM (#2191096)
    Follow one of the two links @: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010724/2116.html

    for an audio transcript
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:38AM (#2191097)
    Don't you know? Microsoft is the root of all evil. They must have had *something* to do with it. They just must have. To think otherwise goes against all of slashdot's teachings. You must be new here.
  • We should be concentrating on doing what we do best - writing good code and sharing it with each other. We made it this far by concentrating on that - writing good software.

    I couldn't agree more. It was the chance to "learn by seeing how other people were doing" that drew me to Linux (and other Free projects) in the first place. I've learned more in the last five years or so than I could ever have learned using closed source software.

    One of the great benefits of open source is that when I have a problem with a program, instead of wasting my time clicking around on menus and reading useless, cryptic error codes, I can dig into the code and find the problem. With Open Source, problem solving becomes a learning experience, not just time wasted clicking around trying to coerce crappy code into working and learning nothing useful even if I happen to stumble onto a solutoin.

    I think what frightens Microsoft and their peers is that a generally superior development model has emerged that can reduce development costs and produce code that can help increase efficiency and cut costs for end users. Eventually this development model will result in a market shift away from closed source software that will make the clash over the business model concepts moot.

  • I disagree that the GPL has a detrimental effect on developers in general, and (rather) hold that its effect is highly situational, and frequently positive.

    I work for MontaVista Software. Our target market is companies seeking an embedded operating system. This is already a very heavily saturated market; Yet Another Proprietary RTOS would have no real chance of gaining a significant amount of market share. In this situation, a license which favors the customer's wellbeing over that of the initial developer is sufficiently attractive to the customer as to gain us a very significant amount of business. Yes, our customers could potentially take what we sell them and resell it (but that's difficult to do -- the thing that adds our value is not the software itself but our ability to do porting, bugfixing, etc) our switch to another company (however, we gain far, far more business from customers who want the ability to choose another vendor than we lose to customers who actually do choose another vendor -- indeed, I don't even know of a single instance of the latter occuring).

    But what does the GPL profit us over a more conventional free software license (ie. the Apache license)? By keeping all work done with source available (note that I did not say "for free") it ensures that no vendor can lock in their customers through proprietary extensions to the GPLed software we sell. To the customer, this is yet another benefit!

    Admittedly, the embedded systems market is very different from the shrinkwrap software market, and I don't necessarily advocate use of copyleft licenses in the latter (furthermore, I strongly favor the use of the LGPL over the GPL in libraries, for all the obvious reasons). In this market, however, embracing the GPL has done MontaVista Software very well indeed.

    Having not read your reasons why the use of copylefts threatens software diversity, I'm unable to provide a suitable response. Suffice to say that I'm skeptical -- having a wide range of source-available tools, for instance, has allowed experimental operating systems to flourish.
  • Try these.
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588a-ss.rm
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588b-ss.rm
    wget -t0 -b -c http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday_media/realtest/tnc -0588c-ss.rm
  • by Sanity (1431) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:00AM (#2191101) Homepage Journal
    This is a repost of a comment I contributed to a Microsoft Vs Open Source debate hosted by Silicon Valley forum which is rather relevant to this story

    I think that I see the disconnect here, and it actually lies in the distinction between Open Source, and Free Software. As I see it, the difference is that the motivation behind Free Software, as advocated by Richard Stallman, is to advance humanity as a whole, without concern for commercial viability. The motivation behind Open Source is that a company can benefit commercially from use of an Open Source license. Now, it is clear that there are definite benefits for a company to use Open Source software, however I think a good case can be made as to why it may not be in a company's best interests to create such software, and I suspect that this is the case that underpins Craig's argument.

    The question then is - which argument are we having here? I think that it is fair to say that advocates of Open Source tend to shift their position as it suits them - effectively using a strawman argument. Since we are discussing Microsoft's use of a Shared Source license, and Microsoft is, of course, motivated by profit, it seems that at least partially the Open Source advocates, in criticizing Shared Source, are making the weaker case that it is in Microsoft's interests to create Open Source software. It is also clear, however, that most of their justifications for this position are, in fact, justifications for the stronger case that Open Source is in the public interest.

    This is a strawman since in arguing with Craig they imply that he is trying to say that Open Source is not in the public interest, and argue against that (which isn't hard). The reality, however, is that Craig is actually thinking in terms of a for-profit corporation's best interest (which is perfectly natural), and then presumably relying on the Ayn Rand philosophy that capitalism will ultimately advance the public interest.

    I therefore challenge the participants to make their position clear. Do they feel that:

    • It is in a for-profit organisation's interest to create Open Source software
    • It is in a for-profit organisation's interest to use Open Source software
    • It is not in a for-profit organisation's interest to create Open Source software, but it is in the public interest
    • It is not in anyone's interest to create Open Source software

    I think that we need to acknowledge that for-profit corporations will do whatever they can, within the law, to advance their own interests, and it is the responsibility of government to protect the public interest.

    --

  • It is in a for-profit organisation's interest to create Open Source software

    That depends on the organization. It would probably not be in Microsoft's immediate interest to release Office 2000 as open source software, because Microsoft depends on monopoly revenues to survive.

    On the other hand, it is clearly in Red Hat's interest to continue to contribute to the development of the Linux kernel, because anything that improves Linux as a platform is likely to increase Red Hat's consulting revenue. (Red Hat's chief competition isn't other Linux consulting firms anyway -- it's Microsoft and its servitor firms.)

    It is in a for-profit organisation's interest to use Open Source software

    Frequently, yes. IS/IT is a cost center, and anything that can minimize its cost to a business is in that business's interest. Insofar as open-source software can do so -- for instance, by avoiding lock-in and monopoly-priced license and service fees; guaranteeing platform stability; and increasing reliability -- it is in a business's interest to use it.

    Closed-source software frequently invites the manufacturer to attempt to lock in customers and impose monopoly pricing. In many cases, closed-source vendors alter the platform out from under their customers' feet in order to spur upgrade revenues. (Take Microsoft Office, for instance.) These costs can be avoided with open-source software.

    There are certainly particular business needs for which there does not (yet) exist open source software. There are also businesses with such large investments in closed software that it would not (at the moment) be in their interest to migrate.

    It is not in a for-profit organisation's interest to create Open Source software, but it is in the public interest

    Certainly there exist cases where particular for-profit organizations have offered closed software for which public, collaborative efforts have created open alternatives. However, if the claim being made is that for-profit organizations should be required to create open-source software so as to serve the public interest, I disagree. This would be an infringement upon their property rights.

    It is not in anyone's interest to create Open Source software

    I doubt anyone would assert that to begin with ....

  • by Frater 219 (1455) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:39AM (#2191103) Journal
    No offense, but isn't that true? Hasn't the idea that open source generates major profit potential been pretty well refuted by the bursting of last year's Linux bubble and the collapse of companies like Eazel and VA Linux? Was there ever a quantitative business model as opposed to a religious manifesto behind any of those claims? Hasn't the idea of making money by giving away software and charging for services failed for almost every company that's tried it?

    Yes, the loss-leader business model has some serious risks involved. What does that have to do with open source?

    Open source software is not a business model; it's a development model. It's a way to get software that you want or need -- by collaborating with others in developing that software. Open source's success or failure is not predicted or represented by Red Hat's success or Eazel's failure, but by the ability of open-source participants to get and to build the software they need and want.

    Is there any open-source software you use? Does it do what you need it to? Is it in active development? Well then, the open-source model has succeeded in producing value for you. Some notable ways in which open source has succeeded for me include the Postfix mail server, the Konqueror browser, and the mutt email client. These are successes not because anyone is or isn't making money on them, but because they are good and useful software, valuable to their users.

    It is true that a few companies built around a loss-leader business model have used open-source software as their loss leader, and have failed to recoup their losses and thus gone out of business. However, this is a consequence of the risks of a loss-leader business, and of the drying-up of capital for risky high-tech ventures. Hardware loss-leaders -- the :CueCat and the iOpener come to mind -- have also tended to fail recently. Yet nobody suspects that a "hardware business model" is to blame, and that non-loss-leader hardware companies such as Dell or AMD are threatened.

    Moreover, it is interesting to note that when a loss-leader open-source company disappears, the value (if any) of its open-source software tends to be preserved: take Nautilus, for example, which is still being developed after the demise of Eazel. The open-source development model has as one of its strengths that it is not vulnerable to the failure of anyone's business model.

  • It is true that a few companies built around a loss-leader business model have used open-source software as their loss leader, and have failed to recoup their losses and thus gone out of business. The open-source development model has as one of its strengths that it is not vulnerable to the failure of anyone's business model.

    *Very* well said. This is an excellent addressment of this issue. Frater, you should develop this into a full length essay, as it places the issue in its proper context. Failure of businesses is perpendicular to the issue of free software success.

  • It is in a for-profit organization's best interest to use Open Source software, if it is a better value; if it solves a sufficiently interesting problem to attact a lot of developers, it is likely to be a better value.

    It is not in a for-profit organization's best interest to create any software, as a general rule. Ford, e.g., does better to use existing software than make their own.

    If an organization is forces to create software, it is in their best interest to make it Open Source, because that way they stand a chance of spurring others to contribute development effort. If Ford creates a sales-tracking package, and Home Depot takes it and adds inventory-management functions, Ford doesn't have to write those functions.

    If an organization sees as their competitive advantage the technology they have in the area applying to the software, it is not in their best interest to make it Open Source, because they would then lose their advantage. The task of writing that Open Source software will fall to others who wish to cooperate to overcome this advantage and who are inspired by the original software.

    If an organization is in the software business (rather than just wanting to use software), it may or may not be in their best interest to create open source software, and is a matter of how their business model works. Giving away some things may better position other things, and market share may be positive even if it doesn't directly produce revenue.

    Of course, it is not in a for-profit organization's best interests for other people to not use their products, whether the alternative be a competitor's product, an Open Source program, or just not needing the product at all, so MicroSoft can't admit to any of the above.

  • Dude, you realize that those are so fake it's not funny?

    Just someone fucking around with net send.

    Try this : set your windows hostname to 'MICROSOFT', and then run net send [someonesip] We're watching you. and see how he reacts.

    --

  • Actually, if you're at a LAN party, what's more fun is to send it to the broadcast address.

    (NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS ON YOUR NETWORK AT WORK).

    net send * You have recieved an 1D-I0T error. Please reboot your computer.


    --

  • It's only available under Windows NT/2K and XP (apparently).

    --
  • by Evangelion (2145) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:03AM (#2191109) Homepage

    Since you reposted the link, I'll repost the response.

    Those are fake.

    They are pranks using net send.

    Old technology. Old pranks. A new bunch of lusers.

    (now is the time you laugh at them for being gullible).

    --
  • Craig Mundie responded to maybe two out of dozens of messages posted on that round table. I posted a series of questions in response to Microsoft's specific complaint about the GPL in the University context, and got zero response. It really did seem as though Microsoft was participating because they wanted to iterate their message of the week, and not because they were actually interested in participating in debate about their message.


    - jon
  • There were plenty of points made by people with "marquee names" in the discussion that were never acknowledged, let alone substantively responded to by Craig. Part of that is certainly due to the large number of posts the moderators accepted, but I don't think much of anyone was very satisfied with the level of engagement that the Microsoft folks carried out in that discussion.


    - jon
  • by jonabbey (2498) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:54AM (#2191112) Homepage

    Brent Glass loathes the GPL. In the SiliconValley.com round table debate a few weeks ago, Brent was by far the most vociferous critic of the GPL on the panel. Far more so than anyone from Microsoft, even.


    - jon
  • I don't think it is fair to equate the deflation of the speculative stock market bubble with the failure of the open source movement as a business model. A similar shake out always occurs in a new industry, for example the microelectronics crash in the 70s (late 60s?). These things take many years to develop, even Microsoft took a decade to achieve market dominance.
  • Is money the only measure of value or success?

    It seems to me that GNU/Linux is a success regardless of any company's profit margin. After all millions of people use it and the number grows year after year. Is the ability of the user to explore and alter the software not of value?

    What do you value?

  • It is true open source has not generated any big software companies. Open source probably won't on its own. However open source has been sucessfull for companies that use open source as a support for their key products. The best example I can think of is Internet service providers. I know of atleast one local ISP that uses open source extensively to support their primary bussiness of selling Internet access and hosting services. In return they have contributed source. I suspect that many ISPs, especially the smaller ones, would not exist if it weren't for open source software. Open source has been very sucessfull for them.

  • My position, which may well differ from others here is this:

    It is in a for-profit organization's interest to use free software

    It is in the public interest for a for-profit organization to create free software. In addition, it can also benefit them if done well. Just as freedom always both creates headaches and opportunities.

    In the future, when free software is the rule rather than the exception, it will be in a companies interest to create free software, because otherwise they will be unable to compete with those that do.
  • It has not almost universally failed. I don't see where you're getting this. That's like saying the internet has almost universally failed because of the number of bad businesses that used it. There are many people making money off of the internet today, just as there are many people making money developing Linux stuff today. What is gone is the idea that simply slapping a Linux logo to your product would make it successful.

    The idea of charging for services has worked well for many companies. Cygnus, for example, was greatly profitable developing free software long before the movement ever became popular. RedHat seems to be doing well, having beat analyst expectations every quarter. Mandrake has done well. IBM has done well. CollabNet has done well. Many consultancy companies have done well. In fact, the consultancy companies do what can't be done in the Microsoft world - they can be profitable, equal players.
  • by clem (5683)
    Microsoft is backing the Boy Scouts of America? Explains the gold plated Swiss Army knives I saw a local troop carrying.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:59AM (#2191119) Homepage Journal

    So, once again, Microsoft speaks, and millions of Open Source/Free Software geeks listen in rapt attention, then spend the next few days bitching about what was said.

    Guys (and gals), listen to me: When you're paying attention to Mundie or Ballmer or Gates, and then bitching about how evil they are... You're not writing code.

    Can't you see? By holding these "talks" and issuing press releases, Microsoft's intent is to distract you from writing code!

    All that time you spent writing up a self-righteously indignant post to Slashdot, the time you spent checking your user profile to see if anyone replied to it or modded it up, that time you spent writing counter-replies, all that time you could have spent writing code is now lost. (And yes, by writing this post, I myself am guilty of that offense.)

    Look, Microsoft's "Shared Source" initiative has two primary purposes: To throw the Open Source/Free Software advocates into disarray, and to keep the uninitiated from getting involved with Open Source/Free Software in the first place. The purpose behind this is to forestall any competition to Microsoft's .NET buildout, which is going to require a gargantuan engineering effort. Microsoft will have to write every line of code themselves, whereas a potential competitor may choose to leverage Open Source/Free Software works to get to market quicker. So naturally, Microsoft wants to scare as many people as possible away from OS/FS. The "Shared Source" ploy also theoretically gets them free debugging expertise, a job they have traditionally been unable or unwilling to do themselves.

    My advice (which is worth every cent you paid for it): Write code. Ignore them and write some code.

    • Jump on SourceForge
      I name SourceForce since it's one of the best known, but there's no reason you can't go to SunSite... er, MetaLab... er, iBiblio. Or the FSF's projects pages. Or any other site hosting Open Source/Free Software works.
    • Pick a project
      There are thousands of pieces of software out there needing work. Some are sexier than others. Some are dull but crucial tools or pieces of infrastructure. Some don't exist at all, except in your imagination. Pick one.
    • Fix a bug.
      Some consider the lack of a feature to be a bug, so add a feature if you like. Either way, it'll improve the quality of the project.

    Microsoft is worried because a lot of the Open Source/Free Software alternatives are better than their own stuff. Where OS/FS alternatives fall short, they are rapidly catching up. Microsoft can make all the sophomoric remarks it wants about the GPL and Open Source/Free Software ("If you touch the GPL, your intellectual property will get cooties! Ooo, icky!"). But at the end of the day, the reliability and quality of OS/FS projects will be the compelling factor that causes users, both business and casual, to migrate over to our stuff. And that will happen only if the work is done to make the OS/FS projects better.

    Personally, I can think of no more direct or effective rebuke to Mundie's "talk" than an audience full of people with laptops and 802.11b cards, deliberately and maliciously fixing bugs at him.

    Jump on SourceForge. Pick a project. Fix a bug.

    And then when you've checked in your fix, post about it here, so everyone can see the progress being made.

    Back to the grind,
    Schwab

  • Business model is exactly the difference between free software and open source. You're quite right that RMS doesn't care about profit potential. He is opposed to the idea of making money by writing software. This quixotic viewpoint defines the free software movement. For a while, it largely gave way to the open source movement, which held that it was possible to make money by developing software and giving it away with source code for free. Now it's turning out that this concept doesn't work, which is why I wrote: "Hasn't the idea that open source generates major profit potential been pretty well refuted?" I'm not arguing here against the free software concept, only the open source concept.



    Reread the GNU Manifesto (1985). RMS covers the business implications of the free software movement in it. I've never seen a statement by RMS that indicates he is opposed to the idea of making money by writing software. He seems to be very specifically offended by the fact that people are motivated by greed to sell proprietary software products with restrictive licenses.

    In the GNU Manifesto, he suggests a number of ways that programmers could still make money in a world where all software was Free, primarily by selling support. This approach is identical to the "Open Source" business model as I understand it.

    You need to distinguish between "making money", "getting rich", and "getting obscenely rich".

    You can make money selling services around free software, or working for companies that want to use free software in their operations. You can maybe get rich doing that, or by hiring programmers who are willing to work for less to write free software. Because service companies don't scale like companies that stamp out products, I doubt we'll see an Oracle or a Microsoft emerge from the Open Source revolution. Hint: look at Red Hat's current market capitalization and compare it to the market capitalization of other professional service companies with comparable revenues. At $4/share and a market capitalization of 700 million, it's still drastically overvalued.

    foog
  • I don't see 'dominant cultures' as having an 'understanding.' They aren't entities, they are just constructs used to differentiate people.

    I think he would define "culture" as any group of people with common beliefs and viewpoints.

  • First, consulting businesses are really the only viable business model for Free Software. I don't think anyone has tried to deny that. Second, you mostly seem to be obsessed with being "greatly profitable" rather than making enough to live on. Is success defined as "making enough money to buy a small country"? Not in my book.
  • I found this humorous:

    Craig: I don't think so. Our job is to provide a return to shareholders. Microsoft tries to be a good corporate citizen....

    Good corporate citizen? Microsoft?

    /me thinks back to 'Mirror Mirror'

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • The specific question (I was there) was wheter a palm pilot could issue a request to a Linux server using the Hailstorm API's without requiring any Microsoft software acting as an intermediary.
  • There is a big difference between listening with an open mind and intelligence gathering. I don't know which one they are doing. Do you?

    No. My only comment is that their level of attention to this has changed dramatically recently. And it is not merely dismissive.

  • I have committed changes to the open source projects to which I participate during this conference (wireless is GREAT!).

    Have you?

  • I saw this slightly differently. Some of the other presenters and much of the audience were hostile, and in general MS came off moderate. If the open source community wants to focus on progress, it needs to be less confrontational.

    In general, I was impressed by the number of MS people at this event. They seem to be listening.

  • It's expected that people would behave like adults during a roundtable, which everybody did except for Bruce. Why respond to someone acting childishly? It only encourages them. Bruce made it very clear why he doesn't have many friends, and it's only natural that he'd be ignored when behaving that way. Like I said, that's why they even made the Troll and Flamebait moderations here at Slashdot, where childish behavior is practically the norm.


    Cheers,

  • No offense, but I didn't see the name "Jon Abbey" anywhere in the listing of RoundTable participants. Why would you have expected anything more than zero response from anybody?


    Cheers,

  • Bruce does have some good points that should be heard and debated, but I don't blame anybody who declined to respond to his childish baiting. I mentioned the mocking way he kept repeating Mundie's name over and over, but he also devoted one post (called something like, "I thought this was a debate, Craig.") to going off on Mundie for not taking the bait.


    Cheers,

  • by Zico (14255) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:25AM (#2191131)

    That's because Bruce was making a complete ass of himself, webmaven. Tell me, webmaven, why would you bother responding to someone who was trying to bait you? Hmm, webmaven? You see, webmaven, Slashdot even has moderation scores for people who behave like that, and Bruce's posts would've been modded down by any sane person. And don't take offense, webmaven, I'm just mocking Bruce's baiting style by repeating the person's name every sentence. Get it, webmaven?


    Cheers,

  • when you are the dominent culture, you often don't understand or even see the passive power you posess; only those who are not part of the dominent group can see that.

    Microsoft's passive power isn't significant compared to the active effort they expend in keeping dominant. The encrypted code in Windows 3 that detected DRDOS and displayed an error message, didn't just write itself. The lawyer who wrote threats when people leaked information about the non-standard stuff in their Kerberos implementation, wasn't being passive.

    Attacking others isn't something that Microsoft does passively; they go out of their way for it, sometimes even at the expense of short-term profit. It's a strategic policy.


    ---
  • If Microsoft were at all trustworthy, then reaching an accomodation would be ideal. Unfortunately, they don't have a very good track record.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • I would, of course, prefer that they change their policy, campaign against it and make ammends. But if nothing else, people need to be reminded that these are the ... that caused that attrocity to come into existence.

    And I will not accept "it's a business policy" as a valid excuse for anything. Neither good nor bad. This is like saying, well I've already decided, so don't bother me. I want to bother you. If you won't change your mind, I at least want it to be publically obvious what your decision is, and that you are continuing to make it.

    So I find it a perfectly reasonable question. I do wish it had been a bit more pointed. Something like, "As one of the main sponsors of the DMCA...", so that people would be aided in drawing the correct connection.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Posted by timothy on Thursday July 26, @15:11

    As it is now 14:00 EST, and timothy posted the article at 15:11 EST, I think it is safe to say that it hasn't been posted yet.

    --
  • by BilldaCat (19181) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:48AM (#2191136) Homepage

    Another audience member: There's little debate in this room that many software patents are (poor). Will you enforce all your patents, even (unfair or bad) ones?

    Craig: Absolutely.... We grant patents as one form of intellectual property protection. Should we have patents? That question was answered a long time ago.... if the examiners give out a patent, it bears weight. (Issues a challenge to go ahead and fight a patent.)

    Same audience member: Even if we have no money?

    Craig: Get your money. (big audience negative reaction)

    that is HILARIOUS.

    (big audience negative reaction)
    (big audience negative reaction)
    (big audience negative reaction)
    (big audience negative reaction)

  • If you can get a decent rendition of the artwork (full-scale), I know a hungry silkscreener that would love to print some shirts.....
  • I think that we need to acknowledge that for-profit corporations will do whatever they can, within the law, to advance their own interests, and it is the responsibility of government to protect the public interest.
    As I see it, the basic problem with the framework within corporations must operate is that they are not allowed to do anything that might threaten their bottom line. If a corporation doesn't do everything in it's power (as long as it's legal) to maximize profitability, including things like paying lobbyists to undermine the constitution, change environmental regulations in their favor, etc. Then they actually risk a shareholder lawsuit.

    Simply put, the natural tropism of corporations towards more money is bolstered (in an unnatural way) by a legal obligation to do so, with heavy penalties for doing anything else.

    I think that this has trapped many corporations in 'local minima' that they are unable to break out of, such as screwing their customers for every dime they can, when a longer term strategy would be to cultivate their customer base and keep them happy.
    --

  • by webmaven (27463) <webmaven&cox,net> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:11AM (#2191139) Homepage
    Far more so than anyone from Microsoft, even.
    That's only because Mundie refused to actually debate. He never responded to any of Bruce Perens' posts, even when Bruce was asking him direct questions.
    --
  • by webmaven (27463) <webmaven&cox,net> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:02AM (#2191140) Homepage
    An interesting development: After being pressured by the audience to answer "Yes or No", Microsoft's David Stutz claimed that it would be possible to complete a Hailstorm transaction without it going through the servers at Redmond. While this sort of vendor independence is important, The DNS system has had alternatives to Network Solutions like AlterNIC for a while, but the DNS system is still very centralized as a result of it's architecture. This bears more watching.
    --
  • I used to have one of these many, many, many years ago. I have the graphic they used to make the shirt someplace, if that's any help. Should be able to get one made (or print one yourself) from that.

  • by Convergence (64135) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @07:51PM (#2191142) Homepage Journal
    You may not have asked the right question.

    I almost never go directly to the Network SOlutions servers. Local servers act like a cache. But, that doesn't mean that they aren't critical.

    The interesting question is can I do a hailstorm transaction without touching an MS server, and also not touching any server that requires authorization (at any level) from Microsoft.

    It does not count as decentralized if I can only use servers that have had their public key signed by Microsoft, or by a Microsoft partner, or by a server that itself is signed by Microsoft, at any level. IE, if all Microsoft servers and all Microsoft-signed keys went away, would it still work?

    If not, then it is obviously.centralized, microsoft is a critical component of it. Remember, just because a packet never touches Redmond doesn't mean that its travel can't be critically dependent on Redmond.

    In fact, this is ideal. THey get to siphon off money from every transaction, and they don't even need to buy the servers. Its a lot like the rants about what digital-cert companies actually sell, and why you shouldn't just make&sign your own certs.

  • Yeah, Dr. Dobb's Technetcast is covering the debate here: http://technetcast.ddj.com/tnc_catalog.html?item_i d=1267

    And if you don't want to sit through the whole thing, O'ReillyNet's Open Source Convention coverage will have a shorter version up later today.
    http://www.oreillynet.com/oscon2001/
  • by nublord (88026) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @12:32PM (#2191144)
    You'll notice that MSFT never uses coders to present their side--they use polished people like Craig Mundie who have a good idea of what their position is and how to express it clearly. Why should the community be any different?

    Because this community isn't out to make a ton of money and rule the world. This community is out to make software that works so amazingly well the gods will notice.

    If you want to beat up Microsoft, be my guest. Just don't tie yourself so closely to us code writers that you take us down with you should you loose.

    Again, I repeat. I'm not here writting code to beat Microsoft. I'm here to make this f*&king computer do my bidding. Don't tell me to change my licensing practices, or my direction (beat Microsoft at all costs) just becuase you think Microsoft needs to be beaten.

    I didn't make my code GPL so you could fight a battle with it. I made it GPL so you could use your computer efficiently, to help advance humanity, to some day get the human race to the stars.

  • by nublord (88026) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:23AM (#2191145)
    Yeah, it's true....

    Assuming that when I write something and release it to the public it's for the purpose of making money. I'm growing tired of this rat race. I know what Microsoft is saying - they want to make money, pure and simply, but can't do it under the GPL. In addition to this, they want all competition eliminated (GPL software). So, they spend all this time boo-hooing about how the GPL is bad becuase it doesn't foster Microsoft's Universal Law - making money.

    I would have thought that all those in the business world with their degrees and such would see this and let the air of Microsoft's tire. But it would seem that we are SO CONSUMED with the urge to argue that we engage Microsoft and discuss it with them.

    We should be concentrating on doing what we do best - writing good code and sharing it with each other. We made it this far by concentrating on that - writing good software. We did not get this far by targetting a company and attempting to beat it with a free alternative. We should not be targetting Microsoft and attempting to beat them. They will out manuever us.

    We should drop all this bickering with MS and go back to doing something that Microsoft can't beat us at: writing good code.

  • by renard (94190) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:40AM (#2191146)
    why did he think MSFT has anything to do with that situation?

    Um... maybe because MSFT is a member and key financer of the BSA [bsa.org], one of the DMCA's chief architects/proponents?

    Is there any reason NOT to keep the pressure on these guys until DMCA is overturned?

    -Renard

  • So, once again, Microsoft speaks, and millions of Open Source/Free Software geeks listen in rapt attention, then spend the next few days bitching about what was said. Guys (and gals), listen to me: When you're paying attention to Mundie or Ballmer or Gates, and then bitching about how evil they are... You're not getting laid. Can't you see? By holding these "talks" and issuing press releases, Microsoft's intent is to distract you from getting laid! All that time you spent writing up a self-righteously indignant post to Slashdot, the time you spent checking your user profile to see if anyone replied to it or modded it up, that time you spent writing counter-replies, all that time you could have spent laying pipe is now lost. (And yes, by writing this post, I myself am guilty of that offense.) Look, Microsoft's "Shared Wife" initiative has two primary purposes: To throw the Open Sex/Free Sex advocates into disarray, and to keep virgins from getting involved with Open Love/Free Love in the first place. The purpose behind this is to forestall any competition to Microsoft's .SEX buildout, which is going to require a gargantuan auditioning effort. Microsoft will have to get all the girls themselves, whereas a potential competitor may choose to leverage Open Sex/Free Sex works to get to market quicker. So naturally, Microsoft wants to scare as many people as possible away from OS/FS. The "Shared Wife" ploy also theoretically gets them free debugging expertise, a job they have traditionally been unable or unwilling to do themselves. My advice (which is worth every cent you paid for it): Get Laid. Ignore them and get jiggy with it. Jump on ICQ I name ICQ since it's one of the best known, but there's no reason you can't go to AIM... er, IRC... er, MSN. Or the FSF's dating pages. Or any other site hosting Open Sex/Free Sex works. Pick a girl There are thousands of pieces of ass out there needing work. Some are sexier than others. Some are dull but have crucial skills or pieces of ass. Some don't exist at all, except in your imagination. Pick one. Bust a nut. Some consider the lack of a hymen to be a bug, so add one if you like. Either way, it'll improve the quality of the girl. Microsoft is worried because a lot of the Open Sex/Free Sex alternatives are better than their own stuff. Where OS/FS alternatives fall short, they are rapidly catching up. Microsoft can make all the sophomoric remarks it wants about the GPL and Open Sex/Free Sex ("If you touch the GPL, your intellectual girls will get crabs! Ooo, icky!"). But at the end of the day, the reliability and quality of OS/FS projects will be the compelling factor that causes users, both business and casual, to migrate over to our girls. And that will happen only if the work is done to make the OS/FS projects better. Personally, I can think of no more direct or effective rebuke to Mundie's "talk" than an audience full of people with laptops and 802.11b cards, deliberately and maliciously watching porn with their dates, while Mundie goes home alone. Jump on ICQ. Pick a girl. Bust a nut. And then when you've checked in your score, post about it here, so everyone can see the progress being made. Back to the grind, Schwab
  • If that is so then how did Linux ever get developed? I would have to describe any distribution as a "development of significant original software". You obviously do not understand the distributed nature of open source projects.
    Once the software is at a usable stage further customizations can be performed for the clients and this is the space where the smaller and still profitible service companies exist.
  • From what I understand (and I'm not an expert by any means), it is not easy to self-identify as a member of a passive-power group. You have to understand the concept, to begin with, and you have to admit to having passive power, something that is very difficult for individuals, much less organizations, to do on their own. Has anyone actually stated to Microsoft, or Mundie, or anyone who matters, that Microsoft is in a position of having passive power on a level that just by existing and operating, they inherently disadvantage the other "minorities" in the technology world?
  • by jfrumkin (97854) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:46AM (#2191150) Homepage
    Tim has talked about not going after a winner-takes-all approach, but an everyone wins approach. I wonder how many OSS / Free Software advocates agree with this? My take on Microsoft and it's understanding (or lack thereof) of the Open Source community is very similiar to the historical dominent culture experience; when you are the dominent culture, you often don't understand or even see the passive power you posess; only those who are not part of the dominent group can see that. From today's "debate", I am prone to think that perhaps a similiar mindset is current in Microsoft as the dominent culture. (reference: The Color of Fear, a program / documentary on cultural-race differences)
  • I dont think Mundie understands that alot of people (myself) dont give a *DAMN* about his-kind-of economics

    ...until you can't find a job that puts food on the table. Which is, I think, the real issue. The GPL is a "scorched earth" policy.... Yes, it has the potential to hurt Microsoft, but also to destroy ALL programmers' livelihoods and markets. We should be careful about trying to win a war with nuclear weapons.

  • Sorry, but I think you have seriously missed something. It is not equitable to release the code so that anyone can use it in the way that benefits him or her the most... except for the commercial software developer. This is not only inequitable but discriminatory. And it's intentional. As Stallman himself says, "discrimination is the principle and the purpose." He announces, openly, that he wants to destroy all commercial software companies and programmers. This is the purpose of the GPL, and it is a destructive and spiteful agenda that programmers -- out of respect for their own profession -- should reject.
  • You write:
    It's my code, and if I don't want you making money off of my labor, that is 100% my perogative.
    It's clear from the above that you don't understand the economics of the situation. By releasing your code to end users for free, you have already reduced the market value of the code and functionality to zero. (If it's available for free, who would pay money for it?) Therefore, any money that is made from a program that incorporates that code is entirely due to the value that the other author(s) have added.

    The BSD License is fair because it recognizes this fundamental arithmetic. The GPL is not, because it throws a needless impediment in programmers' way -- forcing them to waste their time re-coding the wheel. If you attempt to prevent your colleagues from using code which has no market value, you are being spiteful -- as can be seen from the tone of your message above. To paraphrase Brian Reid, programmers should stand on one another's shoulders -- not one another's feet.

  • Look at the spite, malice, nastiness, and anger in the above message. This is a destructive force that must be stopped.
  • You write:

    Brent Glass loathes the GPL.

    I've noticed, of late, that some people who are outraged that I've questioned the GPL -- the "Holy Writ," as it were -- have mischaracterized my views.

    Let's set things straight here: I do not "loathe" the GPL. I do point out that the GPL is detrimental to developers' livelhoods (as Richard Stallman himself says; see The GNU Manifesto); that it was born out of irrational spite and mailice against commercial programmers and commercial software companies; that it hurts standardization by driving a wedge between commercial and non-commercial software developers; and that it threatens consumer choice by eliminating diversity. I have provided ample evidence for these effects in my many postings and articles. I believe that it is important for the open source community to recognize that the GPL is not a valid open source license, because it discriminates against a group of people (commercial developers) and against a field of endeavor (the production of commercial software. It should, instead, adopt truly free licenses such as the Apache License. Microsoft is by no means honorable, but it is actually correct on this point.

  • Again, more FUD.

    You write:

    Once my code is released under the GPL, it can never be taken away.
    Nor can it if it is released under a truly free license, such as the BSD license. An author who creates a derivative work can choose not to give away his changes, but the original is still available to the public.

    The difference is that, under the GPL, the code bears a "poison pill" that specifically hurts commercial developers. This discrimination is, as Stallman himself says, "the principle and the purpose."

  • >>Hasn't the idea that open source generates major profit potential been pretty well refuted by the bursting of last year's Linux bubble and the collapse of companies like Eazel and VA Linux?

    Please dont be an idiot by using Eazel as an examble of open source businesses failing. Eazel spent millions of dollars in developement and then went broke before they started to sell anything. Seriously, anyone with two brain cells to rub together can tell you that you need to finish developing a product and before you can make money. It doesnt matter if the product is open source or close source.

    Also Eazel was surprisingly unpopular even within the open source community. There was a satire website about it at www.eavel.com.

  • "it will be possible to make a round-trip query/response using Hailstorm services without 'phoning home' to Microsoft servers." -- Gillmor describing Stutz

    What exactly does this mean for me, the common Linux user?

  • You have to admit: if you didn't know any better, you'd say that David Stutz was a Linux Kernel developer:

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-6690267.html? tag=mn_hd [cnet.com]

    hehe :)
    --

  • Contact Hormel, they have a whole line of spam merchendise. I love my flaming SPAM hat.
  • In general, I was impressed by the number of MS people at this event. They seem to be listening.

    Of course they are listening. First rule of warfare is to "know thy enemy".

    There is a big difference between listening with an open mind and intelligence gathering. I don't know which one they are doing. Do you?

  • I cannot imagine a world in whiich MSFT or the BSA would lobby to overturn the DMCA. Can you?

    No, but I can imagine a world in which Microsoft or the BSA would choose not to help defend the DMCA (thought directly legal or PR means) in the face of a judicial or legislative challenge. Convincing them to stay on the sidelines would be an important step toward reversing or overturning the DMCA. It's always useful to have fewer giant corporations opposing you. :)

    --

  • "Another model that is perhaps more applicable here is this whole idea of four categories of people: the radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists. Everybody is an idealist. Everybody has this idea that things should be better and that's really a non-ideological thing. The fear is that those idealists will become radicals and start questioning the roots of the system, start questioning the power structure. People in power don't like that. You have to turn these idealists into realists, because once they're realists, they can accept the compromises that opportunists make; those being the politicians. Jaggi Singh, Canadian Political Activist 2001

    The point of Cisco and MS saying 'you dont understand economic issues' is an attempt at them forcing you to accept their basic precepts, to change your assumptions - change your goals also. I believe that the OS community is boiling from a broader anti-capitalist, anti-corporate-rule momentum building worldwide, the *idea* that *people* should participate in software development as peers, to be given respect and opportunity to participate is fundemental to the Free Software world.

    I dont think Mundie understands that alot of people (myself) dont give a *DAMN* about his-kind-of economics - it is not a matter of accepting the 'real world' - I actively advocate changing how exactly the 'real world' works... Allot of Free Software Advocates are using their abilities, in their common area of interaction (the computer world), to act out some political change. The Free Software world is not isolated and alone here, It really is a piece of a larger puzzle.

    Now, again, this is my opinion and perspective. There are likely allot of people who disagree - but I believe even those who dont agree politically can see how this would be..

  • I'm just not sure why people are continuing to assert the validity of a model that has almost universally failed, and nowhere succeeded.

    I think the point is this: No one cares to make a profit here. We care to make good software and provide freedom to others. The FSF and GNU/Linux is a resounding accomplishment and sucess. What dont you understand? Saying "..but no one is making a profit.." is a non-sequitor. It is testement to (once-again) that For-Profit endevours are not self-justifiying... the world needs less "For Profits" and more GNU/Linux-like shows of public will.

    Why is this concept seem to be so foreign to you? Where do you live...?

  • And $20M in annual revenues after ten years of existence is no one's idea of "greatly profitable."

    Unless you are a dollar-owning slavedriver who has no interest in *HEALHTY* sustainable businesses which provide jobs and stability to those who operate it. If you are the kind of rabid-with-greed capitalist that demands quick and massive returns on the otherhand...

  • We should be concentrating on doing what we do best - writing good code and sharing it with each other.

    Yes, the coders should continue down their most excellent path. But not everyone in this community is a coder. /me raises hand

    We made it this far by concentrating on that - writing good software.

    Yes. Will that carry you? The best code out there needs marketing, whether it's word of mouth or something else. The best coders are rarely the best marketers. Leave that to your users.

    We did not get this far by targetting a company and attempting to beat it with a free alternative.

    You wouldn't know it from all the anti-MSFT FUD as well as looking at the varions WM's around the community...

    We should not be targetting Microsoft and attempting to beat them.

    Why the heck not? They're the big giant. If you can fell them, you can go kick the butts of the rest of the Phillistines.

    They will out manuever us.

    MSFT can outmuscle you. They cannot outmaneuver you.

    We should drop all this bickering with MS and go back to doing something that Microsoft can't beat us at: writing good code.

    I hope that the coders do just that. I hope that they haven't gotten bogged down in the external fights. The community has to find its external leaders and let them take the fight to the public and to Microsoft. You'll notice that MSFT never uses coders to present their side--they use polished people like Craig Mundie who have a good idea of what their position is and how to express it clearly. Why should the community be any different?

  • Because this community isn't out to make a ton of money and rule the world. This community is out to make software that works so amazingly well the gods will notice.

    Who says they haven't already? I'd rather the people take notice.

    If you want to beat up Microsoft, be my guest. Just don't tie yourself so closely to us code writers that you take us down with you should you loose.

    I don't plan on loosing [sic], really. And it's not so much beating them. Microsoft makes a really great straw man, and hey, that's what excites the public. I'm not really into beating straw men per se, but you can start to focus the debate on relative merits at that point.

    Again, I repeat. I'm not here writting code to beat Microsoft. I'm here to make this f*&king computer do my bidding. Don't tell me to change my licensing practices, or my direction (beat Microsoft at all costs) just becuase you think Microsoft needs to be beaten. I didn't make my code GPL so you could fight a battle with it. I made it GPL so you could use your computer efficiently, to help advance humanity, to some day get the human race to the stars.

    Personally, I'll never ask you to change your licensing ideas just to "beat Microsoft". Microsoft is very clear in its sourcing and licensing policy, and I want to contrast the community's policy with that. Those who will examine the contrast carefully will likely take the community's side. Then once they do that, and they see the excellent code being created by the community, Microsoft will be marginalized and have to go back to writing good code to have market share.

    If you stop coding with the GPL [or the BSD, but I prefer the GPL myself], I'll kick your ass. =P

  • Ah, then my question thrown back at you is twofold: Has no closed source software companies ever gone out of business? If so, then closed source is not a savior of business.

    Second, is it only opensource startups that die? Or is it not that MOST startups die regardless of whether they are software-related, open or closed source related?

    The answer to both questions is obvious - that one cannot extrapolate from the bad doo-doo that happened last year in regards to linux-related startups to mean that the opensource model is unsupportable in business. RedHat is doing quite well now, improving all the time and the kernel, so to speak, of their business is opensource-based, though they do add-on extras that bring in the money. In any case, it is not an automatic that opensource=bad business/dead business.

  • Remember, keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer there is something in Dan Gillmore's observations that worries me. He says that Mundie came off looking like a statesman compated to others in the discussion. There is real value in such statesmanship which I wish the OSS comunity would take to heart; that is, take the microsoft approach. Argue intensely, then give a little on an issue which has become irrelevant (like Microsoft did recently on OEM Licensing [slashdot.org]) given the shifting sands of the technological world we live in, so as to look like you're working tward compromise.

    Mundie has done this vary well over the past 6 months but especially in this debate. I aplaud him for his approach to it. It shouw great consideration and wisdom - although I completely disagree with his viewpoint. It's this type of approach which must be taken by the OSS comunity if we want to come away from these debates with any shred of credibility.

    --CTH
  • But they *have* seen a lot of failure. Sometimes they see it underfoot as they invade a new market. Sometimes they see it in between their teeth after having a development partner over^B^B^B^B^B for dinner. You should respect their understanding of failure.
  • Cygnus, for example, was greatly profitable developing free software long before the movement ever became popular. RedHat seems to be doing well, having beat analyst expectations every quarter. Mandrake has done well. IBM has done well. CollabNet has done well.

    The above is not correct, and in fact, no one has been able to cite an example of a profitable open source software company. Cygnus was privately held and so it's hard to figure out if it was proftable or not, but it was definitely not "greatly profitable." However, it's easy to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on its $20M in annual revenues [cnet.com] and 180 employees [redherring.com] at the time of its acquisition. The cost of maintaining 180 employees in a technology company in the SF Bay Area is more than $18M annually, and there are other costs of doing business, so if the company was profitable at all, it was just squeaking through. (And $20M in annual revenues after ten years of existence is no one's idea of "greatly profitable.")

    Red Hat has yet to turn a profit, though it keeps promising one real soon now.

    Mandrake is losing money. According to its financial disclosure [mandrakesoft.com], as translated by BabelFish [altavista.com]:

    Since its creation in November 1998 the company recorded losses. The cumulated amount of the overdrawn turnover of the group accounts between September 30, 1999 and 31 March 2001 amounted to 13,7 MEuros is approximately three times the amount of the turnover over the period. In spite of a strong progression envisaged of its turnover, MANDRAKESOFT considers a benefit only at the end of the exercise closed at June 30 2003;

    That is, it doesn't expect to become profitable for two years.

    IBM is sinking a billion dollars into open source this year. That doesn't mean it will realize any profit from this investment. It certainly hasn't earned it back yet, and whether it ever will is purely speculative.

    CollabNet is privately held, so it's hard to say how much money it's made back on that $35M investment. [collab.net] It's announced a few deals [collab.net], but refuses to comment on their size: "It's our first true enterprise development network..." It's a significant deal for CollabNet, so much so that Mills refused to comment on the size of the contract or even whether it's the company's biggest win so far. (CollabNet is still privately held.) Mills did say that there are other deals now in the pilot stage with the potential to be as big as this one. I think it's a safe bet that the company is not yet profitable.

    Many consultancy companies have done well. In fact, the consultancy companies do what can't be done in the Microsoft world - they can be profitable, equal players.

    Consultancies are homesteading businesses, not software companies. As already pointed out, consultancies only scale linearly, not exponentially. In any case, they aren't doing so well either. I'm not going to mention the name of one company we're partnered with, but they make a great open source product, but they're in dire straits and they're going to have to start charging for it. I imagine there are probably a few small-business open source consultancies which are bringing in six-figure salaries for their principals, but that's not enough to sustain development efforts, and it's not enough to go public.

    Tim

  • I don't agree that the model has universally failed...

    I didn't say that. I said it "has almost universally failed, and nowhere succeeded." So far, nothing in this thread has provided any valid counterexamples to that observation.

    there are plenty of us that don't give a ding darn whether the "business model" is "valid" or not. Richard Stallman sure as hell doesn't care.

    This is the first of several comments like this in the thread, so I'm responding to this one.

    Business model is exactly the difference between free software and open source. You're quite right that RMS doesn't care about profit potential. He is opposed to the idea of making money by writing software. This quixotic viewpoint defines the free software movement. For a while, it largely gave way to the open source movement, which held that it was possible to make money by developing software and giving it away with source code for free. Now it's turning out that this concept doesn't work, which is why I wrote: "Hasn't the idea that open source generates major profit potential been pretty well refuted?" I'm not arguing here against the free software concept, only the open source concept.

    Tim

  • First, consulting businesses are really the only viable business model for Free Software. I don't think anyone has tried to deny that.

    (I'll assume you meant services businesses, since companies like Eazel, Mandrake, Red Hat, and so on are not consultancies per se.)

    That's fine as far as it goes, but small consultancies don't have the financial resources to support the development of significant original software. If consulting were to become the dominant software business model, it would create stagnation in the software industry. Let's face it, people want to use Word, not TeX, and Photoshop, not GIMP. A consultancy or a computer science department is never going to develop Word or Photoshop. That takes serious revenues and investment, not linear service fees or spare-time development.

    Second, you mostly seem to be obsessed with being "greatly profitable" rather than making enough to live on.

    I was responding directly to claims about Cygnus, Red Hat, and other companies being, and I quote, "greatly profitable." In fact, they are not profitable at all, much less "greatly." I often see the same claim about open source profits made by open source advocates. The post I responded to here was modded up to 5, which is ridiculous for a set of demonstrably false statements.

    I'm sorry if you or the moderators don't care to be informed of an uncomfortable truth, but I think it's important to correct persistent misinformation. Debate should revolve around facts, not propaganda.

    Tim

  • by tim_maroney (239442) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:04AM (#2191198) Homepage
    He said that we basically don't see economic reality and we don't know about business, and while we have good points we should abandon most of our philosophical ideas.

    No offense, but isn't that true? Hasn't the idea that open source generates major profit potential been pretty well refuted by the bursting of last year's Linux bubble and the collapse of companies like Eazel and VA Linux? Was there ever a quantitative business model as opposed to a religious manifesto behind any of those claims? Hasn't the idea of making money by giving away software and charging for services failed for almost every company that's tried it?

    No flamebait here, I hope. I'm just not sure why people are continuing to assert the validity of a model that has almost universally failed, and nowhere succeeded.

    Tim

  • by tim_maroney (239442) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @03:17PM (#2191199) Homepage
    You do have a point, but I think the truth lies somewhere between my observation and your response.

    What concessions RMS makes to the ability to make money in The GNU Manifesto [gnu.org] are distinctly pained. It's clear that RMS believes anyone writing software should be motivated primarily by the sheer joy of it, and that the need to pay the bills should be considered a regrettable necessity. He says that he believes programmers should be paid much less than they are and that the prospect of wealth is a corrupting influence.

    His whole concern is with programmer salary, and not with business model. He barely discusses what it would take to actually build a business on free software as opposed to what it takes to pay programmers. When he even discusses salary, it's only in one of his pained concessions about how if you really have to make money, here's how you could, but really, you shouldn't care about that.

    In contrast, ESR enthusiastically embraces the idea of open source as a way to make money. In some ways this is just a difference in emphasis, but it's a big difference in emphasis, on which numerous companies were launched -- as opposed to the one major company formed under the RMS model, Cygnus. And the ESR companies have enthusiastically embraced the Big Money/Next Big Thing way of describing themselves, which is anathema to RMS.

    Unfortunately, no company of significant size founded on the ESR model has yet succeeded in making a profit. There are a few small consultancies, but they do not create significant original software -- they only offer services on software which other people have written, or create small vertical projects. The ones that have tried to create their own horizontal software (e.g., Eazel, Lutris) have not made a profit by doing so.

    I agree with your analysis of Red Hat's overvaluation, and I also agree that we will not see an Oracle or a Microsoft emerge from Open Source. The question is whether we will see any profitable horizontal software development businesses emerge from it. So far, there are none.

    Tim

  • ...as the dominent culture. (reference: The Color of Fear, a program / documentary on cultural-race differences)

    Oh man - I'm gonna stop posting on Slashdot if we have to write bibliographies now.

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:14AM (#2191203) Homepage Journal
    I had to read your post twice. The first time I agreed; MS might not understand or see the passive (and restrictive) power they posess. But thinking about it awhile I have to disagree. It's impossible for a corporation which hears attacks from other companies on an almost daily basis and is constantly under scrutiny by the federal government to not at least wonder about its power. If MS only heard small cries from others, but was basically able to go on its merry way without a sound, I could agree with you. But considering it was declared an abusive monopoly, and sends some of its representatives to open debate to hear complaints from others, I can't see how MS could be blind to its passive power.

    ---
  • by daniel_isaacs (249732) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:19AM (#2191204) Homepage
    Yes, there is a reason. Because they will NOT change their position. Nor should they. It's good for them. Why would they change their minds, just becuase it pisses people off?

    It's a Law, not a business policy. If you want to change it, you must rely on the Courts (which this would be a great case to do that with) or convince your representatives in Congress that it's a bad Law, an to at least amend the criminal provisions. I cannot imagine a world in whiich MSFT or the BSA would lobby to overturn the DMCA. Can you?

  • by daniel_isaacs (249732) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:35AM (#2191205) Homepage
    Who was the moron/person that asked Mundie about Dmitry? And why did he think MSFT has anything to do with that situation?

  • Zico I don't know much about this Bruce but I hardly find him offensive. Zico, if you are offended by people calling your name repeatedly, Zico, it's time to change a better name you don't hate, Zico.

    Zico, what is the purpose of the panel? Shaking hands, hugging and kissing each other until reaching a consent? Zico, Zico, Zico, if he's that lame he shouldn't join any debate.

  • Get to know this Brett [essential.org] Glass [monkey.org], he's typical.

    I asked SV to remove him from the panel due to his past history of annoyance but SV ignored me, and that lead to a fruitless debate thanks to Brett Glass and SV.
  • Once again I don't know this Bruce(may be you know him well), he might be very aggressive, but honestly he has some points worth discussing. You're right, he may need to change his geeky attitude a bit to have a better chance of getting response.

    Like I said, that's why they even made the Troll and Flamebait moderations here at Slashdot, where childish behavior is practically the norm.

    :) That's why I set the threshold to 3. Well, there's still a lot of people having insightful comments. That's how I found your post.

  • by pgpckt (312866) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:38AM (#2191218) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone have links to a video of the debate between Red Hat and Mircrosoft or a transcript or the Clay Shirky/David Stutz debate?
  • I'm just not sure why people are continuing to assert the validity of a model that has almost universally failed, and nowhere succeeded.

    You're not reading what you quoted:

    He said that we basically don't see economic reality and we don't know about business, and while we have good points we should abandon most of our philosophical ideas.

    He says that Mundie suggest we don't understand business and that we give up our philosophical ideas.

    Putting aside the truth or falsity of the claim, WTF does business have to do with our philosophical ideas?

    MS just can't comprehend anyone having a philosophy that does not maximize profit.

    Whattayagonna do with people like that?

    Club them with a shoe and throw them out of the lifeboat.

  • Putting aside the truth or falsity of the claim, WTF does business have to do with our philosophical ideas?
    MS just can't comprehend anyone having a philosophy that does not maximize profit.


    Well, you have to give Microsoft some credit. After all, that's like the first thing you learn in micro-economics classes, is the whole supply and demand, with basically one goal in sight: maximizing profit. It's a business model that works great for Mom-and-pop busniesses up to medium size corporations. Even a little child can understand the concept. When your small busniess is not trying to maximize profit, it's probably because you're trying to change your business model, combat competition, and/or research new products/services, all in the hopes of.... maximizing profit.

    Unfortunately, with the economics of scale and their self-inflicted monopoly, Microsoft is no longer in a position where they can ethically justify maximizing profit. To do so would greatly benefit Microsoft at the extreme harm of the public. Corporations of the size of Microsoft and AOL/Time Warner have such a stifling effect on competition, and provide such important services, that they must be considered as public services, and not mere businesses.

    They can no longer justify their corporate existence as merely a means to maximize profits. They must take responsibility for the public they are raping in the name of capitalism.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft is run and maintained by people benefitting from Microsoft's greed. They, inspired by visions of Porsches, Lexi, big houses and even bigger TVs, are not in a position to dictate how their company can best serve the public. This means that we the people (well, we the nerds, because the people are not well enough informed, nor do they care unless we take away their Napster) must fight this tooth and nail.

    Well, I'd say more, but I think this comment's indented far enough in the thread to be ignored.
  • ... and that would be a valid business model.

    Yup.. but let's look at the different definition of success..
    I to be successful, I would not require...
    • An IPO
    • Multi-billions in and out every year
    • International recognition
    • A house with every nerd device ever to hit the planet (the Gate's estate)
    I would require..

    Satisfaction that I am making a positive world change

    Verification that I wasn't doing stuff solely to promote myself while hurting others.

    The ability to for me and my employees to live. I don't need to be a billionare to feel validated and I have no intention of ever getting myself in the position where I will feel the only way to protect myself is to screw others. This is where MS is right now.


  • by davey23sol (462701) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:50AM (#2191228) Journal
    Hi there.. another OSCON guy here...

    I have to say this, first of all: the Mundie opening comments might have been "statesmanlike," but the whole idea came down to the same thing that happened in our first keynote (from a Cisco bigwig). He said that we basically don't see economic reality and we don't know about business, and while we have good points we should abandon most of our philosophical ideas. More Red Herring arguments and usual anti-os crap that gets refuted again again.

    Converstaions since the Mundie debate around here seem to mention this: when Mundie was really forced to face issues (especially when it came down to hard DMCA questions) he fell back to basic Corporatespeak. The same old crap: "If you don't like the law, write your Congressman and change it." Sorry, it's easy to say that when you have millions of dollars to back you up. When faced with a question about defending against Patent infringement suits and there costs, his comment was something like "Well get the money."

    This debate was interesting, but when it came down to it Microsoft retained their basic Arrogance. In addition, they tried to paint themselves as UNDERDOGS. "We have seen a lot of failure" they say. Whatever.

    Business good... GPL bad... that was most of their argument...



  • by davey23sol (462701) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:13AM (#2191229) Journal
    I'm just not sure why people are continuing to assert the validity of a model that has almost universally failed, and nowhere succeeded.

    I don't agree that the model has universally failed, but never mind for a moment. This comment has the same problem as when someone says "dot-coms have universally failed." The problem is no one has found the *right* model. Just because no one has found the correct answer to a problem doesn't mean the answer to the correct answer doesn't exist.

    Secondly, there are plenty of us that don't give a ding darn whether the "business model" is "valid" or not. Richard Stallman sure as hell doesn't care. I would be happy to set up a business that allows me (and other employees) to survive that fits into my system of right and wrong.

    There are still those people that care about people's rights over profit potential. This might make me an idealist, I don't care. I don't see why my idealism should be overriden simply because it fits in with "buisness interests."


  • How many people in White America really understand their passive power over minorities? Far too many just dismiss anyone who brings it up as a fanatic. They don't believe the accusations and they have little incentive to do so.

    I'm not sold on this being the case with MS and its detractors, but it could help me understand how a normal human with some degree of common decency might work for a company that seems to specialize in injustice.

The absent ones are always at fault.

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