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Letter to European Commission Warns Against Open Source 145

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the set-phasers-to-fud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "TechWorld is reporting that they have a leaked copy of a letter written to the European Commission detailing the extent of lobby pressure coming from proprietary software groups working against open source software. From the article: 'Lueders sent the letter [PDF] on 10 October to leaders of the Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, in response to an EC-commissioned study into the role of open source software in the European economy (referred to by Lueders as Free/Libre/Open Source, or FLOSS). In the letter, he criticised the study as biased and warns that its policy recommendations, if carried out, could derail the European software economy.'"
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Letter to European Commission Warns Against Open Source

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  • Not Personal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @05:57PM (#16476751) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't take it too personally. Anyone who's ever been in the consulting business can tell you that the government is the bread and butter of many-a-company. Anything - and I do mean *anything* - that threatens that revenue stream is considered bad. The companies that have managed to survive through government contracts become quite good at playing the political game. So you can be sure that they're the force behind the lobbying group.

    The scary part is that a lot of these companies simply can't survive on the open market, so they turn to the government looking for a "me-too" handout. Unfortunately, they often get it. All they need to do is promise high and deliver low. For a humorous example of this, check out the Virtudyne sage over on The Daily WTF:

    Virtudyne: The Founding [thedailywtf.com]
    Virtudyne: The Gathering [thedailywtf.com]
    Virtudyne: The Savior Cometh [thedailywtf.com]
    Virtudyne: The Digital Donkey [thedailywtf.com]

    BTW, I love this line: "The limited window with which we and others have had to comment clearly has hampered a more comprehensive reply."

    Translation: "You didn't give us enough time to buy off the politicians."
  • by jb.hl.com (782137)
    I very much doubt OSS will derail the EU software economy. It's barely made a dent in the US one so far...
    • Re:fp (OT) (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by jb.hl.com (782137)
      I failed it. :S
    • Re:fp (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:08PM (#16476893)
      I very much doubt OSS will derail the EU software economy. It's barely made a dent in the US one so far...

      Sources?...

      There's more to software than Windows+Office vs. Linux+OpenOffice you know. The server market and the embedded devices make heavy use of open-source software, and I doubt its impact is insignificant.

      At any rate, I'm sure the Windows operating system would be more expensive if Linux and OSX (yes, it's OSS) weren't the vaguely looming threat to Microsoft that they are. Microsoft might also be a lot more rabid against pirates and illegal users if they had a complete monopoly. If nothing else, I'm convinced the mere existence of OSS actually makes a huge difference in the economy, albeit its effect is indirect.
      • Re:fp (Score:4, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:41PM (#16477261) Homepage

        At any rate, I'm sure the Windows operating system would be more expensive if Linux and OSX (yes, it's OSS)...

        Well, Darwin is OSS, but OSX as a whole isn't. I mostly say this as a preemptive strike, because I know someone is going to say it, but it doesn't void what you're saying. OSX server and OSX desktop both rely on a lot of open source. It would have taken Apple far longer to bring it to market if they had started from scratch, and it's benefitting by updates to it's open source components all the time. Therefore, Apple would have a much harder time making their OS competitive if not for the effect of OSS.

        • by jedidiah (1196)
          The alternative doesn't need to be Free Software
          in order for it to exert some competitive pressure on
          the deeply entrenched monopoly. Although being Free
          Software does make it easier to survive long enough
          to be a nuissance.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I'm convinced the mere existence of OSS actually makes a huge difference in the economy, albeit its effect is indirect.

        Economically speaking, software is weird. It seems like it should fit well enough into the established concepts of wealth, but because of the near-zero cost of duplication and distribution, it just doesn't behave the way other forms of wealth behave.

        How do you quantify something that can instantly be everywhere if simply left alone in the hands of the consumer?

        Traditionally, taking goods w
        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:03PM (#16477629) Homepage
          Does anyone REALLY believe that making software free (as is the case with open source) will suddenly leave our economy starved of new software?

          Doesn't it seem like obsoleting most successful software business models all at once, making it harder to make a living as a programmer, would lead to a net loss in software development? Obviously there would still be software, and there might be a long-term gain in pushing towards all software being open-sourced over time, but it's not a simple issue.

          • by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @02:59AM (#16481637) Homepage
            It would cut down on the type of programmers who only ever think of the money. People who learn a language as quickly and hap-hazardly as they can, just because of the money, and then go on to do as little work as possible while maximising income.
            You'd still have the kind of programmers who enjoy programming, and write software for personal achievement.
            You'd also still have service or hardware driven companies employing programmers to write support software for their hardware (drivers etc, which are usually given away for free) and support customers of outsourced services. companies like Sun, Intel and IBM.
            The business model of selling software will be rendered invalid, as it should be, any industry where you can produce infinite product for little or no cost is utterly ridiculous.

            In fact, any industry where production costs are disproportionately small relative to the sale cost is ridiculous... And requires anti-capitalist enforcement to maintain, otherwise the natural progression of capitalism will result in third parties providing the goods at a far more reasonable cost (such behaviour is unnaturally branded as "piracy" or "counterfeiting" by those anti-capitalists)
            • You'd still have the kind of programmers who enjoy programming, and write software for personal achievement.

              Except that a lot of those programmers could go from working full time and developing their skills in their spare time, to working a different job full-time and never having the time to get in-depth.

          • by jimicus (737525)
            Not really. IBM, Sun, Oracle and the like have been making much more money out of support contracts rather than software licensing for years now.

            In case you didn't already know, a large chunk of genuinely active opensource projects have at least one regular contributor who's being paid to contribute by their employer - check the changelog of the Linux kernel and you'll see scores of people with @ibm.com, @redhat.com email addresses.
            • I didn't say there was no way to make money. However, that business model won't work for everything. Redhat can make money because they're selling to businesses who care about support. IBM is a different issue. But all of these business models are a bit tricky, and require that you're selling a specific kind of product to a specific market.

              So you have some open-source business models, and a some closed source business models, but right now, most businesses are using the closed-source models. If you su

          • "Doesn't it seem like obsoleting most successful software business models all at once, making it harder to make a living as a programmer", would lead to a net loss in software development?", nine-times

            re obsoleting: If that were true we wouldn't have any Open Source software, as where's the money for the programer. The answer is that companies make money selling Open Source solutions and pay the programmers. Most sucessful?. Where do these huge profits come from. Have you factored in the cost of viruses.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MrSteveSD (801820)
            Most of the attention focuses on popular stuff like Word Processors and Paint Programs. Most programmers are not employed doing that sort of thing though. They are writing boring bespoke stock control or trading systems that will probably never attract any open source attention.
          • Doesn't it seem like obsoleting most successful software business models all at once, making it harder to make a living as a programmer, would lead to a net loss in software development?

            Yes. Of course moving to mechanized manufacturing has made it harder to get a job as a factory laborer, since fewer are needed. That does not mean this is a bad thing, in general. Using open source, duplication of work can be greatly reduced, which means fewer developers will be needed. This will probably not offset the i

            • I didn't say it would be a bad thing, but only that it would probably mess things up in the short-term if everyone were suddenly forced to go open-source.
              • I didn't say it would be a bad thing, but only that it would probably mess things up in the short-term if everyone were suddenly forced to go open-source.

                Any sudden, forced change is likely to screw things up in the short term. I did not know anyone was proposing forcing everyone to go open source? Being open source is a feature. It is a benefit to the purchaser. Mandating that feature for government purchases with the law, makes sense because the government is a very large buyer, most likely to benefit

          • You do realize that the vast minority of programming jobs involve selling things at retail, right? If the entire "commercial" software industry collapsed tomorrow most programmers would be just fine, because they're doing in-house stuff for companies in other industries.

            • Ok, so let me rephrase: It would only kill most of the commercial/retail/general purpose software. Oh, I feel much better now that I realize only the software I use would cease to developed, while some other random company's ERP system would keep chugging away.
              • Oh, I feel much better now that I realize only the software I use would cease to [be] developed...

                Remember, if all this came to pass, it would only be beacuse the Free Software replacements were better. Who cares if the old software you used stopped being developed? Use the better stuff and be happy!

                Besides, you wouldn't have this problem if the software you were using were Free to begin with, because you could keep developing it yourself if you wanted. ; )

                (By the way, you didn't rephrase what you said b

                • I've always been saying that if we suddenly passed a law requiring all software to be open-sourced, it would leave an awful lot of software companies without business models. I've always been talking from the point of view of the user. And don't count on me developing anything.
                  • I've always been saying that if we suddenly passed a law requiring all software to be open-sourced, it would leave an awful lot of software companies without business models. I've always been talking from the point of view of the user.

                    That doesn't make any sense, because users have absolutely no reason to care about business models (the software they're using will exist in either case, because it's not possible for commercial software to be killed by a Free alternative that doesn't exist). If you want to t

                    • Users can care about lack of commercial software business models, insofar as it would leave us with a lack of software to use.
                    • ...insofar as it would leave us with a lack of software to use.

                      ...which is an impossible situation. If there is an unfulfilled need in the market, someone (commercial or not) will figure out how to fill it.

        • Does anyone REALLY believe that making software free (as is the case with open source) will suddenly leave our economy starved of new software?

          Nope.. I always believed in using the right tool for the job. If OSS does not provide new software, then commercial interests will make it and sell it because there is a market.

          There will always be a market for custom applications. The market is shrinking as there is more general purpose software that can cheaply be adapted for many custom applications reducing th
      • If nothing else, I'm convinced the mere existence of OSS actually makes a huge difference in the economy, albeit its effect is indirect.


        I agree. I built my kids PC. Loaded Ubuntu. The money saved from not buying XP and Office went directly into buying a NAS* box which runs Linux. I'm sure if the NAS box ran MS software, it would have been more expensive.

        The difference in the economy is less money is spent on software leaving more money for other things.

        *(Network Attached Storage)
      • by jaseuk (217780)
        A typical corporate IT licensing stack easily eclipses the cost of the hardware..

        eg: Windows, Office, SMS, Citrix, Exchange CAL, Sharepoint, Server CAL, SQL CAL, CRM, Terminal Server CAL, Altiris / Ghost License, Backup Agent, Two Factor Authentication, ISA, Web Filtering, Anti-Virus, Archiving / Retention Systems, Voicemail / Phone Switch / Fax Licensing etc. etc. etc. the list is almost endless.

        A subset of that list could easily reach over £1000 per user, multiple that by a few thousand desktops or
    • Re:fp (Score:4, Interesting)

      by scuba_steve_1 (849912) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:19PM (#16477017)
      I'm not sure that I agree. OSS has certainly changed the economic landscape...at least for developers...and, by extension, the people that we serve.

      Many commercial products (and frameworks) have gone belly up in the face of OSS competition...while others have lost market share...and the future continues to look rough for folks who make their living selling development tools, libraries, and frameworks. It's tough to compete with legions of altruistic neckbeards.

      Hey...how many folks here still use JBuilder, Cafe, PowerJ, CodeWarrior or one of the many other Java IDEs that dominated 5 or 6 years ago? I fight an uphill battle to buy IntelliJ for each one of my projects...and Eclipse makes it tougher everyday. My last project is currently undergoing a migration from WebLogic to JBoss...and my current project is just now adopting OSS Jasper Reports...unlike my last project, which paid over 20k for licenses for a reporting framework. Yes, Oracle may serve most large sites, but Postgres, MySQL, and others are most likely affecting their bottom line. We are certainly using them whenever we can.

      It's not clear to me how the OSS movement affects the economy. It certainly does, I'm just not sure what the net effect is. It certainly hurts some people while befitting others...but, as a developer, I find it hard to believe that legions of folks giving away their labor helps enhance my bottom line. It may, but it is a very complex equation. That said, I find that writing custom software for enterprises is a heck of a lot safer than working for a software product company...and OSS has a lot to do with that situation in my opinion...and I liked working for product companies.
      • Re:fp (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bnenning (58349) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:41PM (#16478117)
        It's not clear to me how the OSS movement affects the economy.

        It benefits the economy, just as a cheap, abundant, renewable and nonpolluting energy source would benefit the economy. Specific industries might be harmed, but society as a whole benefits. To argue otherwise is the inverse of the broken window fallacy. And in the case of software, I'd argue that developers are helped more than harmed. What would the demand for web sites be if Apache and PHP cost $1000/seat?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Daishiman (698845)
        "as a developer, I find it hard to believe that legions of folks giving away their labor helps enhance my bottom line."

        It's quite simple really.

        Less than 2% of software development is for packaged sofware.

        The other 98% is custom software.

        It was bound to happen really. Look at how the bar is being raised with time and operating systems today include software that would have never made it 3 years ago.

        In the 1970s a licence for a database for an IBM mainframe would cost thousands of dollars per month. No

      • Many commercial products (and frameworks) have gone belly up in the face of OSS competition...while others have lost market share...and the future continues to look rough for folks who make their living selling development tools, libraries, and frameworks. It's tough to compete with legions of altruistic neckbeards.

        Yeah, isn't it great? Now all those people that used to be making development tools can start working on something newer and better (that the OSS crowd hasn't gotten to yet) instead of wasting t

    • In the EU software companies are often "foreign contractors". Most of the time, closed software comes from american companies.
      Wereas, open-source is seen as something "partly developped in our very own universities".
      There are a lot of small european companies relying on open source.

      Fench ISP like Free are developping and distibution several different set-top boxes (ADSL modems, ipTV reciever, simplified "MiniTel [wikipedia.org]"-like computers for surfing the web, etc...)
      VLC player was born in europe (France).
      Several Linux
    • Open source software is like stay at home spouses - traditional measures of economic value often miss much of the essentials.

      My wife has been home with the kids for seven years now. According to the tax forms, she has no income. However, she has a substantial positive economic impact on the household. Caring for children, cooking, etc., etc., needs to be done, and it would cost a lot of money to farm it out.

      Similarly, how much money has our company spent on open source software? If you add up all the

  • Only the lonely... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JTD121 (950855) *
    What the hell are they talking about? It's all just FUD, but still...One of these days the people that come up with the ideas for just this kind of tomfoolery will be fired, and then they will have to switch careers.
  • by Karzz1 (306015) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @05:59PM (#16476783) Homepage
    "...Microsoft-funded pressure group, the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC) warned of potentially dire effects if too much encouragement was given to open source software development."

    Say no more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *
      Don't stop. I think you'll find that there are a lot more greedy companies [softwarechoice.org] out there than just Microsoft. For example, what is Intel (primarily a hardware manufacturer) doing on that list?

      And the plot thickens...
      • Hardware requires software in the form of firmware, drivers, user programs, training program, etc. Not hard to produce a lot of software when you produce a large variety of hardware.
        • by Bert64 (520050)
          Most of which is simply tools to enable the selling of more hardware...
          Giving this away usually increases adoption of the hardware, just look at intel's video drivers.
          • Yes and no. Some software, such as firmware, can give information on trade secrets used in the hardware. This can help other hardware venders reverse engineer those secrets. While you can do that directly from the firmware, why help your competition by giving the source code away (which is much more readable). Of course, doing binary blobs with open source code wrapped around it reduces this threat, which is why Nvidia uses this technique.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Da Fokka (94074)

        For example, what is Intel (primarily a hardware manufacturer) doing on that list?

        Because projects like Arduino [arduino.cc] show that Open Source can also work on the hardware side of business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ex-MislTech (557759)
        OSS has the potential of transferring the massive wealth from the few MBA types,
        back to the coders and grunts on the front lines.

        Companies really don't need 265 different applications to get their job done.

        A lot of the closed source out there could be written into modules that plug into
        a front end, and make it open source and transparent.

        That is what terrifies companies like M$, and the others.

        OSS has the potential to end their business model.

        Piling up billions at a few dozen companies will be replaced , by
        • OSS has the potential of transferring the massive wealth from the few MBA types, back to the coders and grunts on the front lines.

          Nonsense. "MBA-types" would still be needed to run companies if all software was open source. They can work with "support" or "solution" companies instead of retail software. Programmers won't have nearly as much opportunity to make money. Sure, some companies like Red Hat might hire them, but most software companies rely on the proprietary model and it's hard to programmers expe

        • by Bert64 (520050)
          Why would this concern the EU anyway?
          Most of these large software companies are foreign, so money paid to them is being exported from the EU.
          Isn't it advantageous for EU companies to be paying less money to foreign corporations, and hiring more local staff instead? Local european companies can support open source just as well as any american company, and this is something the EU should be promoting in the interest of it's citizens.
  • Economy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:01PM (#16476807)
    In the letter, he criticised the study as biased and warns that its policy recommendations, if carried out, could derail the European software economy.
    But what about the benefits to other parts of the economy?
    • Or the benefits to the European software economy.

      If there weren't economic benefits, why do you think IBM, Oracle, Sun, Google and even Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) all have their hands dipped into the OSS marketplace? In particular, IBM is betting the farm on open source.

      The money to be made in open source is in integrating all the disparate components...not just what Red Hat does with Linux distros, but true systems integration. And if IBM weren't making boatloads off this model, they would've just bough
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        If there weren't economic benefits, why do you think IBM, Oracle, Sun, Google and even Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) all have their hands dipped into the OSS marketplace? In particular, IBM is betting the farm on open source.

        Indeed, one should remember that Microsoft don't have any moral qualms about exploiting OSS when it suits them. Their first TCP/IP implementation was swiped straight from BSD, something they're not in a hurry to remind anyone. As for Hotmail, unless things have changed, last I heard, the
        • The widespread adoption of BSD's TCP/IP implementation probably has more do to with how poorly the protocol is documented rather than compainies' inablity to do it on their own.
          • by Alphager (957739)
            The Protokoll is poorly documented?! What have you been smoking? The RFCs are out there, with a full documentation of each and every single possible bit.
            • Each and every single possible bit is documented? I must have been wrong. Everybody knows that if the bits in a protocol are defined than no further documentation is required. It's not as if there's any non-static issues to consider.
        • As I recall, Microsoft took over Hotmail in a buyout, then converted the systems over to Windows.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Bert64 (520050)
            Their first conversion attempt failed miserably, windows simply couldn't cut it even when they multiplied the number of servers by 4 compared to the original (FreeBSD) servers they had...
            After that they tweaked the front end servers to *look* like windows, when in reality they were still BSD... Things like changing the Apache banner, but it was still clearly apache (some error messages, the ordering of some of the headers etc)...
            When they tried again, they managed to migrate the frontend servers over, but t
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Indeed, one should remember that Microsoft don't have any moral qualms about exploiting OSS when it suits them.

          Why should anyone have "moral qualms" about using software precisely as its creators wanted it to be used ?

          Their first TCP/IP implementation was swiped straight from BSD, something they're not in a hurry to remind anyone.

          That's hardly remarkable. Pretty much *everyone's* first TCP/IP implementation was "swiped straight from BSD" (how do you "swipe" something that's free ?).

          As for Hotmail, u

      • Re:Economy? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ClosedSource (238333) * on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:41PM (#16477245)
        "IBM is betting the farm on open source."

        Changing from Unix to Linux and throwing a few old bones to the OSS crowd isn't "betting the farm". IBM is still very committed to its proprietary software products. For example a few years ago IBM acquired Rational. Immediately afterword they discontinued the popular Visual Test product because it competed with more expensive products IBM owned. They won't sell you a license for it and they won't convert it into an open source project.

        IBM's commitment to OSS is very shallow and if OSS disappeared tomorrow IBM would keep right on rolling' like a Hummer running over a dead mouse.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:03PM (#16476833) Homepage
    Letter to European Commission Warns Against Open Source

    No, no no. It warns against open sores. This is the continent that was decimated by the black plague, remember?
  • by usurper_ii (306966) <eyes0nly@quest4 . o rg> on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:05PM (#16476857) Homepage
    The proprietary software fiasco has led companies to slant their advertising towards telling us to buy more closed-source software to save the environment; Nonsense! According to this scenario, open source software binary digits migrate into the upper atmosphere and destroy the ozone, but proprietary binary digits are heavier than air and cannot get from the ground to the upper atmosphere. This has led scientist to believe that open source software may actually be a danger to our ecosystem.

    The funny thing is that if you look at the authors, these people aren't even scientists!

    Usurper_ii
  • From the PDF:
    The ISC is concerned that the report's approach fails to consider the achievements of [non-FLOSS]. This is to some extent understandable as the report is a study primarily on the FLOSS model.
    In other words: we know that this report was specifically on F/OSS, but we want you to mention how well we non-F/OSS companies have done anyway.
  • In the letter, he criticised the study as biased and warns that its policy recommendations, if carried out, could derail the European software economy.

    He then proceeded to explain how cracking a fart in parliament at the wrong time could cause a hurricane that would pitch us into the next ice age.

  • ... slashdotted...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Leaked letter warns of open source 'threat to eco-system'
      Microsoft-funded lobbyist lambasts European Commission.
      Matthew Broersma, Techworld
      16 October 2006

      A leaked letter to the European Commission has revealed the extent of lobbying by proprietary software groups to prevent the widespread adoption of open-source software.

      Sent in response to a recent report on the role of open-source software in the European economy, Microsoft-funded pressure group, the Initiative for Software Choice (ISC) warned of potentia
  • Larry Lessig notes that you can't print the letter [lessig.org], thanks to the wonders of the rights management in Acrobat. When combined with the fact that the letter is scanned in, it makes it rather difficult to quote or distribute portions of the letter without sending the whole thing -- either that or we go back to the bad old days where everything needed to be retyped, bringing the possibility of typos and all that. Fortunately, for us Linux geeks (and I'd imagine the rest of the world that installs the software), pdftops will happily convert it to a postscript for easy printing. This is despite the fact that neither Acrobat nor Evince will print the pdf. I'd imagine that XPDF suffers from the same issue.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RedStar (86424)
      In fact if you try to change the security settings for the document you'll notice it can be changed to 'no security'. No password will be asked for as it is blank ! The documents original security settings don't make much sense.
      • It makes sense... (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Using the proprietary Adobe Reader, you don't have access to the security settings to change them to allow you to print it.
    • If you're just looking to print the letter, you can use GSView http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/ [wisc.edu] to nicely avoid the print restrictions you find in acrobate etc. (or at least the windows version of GSView does in my experience).
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:52PM (#16477463) Journal
      Larry Lessig notes that you can't print the letter, thanks to the wonders of the rights management in Acrobat.
      Xpdf doesn't seem to have any problems printing the letter. It must be a bug in Acrobat Reader </humor>
    • by init100 (915886)

      This is despite the fact that neither Acrobat nor Evince will print the pdf.

      I wonder why Evince won't print it. Does it really support Acrobat DRM?

  • new gpl'ed zombies are raised on daily basis now, every other student is now participating encouraged by their school-loser employed leads, but dont forget, MSFT is the leader of the market, some days is even stronger then S&P500 and Nasdaq100, supporting oss you are not undermining other software businesses, but America itself.
    • LOL!! your argument is simply laughable.

      "supporting oss you are not undermining other software businesses, but America itself"

      Last time I checked, America had this thing called a constitution, which states something about 'freedom' in there, somewhere.

      If American corporations are free to expand their business using the 'free trade' or 'globalization' model, who is really undermining America? The software businesses who are run by 2-3 American citizens using OSS? or the Lawmakers who allow these corporate lo
    • supporting oss you are not undermining other software businesses, but America itself.
      truer than you might think, rich countries generally like copyright and similar laws because (when combined with copyright harmonisation treaties) they allow them to get money from poorer countries without actually exporting anything to them.

      on the other hand we europeans have a definite interest in stopping the money flow from us to the USA caused by the big american software companies who dominate certain markets. Opensou
  • by epee1221 (873140)
    From the letter:
    It must be reiterated that FLOSS is merely a business model for distributing software, just like many other software business models including hybrid and proprietary software

    Is that so?
    What percentage of the projects on Sourceforge would describe themselves as "businesses"?
  • by openright (968536) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:26PM (#16477075) Homepage
    Sure.

    1500's The Stationers had a publishing monopoly. ... for 130 years
    corruption and suppression occured ...
    1700's
    Start over with a 14+14 year copyright monopoly limit.
    1900's
    US copyright monopoly limit extended to 14+28 years.
    US copyright monopoly limit extended to 28+28 years.
    US copyright monopoly limit extended to Life+50/75 years.
    US copyright monopoly limit extended to life+70/120 years.

    The last time copyrighted material was released into the public domain was 1977. (non-renewed material - 1991)
    The next possible time for new material to enter the public domain is 2048.
    That is a huge period of information suppression.

    "Open Source"/"Creative commons" picks up where the "Public Domain" stopped.

    Other things to note:
      Source Software is near obsolete in 30 years, but still possibly useful.
      Binary Software is obsolete in 10 years.

    If the copyright monopoly limits were more aligned with innovation, perhaps Open source/Creative commons would not exist. (And neither would drm).

    • by 4of12 (97621)

      The last time copyrighted material was released into the public domain was 1977. (non-renewed material - 1991) The next possible time for new material to enter the public domain is 2048. That is a huge period of information suppression.

      And rightly suppressed from public release.

      You recall the original intent of copyright law to encourage authors to create new works for public enjoyment?

      It's pretty obvious to everyone that there is an extreme shortage of new information coming out these days. This excru

  • ...keeps telling us how bad FLOSS is but I always thought flossing was good.
  • Dear EC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @06:36PM (#16477183) Homepage
    Our business model is dependent on the non-existence of this other business model. Please outlaw the other one.
    Sincerely, Lawl Kathaxbie.
  • WARNING:

    The hazardous effects of using open source software include the following:

    Suddenly having the urge to not pay Microsoft for that shit they call an operating system.

    Actually being able to communicate with other people not using propritary formats (PDF of open formats included for your benefit) No Virsuses or malware.

    Having complete control of your system

    Not being able to play games (keep your employees on task)

    Hurting cute and innocent companies like Microsoft and Adobe.

    Saving money

    Ha

  • Perhaps the only solution to all these highly paid lobby groups is to form an anti-Lobby Group lobby.
    I can't believe I just said that.
    Eck.. One should never search for lobby groups in google.
    http://www.circinfo.net/anti_circ.htm [circinfo.net]
    All Hail our new Lobby Group overlords
  • The definition of what an 'open standard'/'FLOSS' was barely discussed

    Heh, they could at least proofread their fancy letter before sending it.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday October 17, 2006 @07:36PM (#16478051) Journal
    ... this effort is going behined closed doors... not public until someone finds out and leaks it.

    In the public interest......means open to the public to know in such matters as this.

    As such it should be made to back fire.
  • Googling for "Hugo Lueders" Microsoft gives 917 results
    Googling for "Hugo Lueders" -Microsoft gives 663 results

    Biased? Com' on!
  • I am sure the EU will recognise the more robust economic model "Open" provides to the world economies with which we all compete for market share.

    The USA Congress and GWBush may not understand "Open" economics and basic S&T+R&D to future market products; So, the rest of the world will bury the USA economy in about 10 or 20 years.
    Who gives a shit (not polticians, televangelist, fools ...), I have no kids, and I'll be dead of old age in another 20 years; So, I no longer give a shit how US citizens vote
  • Lueders is fatally wrong in stating FLOSS is fundamentally a business model. Sure businesses can be built around FLOSS, but at its heart FLOSS is a freedom movement. There is no way to beat a freedom movement by saying it threatens someone economically. It would be like preventing peace to keep the arms dealers in the black.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @03:27AM (#16481759)
    Right now many firm have to fork $/ for microsoft and other proprietary software. They are NOT investing it in their own line of work, and they are not giving value added to their shareholder. Sure the software and PC revolution changed many of this industry forever, but right now this looks more like a tax than a value addition (think : difference of productivity between a worker using windows XP and windows Vista : NIL).

    In other word this is the myth of the broken windows all over again : this consulting firm speaks of loosing value and strength in the economy, but in reality the money saved from paying the software would have been more likely to be reinvested into something else. And since msot big software as far as I can tell are US centric, many local economy in the world (i.e. : EU) would ON THE CONTRARY benefit by having the money reinvested locally into something else, instead of giving it away to the other side of the atlantic.
  • From the FA

    Any action by the EC would "disrupt the entire software eco-system" and the report itself looked "more like a marketing document than a serious survey", according to the letter - written by Hugo Lueders, director of the European branch of the ISC,

    and then we have this

    In the ISC letter, Lueders criticised the Commission for giving the ISC only 10 days to respond to the report. "From this, one might surmise that the Commission is intolerant to opposing comments," he wrote. He accused the Commis

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @05:53AM (#16482397) Homepage
    If you are in London tomorrow evening can I encourage you to turn up at this meeting that I am chairing:

    MEETING TO DISCUSS UKUUG INVOLVEMENT IN LOBBYING

    All are invited to an informal meeting on

    THURSDAY 19 OCTOBER 2006

    18:30 - 20:30

    Tudor Room, The Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB

    The purposes of the meeting are

    1. To continue the discussion following the AGM prompted by Leslie Fletcher's presentation, to allow members more time to give their views and ask questions on what has been done so far and what is planned. An extended version of the presentation is available at http://www.ukuug.org/events/agm2006/leslie.pdf [ukuug.org]
    2. To confirm, or not, the impression that members want UKUUG to be involved in lobbying and advocacy and are happy to see their membership dues spent in support of it. Council is looking to decide within the next month whether this is an appropriate activity for UKUUG to continue with so members views are crucial
    3. To discuss a possible role for UKUUG in coordinating the response of the UK FLOSS community to UK and EU funding, promotional and marketing opportunities. There is concern that this is being compromised by dissension and disorganisation within the community.

    Speakers will be Leslie Fletcher and Eddie Bleasdale.

    • by linuxci (3530)
      I won't be around then but I have to say further involvement in EU software policies would make me renew my UKUUG membership. I let mine lapse a few years ago because I never had the time to go to your conferences which at the time was my main reason for being a member.

      Also you need to encourage the same from other EU groups you're associated with (e.g. NLUUG)
  • This is from the same guy (Hugo Lueders) who defended Microsoft [microsoft.com] during its "European" troubles. Surprised? can't say I am. Someone may want to do a check on who his other "employer" is.
  • We got SAP and SAGE and .......

    Not a lot more really the rest is service industry installing software made in the US or India.

    The biggest system level software suppliers are MySQL and SUSE (sadly now American owned)
    both of which are opensource -- so the evidence would favour OpenSource as a model for
    growing the undersized european software industry.

    Or we could always persuade the French government to pour millions into a version Francais of "YouTube"
    "VousEtUneTube.fr".

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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