Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

Gates: Say No to GPL, Yes to the Microsoft Ecosystem 950

Posted by michael
from the sharecropping-for-fun-and-profit dept.
Andy Tai writes "As part of Microsoft's campaign against the GPL, Bill Gates is personally coming to the front line to launch attacks. While speaking at the Government Leadership Conference, Gates argues against spending R&D dollars for GPLed software development. He suggests countries that look to adapt the GPL model are denying "the benefits of an eco-system that has worked extremely well in the United States" and they should copy the system in the US (where Microsoft has an monopoly). He further suggests that source code availability is not generally needed, and when it is needed, Microsoft provides it. Invoking words like "capitalism" and "innovation", Gates argues that free software can exist, but should be like a free unix called "VSB" (probably a transcription error for BSD), without the GPL around it. Gates continues: 'A government can fund research work on BFP, UNIX, and still have commercial companies in their country start off around that type of work. You know, technology policies like biotech -- you only -- if your universities are doing work that can be commercialized, you will have IT jobs in your country. And if they are not, then fine, just say that farming is your thing, or whatever it is. All the taxes will be paid by those guys or something -- I don't know. And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code.' It is interesting to note that Microsoft is increasingly using the same "ecosystem" arguments for defending itself in the anti-trust trial and attacks on the GPL."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Gates: Say No to GPL, Yes to the Microsoft Ecosystem

Comments Filter:
  • by datastew (529152) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:03PM (#3376781)
    Give added emphasis to the word "Micro-serfs"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:13PM (#3376851)
      "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the liar sleeps tonight."
    • by d.valued (150022) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:25PM (#3377459) Journal
      For a more correct analogy, let's look at things this way.

      When you use the GPL, you are obliged to share if and only if you make the program externally-available. (Under the GPL, if you create a proram and ue it only internally, you can technically be GPL-compliant so long as it is never made available to the public.)

      In the beginning, you have the raw elements and the sun providing energy. Plants come in, take in some of the elements and create beneficial compounds (compilers, linkers, languages, which equate to the O2 and sugars). Plant-eating animals come in, they take up the basic compounds and turn it into their own bodies biologically, or archetipical, core, or alpha software depending. Higher animals come in, and use what has been built to build their own muscle, fat, and code, and so on and so on. If an animal (project) dies for some reason, the code is there to be re-used by the decomposers and students and budding neo-hackers.

      Microsoft's system, on the other hand, wants to become a vacuum cleaner, or a factory. THat's a little better. The rest of the ecosystem exists to an extent, but once in a while, an animal is 'collected' (either a corpse collected or created), processed, and then sold as Can O' Crap, The Mystery Meat You Gotta Eat(tm). This diminishes the rest of the ecosystem. Not to mention the pollution that such a factory does kills off species and projects that aren't defended, both in the processing and in the waste products.
  • by 7-Vodka (195504) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#3376798) Journal
    I'll go home and change all my stuff to VSB straight away. Christ was I deluded!
    Thank God someone like him, with no alteriour motives and a heart of gold, is around to steer humanity back on track.
  • Is it me... (Score:3, Funny)

    by !ramirez (106823) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#3376799)
    Is it me, or does Gates sound a little high in this interview? I mean, this guy, by all accounts, is pretty GD smart whether you want to admit it or not, and here he's giving answers like "All the taxes will be paid by those guys or something -- I don't know. And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code."

    Who the hell would want to go home from a day of backbusting labor and work on source code?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Could it be that the GPL has driven Bill Gates to insanity?

      ...this seems to happen to _anyone_ I talk to about the virtues of GPL. :-)
    • Re:Is it me... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:30PM (#3376954) Homepage
      All the taxes will be paid by those guys or something -- I don't know. And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code.

      I think you guys are reading way too much into this. The issue is not Open Source or proprietary, or even Free as in Beer. The issue is what should happen when the government pays money for software reasearch.

      Under the old model the government would spend a few million supporting a research team who would then start a company to exploit the copyright. The University might get a share or might not.

      The GPL is something of an improvement on this situation, but it is designed to prevent proprietary versions being created. That can be a good thing, but unless you are a religious nut on the subject there are often times when it is bad. For example, if the original code would require a lot of effort to turn it into something that was merchantable quality or if the code is of no use unless it is built into something bigger. For those cases BSD is a much better choice.

      There is a reason why we released the Web into the public domain and did not make it GPL. GPL would have closed the door on commercial versions which was absolutely the opposite of our objective. We were changing the flow of information, not engaging in an RMS power play.

      BTW RMS has said things to me in person that are way wierder than anything in the article, anything Gates has said to me personaly and for that matter stupider than anything said or attributed to Dan Quayle or GWB. Like the time he suggested building particle accelerators in space because there is lots of free vacum there...

      If governments are looking at ways to get the maximum out of their research programs it would be a good idea for them to consider the restrictions they intend to place on the distribution of their code at the same time that they apply for the grant. The 'we will keep it private and sell it' approach should be least favoured, 'free for non commercial use' should be next favoured and 'free for any purpose' should be most favoured. I would consider GPL and LGPL to be equivalent to free for non commercial use since in practice a lot of 'open source' code under GPL is often reclaimed by the original owners and commercialised.

      As for the utility of source, I think it is overated. I would much prefer an API that is written well enough that I do not need to see the source to work out what is going on.

      • Re:Is it me... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ebyrob (165903) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:36PM (#3377274) Homepage
        ...GPL is bad in certain cases...
        For example, if the original code would require a lot of effort to turn it into something that was merchantable quality or if the code is of no use unless it is built into something bigger


        So GPL can't be used by business eh? This would be because obviously reading and understanding the code, then rekeying it in so that it's slightly different would be waaay to much work for a company who wants to profit off of something they got for free...

        Like the time he suggested building particle accelerators in space because there is lots of free vacum there...

        Oh yeah, particle accelerators in space, what a terrible idea, cause obviously no ones going to be able to figure how to refine partial vacuum to complete vacuum, or avoid radiation. Only thing stupider would be putting a telescope in space...

        As for GPL vs BSD, it's pretty obvious that GPL is for promoting free software and BSD is for widest adoption. Which one the government should use is up for debate, but there are some great reasons for widest adoption... (course they work even better against commercial software)

        Really dumb things Gates has said(from the article):
        That's something that for a few percent of the price of the PC you can buy a commercial operating system, where all the work of testing it, supporting it, delivering it, is included for a few percent of that price of the PC.
        So, $200 for WinXP is 4% the price of a $500 PC. Great math there Bill.

        As for the utility of source, I think it is overated. I would much prefer an API that is written well enough that I do not need to see the source to work out what is going on.

        That's great, you use the API's, don't worry about the fact you've just tied yourself into only one vendor that can ever fix the API, or know what it *really* does...
      • by Erris (531066) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:47PM (#3377557) Homepage Journal
        BTW RMS has said things to me in person that are way wierder than anything in the article, anything Gates has said to me personaly and for that matter stupider than anything said or attributed to Dan Quayle or GWB.

        Hmmm, how often do you have these personal conversations? Have you been taking your pills?

    • Re:Is it me... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by electroniceric (468976) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:02PM (#3377105)
      For all his other brilliances, I don't think Bill Gates is particularly blessed with articulate speech. And he knows this, which is why you rarely see him speak without handling. And it's why it's a baaad idea for Microsoft to put him on the stand. He'll probably speak his mind, which is not something you do in court.

      The funny thing about this speech is that it seems sincere. He really seems to think that the cost of Windows is trivial, and that complaints about its price are just bad press. Amazing. And then says a few sentences later that we should be moving towards lower cost computing. I just don't get how he puts it together.
      • Re:Is it me... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by maxpublic (450413) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @05:34AM (#3378492) Homepage
        Remember the SNAFU principle, which works wonders in any organization. In essence, the farther you go up the food chain the more distorted the information gets as each level of management reinterprets the facts to make these facts (as well as themselves) look better.

        Bill Gates is at the top of his own little kingdom, one he personally designed to his own satisfaction. Combined with the fact that the man is insanely rich and not known for his ability to accept opposing viewpoints (to put it mildly), by the time the 'facts' make it to Bill they're probably, at best, a vague approximation of reality. There's little doubt in my mind that they reflect a reality which doesn't actually exist, but instead is one that Bill would *like* to exist since his underlings are highly motivated to present this over anything which the king might find less pleasant.

        This is a problem in all organizations, and it gets worse the more levels of 'sifting' you have between the very bottom rung that collects the information and the very top rung that acts on it. The problem is exacerbated if those that sit at the top rung have a great deal of power, and Bill is arguably one of the most powerful men in the world based on his wealth alone. The information he receives has to be some of the worst blather in the industry.

        There also seems to be some indication that Bill's reality is warping a bit, also not uncommon amongst the rich and powerful. The longer they spend at the top the stranger they seem to become, this process accelerating dependent on wealth and isolation. Bill is very, very wealthy and also very, very isolated; it's no wonder he's starting to act even weirder than normal.

        So it's not a surprise that he seems to be sincere. He probably believes most of what he says now, convinced by his continued existence in OddWorld that what he used to know as propaganda is actually true. Just wait for another ten years to pass and see how bizarre and out of touch the guy is then...like Howard Hughes they'll say he *used* to be great but now he's just insane...err, 'eccentric'.

        Max
  • by mkcmkc (197982) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#3376800)
    If you happen to think this is no big deal because you don't like the GPL anyway, I have news: Open Source is next. Let's stand together on this.

    Mike

    • How can this speculative statement be modded as Insightful? No insight is given, and there is absolutely no factual basis for the statement. MS has never been against Open Source. They may be a "lesser Open Source" friendly company then say, Apple, but they have a lot of open source involvement (especially with FreeBSD).

      Your attempt to gain support for the GPL is weak.
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:06PM (#3376802) Homepage Journal

    Last time I checked, it was possible for businesses to be built around copylefted software. I can think of several.

    One might try to minimize my point by mentioning that RedHat and other Linux distribution companies are nothing in size compared to Microsoft. Exactly; that's the idea. :)

    • Doesn't m$ own a right load of RH shares anyway?
  • Hahhahahah (Score:4, Funny)

    by SlackUser (574764) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:07PM (#3376807)
    Yeah right. Open source is bad, having a crushing monopoly is good? I think Gates just got +2 greed.
  • There should be some good quotes in the upcoming part of the trial. Hopefully, the prosecutors won't be too in awe of his wealth to avoid asking the hard questions. Providing source code? When? For windows? I hope that countries like India move to open source so they force Microsoft to compete where it counts. The open marketplace. Not the courtroom.
  • by jdavidb (449077) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:11PM (#3376838) Homepage Journal

    If you don't like copylefted software, you can always WRITE YOUR OWN CODE.

    Yes, I know; many people have said this before me. And Gates' point is that governments shouldn't subsidize copylefted software, not that free software should be outlawed or anything like that.

    While I'll be happy to see any source of money go to fund free software development, and I think that if the government does fund development it should fund only free software and preferably copylefted software, I personally don't feel the need to have the government subsidize it. The government subsidizes too many things already. I'll be happy for the government to not subsidize copylefted software, as long as it doesn't subsidize proprietary software, either.

    • by D.A. Zollinger (549301) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:41PM (#3377017) Homepage Journal

      If I'm giving money to the government, and they turn around and spend that money to help develop software, then I sure as hell deserve a piece of it! I helped to pay for it's existence, therefore I believe that I own a piece of it. If the government spends the money on a corporation to help them develop software that they are going to turn around and charge me for, then I am being charged twice for the same software!

      This is where I totally support the government giving money to free software projects, projects that will be released under the GPL. If the software is licenced under the GPL, then there is no way that a company can take the software that I helped fund and use it to steal me blind.

      Does Microsoft or anyone else deserve to reap the rewards of their own R&D work? Yes indeed, but only if they were the sole providers of funding. If I helped fund it, I want something tangible in return, and the GPL provides that.

      • by Nugget (7382) <nugget@distributed.net> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:37PM (#3377275) Homepage
        The GPL in this circumstance is swinging the pendulum to the opposite side of the spectrum. It makes the code that was taxpayer-funded inaccessable to the businesses and proprietary software developers who also paid for its creation.

        Government funding of software development should mandate public domain release so that the code is completely unencumbered. Making it GPL or allowing the sponsored developer to keep it closed are equally undesireable alternatives that only serve to block some people from using it.
        • No.

          It is in *no* way inaccessible to these businesses: as long as they don't make modifications, they are free to use it as much as they want in pretty much whatever manner they want -- say, if the government develops some swoopty file compression routines or whatever, Microsoft could use that software to package up every version of Windows from here to eternity, and then enclose on the disk the software to decompress it.

          What the GPL prevents is Microsoft changing something stupid in the software to willfully break compatibility, then reselling the software using their monopoly powers as something like Microsoft SuperDuperZip.

          The GPL does not prevent you from using software that you get, it prevents you from making changes and then keep those changes from the public.
          • by Nugget (7382) <nugget@distributed.net> on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:34PM (#3377496) Homepage
            The GPL does not prevent you from using software that you get

            Only for really, really tiny values of "using" that don't include incorporating the code into a non-GPL-licensed codebase. It's entirely unrealistic for you to say that simply dumping those theoretical "swoopty file compression routines" into another product as an external binary is a viable use of that code.

            Microsoft, or any other non-GPL developer, would be blocked from taking that code and linking to it. They'd be blocked from adding it to their code in order to efficiently use it. Depending on how literal a view you take of the GPL, they're probably blocked from even looking at it to see how it works so they can better design their own compression routines.

            This is a signifigant liability which hinders the utility of the code to the point where the developer would be encouraged to develop their own compression routine.

            In your example, Microsoft would find themselves unable to benefit from the good GPL'd code. They'd develop their own "ActiveSwoop" compression which is guaranteed to be incompatible with the GPL'd code. Their huge userbase and marketshare gives "ActiveSwoop" considerable market viability even if it's not as good as the GPL code.

            End result is the same. Microsoft's code is incomaptible which damages the viability of your GPL code. You've protected nothing by blocking Microsoft from using the GPL'd code. If anything, you've resulted in the quadzillions of Windows users being subjected to worse compression (assuming your GPL code is better than what Microsoft wrote).

        • by Erris (531066) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:25PM (#3377460) Homepage Journal
          It makes the code that was taxpayer-funded inaccessable to the businesses and proprietary software developers who also paid for its creation.

          Government funding of software development should mandate public domain release so that the code is completely unencumbered. Making it GPL or allowing the sponsored developer to keep it closed are equally undesireable alternatives that only serve to block some people from using it.

          I suppose that this is the gist of Mr. Gates argument, and it is wholly false. Nothing is keeping ANYONE from using GPL software, modifying it to suit their purposes and redistributing their changes. Businesses can, are and will continue to chose GPL software when it's appropriate. Peopel will take government funded GPL'd software and improve and develop it. Most GPL's software is superior to closed source software for this very reason. The size and quality of Debian shows that the GPL does just as well or better than BSD as a developement model. The only businesses that won't be able to use governement funded GPL software are those who wish to deprive the rest of us of our rights to do what we want with our computers. Those kinds of people desrve to lose out this way. In the mean time, they are just as free as you and me to use GPL'd software.

          The goal of government sposnsored research is to develop technology that people can use. It's not to create a franchise that one or two companies can use to screw the rest of the word and impeed the use of that research.

          • by Nugget (7382)
            The only businesses that won't be able to use governement funded GPL software are those who wish to deprive the rest of us of our rights to do what we want with our computers.


            The fallacy of this arguement is that incorporating open code into a proprietary product doesn't lessen the utility or availability of the original code.


            Did FreeBSD suddenly stop working or start costing money when Apple grabbed huge chunks of it for their proprietary MacOS X? Of course not. Have the rights of FreeBSD users been trampled and infringed upon? No.


            It's absolutely impossible for a company to deprive you of any rights simply because they used code in their proprietary product.

          • by tshak (173364)
            Nothing is keeping ANYONE from using GPL software,

            I think he ment in the sense of GPL'd code. Sure, MS can use little GPL'd utitlities, but they can't use the code unless it's for a GPL'd project. That's the point I think the poster was trying to make.
        • Corporations just pass it on to their customers. If the government (ie, ME, MY taxes) pays for some something, I want MY say. Corporations have no right to use MY software MY taxes paid for without passing on the source to their own customers. If they want to use MY software they can pay ME back in kind.

          This applies to a zillion other things too. I am really tired of universities patenting something that MY taxes paid for, then making money off royalties that I end up paying to some corporation. If some researcher uses a government (ie, MY taxes) grant to discover something, then it's MY discovery too. If researchers want to patent something or otherwise own it, they can do the research on their own time and own dime. NOT MINE.
        • by Jeremi (14640) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @01:56AM (#3378106) Homepage
          [The GPL] makes the code that was taxpayer-funded inaccessable to the businesses and proprietary software developers who also paid for its creation


          No, those businesses' refusal to open source their own code is what makes the GPL'd code inaccessible to them. If they are willing to GPL their own code, then they can use the GPL'd code just as much as anyone else can. The fact that they are unwilling to GPL their own code is their problem, not the GPL's.


          Having said that, I think releasing government-funded code into the public domain is a reasonable alternative to GPL'ing it, for most things.

  • Theoretically, microsoft doesn't have a problem in a "capitalist" economy. If they would just make better software (that doesn't crash) people would choose them. The only problem they may have is when they stop making better software. I am glad the GPL is keeping these guys on their toes.
  • he's either really smart, or really stupid.

    perhaps it's just me, and I'm reading too much into it, but lately microsoft has been laying it on a little thick. Saying that GPL will damage the "ecosystem" almost implies that the current situation is natural and good. for some reason this offends me, but I don't know why. maybe I'm just bitter.

    I do know one thing tho- if microsoft keeps throwing around "poor me" speeches, and the public's gonna grow really apathetic to their plight(moreso than they are already).

    cry me a river bill, you've been found guilty in the court of law. Don't expect sympathy. It's not enough to offer your source to those who you deem need it- it shouldn't be a shell game.
  • by krmt (91422) <therefrmhereNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:12PM (#3376845) Homepage
    "I don't mean to be facetious, but capitalism is something that's hard for me to defend, because it seems to work."

    I guess that's why he defends Windows so heavily.
  • by felipeal (177452) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:13PM (#3376849) Homepage
    He suggests countries that look to adapt the GPL model are denying "the benefits of an eco-system that has worked extremely well in the United States"

    Even if that was true, he forgot a little detail: the other countries are not the US.

    The other countries (mainly the so called 'third world') don't have tons of money to be wasted on software license [slashdot.org] (or at least they try not to) or the VC culture to afford un-profitable companies.
  • Farmers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Da Schmiz (300867) <slashdot&pryden,net> on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:14PM (#3376859) Homepage
    And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code.
    And this is a bad thing because.... ?

    I'm convinced that amateurs are usually better at most things than professionals, for the simple reason that they care more.

    As an example: I write professionally. This is a Friday afternoon -- my productivity level is dropping toward zero. But I am taking the time to make (semi-)intelligent comments on slashdot. Why? Because at slashdot, I'm an amateur. I'm in this because I feel like it, not because I'm being paid to do it.

    OT: perhaps that's why Taco et al are so unproductive at their jobs? Because it is just "a job" for them? Hmmm... interesting concept.

    • Re:Farmers (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dhogaza (64507)
      You're a professional writer and you don't know that a professional writer writing on his or her own time is still a professional writer, not an amateur?
      • Re:Farmers (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Da Schmiz (300867)
        I'll say it right off: You have a very good and valid point. A professional is a professional; expertise doesn't magically disappear when you clock out.

        My point, though, had less to do with expertise and more to do with motivation. Self-motivated people tend to do better work than those that must be pushed to do something.

        When I'm at work, the very fact that I'm at work can give me writer's block. But if I surf on over to slashdot, for instance, I can often (but not always) get the creative juices flowing again by posting here. The fact that there's no pressure on me to comment allows me to (sometimes) write more compellingly here than I would if I were working on some project for work. Why? Because here I only argue issues I care about, when I care about talking about them -- I'm more motivated to put the effort into doing it right.

        That motivation factor is a function of the work environment, which is directly related to the difference between a professional and an amateur.

        Your post sounds like ridicule, but I'd like to point out that our points are complementary. You're right, but that doesn't mean I can't be at least partly right as well.

    • Re:Farmers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Remillard (67835) on Friday April 19, 2002 @10:49PM (#3377564)
      I'm convinced that amateurs are usually better at most things than professionals, for the simple reason that they care more.

      The root of amateur in Latin is amat and refers to one who "loves" an activity. In a previous time, the amateur was one who was more highly thought of because they pursued a study for the love of it, rather than the "crass materialism" of the professional. The amateur was likely to delve into strange areas of the art or science, explore frontiers and new territory. The amateur was the innovator, not a profit oriented business.

      It's interesting to see the swap of meaning (or at least depending on who you're listening to) in modern usage.
  • by new death barbie (240326) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:16PM (#3376873)
    You know, technology policies like biotech -- you only -- if your universities are doing work that can be commercialized, you will have IT jobs in your country. And if they are not, then fine, just say that farming is your thing, or whatever it is. All the taxes will be paid by those guys or something -- I don't know. And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code -- SNAKES! SNAKES! GET AWAY! STOP LOOKING AT ME! ALL OF YOU! STOP IT! STOP LOOKING!
    [At this point, Mr. Gates was carried from the stage. He is resting comfortably at Betty Ford Clinic.]
  • Hmm... Source accessibility is not needed. Ecosystem needs to be diverse.

    These are good points, but they don't support Gates' position against the GPL. If diversity is important, than I am comfortable with proprietary licenses, BSD/MIT style liceses, GPL style licenses and the most restrictive of all, Alladin style licenses all being a part of the diverse ecosystem.

    What Gates hates is that the GPL, like many components of our biological ecosystem has some defences against being eaten ;) Think poison arrow frogs.
  • by PhilJackson (540641) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:19PM (#3376891)
    I don't understand how the richest man in the world can remain so greedy. He must know in the back of his mind that "real" open source is a very good thing, it benefits so many people in different ways. I'm really fed up of reading every second day about M$ fucking another small(er) companys/ideas/plans etc... to uphold thier monopoly(s). Fuck M$ and fuck Gates.
  • by Azog (20907) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:21PM (#3376904) Homepage
    Why should the government pay for research and development of software under a license that allows Microsoft to take it, modify it (perhaps trivially, perhaps integrate it into the OS) and then sell it back to the US government and citizens for $big profits?

    If the government pays for research and development of GPL'ed software, they are ensuring that the government, US citizens, and US corporations will always be free to use the fruits of that work, even after it has been extended. That's how I would prefer my tax dollars to be spent, thanks.

    And I don't want to hear any whining here about how no-one will bother extending or improving the software if they can't profit from it. The entire history of Linux and other GPL'ed software has proven that theory wrong...
    • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:49PM (#3377055)
      "If the government pays for research and development of GPL'ed software, they are ensuring that the government, US citizens, and US corporations will always be free to use the fruits of that work, even after it has been extended."

      But those extensions are parts of other people's work. An inventor can use an expired patent as part of some new, more complex, patentable work. A writer can use a portion of a story with an expired copyright to create a new, copyrighted work. It's my personal belief that government-funded research should go into that same pool.

      And remember that commercial usage of a piece of BSD code doesn't remove that code from general usage. Only the new bits (developed the same as any other commercial code) are what the company really has exclusive control of.

      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:17PM (#3377192)
        A writer can use a portion of a story with an expired copyright to create a new, copyrighted work. It's my personal belief that government-funded research should go into that same pool.

        No problemo. Just wait until the year 2097. The GPL copyrights on the software will expire, and you'll be able to use it to your heart's content.

        That's why the framers of the U.S. constitution specified limited copyright terms, after all.

        • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:41PM (#3377288)
          "No problemo. Just wait until the year 2097. The GPL copyrights on the software will expire, and you'll be able to use it to your heart's content."

          Copyright... The notion by which an author is granted a time-limited, exclusive license to his creation in reward for creating it. In the case of government-funded software, we've essentially already rewarded the author by paying their entire development cost, thereby allowing us to skip directly to step 2.

          And just for the record, while I may be pro-copyright and pro-commercial software (without being anti-free software), I also believe strongly in sane, limited copyrights. I hate what Disney's done to the copyright system as much as the next guy.

    • Why should MSFT pay taxes to fund its competition? Even if MSFT doesn't pay a dime in taxes, why should the government compete with MSFT? If the government can arbitrarily decide to compete with a business, what is the point of going into business? It's very discouraging to think I might someday build a business, only to have the government confiscate it because a bunch of Leftists are all in a snit.

      Also, the government doesn't pay for anything. Taxpayers pay for it.

      And I don't want to hear any whining here about how no-one will bother extending or improving the software if they can't profit from it. The entire history of Linux and other GPL'ed software has proven that theory wrong...

      No. It's proven them right. The non-GPL'd BSD consistantly outperforms Linux; especially in security. GPL advocates often point to Apache (either due to ignorance or intentional deception), but that isn't GPL'd. It isn't even copylefted. Perl was originally Artistic only, not copylefted. It was only dual-licensed with the GPL due to community pressure. The gcc compiler keeps most free *NIXs hobbled at lower performance levels due to its subpar optimization. Non-copylefted Open Source consistantly attracts better developers for a very good reason: The better developers want to keep their options open, and that includes the option to release proprietary versions.

      You are right up to a point. The GPL doesn't discourage every other journeyman coder or college student from contributing. Real engineers with real funding however, have better things to do with their time.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:22PM (#3376907) Homepage

    ...is that he can't take the code without honoring the owner's wishes as far as payment goes. With every other license he can find a way to get the code without having to shell out anything significant, but with the GPL he can't get out of paying back in the same coin he received: code.

  • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:22PM (#3376908)
    I suppose you could describe a large predator messily devouring any and all smaller species that cross its path as an "ecosystem", but I think there are better ways to label it.

    "Feeding frenzy".

    "Killing fields".

    "Abattoir".

  • New english (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ehiris (214677) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:25PM (#3376924) Homepage
    Microsoft sets new standard in MS English XP

    "ecosystem - n : a system formed by the interaction of one organism with its physical environment"
    • Re:New english (Score:3, Informative)

      Microsoft sets new standard in MS English XP
      "ecosystem - n : a system formed by the interaction of one organism with its physical environment"

      Actually the term ecosystem was not used incorrectly: ecosystem n. An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.; parasite n. 1. Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host. 2. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return. (from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Ed.)

  • by mikosullivan (320993) <miko@@@idocs...com> on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:27PM (#3376934)
    Bill pulls out the usual anti-open-source red herrings in his speech. He's trying to get everybody to forget that open source is actually a capitalist, consumer-driven phenomenon. He tries to characterize OSS as charity. OSS is in fact the biggest consumer revolt of all time: it's consumers deciding that they want something better and going out and making it happen.

    Weirdly enough, he then moves on the characterize the BSD license as somehow less charitable and more business-like. The BSD license is the total-give-away license: you get the code and you have no obligation to provide anything in return. GPL, however, is the value-added license: if you change the code and if you distribute it, then your derived work is still part of the original work. I know this will start a heated debate, but if my tax dollars are paying for something, I want it issused so that some value comes back, not just a welfare-like giveaway. It seems that Bill now wants to move on the being a welfare recipient. Weird.

  • Ok, Windows is a great ecosystem, GPL is a virus, open source eats your brain, and Barney shall now be your king and Lord?

    I'm sorry, I read this, and I am really not sure what the purpose of this is. Feel free to call me stupid, but what the hell?

    Really I tried to understand this, and I utterly failed. Either Gates is way more brilliant than I am, or I am way more stupid than a donkey.

    (Ouch, I just did this: Gates>me>donkey. That leaves a lot of latitude!)
  • by Supa Mentat (415750) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:28PM (#3376946)
    You know, people seem to enjoy using stuff from biology as metaphors more than from any other subject. As a biologist it pisses me off, because most of the time it makes them look stupid. I'm neuroscientist so I'm reaching back in time here but let me bring up some things about ecosystems. Diverse ecosystems are more stable than simple ones and the level of productivity in an ecosystem is directly proportional to its diversity. As a monopoly MS stands in the way of this.
  • by c.r.o.c.o (123083) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:39PM (#3377006)
    I might be completely wrong, but any reaction, both positive or negative, from comercial companies has little effect on the GPL in general and GPL-ed software in particular.

    For the past few years, GPL software has caught the attention of the masses. That includes big and small companies, knowledgeable users and complete newbies and even governments throughout the world. This has all started in 98 (or thereabouts), when Netscape released their source code for Navigator under the NPL. Since then, many other companies have followed suit, but without a very big impact (IMO, of course)

    IBM seems to be the greatest Linux supporter so far. But most of the patches they are contribuing to the kernel are targeted solely towards their equipment (mainframes in particular). It almost does not impact myself, a lowly PC user. And it's in IBM's best interest that Linux should run on their hardware. At some point in time, they can simply give up their expensive to develop and maintain OS, and switch to Linux, which costs them a fraction of the cost. All the publicity they're pouring into Linux is targeted at getting people to accept Linux as a viable alternative.

    SGI contributed their journaled file system. It's great, but it's still not completed. Reiserfs and ext3fs are far more advanced, and from what I've seen, are the preffered choices. RH with ext3fs, SuSE with Reiserfs. No distro that I'm aware ships with SGI's JFS(?). Again, no real impact on my computing experience.

    Sun also wanted to released their StarOffice under GPL (or similar, I can't remember) for Linux. Then they decided to keep the source to themselves, and have OpenOffice available. Along with it, there's KOffice, SOffice, and the Gnome office apps (abiword, gnumeric, etc). I'm not counting WordPerfect, since I'm not sure if it's offered anymore by Corel. None are greatly successful, save maybe for StarOffice.

    The only app that is wildly successful, and that came from a particular company is Mozilla. Not Netscape itself, but Mozilla. In Windows more people are using Netscape6.2, but under Linux very few do. But there are options to it too, Konqueror being the most proeminent, and Opera.

    Those were _some_ of the positive attitudes from different companies. There are others, which I'm not going to list right now. Those ones suffice for my point.

    The negative views come mostly from one source: Microsoft. But I don't see it affecting Linux as a whole, not more that it affected it in the past, when M$ was ignoring the GPL and Linux. They're lobbying governments to continue using M$ software and to stay away from Linux. And yet I don't see too many governments switching over to Linux. Those that do, would do it anyways, because of completely different reasons than the ones M$ is selling (costs, stability, non-dependence on one foreign vendor, etc).

    My point (finally) is that no matter what action a certain company or government take vis-a-vis the GPL and Linux, it will not affect the movement to a great degree. True, it might advance it at a greater rate, or it might hinder it a bit. But as a whole, it will keep going. Linux will get better, nu matter if IBM contributes patches or M$ bans its use by the governments. As long as there are people who are willing to contribute their code under the GPL, there is nothing any entity can do to stop this.

    So lets stop worrying what M$ might do. Many people, myself included, are going to keep running and supporting the GPL software, no matter what happens. I like the freedom it gives me far more than any incentive M$ could offer for me to give it up.

    • While you can dismiss Bill Gates' words, things are not that simple. Microsoft is, in addition to FUD, taking legal steps to attack Free Software. The recent CIFS license is an example, and more may be coming. Microsoft can attack with patents and "technical standards", and that can significantly impact Free Software. We can dismiss the FUD, but we cannot ignore Microsoft--we need to watch their every move. This is a war [atai.org].
  • by ketan (3574) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:41PM (#3377011) Homepage
    A government can fund research work on BFP, UNIX, and still have commercial companies in their country start off around that type of work

    If my tax dollars pay for the development of software or other "intellectual property," I want to be able to get at it (unless, of course, there's national security concerns). And I don't want anyone to be able to take the fruits of that labor and build on top of it while offering nothing in exchange back to me, the taxpayer who funded it. In fact, I've been intending for some time to write to my elected representatives to have them introduce legislation mandating that the fruits of federally funded research must be returned to the public, with obvious exceptions for national research, etc. That means that university research funded by the feds cannot be patented and hoarded by the professors who decide to go private without their compensating me in some way. That may mean a GPL-style license or paying back some of the investment. But it probably really means something I haven't thought of.

  • translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j09824 (572485) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:42PM (#3377025)
    Microsoft has the size of a major banana republic, it is run in a non-democratic, top-down manner, it is more centrally planned than the Soviet Union ever was, and its top brass has been able to get away with more money than the Saudi royal family.

    It's amazing how the head of such an institution can argue that competition, capitalism, and free markets are good. Mr. Gates: if those values are so good, do the right thing: break up your company. Competition and free markets only exist when there are many small players.

    What Gates really wants is an unregulated market so that he can continue to monopolize it, just like the robber barons and oil magnates of the early 20th century.

  • Passport (Score:5, Interesting)

    by javilon (99157) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:49PM (#3377054) Homepage
    "As part of Microsoft's campaign against the GPL, Bill Gates is personally coming to the front line to launch attacks."

    I don't think the headline got the important bit about Gates' speech. He was there to push Microsoft's egoverment (passport) thingy into the U.S.A. goverment, and the open source question came from the delegates. He had to answer.

    All his speech was about M$ having sold his egoverment stuff to UK and trying to use that as a selling point.

    When asked about open source he tried to downplay the question with this "I dunno..." and jokes, like implying that the question wasn't sane, or something...

    Also, he appelated to Capitalism (upercase intended) and Patriotism. Quite funny from a monopolistic multinational.

    Anyways, I think the important bit is that they found a breach in the UK and they are using it to become the f*****g egoverment of the whole planet.

    • Re:Passport (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Malcontent (40834)
      "Also, he appelated to Capitalism (upercase intended) and Patriotism"

      If Bill Gates actually believed in capitalism and patrotism he would not be sitting on 40+ billion in cash. The fact the Microsoft is not investing that money, or giving it to the shareholders (ti belongs to them after all) indicates that Bill gates has no confidence in the viability of the US economy. He is probably afraid that the US economy will collapse and he is sitting on cold hard cash so that when that happens his company will survive.
  • Look ma I'm a felon. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hooya (518216) on Friday April 19, 2002 @08:59PM (#3377096) Homepage
    "...eco-system that has worked extremely well in the United States"

    You mean, the illegal-monopoly-eco-system? So Mr. Gates is actually suggesting that other countries and their governments should adopt this type of culture to actually *foster monopoly*? Isn't that like a convicted serial killer telling all the governments around the world to start schooling their citizens on how to kill people in a certain sociopathic way? Would anyone take such advice from a felon seriously?

    Why does everyone seem to overlook the fact that the ecosystem MS is so proud of has actually been deemed illegal. More interesting is the fact that even after being convicted MS seems to be even more proud of that fact. I guess who wouldn't be if the govt sucks up to them and they can get away with murder.

  • by ZoneGray (168419) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:20PM (#3377201) Homepage
    He's right... if the goal of a nation is to have a software industry at the expense of farming. If the goal is to have plentiful software that people can use, then that's another story. Gates understands how to be a capitalist, but he doesn't understand capitalism and the allocation of resources.

    Remember, he wouldn't be arguing against Free Software if it weren't so effective.
  • by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:22PM (#3377214) Homepage

    Gates: I'm the richest man on Earth, made all my money from the software business, and I'm asking you all to develop software in such a way as to make me, an *American*, even richer.

    World: Riiiiiiiiiiight.

  • by Brian Stretch (5304) on Friday April 19, 2002 @09:36PM (#3377273)
    I think I understand one thing that Bill Gates & Co. is bitter about. Microsoft and its 20,000+ employees pay $billions in taxes every year, a portion of which is used by various governments to sue Microsoft for even more money, and at the behest of their competitors (in exchange for "campaign contributions") no less!

    Just to add insult to injury, they're facing one hell of a competitive threat from open source crews who are giving away software, ie, not paying taxes!

    Yeah, I know, the people who use the software still chip in. But Red Hat ain't exactly coughing up $gigabucks to the taxman.

    I suspect he's wondering why these Democrat AG's can't figure this out.

    It's one of the things I like about open source :-).
  • Good to see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by samantha (68231) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:14PM (#3377652) Homepage
    Microsoft is really running scared. They get more goofy every time they talk about GPL and Open Source. It is probably a good sign.
  • Public Domain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday April 19, 2002 @11:19PM (#3377663)
    It seems to me that software that is developed with public funds should not be licensed or copyrighted at all. No GPL. No BSD. It should be public domain.

    I know that this is closer to what Gates is suggesting, but it seems to me that this sort of stuff should be made freely available to all to use regardless of their application.

    While Gates' motives are highly suspect, the fact is that the GPL is a license that prevents many people from using code for a particular purpose. If that code were developed using funds from general revenues, I don't think that is right.

    On the other hand, I would highly encourage people writing software with private funds to license code using GPL.

  • by Caraig (186934) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @12:07AM (#3377790)
    What is Bill Gates smoking? and why isn't he sharing?

    Oh, right, this is Microspliff. It's probably some sort of proprietary smack.
  • by jesterzog (189797) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @12:07AM (#3377791) Homepage Journal

    All that I can honestly say to that is that if the US has such a great software ecosystem, why is there so much inbreeding?

  • by jerryasher (151512) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @12:56AM (#3377892)
    For many many years, to commercialize a piece of technology, NASA (and the rest of the Feds) would license (sell) the rights to that technology to companies. This is a great revenue stream.

    When the Government creates a piece of software they hold the copyright to, they should both GPL it, and then turn around and sell it to Microsoft/Oracle/Genentech/Boeing with a proprietary compatible license.

    For lots of dough.

    Good for researchers, good for corporations, and triple plus good for taxpayers.
  • by dh003i (203189) <dh003i&gmail,com> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @02:05AM (#3378132) Homepage Journal
    "There's a faction against that, the so-called general GPL source license free software foundation, that says that these other countries other than the U.S. should devote R&D dollars in the so-called open approach, that means you can never commercialize that software."

    Yes, it means you can never commercialize it in the way MS wants to, to put it under the EULA. That's a good thing. Something which society creates should belong to us all, forever. It should not be allowed to be proprietized by the MS', Enron's, and Glogal Crossings' of the world. It should be forever in the commons. Just like MS, as a software developer, has, under the current system, the can control the distribution of its products, so can SOCIETY as a whole, which makes software through taxes. MS, Gates, don't like that? Fine, support an intellectual property system where the creator can't control their creation, but only be compensated.

    "For customers who want source code -- universities, large customers -- we provide that. But 90-some percent of that time, that's more a -- okay, it's nice, I have it, you know, should I ever need it. That's fair. So source availability is not the big issue. That's -- you have got source availability from us and others, and it's not much needed in any case."

    Really, they provide source? What he doesn't mention is that its at a huge price, and under draconian NDA agreements. Also, who's to say that individual's don't want the source code? MS Word 2000 wasn't compiled for MY computer. It may run faster if I compile it for my computer. Not only that, but witha LITTLE WEE bit of programming knowledge, I can even eliminate the useless annoying features I don't like (i.e., those stupid M&M help things, animation, etc). Source availability, not much needed? Nonsense. The entire biological community requires the source of most software packages as a bare minimum. There's only ONE major bio program which doesn't come with source, and that's PAUP; but PAUP faces stiff rivalry from PHYLIP, which does come with source.

    "Then you get to the issue of who is going to be the most innovative. You know, will it be capitalism, or will it be just people working at night?"

    I don't know, so far its been "the people working at night". Most major developments come from OPEN SOURCE or FREE software. More innovation has occured in Linux than any other OS, and that's Open Sourced. The world-wide-web as we know it is based on FREE OPEN SOURCED STANDARDS. What's more innovative than the net? Nothing. Nothing at all.

    The simple fact of the matter is that established corporations like MS aren't good at innovation at all. Innovation is too risky for corporations. What corporations are good at is optimizing existing technologies. That makes solid business sense: its a sure bet. No technology is optimal as it is, and its a sure bet that if you pay good minds money to optimize it, it'll get optimized. Even this, however, is dubious. Has MS really optimized word processors? I've used MS Works 95 and MS Word 2000. MS Works 95 is overall better. Less annoying "correction", much faster.

    Small time developers and individuals involved in open source are the most innovative.
  • Public Roads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @02:27AM (#3378188)

    Well, if Bill doesn't like GPL, how about LGPL? Notice he didn't mention that?

    LGPL in a nutshell, creates a library. You may use the library in any way you like. The code you write that uses the library isn't affected by any GPLish license. Add on to the library, and you have to publish that...but write an app that uses it? That's fine. Sounds like a good govt. alternative to me.

    But - there's why Bill fears anything GPL. Public money should go to public works. If I pay tax dollars for something to benefit the public, like public highways...well I am the public! I'd like to use it. And I'd be even happier if some company didn't come along and scoop it up and make it their own. Like how M$ copied Berkeley sockets verbatim and implemented netbios on top of it.

    So with GPL, if Bill wants his own way, Bill has to write his own code. Waah. And if he uses the public roads, he has to obey the rules of the road. Double Waah. An unauthorized toll booth on a public road...is called theft.

    Weaselmancer

    PS: Isn't it too bad that the original Berkeley sockets aren't LGPL? Then the Samba guys would know exactly how M$ netbios shares work. See why Bill fears the GPL?

  • by artymiak (232952) <jacek AT artymiak DOT com> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:04AM (#3378259) Homepage
    I wonder, if the GPL community was given a chance to express their views at the Government Leaders' Conference?

    Free software levels the playing field.

    Everybody has access to the same software, and how they fare depends only on their marketing skills, the quality of service and the richness of their offer.

    Free software removes differences between the rich countries and the poor ones, because it gives access to the tools and technologies to everyone, regardless of their location, be it Bostson, Bangalore, or Moscow or Sydney. What they do with it depends on their intellectual capacity not the depth of their pockets.

    I don't know why Microsoft is spending so much time and money on a crusade against GPL. Apparently it is easier for them to fight GPL than to learn the rules.
  • by flacco (324089) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @05:51AM (#3378515)
    It's called Divine Right of Kings, you filthy peasants.

    Now shut up, get back in the fields, and till some earth. Or the King will have you drawn and quartered, and the Church will damn you to hell.

  • Rebuttal(s) (Score:3, Informative)

    by MadFarmAnimalz (460972) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:42AM (#3378571) Homepage
    Rebuttal Number 1:
    Do you need the source code of an operating system as a user of that operating system? That is, should you be paying your people to study the intricacies of how the operating system is built and stuff like that?
    No, most people don't. There's actually a easy way out of having the simple end-user getting lost in the C and asm... Err, just don't look in the code.

    Besides, there's two other segments of users not being addressed here. The first is people who actually by gosh *do* need the source code. There may not be that many, but their work is usually quite important/far-reaching and it affects those who do not need the source code. The second class Mr. Gates has overlooked by his unfortunate choice of wording is those who 'want' to look at the source code. If Mr. Gates needs a clarification of why someone would want to look at source when they don't need to, then his money's no good on thinkgeek.

    Rebuttal Number 2:
    That's something that for a few percent of the price of the PC you can buy a commercial operating system, where all the work of testing it, supporting it, delivering it, is included for a few percent of that price of the PC
    Hm, I haven't the foggiest notion what Mr. Gates is trying to say here. It seems Mr. Gates holds the basic rules of grammar in as low regard as he does the GPL. Either that or he's excited about seeing Yoda in the new episode. Or perhaps he himself has no idea what he means. If he'll wrap that last one up in proper grammar, I'll be happy to respond.

    Rebuttal Number 3:
    For customers who want source code -- universities, large customers -- we provide that.
    Doubtful. If Mr. Gates offered source code upon demand, to universities by way of example, I think we would have seen it by now. Any half-decent university would have jumped upon an opportunity such as this. Anyone out there with a university that counts MS as a supplier? Think you could provide feedback what happens when you say "Hey, we're a university, we have a big contract with you, and we'd like the source code." ? Hmm, large customers... anyone got any really fat relatives?

    Rebuttal Number 4
    Then you get to the issue of who is going to be the most innovative. You know, will it be capitalism, or will it be just people working at night?
    OK, what we're saying here is that it's capitalistic gain that is the prime instigator of innovation. This means that you can't write a good book if you're not being paid shovel-loads. And you can't compose great music if you're not getting rich off of it. And you're not a decent football player unless you're playing with Real Madrid or Man U. Mr. gates, I beg to differ as strongly as possible.

    Rebuttal Number 5:
    And the farmers will go home at night and work on the source code. (Laughter.)
    If doctors can code [linuxmednews.com], I don't see a problem with farmers coding [freshmeat.net]. Oh, and I'm sure a farmer would laugh derisively too at the notion of a software magnate going home to tend to his crops and feed his livestock at night too.

    Rebuttal Number 6:
    packaged software costs are never more than, say, three, four percent of any significant project
    3-4%? What kind of computer do you base this calculation on, Mr. Gates? I can only imagine this figure would be accurate if you operated a Cray at home, or if you were referring to the cost of the RedHat CDs you bought. In other words, your math needs work as well as your grammar, I'm afraid.

    # end of rebuttals - for now

    As a final aside, I find it significant that most of the points in Gates' response concerned the welfare of the supplier/producer/seller. Mr. Gates appears to be wilfully disregarding that the GPL was designed to serve the user of the code, not the owner/writer. We really shouldn't let this man shift our focus away from this.

    Silly man.

  • Ecosystem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Big Sean O (317186) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @10:35AM (#3379045)
    Ooh. It frosts my shorts to see how someone can use "Ecosystem" as a metaphor for a One Microsoft Way. Ecosystems require diversity to be self-regulating. Ecosystems survive ecological crises by having lots of different species, all evolving separately in their niche. When conditions change, some species suffer, while others thrive. That's a diversified ecosystem.

    The open source community exhibits that kind of behavior. Some people ask "Why are there so many different Jabber clients [jabbercentral.org]? Shouldn't we all get together and concentrate on one good client for each OS? Not if you want a healthy 'ecosystem'... Let a thousand projects bloom... 10 might become great products. 'Natural selection' will cause a lot of them to fail, but the rest will succeed in their niche.

    Opensource software development even allows for transgenic mutation, if the code is copyleft. The 'DNA' (our code), can move around, joining other projects, making robust solutions for each niche. If conditions change, some projects will suffer, but others will rise.

    Bill Gates thinks that Capitalism and Innovation work, because it's worked for him [webho.com]. Meanwhile, $209 for Visio? What's up with THAT? It's MacDraw for Org Charts... Lemme out of "that" ecosystem pronto!
    =====
  • by Spencerian (465343) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @11:38AM (#3379264) Homepage Journal
    ?l, it's -- I don't mean to be facetious, but capitalism is something that's hard for me to defend, because it seems to work. (Laughter.)

    That's like Lucifer saying, "Evil is something that's hard for me to defend, because it seems to work."

    What a crock of marketing shit. He says that GPL software can't be sold. Sure it can, in the form of tech support. MS doesn't sell their software, either. They sell a LICENSE to use their software. MS always owns the code. And that's what they object to in terms of the GPL.

    And in other MS news of a recent acquisition (a classic):
    http://bbspot.com/news/2000/4/MS_Buys_E vil.html
  • by AxelBoldt (1490) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @05:29PM (#3380694) Homepage
    RMS has tried for a long time to come up with sexy arguments for the GPL. None of them has ever been as compelling as

    The convicted software monopolist doesn't like the GPL.

    Who could ever use another license again?

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard

Working...