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[P]
Just a Philosophy: A Response to Bill Gates

By zonker in Technology
Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:36:01 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

Last Wednesday Bill Gates addressed the Government Leaders' Conference in Seattle, and of course he couldn't resist taking a few jabs at the GNU GPL and Free Software.


Now, no one expects Gates and company to embrace a philosophy or licensing model that is diametrically opposed to Microsoft's business model. However, I object to Gates habitually misrepresenting the Free and Open Source software communities and claiming that GPL'ed software is "impossible to commercialize." (Although I suppose that this is a slight improvement over Steve Ballmer calling the GPL a cancer.) His characterization of GPL'ed software as "impossible to commercialize" is a boldfaced lie. The truth is it's simply impossible for Microsoft to dominate a given field by playing by the rules of the GPL, so they want nothing to do with it.

Gates is trying to convince government institutions and universities to avoid the GPL in favor of buying proprietary software from Microsoft or using licenses that allow Microsoft and other software companies to build on a product without having to share their changes. This is just another of Microsoft's tactics to try to move the focus away from the benefits of Free and Open Source software for the users, institutions and businesses that embrace Linux and Free Software.

Gates also dismisses the philosophy of Free Software and the need for users to be able to access the source code of their operating systems and programs. Considering the ever-increasing role of computers in our lives, it's important for people to understand the ramifications of the licenses that govern their use of software and the availability (or lack thereof) of source code and the ability to apply modifications to it. While I won't go so far as to say that the GPL (or any license for that matter) is the way to go for everyone, people should think about their options and consider the long-term effects of using Free or proprietary software. It's not an issue to be dismissed lightly, though Gates would prefer that people not to think about it at all.

For a longer response to Gates comments, please see this editorial at Dissociated Press.

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Just a Philosophy: A Response to Bill Gates | 193 comments (177 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'd call this biased (2.41 / 31) (#3)
by Hopfrog on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:03:28 PM EST

When I posted my Zimbabwe article, 3/4 of the editorial comments were posted saying I presented a biased view. Then what in the hell is this? This is biased to extremes.

Explain to me why the GPL is good. You might think that, slashdot drones might think that, I do not, so do not assume I do.

Free software is good as a niche product, or for certain types of software (like scoop). But what the hell is this GPL crap? People should be aware of what they are getting into when they select the GPL, and I think Microsoft is doing a pretty good job of telling people about it.

The GPL is a restrictive freedom taking license, that forces a particular model down your throat, and that lets you look at code without using it. Microsofts shared source model does that as well.

The GPL is like communism, of the kind that forces you to be a communist because you live in that country.

Fazit, GPL sucks, and I think Bill Gates is doing a nice job of pointing out the flaws. With that in mind, what is the point of your article? None! Because you don't say anything about this being not true.

Hop.

it's like anything else : (4.33 / 9) (#6)
by joshsisk on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:20:44 PM EST

If you don't like it, don't use it. There are plenty of other licenses out there. It's hardly a "cancer" or the end of profits.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
No, they're not... (4.83 / 6) (#10)
by zonker on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:47:46 PM EST

I agree that people should know what they're getting into when they choose a software license - no argument there. But the problem with Microsoft is that they like to lie and spread misinformation about the GPL or any products that compete with theirs.

The fact is that the GPL won't work for Microsoft's business model - that's fine. But it works very well for businesses that have adopted GPL'ed software for their use - but you won't hear Microsoft tell that part of the story.

I don't claim I'm not biased - but I'm not lying or trying to say that Microsoft's licensing models and business models are anything that they are not. Will Microsoft benefit from the spread of the GPL? No, probably not - not unless they come up with a creative way to change their business model to take advantage of it. Instead they want to stay with their model and try to lie to people to convince them that what they do is in their customer's best interests. Their business practices and licenses are in the best interests of Microsoft only and if you think otherwise you're delusional. If you don't mind the way they do business, that's okay. If you like their products, that's okay too - but they're not concerned with your well-being one little bit, and for Bill G. to pretend that they are is a huge lie.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

Good job? (3.83 / 6) (#43)
by infraoctarine on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:24:43 PM EST

Microsoft makes a "good job" telling people about the GPL? Gates just said "GPL software is like this thing called Linux, where you can never commercialize anything around it; that is, it always has to be free." This is an obvious lie/misconception.

You can sell commercial applications for Linux, or you can sell services for Linux. Clearly, Microsoft is not telling it like it is.

But I suspect you already know that...

[ Parent ]

The GPL is my protection against you (4.63 / 11) (#51)
by klash on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:36:47 PM EST

The GPL is a restrictive freedom taking license, that forces a particular model down your throat, and that lets you look at code without using it.

If your intended use of my code is to integrate it into a closed system, denying me the same rights I gave you, then you are a leech and a parasite, and I did not write my code for you. I wrote it for the community of people who are willing to share their code with me also.

If your intended use of my code is to integrate it into a BSD licensed project, then I am regretful that you cannot use my code. Personally, if I was the sole author and copyright holder of a free software project, I would license it under GPL, but be willing to license it under a BSD license to BSD projects on a case by case basis. Yes, I realize this opens up a loophole, but it would make efforts to close up my code much more difficult.

The GPL is like communism, of the kind that forces you to be a communist because you live in that country.

That comparison is completely invalid. You aren't ever forced to accept the GPL. The only way the GPL can lay any claim to your code is if you make the conscious decision to use someone else's GPL'd code.

This saying is popping up more often, and I think it rings true. "Concerned about the 'viral' nature of the GPL? Then write your own damn code."

[ Parent ]

Then don't release your code (none / 0) (#182)
by Rizzen on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:42:34 PM EST

The GPL is a restrictive freedom taking license, that forces a particular model down your throat, and that lets you look at code without using it.

If your intended use of my code is to integrate it into a closed system, denying me the same rights I gave you, then you are a leech and a parasite, and I did not write my code for you. I wrote it for the community of people who are willing to share their code with me also.

If you don't want people to use your code, then don't release it. Simple as that. If you want people to use your code, then let them use it. Forcing them to use it, but also release changes is crap. Too often, this is used to get others to fix your problems.

If your intended use of my code is to integrate it into a BSD licensed project, then I am regretful that you cannot use my code. Personally, if I was the sole author and copyright holder of a free software project, I would license it under GPL, but be willing to license it under a BSD license to BSD projects on a case by case basis. Yes, I realize this opens up a loophole, but it would make efforts to close up my code much more difficult.

What's the point in releasing your code if you won't let anyone use it for anything?? If you are going to restrict how people use your code, then stick to releasing binaries.



The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Black-and-white thinking is so much easier... (none / 0) (#186)
by MrMikey on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 12:16:36 PM EST

than considering alternatives. You say "either let people do whatever they want with your code, or don't let them have it." Are you actually bitching because someone wants to use a third alternative?

Oh, and "Forcing them to use it, but also release changes is crap. Too often, this is used to get others to fix your problems." is total bullshit unless you can name a case in which this actually happened.

The GPL lets source code spread, be seen by more eyeballs and fixed by more coders. You are getting quality code for free, and you bitch?!?! Some people...

[ Parent ]

Personally, I don't care (none / 0) (#189)
by Rizzen on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 07:33:46 PM EST

It's your code to do with as you please. I just really dislike the philosophy behind it all. "I'll share this with you, but I want something in return." isn't sharing.

That's like someone offering me a sandwich, then saying that if I make any changes to it I have to give them back. Hmmm, I don't like plain peanut butter, so I'll add some pickles. Why should I be forced to spread my new creation to everyone??

Choice is good. However, the GPL will eventually rid the world of choice.


The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
You care enough to post... (none / 0) (#190)
by MrMikey on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 08:26:28 PM EST

and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I just don't understand it...

You are given source code for free (as in beer). You can use it or alter it whoever you want. Still free. You can give it away. Yep, still free. The only requirement is that you pass that source code on if you distribute code that you received under GPL. What have you lost? One thing, and one thing only: the ability to keep your changes to yourself. If you don't like this, you can always write the code yourself, which you would have had to do in the absence of the GPL code anyway! Your sandwich analogy doesn't work because when you give someone the source, you don't lose it.

Sorry, but to me it looks like you're just pissed because you can't use the source that someone else wrote to make money or take credit for yourself.

[ Parent ]

Biased.. (3.00 / 1) (#99)
by ReF UgEE on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:27:28 AM EST

Isn't the whole point of writing an article, expressing your opinion? In order to express your opinion, you have to say what you think. Therefore, what you write is SUPPOSED to be biased.. Moreover, bias is completely natural.. Everybody has an opinion about something.. This means that everything is biased in a way or another. For example, newspapers. Each journalist has his beliefs and will show them in any article he writes, even if he is not trying to. So, I dont really understand what's wrong with an article being biased..

[ Parent ]
He may be biased. (3.33 / 3) (#109)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:21:42 AM EST

But you are uninformed. The worst thing is that you use inaccurate information to support your biases.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

[ Parent ]
So correct my opinions! (2.33 / 6) (#116)
by Hopfrog on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:47:51 PM EST

You hear a lot of "Oh wonderful GPL, what Jon Katzesque idyll you have brought us!", and you see the masses rushing to attack anybody who criticizes it.

Now I dare you to tell me! Right now! What good has the GPL brought to this world? What has the GPL changed? Did the GPL ever send money for eduction to Africa? Did the GPL ever contribute computers for children who couldn't afford them? Did the GPL create half a million jobs throughout the world? No! The GPL has trouble providing for the 10s of developers who work on GPLed products, and actually doing anything that is beneficial to the needy of the world hardly crosses the minds of a GPL developer.

Capitalist development, like practised by microsoft has done all thse things.

Money is virtual. It involves a lot of intagibles. By not making software free, the money is also flowing into the software industry, which is providing for most of us.

Some weak assed weak brained idealogist will say - "Oh! But linux is free! is that not helping the developing world!?" That is the most stupid argument ever! In the developing world, software is pirated. They don't pay for their software, and also, even though software like linux are free they DON'T WANT LINUX. They want working software that does not need specially trained people to use, and if you give them free software that they don't know how to use, it is like giving a TV to a man living where there are no TV stations.

So, wipe the stars from your eyes my friend, and start working to make money with software. Because you need money to change the world.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

What good has the GPL brought to this world? (3.66 / 3) (#118)
by fn0rd on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 02:37:20 PM EST

Does Scoop count? How about all those web servers running Apache?

Careful, I'm sure you don't want to look like a hypocrite.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
I'll take a stab at it (4.75 / 8) (#120)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 03:01:19 PM EST

What good has the GPL brought to this world?

Well for starters it lets me choose how and where I will spend my company's money. It allows me to hire a hacker to do code changes I want done without restricting myself to the NDA contracts of the company I purchased the software from. It allows me to fix software quickly, without relying on a large disinterested third party.

What has the GPL changed?

Well, for starters, it has turned the idea of "software package == black box" on its ear. It's turned the idea that software is something to be purchas--er.. licensed and not understood nor changed and instead encourages change and collaboration. Sure, I can buy a source license but then that restricts me to the terms of the license -- usually some form of NDA or non-compete agreement -- which sometimes doesn't affect me, and sometimes does.

Did the GPL ever send money for eduction to Africa? Did the GPL ever contribute computers for children who couldn't afford them? Did the GPL create half a million jobs throughout the world?

No, but neither has non-GPL'd software. Actually this whole point is a non-sequitur -- software does not donate money nor computers; sofware does not employ.

Capitalist development, like practised by microsoft has done all thse things.

Microsoft could have released their software under GPL and still accomplished this. The GPL doesn't prevent you from developing for money. IIRC most of Microsoft's money comes from support contracts with huge companies, something that the GPL wouldn't hinder, aside from creating a huge market of support contactors... Maybe software (licensing) can create millions of jobs worldwide after all!

But linux is free!

GPL != free. That's the whole source of the free as in libre and free as in beer confusion.

In the developing world, software is pirated.

So why would Microsoft bother giving away Windows licenses then? They know they won't get the money one way or another, and the BSA hasn't infested the land yet so it's just a PR job. Way to go.

They want working software that does not need specially trained people to use, and if you give them free software that they don't know how to use, it is like giving a TV to a man living where there are no TV stations.

You really make me laugh, hopfrog. You don't believe that Windows doesn't require training? I wonder why millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent on Windows and Office lessons in North America every year. I suppose that moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas are calling their friends and relatives asking how "to fix that computer thing" because they've run out of other things to talk about. I wonder what all those "Learn Windows in 21 Days" and "Excel for Dummies" books are doing, flying off the shelf like they are. I forgot that Windows was so intuitave and user-friendly that these types of support services are unnecessary. Silly me.

Let's get back to the heart of the discussion, shall we? The GPL does not prevent you from making money on software. The GPL requires you to do more than just spit out a binary and sell it over and over; the GPL requires you to become a VAR of sorts and sell services. Not much different than a baker or mechanic, really. Let's face it: you don't buy a Ford because you like the car. You buy it because you like the car and you know that there is a huge service group behind the name willing to help you. You buy it because of the reputation of the company and any past personal dealings with them. Why is this so different in the software world?



[ Parent ]
BSD (4.00 / 2) (#138)
by codepoet on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:51:19 PM EST

Nothing you mention could not be accomplished with the BSD license and, indeed, most of it has. So what good has the GPL license done, in particular? Not open source in general, just the GPL license.

If I say what I mean and mean what I say then when do I say what I mean and mean what I did not say if when I mean what I say I say what I mean? Cheese!
[ Parent ]
No argument (4.00 / 2) (#155)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:52:51 PM EST

Nothing you mention could not be accomplished with the BSD license and, indeed, most of it has.

What the GPL ensures that the BSD license does not (and which too has been proven) is that it gives the creator a legal means to keep his code public. What the BSD license ensures is that the creator's copyright be kept in the source. Said source, however, can be "stolen" and locked up in a proprietary binary.



[ Parent ]
And the problem with that is???? (none / 0) (#183)
by Rizzen on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:47:34 PM EST

What is wrong with someone using BSDL'd code in a commercial, close-source app?? The BSDL'd code is still available for anyone to add to or change.

Is it wrong to make money off software?? Is it wrong to make money in exchange for your time/effort??

Whatever ever happened to sharing for the sake of sharing? The GPL's "sharing" is nothing more than tyrrany: you can use my paintset, but only if you give me all the new colours you make with it. That's not sharing.

The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#187)
by MrMikey on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 12:23:09 PM EST

Watch the logic at work:
  • What is wrong with someone using BSDL'd code in a commercial, close-source app??
  • Is it wrong to make money off software??
  • Is it wrong to make money in exchange for your time/effort??
  • Whatever ever happened to sharing for the sake of sharing?
Yeah that "time and effort" involved in using someone else's code ('cause, this is "sharing for the sake of sharing") is really tough, isn't it?

[ Parent ]
A few points (3.50 / 2) (#139)
by KOTHP on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:54:11 PM EST

Capitalist development, like practised by microsoft has done all thse things.

Microsoft could have released their software under GPL and still accomplished this. The GPL doesn't prevent you from developing for money. IIRC most of Microsoft's money comes from support contracts with huge companies, something that the GPL wouldn't hinder, aside from creating a huge market of support contactors... Maybe software (licensing) can create millions of jobs worldwide after all!

This has come up before in response to this article, and is just false. Go ahead and take a look at the MSFT annual statement (Of course, it's a Word .doc...surprise). Perhaps you are confused regarding their contracts with OEMs, who purchase pre-installed copies of Windows. In any event, the vast majority of their income comes from selling licenses to use their software.

GPL != free. That's the whole source of the free as in libre and free as in beer confusion.

I disagree here, too. Face it, under the license I can download the code, build a copy, and use it. I've gotten the software and never paid anyone for it. That's what we call getting it for free where I'm from.



[ Parent ]

I learn something new every day (3.50 / 2) (#156)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:56:07 PM EST

In any event, the vast majority of their income comes from selling licenses to use their software.

I stand corrected. I must admit I was taking a stab at that part of my argument. Thanks for the correction.

Face it, under the license I can download the code, build a copy, and use it. I've gotten the software and never paid anyone for it.

True. However you are one of the few people who consider the source code of a piece of software useful. While there are many programmers who could do something with the code, the vast majority of software users can't. They want the simple installs and the support nets. The GPL doesn't prevent anyone from doing that, and in fact encourages that the value of the software lie not within the source itself, but rather in the access to it.



[ Parent ]
GPL != free as in beer (none / 0) (#184)
by Rizzen on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:51:08 PM EST

While the source may be available, it does not have to be freely avaialble. Nor does it have to be readily available. I can charge for GPL Program X. I can charge a nominal fee for GPL Program X Source Code.

Slapping a GPL on something does not make it free (as in beer).


The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Forced? as if (4.75 / 4) (#132)
by panck on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:11:31 PM EST

#!/usr/bin/perl
#This software is released under the GPL
if(comment eq "troll"){
   print "You're just trolling, right?";
}else{
   print <<END;


As if you are forced to use my software and/or incorporate it into your own. As if you can't just write your own damn software under any license you choose.

Let me break off a chip of my clue-by-four for ya:
If I own the copyright to some software, guess what, by law you are not allowed to copy it. If I want I can grant you limited rights to copy it under whatever license I choose. If I choose the GPL, it only restricts the copying and distribution of my software.

If you feel that you are being "restricted" by the GPL, you are within your rights to not agree with it, and then NEVER COPY MY COPYRIGHTED WORKS. They're mine, I own them. Get your damn dirty paws off of them, unless you agree to the license I specify.

Well you really want to copy them don't ya? If I let you, it's only fair that you let me copy any changes you make to them, isn't it? It's totally hipocritical to say: i should be allowed to copy your work, and then sell it/redistribute/whatever without letting you copy my changes in return. You copy me, i get to copy you.

If I *allowed* you to do so, it's different (BSD).

Really this is such non-argument. Don't like the GPL? fuck you, don't agree to it, and don't copy my shit.

END
}


[ Parent ]
Bah! utter bullshit (2.50 / 2) (#160)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:42:04 PM EST

If I write some software and license it under the GPL, that's my choice, I'm the developer. Under the GPL, you can use and modify that software if you want, but you don't have to.

Under a closed proprietary license, you can use the software only if you buy it from me, and you don't get the source. If you want the source, you can buy it and pay a certain amount depending on what you plan to do with it.

Under the GPL, if you want, I can still sell you the software so you can use it in a proprietary manner, as long as I own all the code, which would also be true of proprietary code.

The GPL doesn't restrict anyone's freedom, it protects it. This does not mean it makes sense for a business to GPL all their software, but it's a great option for developers.

Bill Gates does not like the GPL because he can't legally "steal" GPLed code like he can BSDed code, and it's as simple as that.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

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[ Parent ]

Freedom Taking License, thoughts on. (none / 0) (#178)
by RofGilead on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:06:01 PM EST

Your conclusion was that GPL'd software and closed source commercial software are the same thing. The basis for this statement is that both forms of software require you to give up your freedom over the software and abide by the terms of its originator.

This is true.

Let's take a look at both worlds, though:

1. Commercial Software (Microsoft as model)
In this model, you have to abide by whatever terms of the company to use the software, be it a library or a web browser. An example of a commercial library could be DirectX. It was a competitor to OpenGL, and it originally was free for all developers (maybe you had to pay to sell a product using it.) However, it became popular and the company could change the rules, requiring you to pay large amounts in order to get the latest version of the library. This prohibits me, an independent coder, from being able to compete with large companies.

2. GPL'd Software (Linux as model)
In this model, there is one set of terms. If you rewrite or extend the software, or simply use parts of the code - in order to be able to distribute the software, you have make a way of accessing the code available. One could even sell the software in pure binary form, but have a clause where if the user requests the software's source code - you will ship it to them.
The license AND rules never change with this model. It is not possible that if you distribute a library under this method, and it becomes popular, that you can suddenly raise the bar, ALA DirectX, to some enormous price.

The commercial method promotes :
1. monopoly, which I consider bad.
2. vendor's being able to change standards, or introduce minor details into their interpretation of the standard, which breaks competitors versions.
3. badly written software, if there is a bug in MS Windows, I can't go in, fix it, and release a fix on the internet.
4. stagnation, if there is a feature that I want to add to a request tracking program for my job, I can't simply do that.

The GPL'd system promotes :
1. Diversity: There are tens of versions of linux, and there will continue to be more. See also competition.
2. Innovation: Like a genome of an organism, a GPL'd program can mutate - and stronger versions can take over. Anyone can branch a program and start a new distribution of it.
3. Continued GPL: It is a viral license. With GPL, the more people who use it, the more it spreads. Is this a bad thing? I see the improvement of software quality as a good thing, not to mention the equality it brings to computer users. No longer will you have to be a company to have the money to run the best software.


Your views will necessarily be determined by other assumptions. My main assumption is this: Computers were meant to be tools. When I pay $1000 for a computer, I want to be able to do stuff. If everyone contributes a little bit, we soon get VERY powerful tools. I'm working on a music composition tool much like Reason. Someday, I'll finish it, and release it. And, I hope other people work on when I stop. The end result of GPL is this: Everyone puts in a little bit of work, or no work, and we all have to put in less work over time. I like this idea. :)

As for the whole Communism comparison, I would liken it more to Anarchism. There is no central government, and I don't have to pay homage to any dictator. If I think I can make a better linux kernel than Linus Torvalds, I can take the code and make a better one. A thousand thousand coders all doing their own thing, sometimes beneficial to each other.

I like this model.


-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon
[ Parent ]
BillG's Software Ecosystem (4.68 / 25) (#4)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:14:15 PM EST

Last year as an intern at MSFT, as is typical MSFT custom a bunch of us that were graduating soon got to go to BillG's house to gawk, absorb and question him for a few hours. The questions were rather clichè and I wondered at how many dozens of times he'd had to go through (a.) visionary questions (where do you see computing/Windows/The Internet in 20 years), (b.) inane personal questions (asking about the kids/his wife by name) (c.) how this it feel to be where you're at today and of course (d.) DOJ related questions. Anyway, I had two questions
  • What is the goal of the XBox strategy w.r.t. Windows?
  • Considering that Craig Mundie, Jim Alchin, Steve Ballmer and himself had just recently dissed OSS, who were their target audience and why did they do it?


The answer to the first was interesting in that it probably conflicts with most of the speculation I've seen on online sites especially from our favorite amateur pundits on Slashdot. The answer to the second was the Software Ecosystem Speech probably in its first raw draft form.

One of the major problems with human debate is that we tend note to see things from the point of view of the people we disagree with. The speech makes sense if viewed from the perspective of a principal shareholder and executive of a company that primarily sells software for income. For such companies, GPLed code (which is what BillG specifically opposes) is a threat to their ecosystem because one cannot make money from primarily selling software in a world where all software is Open Sourced/GPLed. In the current ecosystem, companies can buy out other companies then enhance their products or improve on university research projects to create user software. According to BillG, this ecosystem keeps getting smaller as more and more code in the software world becomes GPL/Open Source. Keep in mind that most companies that have done well from using Open Source software (especially IBM that you've mentioned) do not use it as a revenue generator but more as a catalyst. This list mainly consists of consulting firms and hardware companies (of which IBM is both).

Now one may argue that the benefits of a world where most or all software was Open Source outweigh the current status quo even if it would mean the removal of a number of purely software companies from the business landscape and the rise of more software consulting firms.

From where I sit either vision is probably OK by me since however the cookie crumbles I'll still be able to make a living working with software.

do you mean to say that.. (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:17:31 PM EST

a large percentage of Microsoft's revenue is in no way related to corporate support contracts? If it is support-related, then the argument doesn't hold water.

[ Parent ]
Little Relative Revenue From Support Contracts (5.00 / 3) (#8)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:31:13 PM EST

a large percentage of Microsoft's revenue is in no way related to corporate support contracts? If it is support-related, then the argument doesn't hold water.

Most of MSFT's revenue is not from support contracts. Read their most recent financial filings. I've distinctly gotten the attitude around here that we are a software company not a services business which explains the Microsoft Certified Partner Program.

[ Parent ]
ecosystems (4.66 / 12) (#24)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:58:34 PM EST

For such companies, GPLed code (which is what BillG specifically opposes) is a threat to their ecosystem because one cannot make money from primarily selling software in a world where all software is Open Sourced/GPLed.
At the risk of being called offensive, this sounds like the old saw of the whore being pissed off at the slut because, as she says "how am I supposed to sell it if she's just giving it away!?"

Any sort of move to artificially force the software industry into a particularly "ecosystem" would be truly anti-capitalist. Microsoft, Oracle, whoever...they've got no inherent right to be profitable.

I can understand why Bill Gates wants to convince his fellow businessmen to avoid the GPL, but the interesting thing is that his arguments don't apply to all business. The GPL isn't "bad for business". The GPL is bad for the shrinkwrap software business. But of course, most "closed source" programming is not for shrinkwrapped software. Most "closed source" programming is either in-house software, or corporate software individually customized for each customer. What makes it truly fascinating is that Microsoft's own competitiveness have driven many other companies out of the shrinkwrap software business. In other words, the only people to have real reason to heed Gates' arguments are his competitors.

As far as the consumer goes, this is all a non-issue, because the only way GPL'd software can drive non-GPL'd software out of business is by having the same capabilities. If GPL'd software meets the capabilities the consumer wants, the consumer gets it for free. If GPL'd software does not meet those capabilities, some company will be able to make money selling the consumer software that does.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

X-Box Strategy (4.60 / 5) (#35)
by Scott Robinson on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:13:35 PM EST

I'm curious as to how he responded to your first (X-Box) question?

Scott.


[ Parent ]
so, wtf is that supposed to mean? (4.00 / 2) (#161)
by Ender Ryan on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:48:21 PM EST

I can understand why Gates doesn't like Open Source software, it's a threat to his business. But why the hell should anyone care about that? Should consumers, developers, politicians, businessmen, etc, etc, boycott open source software so Mr. Gates can keep extorting money from the general public? Just how is that supposed to be in the best interest of the public?

And just what the fuck does he plan to do about it anyway? Lobby for laws that obstruct open source endeavors?

Gates can stick it.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

People (5.00 / 2) (#166)
by rusty on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 04:17:59 AM EST

A lot of people make their living writing commercial software. A lot of people make their living selling software. A lot of people make their living cleaning billg's pool.

You would deprive them all of their main source of income?

Disclaimer: I know the counter-arguments I'd make to the above already. I'm looking at it, as C4L suggested, from a Gatesian perspective. This is not the flame war you are looking for. Move along... move along...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

More importantly (5.00 / 1) (#173)
by epepke on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:24:39 PM EST

A whole lot of people make their money fixing problems associated with Microsoft software. This fits more closely into the intern/MCSE culture.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Cleaning billg's pool (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 04:08:42 PM EST

A lot of the people who used to make money selling commercial software are now cleaning billg's pool. It's nearly as hard to make money competing against MS as it is with the GPL.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah... (1.30 / 13) (#9)
by Kingmaker on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:43:22 PM EST

You're really in a position to be saying a word to Bill Gates. Uh huh.

my thoughts. (4.46 / 13) (#11)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:01:54 PM EST

I think you need to separate the open source from the GPL. While all GPL'd software is open source, not all open source is GPL'd.

Every decent programmer likes open source. It's just a good thing.

I'm not a big fan of the GPL however. I don't like being tied down and restricted in how I can use the code - whether its by proprietary licenses from a company like Microsoft, or through the viral nature of the GPL. I also dislike the politics the GPL has imbedded in itself. I don't want your computer religion, I just want to make good use of a tool.

I think alot of programmers and companies grab onto the GPL without understanding what it really means and the obligations of producing software using GPL'd code. For the home hacker, this means little, for the company needing to profit from its code, it means alot. I wish more education on this was being done. In that respect, I'm glad microsoft is bringing it up. Of course we all want a fair and balanced education of the GPL, but this is not a perfect world.

The comments on GPL'd software not being able to be commercialized are not without merit. Virtually all companies that have based themselves on GPL'd software have been failures or stagnated. IBM has been successful with it - but look at what IBM is. They're an enormous corporation and its linux business is a small part of it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

FUD-spreading (4.75 / 4) (#12)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:24:24 PM EST

Any organization which derives its profit from supporting its customers can make money from GPL'd software. There is a fairly good analogy with the RIAA - the want to charge for the music, when previously artists supported themselves with concerts. It would be a great goodness if both Microsoft (and other closed software companies) and the RIAA (and MPAA etc) disappeared. IP is not property, and it is a great ugly blotch upon human history to see it so (ab)used in the western world. There's a cool (available online) book about the state and wealth-serving information economy, and puts forth very clearly why this is so. Also, there's another side to the argument, that of the global South, and their natural resources and biodiversity being patented by TNCs. They (farmers and activists) are against IP.

[ Parent ]
Here's why I like IP. (4.25 / 8) (#17)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:36:40 PM EST

I write code. It takes me much time to do so. So much time in fact, it is my job. So in order to live, eat, have a roof over my head, I must indeed, charge money for writing said code.

However, considering my code can be easily copied by someone else, and if they charge less money for something they didnt spend the time to write..who would buy my code from me? No, they'd buy my code from them.

And then I would have no money and no food, no roof and would die penniless.

This goes for everyone else who doesn't make something that requires hours of physical labor and cannot be easily copied.

IP is not bad. Vaguely written laws that are abused in ways they werent meant to be, are.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

As do I (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:09:27 PM EST

I agree, wholeheartedly.
The general GPLer's opinion seems to be that programming for a living is evil.
Some GPL promoters think you can charge money for the code that you've spent months, maybe years, producing while still giving it away for free? Think again. Competitors can charge half of what you charge for it by just copying and pasting what you've done.

I prefer IP if GPL is the alternative.
Like previously mentioned; open source is a good thing and all, but I don't need your computer religion.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
freedom is a religion? (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:23:59 PM EST

I'm not against IP in its entirety, I think that attribution has to occur, at all levels. This is what it should be about, and nothing else. You either keep something a trade secret, or you patent/copyright it, and then people must say their work is based on yours when using your IP.

[ Parent ]
Freedom is not, GPL is [n/t] (3.00 / 3) (#44)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:28:43 PM EST



- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
The GPL is not freedom by any means. (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:45:00 PM EST

on the contrary, I can not do whatever I please with GPL'd code.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Sure it is. (5.00 / 3) (#97)
by Bill Barth on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:58:45 PM EST

You can do anything you want with a program which you author and place under the GPL (as the copyright holder).

Someone might be stupid to buy your product from you under a different license/contract, but you can relicense your product in any way you want.

What you cannot do is take someone else's GPL'ed code and do anything that you want with it. Why would you exepect to be able to? It's copyrighted material, and you must respect the author's wishes with respect to its reuse and republication (in source or executable form).

If an author GPL's his work, this means that he has specific conditions under which you may reuse it. You wouldn't have the ability to reuse and republish the code if he had printed it out and published it in a book under ordinary copyright. Other licenses (read, e.g. BSD) give you more rights to use the author's work thatn the GPL, but that doesn't mean that the GPL limits anyone's freedom.

In fact, the GPL frees authors to publish thier source code with the full knowledge that if anyone is to benefit from changes and improvements, everyone benefits.

Please stop whining that the GPL has taken things from you. It gives to everyone and doesn't limit authors. It may not give as much as the BSD-style licenses, but they nearly throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Yes...I am a rocket scientist.
[ Parent ]

freedom (5.00 / 1) (#158)
by ucblockhead on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:28:29 PM EST

That's kinda like saying that you aren't free because you don't have the freedom to go driving in someone else's car without their consent.

You can't do whatever you please with GPL'd code because it does not belong to you. It belongs to the author.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Let's see... (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by vrt3 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:17:38 AM EST

I can not do whatever I please with GPL'd code.

True, but let's look a bit closer.

What can I do with GPL'd code? I can use it, look at it, modify it, distribute it, distribute my changes. I can however not distribute a derivative work without distributing my modifications.

What can I do with proprietary code, like Microsoft's? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, since I don't even have the code. I can only use the software, and often even that is limited.

What license is the most free, looking at these two? Clearly GPL.
From a developer's point of view, BSD is even more free, agreed (but not from a user's point of view).
When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]

GPL and IP (4.83 / 6) (#65)
by infraoctarine on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:00:58 PM EST

GPL is not an alternative to IP, it is IP. Why? The GPL is legally possible exactly because we have copyright laws, which is part of what people refer to as "IP".

Also, I don't believe that "The general GPLer's opinion seems to be that programming for a living is evil." In fact, many of them do just that.

The reason, I belive, that many free software authors prefer the GPL is because it is, in a way, fair. At least from the viewpoint of the free software author.

Consider this example: I spend 1000 hours writing a software package and release it for free with a BSD (anything goes) license. A software company takes the code, spends 100 hours to improve it, and then sell it for $100 a seat. As the original author, I would feel cheated; someone else makes a profit from my work, and I can't even use the improvements without paying $100.

Had I released the software under the GPL, this software company would have either had to release their improvements also under the GPL, giving me and others free access to it; or, contacted me and asked if they could buy a license from me to use the software in their commercial project.

And yes, the latter solution is possible. As the sole copyright holder to the original package, I can release the same software under multiple licenses. So I can give it away, for free, to people who want to use it as free software, and sell it to the commercial software company at the same time.

I don't understand why the Microsoft people think they should have the right to use free software in their proprietary projects without compensating the original authors (MS don't give away code to others for free do they?). Usually free software was written for the benefit of other free software authors, and for end users; not as a way to subsidize software development at closed source shops.

[ Parent ]

Exactly! (5.00 / 3) (#128)
by epepke on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:21:54 PM EST

From the GPL:

It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any patents or other property right claims or to contest validity of any such claims; this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices. Many people have made generous contributions to the wide range of software distributed through that system in reliance on consistent application of that system;it is up to the author/donor to decide if he or she is willing to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot impose that choice. [italics mine]

This means that if you are a licensee under the GPL, you can do one of two things:

  1. Distribute the software in accordance with the GPL
  2. Work out some other arrangement with the author

The main thing that the GPL prevents people from doing is redistributing software without either working out an agreement with the author or honoring the GPL. In other words, stealing software.

Now, I can understand why a large corporation would find a license that prevents them from stealing software problematic and seek to smear it at every opportunity. After all, they like to steal, and they hate paying royalties (messes up the cash flow) or even giving credit to developers (might erode the myth of the corporation). I can't see, though, why so many people who should know better think that restricting a corporation's ability to steal a developer's work means that developers can't make any money off of developing. If somebody steals from you, you have less, not more.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Why don't you then? (4.00 / 5) (#80)
by marx on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:40:15 PM EST

I must indeed, charge money for writing said code.

So why don't you? What you're saying is that you do some work, and then you demand to be paid for that work. Why didn't you make sure someone would pay you for your work before you started working?

It's like if I build a giant statue in my garden. It takes ages to build, and becomes really good. People who walk by will just look at it and enjoy it. I demand that they pay me! I've done all this work and noone is paying me! So the only solution is to make a law making it criminal to look at my statue without paying me?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#91)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:57:53 PM EST

Why didn't you make sure someone would pay you for your work before you started working?

When you become "employed", that is, if you have whats called "a job", this is often how it works. Unless of course you just started there, in which case you may need to wait 2 weeks.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

No (3.66 / 3) (#95)
by marx on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:47:57 PM EST

You were arguing that IP laws were needed, otherwise no one would pay you for your work. I'm just asking why you demand that people pay you after you've done your work instead of agreeing with them beforehand. Why should I have to suffer because you have bad planning?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

some mistakes (4.83 / 6) (#13)
by kaltan on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:27:27 PM EST

"or through the viral nature of the GPL ... without understanding what it really means and the obligations of producing software using GPL'd code"
As you might by stretching it, claim that the GPL is viral, it surely does not force you in producing GPL'ed code. You can modify GPL'ed code and keep it for yourself, in this way the gpl is not viral, you just can't distribute the changes.

A lot of companies (redhat, mandrake, suse...) mix closed programs with open ones. Just put the extra functionality in another program, which is still allowed to interact with all the free software.

That said, my personal opinion is that in a perfect world, all software should be free.


[ Parent ]

in a capitalist world, software would be free (3.50 / 6) (#14)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:31:10 PM EST

Doesn't even have to be perfect. Could in fact, be this one. The only entities which benefit from IP laws are the individuals getting rich, not the society - when it has clearly been shown, by psychologists, and historians, that IP law is not necessary to produce creativity and innovation; it is just a state-granted monopoly, a creation of private wealth through public power. Its benefits are a myth successfully sold to the society.

[ Parent ]
Learn your history my friend... (3.44 / 9) (#18)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:40:36 PM EST

Think back 300+ years before any kind of IP laws existed. Who and where were the artists? Think of all the artists you know from back then.

Everyone you think of was state or nobleman-sponsored. To get their money, they had to have either the wealthy, or the state fund their activities. As such, there were not very many of them around.

Today intangible assets provided much more to society than entertainment for the rich. As such, there is enormous numbers of people who's lives revolve around them. Without IP law, they would not exist, and we'd be mired in a world where things like writing computer code would not even exist.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

free software programmers don't exist? i see [nt] (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:49:09 PM EST

No text, because there's nothing to say when reality is in question.

[ Parent ]
When do they write free software? (3.66 / 6) (#22)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:54:11 PM EST

usually, at home. In their off time. That's when I work on my own piece of free software, COG. They typically have day jobs, working for companies which make software, and in most cases, its closed source.

Tell me something, have you ever worked at a real job writing software? I mean your posts seem completely oblivious to the reality of the occupation.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

5+ years (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:59:21 PM EST

Yes, I've worked for a number of companies (last was Stratus Techonologies), and in a variety of languages (ASP, VB, SQL, C++, Java, DHTML) and settings (nothing as a low level as a driver, but some variability in scale). And yes, it was all closed source. But you're living in a dream world where no open source company has ever turned a profit. There's so many examples, I don't know where to start.

[ Parent ]
Then please begin. (3.57 / 7) (#26)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:04:09 PM EST

Show me:

A company, whos main product is a piece of GPL'd code, that has consistently turned increasing profits.

And please, describe how said company makes money off such product.

Just to clarify, this would be a company similar to Red Hat, whos main product is Linux. Red Hat has never turned a profit.

This would NOT include IBM, because Linux is not their core product.

If we're going to live in a GPL'd world, then certainly companies who's main product is software (and of course, it is GPL'd) will have to be profitable.

Where, and how, has this already happened?

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Limited Scope (4.22 / 9) (#32)
by zonker on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:12:12 PM EST

See, you're trying to limit the discussion to an economy exclusively made up of little (or huge) Microsofts - instead of allowing for an economic model that uses GPL'ed code as infrastructure rather than the main product.

Don't forget - 99% of the companies that use software do not sell it. Therefore the main benefit of proprietary software against GPL'ed software is that one company gets to make a profit off of it. You have to ask yourself, does the benefit to Microsoft outweigh the negatives to the remainder of society? I'd say that's a resounding no.

Maybe a GPL'ed world would not include any companies who produce only a software product. The world got along fine without any such companies for thousands of years. The US got along fine without any such companies for more than 200 years. We'll be fine when they're extinct too - and probably better off.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

Put food on my table! (3.00 / 7) (#38)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:19:22 PM EST

Tell me, if I were working for a GPL-esque company which obviously didn't make money on their products or code (because it's so much cheaper to just copy the code), how would they pay me?
Who is going to give away money to a company and it's employees just because they're really great guys who give away their code?

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
The point is... (4.28 / 7) (#47)
by zonker on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:33:05 PM EST

That companies using and producing GPL'ed software do not have to be doing so as their business focus, but as a by-product of doing their business.

A good example of this would be IBM - they aren't making money on selling Linux itself, but they're making a gob of money selling servers that run it. Part of that is the ability to customize the OS to be exactly what they/their customers want. Since they're getting 98% of that with no development costs, it doesn't hurt them to give back the 2% that they develop.

You're too focused on the idea of "write code, market code, box up code, sell code, rinse, repeat" to see that there are other ways of making money with software.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

That's proof in itself (3.80 / 5) (#50)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:35:41 PM EST

..that the GPL license can't be put to good use in todays business climate. Unless ofcourse you define "good use" as having gazillions of IP dollars backing you up.
The way I see it, GPL can't serve any purpose but the sparetime coder's.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
You ignore the question. (3.83 / 6) (#54)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:40:10 PM EST

What you're describing is a world where the software is entirely made by gigantic conglomerates like IBM.

Do you really want that?

I see where you're going with this. You're going to claim that all the software will be made by people who do it just because they like it. Learn a lesson from the failure of communism: That doesn't work.

If I had to choose between this world, and a world where all the software was made by either enormous conglomerates or individual programmer's egos, I'll take this world. At least there is something inbetween that works quite well.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Code is the only thing your company can do? (5.00 / 2) (#101)
by andrewm on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:32:18 AM EST

That's fine. Code is important. And your customers love your code so much that they'ld never want to escape, right?

You're always working in your customers best interests, too. You charge the lowest rate for the highest quality work, and version 1.0 of a product is always perfect. You've never once left a useful feature til version 2.0, and anyway version 2.0 is always free, because they paid for the product when they got the first version, and you just chose to do some things later on.

Unfortunately, the reality is that software development companies make decisions in terms of its effect on their own business, not on what benefits the customer, except insofar as they have to do something to get a customer in the first place. (As if that surprises anyone.) Unfortunately, a definate trend (for any company that can afford it) is to do their own software development. What's that, you say? Your largest client just started doing their own code writing? That'll make it harder to sell them your code, won't it? Especially as binaries and maybe user documentation is all you'll let them have, anyway.

It's a lot of fun (from a certain point of view) to compare otherwise similar companies. I've recently had an interesting view of two companies: one out-sources their software, the other develops their own. Both are in the automotive industry, not the computer industry, but one is significantly happier with their software, because it was developed by people with their own interests at heart. Do you really think the other one would represent a long term customer for your company? I know I wouldn't be depending on them for putting food on my table, especially if I knew I was placing my interests ahead of theirs.

Personally, I don't mind if you work on entirely closed source code. But you'ld better hope your customers really really love what they get from you. If they don't, they'll be looking for realistic ways to stop putting food on your table.

[ Parent ]

You forgot two items (none / 0) (#103)
by FattMattP on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 03:41:03 AM EST

You forgot that his company will never go out of business and will always continue to support this product into the future as long as someone is using it.

[ Parent ]
You're sure? (none / 0) (#123)
by andrewm on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:28:51 PM EST

Well, maybe his customers really love what they do. But even if they don't, they'll never consider the possibility of, for example, changing what software they use?

Sure, it's great to have customers that are tied to your company so they can't go elsewhere, but if they want to escape, your business may not be all that reliable.

That couldn't happen, though, right?

[ Parent ]

Examplify (none / 0) (#112)
by Jevesus on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:28:45 AM EST

Give me a decent example of a company with steady income that base their business around open source, _without_ backing it up with billions of IP-dollars like IBM.
GPL is not a proven working business concept until a company as such exists and thrives.
GPL can only serve the sparetime coder, not the professional.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
I think you missed the point (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by andrewm on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:42:57 PM EST

It wasn't a "GPL is great" argument. It was more along the lines of "if you actively work against your customer's best interest, they'll want to stop paying you money, and that's bad for your business."

Unfortunately, most closed source software companies are playing the lock-in game: "once we've got them hooked, they can't leave without throwing away all the time and money they invested here. Even if they do, they'll just have the same problems elsewhere, so we're safe. Now, how can we force them to buy a new version of software that we told them would do everything they wanted and needed?"

It's a fine strategy, up until the point where they realise what's going on, then go and find some way to escape. Then suddenly you'll find noone's using your software, and you've got noone who wants to buy the next version. Still, that never happens, right?

All I'm really arguing is that actual software (as source code, binary code, or both) should not be the major product of a company - if coding is the only thing of value that you provide to your customers, it's not enough. (As long as your customers don't realise there are alternatives you're fine, though, and probably won't listen to anything some random guy on the net has to say, so I won't be offended if you don't believe anything I say :)

[ Parent ]

Funny (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by DavidTC on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:55:02 AM EST

GPL can only serve the sparetime coder, not the professional.

That's funny, I thought software was supposed to serve the user of said software.

That's the thing that keeps baffling me. People keep talking about how 'OSS doesn't work', when it obviously does. It might not work as a business model, but neither does giving people business cards, and yet people give other people business cards all the time.

Everything does not reduce to a business model, and everything is not a viable business. That doesn't make the concept broken. OSS works.

And the fact that it doesn't work as a business model doesn't mean it can't make people money. If someone buys a Linux IBM mainframe because they have code running one a big Linux box and want an upgrade, and IBM has the only mainframe with Linux on it, that's money they made that's directly attributable to Linux.

And if a company can stick in a cheap Pentium 200 Linux box they have laying around as a mail server instead of a buying 2500 dollars more hardware and 1000 dollars worth of software, they just saved 3500 dollars. (I won't go into total-cost-of-ownership, it's certainly something to think about, but I've seen no evidence that Linux has a higher TCO than Windows.)

Linux 'makes', or at least saves, people money all the time. Hence they support it. Fixing bugs is what they're then paid to do, and distributing those bug fixes allows them to stay in sync with the rest of the world, so they do that too.

The whole question of whether or not it's a viable business model is pointless. Only people trying to sell it care about that, the rest of us will just use it and write it.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

i think you did (none / 0) (#168)
by Jevesus on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:12:07 AM EST

Open source does not equal GPL.
It's not uncommon for the buyer of customized software to be interested in buying the source code aswell, for some of the iterated reasons in this thread. GPL means giving your hard work and labor to everybody in the world, no charge.

If all companies gave away their code for free only the biggest and largest would survive. How could a small not-much-of-a-name company survive in the business jungle where everybody has your exact product and is selling it for half the dough? The survivors would be a few IBM-size companies with enough IP-dollars backing them up in order to survive.


- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
That's exactly the mindset I was talking about. (none / 0) (#179)
by DavidTC on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 11:40:39 AM EST

And, again, we're back to selling software.

Companies may not be able to make money selling GPL software, or other types of OSS software that they give away the source with, I don't know.

And the question I pose is: What does that have to do with the eventual success or failure of said software?

Companies will still download it, companies will still use it, companies will still modify it and give back out the changes. (If they don't give out changes they're stuck out of sync with the rest of the world.)

Selling personal support, like RedHat does with it's 50 dollar version of the CD you can get for 2 bucks, may work, it's too early to tell. Selling large support contracts to companies, like IBM does, will certainly work, because there's really no reason that would suddenly stop working for OSS. Writing some OSS software then being contracted by a company to add features probably won't work that well, but it might happen once in a while.

But all those are irrelevant unless you're trying to make money off the software. OSS will happen, it is happening, and it's pretty unstoppable at this point. And it will make a lot of companies a lot of money, and most of those companies will not be in the software industry, they will be companies that needs 15 computers, an internal file server, and a web server.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

yeah, software (none / 0) (#180)
by Jevesus on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 02:10:11 PM EST

Selling support personell or not, we, or atleast most of us, are discussing the possibilities and restraints of using GPL in business. Maybe some of you are discussing utilizing GPL in your spare time projects, I don't care, quite frankly.

I don't know what assumptions you are acting upon but from where I'm standing and from what I'm reading RedHat ain't exactly thriving. The only thriving company which utilizes GPL today is IBM, which are backing it up with billions of IP-dollars and, at that, not basing their business around it but instead just offering it as an alternative. Furthermore, IBM aren't developing GPL software, they are just taking what someone else did and selling it.

The creators of GPL software are not making money, and, they are not making money selling support, et al, either. They are just barely existing.

You ask what making money off of free software has to do with the success of it. Maybe nothing to do with the software as source code, but everything to do with the author of said software and his or hers ability, or lack thereof, to put food on the table and a roof over his or hers head.

Some like to argue that IP software restrains the customer to the developer of said software, well, it don't. If the customer wants to have the source code, they can buy it, just like any other commodity, or maybe it is even included in the price of the software, that is irrelevant to this discussion. It comes down to the fact that IP software does not _have to_ be closed code to the customer, and, often isn't.

Of course OSS will happen, of course GPL will happen, in fact, is happening. But no company will make good money off of selling products that they are also giving away for free. They may be able to cope by selling other stuff on the side. But thats questionable since theoretically any software company in the world can offer the same services related to the product in question.
Even so, the company in question is hardely even a software company anymore if their business is support.

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
First line of my post. (none / 0) (#181)
by DavidTC on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 03:18:04 PM EST

In the start of this conversation, you said 'GPL can only serve the sparetime coder, not the professional.', and I said 'That's funny, I thought software was supposed to serve the user of said software.'. I'm not talking about how well it serves software companies, I don't really care.

So argue it's not a valid business model all you want, I specifically agreed with you in the first post with 'And the fact that it doesn't work as a business model doesn't mean it can't make people money. '. My point is that has nothing to do with how well it's doing or how well it will do in business, just how well it does when companies attempt to sell it.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

EOD (none / 0) (#185)
by Jevesus on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 04:58:37 PM EST

I was assuming we were talking about developers here, not end users. My bad I guess. I thought we were discussing _developing_ software, not using software. My bad, I guess.

I'm sure GPL is real swell for spare time coders, and the users of the software they produce. Real swell.
But GPL does not fit into the business picture anywhere. THAT is what people claim it does, THAT is what the rest of us are discussing.
EOD, I guess, since we're not even discussing the same subject anyways..

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
Yeah, it's not as if... (none / 0) (#188)
by MrMikey on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 12:25:52 PM EST

businesses can use Linux or Apache or anything...

[ Parent ]
Sure they can (none / 0) (#192)
by Jevesus on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 08:47:03 PM EST

I think you're forgetting that the suggested businesses ain't _developing_ GNU software, just selling/using whatever someone else allready developed, and, got paid nothing doing so.
It's not hard to sell what someone else developed, it's hard selling what others are giving away for free.
It's a pity I even had to explain that..

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
in-house software. (4.71 / 7) (#40)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:23:38 PM EST

I write mostly in-house software. However my customer can be called the company i work for :)

In the case of that, the GPL is wholly irrelevant. It's clauses are entirely based on distribution problems.

So, no more software companies... that means the only software written would be by massive conglomerations like IBM. There would be no chance for John Q. Smartguy to come up with an idea, write the code for it and sell it. No, he'd have no incentive, so he'd forget the idea and go back to whatever he was doing before.

No, THAT is my idea of a frightening world.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

incentive? (3.09 / 11) (#45)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:29:09 PM EST

(Replying to other points as well, but first this.) Really, you think profit motivates people to be creative? Strange that. Seeing as how it's always been about the thrill of the creation, the tinkering, the art. The hacker ethic is not dead, or useless. It has been co-opted by corporations, spew forth software that has no joy in it, and that spits on its users.

[ Parent ]
Naive [n/t] (2.20 / 5) (#46)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:30:32 PM EST



- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
OT: modding etiquette (4.16 / 6) (#49)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:34:21 PM EST

The rating system is not here for you to express disagreement with a post, but to evaluate the discussion-worthyness of its content. So I'm curious about the 1s you've been giving, followed by replies that disagree.

[ Parent ]
Worthyness (1.66 / 3) (#53)
by Jevesus on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:39:47 PM EST

What is the worthyness in discussing a fairy tale model?

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
a number of answers (5.00 / 4) (#63)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:54:24 PM EST

  1. Establish that it is a fairy tale (or not).
  2. Enable progress. If you think that we are now living in a perfect society, then I grant you that discussion is worthless. Every great idea has been, at its inception, derided as nonsense.
  3. This is a discussion site, and people can take something valuable from talking about fairy tales, not just reality.


[ Parent ]
If the discussion is not worthy... (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by fn0rd on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:13:32 AM EST

...then why do you reply? Take your pick: either the comments are worth replying to, or they're not. Either the discussion is worth having, or it isn't. The comments you've rated down are clearly on topic, you voted +1 FP to the article, so you think the article is worth discussing, but you rate down any comment that disagrees with your view.

You suck. Stop it.

--------------------------------------------------------------
This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
Death to the fidels!

[ Parent ]
Again, when do people write free software... (3.50 / 2) (#48)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:34:02 PM EST

...in their off hours.

If John Q. Smartguy requires working all day on his great idea, then he will need to generate money so he can feed his family, have a place to live and so on.

How will John Q. Smartguy feed his family if the world refuses to pay for software he spent all day working on?

Will there be some magical software patron (commonly called 'venture capitalist' these days..although they expect a return besides entertainment so they're not really patrons I suppose) to give him the money?

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

producers and non-producers (3.60 / 5) (#57)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:45:12 PM EST

It is to the benefit of all hardware manufacturers to have software. It helps them sell more hardware, and support for it as well. It is not at all contrary to the capitalist system for them to establish a joint UI research facility, as well as kernels, filesystems, etc. It benefits all of them, they all profit, the programmers eat. The reason they make a profit in the capitalist system is because they create and sell physical goods (property). Intellectual property isn't. So people involved in it are not producing something that is directly profitable. It's very simple. Same as with the musician.. the concert is profitable, not the music itself. Information wants to be free *shrug*. All that is involved is a paradigm shift in the way knowledge is created in the private sector, and in my mind, user and productivity-oriented, science-advancing methods of this are better.

[ Parent ]
Who's gonna pay me? (1.00 / 1) (#60)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:51:23 PM EST

Where is my money gonna from?

If I come up with a great software idea, what do I do? If it takes up so much of my time to work on it I can no longer work for BigHardwareCompany, how am I going to make money.

Answer that.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

i cede (none / 0) (#69)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:52:39 PM EST

I have work to do, today at least, but I do think that this essay answers all your concerns.

[ Parent ]
John Q. Smartguy (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:06:05 PM EST

When was the last time you heard of an entrepenuer making a fortune selling shrinkwrapped software?
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
How about a team of smartguy's? (none / 0) (#81)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:40:54 PM EST

id software comes to mind. Though I wonder where they would be without john carmack.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Doom (4.66 / 3) (#82)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:53:28 PM EST

Doom is nearly ten years old.

But seriously, the game market is about the only market these days where a couple of smart guys can make a big splash. (And even there, those days are largely over.) The days of people building Visicalc in their garage are long over. The market has changed.

Suppose I'm smart. Does it make sense for me to plunk down a $10,000 grand investment to make my wonderful idea into reality, a marketable product? Probably not, because if it is a smart idea, a big company, Microsoft, Oracle, whoever, will just duplicate it. So what's the point?

The entrepeneurial phase of shrinkwrap software died over ten years ago. (And remember, the coders making fortunes during the dotcom boom were mostly writing inhouse software.)
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

you'd be surprised. (none / 0) (#83)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:59:26 PM EST

How about that kid who wrote napster? Of course he sold out as soon as it got big and fell into the dotcom craze, but it still started with him.

There's a good recent example. If you're on the forefront of a whole new area, those ALL started with just some guy (or a couple of them) with a crazy idea.

Hell, where would innovation be if we left it all to the mega-corps? There wouldnt be much.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Napster (5.00 / 2) (#85)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:26:55 PM EST

But you see, no one ever sold Napster. Shawn Fanning based his company around giving Napster away for free.

That's my point. Shrinkwrap software is dead as an entrepeneurial endeavor.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

The dotcom craze. (3.50 / 2) (#86)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:34:20 PM EST

Yes, its unfortunate he fell into that hole.

I think its overly pessimistic still to assume that one guy can't make a huge difference. I mean really, Shawn Fanning's little idea has changed the way we think about music, and entertainment in general.

In any case, I wasnt aware that no longer is shrinkwrap software being a worthwhile cause... one would think microsoft would be dead (or declining)...yet all signs point otherwise.

If anything, id say free software (in the GNU sense of the words) is stagnating. Without increasing commercial backing, where is it going to go? Nowhere really, it'll be in a niche of academics and eccentrics, taken seriously by only a few.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

You are utterly missing the point. (5.00 / 4) (#88)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:41:59 PM EST

Shrinkwrap software isn't dead. Two guys in a garage making a fortune off of shrinkwrapped software is what is dead. Entrepeneurship in shrinkwrap software is what's dead. It is dead because the field has consilidated into a bunch of large companies (like Microsoft and Oracle) that can essentially put smaller shrink-wrap companies out of business at will.

Two points about Napster:

  1. It isn't making money.
  2. It doesn't sell software. It never sold software. It never intended to sell software.
Hence, it has nothing to do with this question.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
I think you're missing my original point. (none / 0) (#90)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:53:18 PM EST

my original point was that some guy somewhere could come up with an idea with software, and make money off it. Nowhere did I say you must put it in a box and put clear plastic wrap around it.

Shawn Fanning did precisely what I was talking about. And i'm sure he's quite wealthy... he wasnt really in control of that company. He sold the idea off to people who ran it.

And yes, you're right about Napster not making any money. But that so far has more to do with the legal issues and the fact it was an illegal service. But that is beyond that point.

Anyways, if you want a shrinkwrap company, look at id. They're still raking in the moolah.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

GPL (5.00 / 1) (#92)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:58:42 PM EST

But the GPL is only an issue for shrinkwrapped software. That's the point.

And again, id was founded ten years ago. You can't start a company like that today.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Arguments of straw burn nicely (4.00 / 1) (#151)
by Margaret Thatcher on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 09:37:24 PM EST

So, no more software companies... that means the only software written would be by massive conglomerations like IBM. There would be no chance for John Q. Smartguy to come up with an idea, write the code for it and sell it. No, he'd have no incentive, so he'd forget the idea and go back to whatever he was doing before.
An important aspect left out is that publishing under the GPL is a choice which makes it distinctively different from communism. A person or corporation can publish software under the GPL only by making the choice to do so. This choice can be made explicitly by intentionally deciding to do so or implicitly by creating a derivative work of an existing product published under the GPL.

In either case, there is no force involved. Your hypothetical smart guy has every right to choose to publish software under some other license.

[ Parent ]

A few examples (4.00 / 1) (#150)
by Margaret Thatcher on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 09:30:17 PM EST

A company, whos main product is a piece of GPL'd code, that has consistently turned increasing profits.
Cygnus, prior to being purchased by Red Hat.

Your limited scope is silly. You seem to be arguing that since a company cannot make a profit by having a GPL product as its primary product, that GPL software is inferior to closed source. This seems to me to be a non sequitor.

Excluding IBM makes a perfect example of why your point is a non sequitor. If IBM can (in theory) make a higher net profit by bundling servers with Linux instead of AIX, does it not stand to reason that for IBM that a GPL product is superior to a closed source product?

If we're going to live in a GPL'd world, then certainly companies who's main product is software (and of course, it is GPL'd) will have to be profitable.
No. There is no guarantee that any business model must be sustainable.

[ Parent ]
You prove my point. (4.40 / 5) (#15)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:32:02 PM EST

You can modify GPL'ed code and keep it for yourself, in this way the gpl is not viral, you just can't distribute the changes.

Which makes it entirely useless to a company trying to sell it AND keep their competitors from knowing how parts of their software works.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

who does this serve? (4.50 / 4) (#16)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:35:02 PM EST

Which makes it entirely useless to a company trying to sell it AND keep their competitors from knowing how parts of their software works.
The only entity that benefits from this is the company. Society loses, science loses, and innovation slows.

[ Parent ]
How about the EMPLOYEES? (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:48:10 PM EST

Have you never held a job or something?

If the company cannot make money off their product, they can not pay their employees. Since it is their employees which make up society, yes indeed, society loses when its members have no job, no money, no home and no food.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Stop. Thinking. About. Competition. (4.80 / 5) (#21)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:51:56 PM EST

Are cooperative efforts so hard to fathom!? Have they never succeeded greatly in your little world? It is not at all hard to imagine software labs, funded by companies in a joint effort to produce something they all use and benefit from. This is already happening with free software, and without IP would happen with physical goods as well. The employees have nothing to worry about except a change in management.

[ Parent ]
Wheres the money gonna come from? (3.33 / 3) (#23)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 05:57:56 PM EST

Where is this wonderful mythical consortium of companies going to get the money to pay me then? Are you going to try and spread that wonderful and ignorant myth that selling just services works? If you haven't seen the failure of virtually every software company that tried that one, then I guess you never will.

Oh wait, I see this leading into an argument about 'why should we have a society with money'.

You tell me that your posts are based in some 'reality', and yet you write about mythical things and tell me to 'fathom' others.

Please.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

let's stop arguing (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:05:02 PM EST

You're not going to admit that profit is possible without IP, and I'm not going to admit that IP is neccessary for profit. No matter what evidence I present, you will refute it, and no matter what evidence you produce, I will refute it.

[ Parent ]
What evidence? (4.33 / 6) (#33)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:12:16 PM EST

You're not going to admit that profit is possible without IP, and I'm not going to admit that IP is neccessary for profit. No matter what evidence I present, you will refute it, and no matter what evidence you produce, I will refute it.

The funny thing is that neither of you has presented any evidence, at least nothing worth refuting. Both of you arguing based on conjecture and supposition although rebelcool seems to be making more logical and less emotional arguments than yourself.

[ Parent ]
sorta (3.25 / 4) (#36)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:18:25 PM EST

I've been taking him at his word, and I assume vice versa. Evidence does not need to be referenced in order to be such, unless it is in dispute, which profitability seems to be, so it needs external sources, for which I am looking. Also.. emotional and logical are not exclusive modes of presentation, and I'd be appreciative if you pointed out where my argument was flawed.

[ Parent ]
Perfect world (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by CokeBear on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:09:51 PM EST

s/perfect/communist
s/software/stuff

[ Parent ]
distinctions (5.00 / 2) (#68)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:24:35 PM EST

Not at all, capitalism predicates the existance of property. Something tangible, something that can be stolen. If I copy your code, you still have your code. If you want to argue that you are entitled to profit for it, then I'm afraid you'll have to ask for the government to make sure you get it. Property being free is not a part of this discussion. The discussion is whether or not the intellectual kind qualifies as property.

[ Parent ]
GPL (4.83 / 6) (#27)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:04:12 PM EST

I can quite succinctly tell you why I like the GPL. If an application, I damn well don't want someone else taking it, modifying it, and then making a profit off of it without including me on the whole bit.

And that's really the important thing here. The GPL only ties you down if you are not the one who wrote the software. And when you talk about "companies needing to profit from their code", well, if they did't expend the capital to write the code, why should they profit from the code? Shouldn't it be the author of the code that profits from the code? Or, at least, shouldn't it be up to the author of the code whether or not someone gets to use it for free?
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

so it really IS about greed. (4.60 / 5) (#34)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:13:10 PM EST

I mean, you don't want someone taking your code and making money off it.

So, when you think about it, the GPL is just as greedy as keeping things closed off. I mean sure you can try and assume some sort of moral high ground by saying 'well, they can learn from the code or modify it for personal use', but it all boils to down to one thing: Money: If I can't have it, nobody will.

Of course its mainly a pipe dream. Theres no real way to prevent a worker at a company from reading your code and lifting an algorithm from it, and then putting it in a closed source app. Technically, lifting something minor and common like a sorting routine from an app would be a violation of the GPL. Good luck finding and proving it though.

I think we're digressing from the real issue here, which is why GPL is bad for companies, as opposed to individuals. Microsoft isnt addressing YOU when they speak against the GPL. They're talking to companies. Is the GPL bad for software companies? I think so.

As a side note, I find it frightening how much people on here forget that companies are made up of people mostly just wanting to do their job, get paid, go home and have a nice evening.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

i want their evenings to be nicer [nt] (none / 0) (#39)
by infinitera on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:19:49 PM EST



[ Parent ]
What if they don't? [nt] (none / 0) (#66)
by spacejack on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:06:53 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Bollocks. (5.00 / 2) (#72)
by gordonjcp on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:02:14 PM EST

There's nothing to stop you "forking" your code and releasing a commercial version, and a GPL'd version. Rather like Netscape and Mozilla...
For example, you could write a program, and distribute closed-source pre-compiled binaries. These you sell, with appropriate warranties etc. You can also distribute your source code, with no warranty. If you download the GPL'd stuff, and it doesn't work for you, tough shit - you should have bought the binary version.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Greed? (5.00 / 5) (#76)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:57:24 PM EST

What, wanting control over how the results of my labor are used is "greed"? Oh my, how communistic of you.

People are free to steal any ideas they want from my code. I don't give a damn. What I do give a damn is someone thinking that they can profit on the hundred-odd man-hours of labor I sunk into something. If they want it, they can either contact me, or put in the labor themselves.

And as a side node, I find it frightening that you seem not to realize that I work for a company, just want to do my job, get paid, and go home and have a nice evening.

A "nice evening" that often includes coding.

I just don't think anyone else has a right to profit on my free time without my consent.
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This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

If you're only GPLing it... (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:07:08 PM EST

...just so someone else can't make money off it, yep, i'm calling that greed. I mean, sure you'd like to make money off it, but since you don't think you can, you don't want to give someone else a piece of the pie. Yep, thats greed. The way of looking at is like what I said in the first post: If I can't make money off it, nobody can.

Theres many types of greed. That is one.

I've written GPL'd software. The current available version of COG online is GPL'd in fact. But not because I'm worried about someone taking it and making some cash off it. It has mostly to do with the fact that online available version ain't all that great. Nobody should be using it to make a product. But it still might be useful for those out there wanting to see how it works. I also have no business aspirations regarding it.

The version I use (and occasionally market to those interested) is not GPL'd. However, I will GPL it whenever I get around to writing the next version of it.

Yes, thats right, I think the GPL is fit for crappy code :) Hopefully it'll discourage anyone thinking about marketing it from doing so.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Closed source (5.00 / 3) (#87)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:35:50 PM EST

By that logic, I'd also be greedy if I didn't release the source at all.

If it is greedy to want control over ones IP production, than all copyright is greedy. Is that really what you are saying? That all copyright is greed?

I sell my software. You can buy it two different ways:

  1. By promising to release any changes you make to the public.
  2. By paying me money.
Greedy? When I let you have it free if you merely promise to release changes? Well, my God, what does that make Microsoft, which demands I pay for their software regardless, and makes me pay even more if I want to change their source code?

It seems to me that the greedy people are the ones who want the fruits of of other people's labor, free of charge and free of encumberance.

(And frankly, given your comments here, I have to ask, why on Earth are you GPLing your software!? Seems to me that if you don't care if someone takes your software and profits off of it, you should be using the BSD license.)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Theres 2 ways to look at it, I think. (3.00 / 1) (#89)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 10:48:16 PM EST

Theres the 'gee wouldnt it be nice if...' way, and then there is the way of the real world.

I think the GPL has no place in a 'gee wouldnt it be nice...' world. It's far too limiting. It is greedy.

I don't think all copyright is greedy. For example, BSD license lets you keep basic control over it, but still leaving it very open. I havent read the license, so i'm afraid I dont know its details however.

GNU License is a virus. While it might've been intended to be a 'good' virus, it has the potential to get out of hand. If all code were GPL'd, us poor developers would be out of business. And then thered be no more code. This is a bad thing.

In a utopia, I think all software would be open source, and nearly licenseless. Maybe give the original author some credit where credit is due, but then you'd need a world where there is no money and so on...and thats a whole different discussion I dont want to even begin to get into.

So in the world we live in, things like the GPL and closed source do exist. I like open source because of its academic nature. I think if you're a true academic, you probably shouldn't care where your code ends up. If some guy is working for a company and takes a look at something I wrote years ago, but have no interest in commercializing...sure, use it. Credit would be nice.

So why did I GPL COG then? Not because I'm worried about someone making money off it. No, it's because I think the code for it is crappy. It shouldn't be used in something somebody is going to pay for, especially when I have something better already. I think it should be out there for educational purposes though.

Can I do anything if someone decides to take it and use it in a commerical product? Nah. I can't really. It's not worth the legal fight. But still I'd like to discourage the commercial use of such poor code (unless of course you're just tinkering with it..then by all means go ahead, thats why its there)

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I don't agree (5.00 / 2) (#108)
by salsaman on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:19:03 AM EST

"If all code were GPL'd, us poor developers would be out of business."

I disagree. Even if all software were GPL, programmers could still get paid for their *skill* in writing good code.

I've written a lot of software and been paid for it, yet I've never actually sold software, all of my work was done on in house systems. To me, being a good programmer is like being a good craftsman. Not everyone can do it.

[ Parent ]

I think you are a bit confused... (5.00 / 2) (#100)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:28:46 AM EST

... about the difference between selfishness and greed.

Not wanting others to profit from your work may be the former, but it is not the latter.



[ Parent ]

GPL and the software ecosystem (5.00 / 3) (#41)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:23:41 PM EST

And that's really the important thing here. The GPL only ties you down if you are not the one who wrote the software. And when you talk about "companies needing to profit from their code", well, if they did't expend the capital to write the code, why should they profit from the code?

This goes back to BillG's point about the software ecosystem. You act like the only way for a company to build software is to write it all from scratch or base it on GPLed software which ignores the other points I raised in a previous post about buying out other companies and research as foundation. Companies like MSFT tend to innovate by buying out competitors or licensing their technology then enhancing the base functionality therein. In a GPL world, this is much harder *if not impossible) to do since most software can't even effectively be relicensed for commercial use because there are too many contributors.

[ Parent ]
Only for large-scale projects (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by ucblockhead on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:41:37 PM EST

Companies like MSFT tend to innovate by buying out competitors or licensing their technology then enhancing the base functionality therein. In a GPL world, this is much harder *if not impossible) to do...

You say that as if it were a bad thing...

To me, that is one of the benefits of GPL'd software.

Also, any discussion of this has to take into account the LGPL, which is specifically designed to allow code to be used with close-source software. I've done that myself. There are a lot of good LGPL'd libraries out there.

The thing about many contributors is this: It is certainly not fair of Microsoft to want a world where they can buy something without the consent of the owners. Software with lots of contributors is software with lots of owners. That's actually a bit tangental to the issue of GPL.

Hell, I have a GPL'd product, and I also retain the license. If some large company offered me enough cash for it, I'd be happy to sign it on over1. And I can easily do that because, as yet, I'm the sole owner of the copyright. So really, that objection isn't to the GPL, but to projects with large numbers of joint owners.

And if the people involved in these large projects wanted to, they could easily manage things in a way that would make selling other licenses easy, simply by either requiring all submitters sign over rights to one person, for forming some sort of group. The fact that they don't has little to do with the GPL and everything to do with the fact that the do not wish to sell.

And that's what this really boils down to. Microsoft does not like people who will not sell full rights to their software. But in a free market, a company like Microsoft has absolutely no right to complain about such behavior.

1One reason why I'd never sign my stuff over to the FSF as they recommend.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

GPL doesn't prevent others from profiting (4.50 / 2) (#102)
by swr on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:52:31 AM EST

I can quite succinctly tell you why I like the GPL. If an application, I damn well don't want someone else taking it, modifying it, and then making a profit off of it without including me on the whole bit.

The GPL doesn't prevent others from profiting from your work. You could write an application, release it under GPL, and then have a company sell it on CD for some number of dollars (eg. Red Hat). Of course someone else could come along and undercut them (eg. Cheap Bytes) but that doesn't mean you will be the one to profit from your work.

What the GPL does get you (and everyone else) is access to the source code of whatever modifications are made and distributed.



[ Parent ]
Pavlov would be proud: see GPL, say viral. (none / 0) (#110)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 09:33:44 AM EST

<i>I don't like being tied down and restricted in how I can use the code - whether its by proprietary licenses from a company like Microsoft, or through the viral nature of the GPL.</i><P>

I don't like to pay for my food, my petrol or my clothes neither, but if somebody sells me that stuff I gladly pay. If there is somebody that gives it for free I will surely not disdain the chance to get a freebie.<P>

How is the GPL viral in nature? Your Pavlovian repetition of a recent MS released meme lacks any substance. The GPL makes use of a very simple principle: that who release and intelectual work has the right to decide how it is lincensed to the public. Don't you like it? Unlike virii, which more often than not you can't avoid, you are fully empowered not to use GPL stuff in works you create. <P>

If you use it then licensing rules make clear how you are allowed to use it.GPLed code is not yours, thus you can't decide how it is used. You wish it was all yours to do whatever you want with it? Tough luck, I wish to have a Ferrari but that does not make immoral or worng for that company to demand payment to acquire one of their cars.<P>



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[ Parent ]
Pavlov would be proud: see GPL, say viral(html ok) (4.75 / 4) (#111)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 09:39:34 AM EST

I don't like being tied down and restricted in how I can use the code - whether its by proprietary licenses from a company like Microsoft, or through the viral nature of the GPL.

I don't like to pay for my food, my petrol or my clothes neither, but if somebody sells me that stuff I gladly pay. If there is somebody that gives it for free I will surely not disdain the chance to get a freebie.

How is the GPL viral in nature? Your Pavlovian repetition of a recent MS released meme lacks any substance. The GPL makes use of a very simple principle: that who releases an intelectual work has the right to decide how it is lincensed to the public. Don't you like it? Unlike virii, which more often than not you can't avoid, you are fully empowered not to use GPL stuff in works you create. You can even use GPLed stuff to produce your clos4ed source product! How is that viral in nature?

If you use it then licensing rules make clear how you are allowed to use it.GPLed code is not yours, thus you can't decide how it is used. You wish it was all yours to do whatever you want with it? Tough luck, I wish to have a Ferrari but that does not make immoral or worng for that company to demand payment to acquire one of their cars.

In the light of the two articles I just posted I would also like to denounce the viral nature of HTML: it does not allow me to put in free text format without looking messy.


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[ Parent ]

responding to this whole thread (4.80 / 5) (#113)
by speek on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:35:00 AM EST

You're only seeing things halfway. A move from proprietary licenses to GPL is referred to with ecological analogies because the move to GPL will likely result in a large number of extinctions. Not just a company here and there, but entire categories of companies.

That is the side of things you are seeing. You naturally fear for your job and welfare in the midst of such extinctions. Furthermore, we are somewhat conditioned to see death and end as bad, thus it must be very bad if whole system die off, no?

But, you're failing to see what will rise and replace it. The ecology will change, not disappear. There are many programmers being paid to make software that is either open source software, or neither open or proprietary (in-house work never designed to see the light of "distribution"). These jobs will grow in number as time goes by.

For almost any other company, the decrease in the costs of software will free up money for other purposes - which will create jobs and wealth just as surely as reducing taxes does.

The irony is that you and others often point out the taxes generated from proprietary software companies as though that represents a good thing rather than a hindering friction on the whole economy.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#121)
by rebelcool on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 03:29:40 PM EST

Taxes? Where have I said anything about taxes?

For almost any other company, the decrease in the costs of software will free up money for other purposes

This is a disingenous argument when you look beyond the supposed 'free' of it.

If we consider the current state of free software it is: Difficult to use, Largely incompatible with each other (in the sense that, theres nothing that ties itself together as well as Office does), slow, no consistent user interface and a whole host of other issues.

This would require enormous amounts of retraining - for something that doesnt work half as well as what already exists. That is not free. In fact, that makes it a hell of alot more expensive than your MS-Office fare.

Considering the current idea for making money off OSS (service and support), is there much incentive to improve upon the usability of the software? Not really. Most normal software companies consider service and support to be a money pit, and a necessary evil for a good reason.

Since microsoft and all other companies already way ahead of the game are not going to slow down and wait for OSS to catch up, I simply don't see the 'great migration' happening ever.

Free software is stagnating. What commercial backing it had before is now mainly concentrated in the likes of IBM, which is hardly the only player in town.

It will never disappear of course, but it's not going to take over anything in great numbers.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

The problem with BSD (5.00 / 3) (#124)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:35:28 PM EST

is that it wouldn't protect me in this case: I come up with a real kewl program. I release it under the BSD license. A big,greedy company thinks it's kewl and forks their own proprietary version. They tweak theirs so it's incompatible with mine. And though my free version is still available, I lack the resources to keep up with their army of developers and marketers. Under the GPL, they could use my code, but they couldn't close it and lock me out of the market.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Trolltech (none / 0) (#172)
by dennis on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:53:03 AM EST

Virtually all companies that have based themselves on GPL'd software have been failures or stagnated.

Except for companies like Trolltech, which have a GPL license plus a commercial license. The GPL allows them to give away code for free use (gaining marketshare), while maintaining a monopoly on commercial use.

[ Parent ]

My comments on the GPL (4.90 / 11) (#55)
by andrewm on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:43:58 PM EST

People seem worried that they'll write code, then their competition will take it and sell it for half the price. Half of nothing is not less than nothing. If I give away code, but sell the expertise I like to think I have in designing exactly what my customer needs, then my competition doesn't get all that much of value. And the more GPL code I use, the less I'm giving away, anyway - someone else wrote it, the cost to me in learning to use it still exists for anyone else who wants to use it. And if my competition goes and improves my code, I just say "thank you" and use that code for my next product. They can't use my GPL'd code, improve it, and sell it without me being able to do the same thing. If I "purely" open source my code, however, they're more than welcome to take it, improve it, gain from my effort, and give me nothing. The GPL protects me by preventing others from stealing my work. of course, it offers them the same protection, too.

A scary thing I've noticed: large companies purchasing complex and customised software have a distinct tendancy to be much happier with software produced by their own programmers. (Even when it's not perfect, the developers don't have a conflict of interest - serving the customer/end user and the employer are the same thing.) In other words, chances are your customers are busy plotting the best way to escape from you, forever. If your only competitive advantage is that your source code is secret, then all they need to do to escape is hire some (competent) developers. Sure, there's plenty of companies that haven't gone that way, and maybe they won't ever do it. But I still think you need more than just secret source code if you seriously hope to remain competitive. If you do have that, then the advantages of using pre-written and tested code become much greater.

Disclaimer: No, I'm not doing this yet. But I personally believe that there's more value in analysis and design than in code. Of course you need code to actually implement a design, and for that I'm just as happy to "take advantage" of other people's code. I'd be paying for that code by adding to the available code, rather than by adding money to someone's bank account.

ah, so... (3.00 / 6) (#61)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:53:23 PM EST

Your going to design systems so complicated that only you can properly install them?

Way to go! It's 1970 all over!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

er, excuse me? (5.00 / 7) (#67)
by andrewm on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 07:08:30 PM EST

You mean you buy software, install it, and then never do anything with it again? Some people actually want to use software to do stuff. Actually having software that does what they want, as opposed to software that does something else, is somewhat important. Actually installing it is a fairly minor concern.

Software that does what the supplier wants is what most people usually get. Typically, the supplier's number one priority is to get the customer to pay money for the next upgrade, and people who have software that works perfectly don't like upgrading.

As a result, writing their own software in-house, and thus making the supplier and the consumer the same entity, gives the supplier a definate incentive to actually do what the consumer wants. If I want to be an independant software supplier - specialisation making economic sense, as well as giving me money for buying toys - I'ld better provide something that the customer genuinely wants and also make more sense than for them to do it themselves, and that means I need more than just 'I have secret source' as the sole reason anyone gives me money. (No, that doesn't require any form of open source or free software - it's just an argument against relying on closed source alone to attract customers.)

Yep, I definately said "I'll make software that's really hard to install" there. Actually, no, I didn't.

[ Parent ]

I just had a revelation. (3.88 / 9) (#64)
by rebelcool on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:57:57 PM EST

If your base your software company off services and support, it's in your best interest to NOT produce software that is easy to use and install.

Now I'm beginning to see why unix has only made slight headway in the usability world. It's in the distributors' best interests to be as complicated as possible!

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Re: usability (5.00 / 7) (#96)
by Majromax on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 11:50:33 PM EST

If your base your software company off services and support, it's in your best interest to NOT produce software that is easy to use and install.

Now I'm beginning to see why unix has only made slight headway in the usability world. It's in the distributors' best interests to be as complicated as possible!

Incorrect. Creating hard-to-use software merely creates more work for those people who have to support it; what they want/need are more support accounts.

The support sales usually come from giganormous corporations who adopt product Foo. Giganormous corporations tend to have a habit of not blinking unless they can get a support contract for it, especially if it has to do with computers. Therefore, it is in the best interests of RedHat et. all to produce software that is quickly adopted, and having a reputation of unusability doesn't help adoption.

Admittedly, *nix has a much steeper learning curve than the equivalent in Windows, but that's because it presents you with far, far, far more options all at once -- it's called a command-line. And configuration files, to some extent. Graphical management is inherently limited in that, to be anything more than a glorified command-line/configuration file with graphical text-boxes, it has to present a limited set of possible options (for, e.g. checkboxes and drop-down boxes).

A command line presents the administrator with the near-full functionality of the system at the same level -- one. A GUI, by its very nature, is extremely hierarchical, so what you want my be six or seven levels away from where you are now. A GUI is easier to learn because it intrinsicially tends to show the relationship between items, but IMO it's less powerful overall (for general-purpose tasks) because the hierarchy is limiting.

But this entire discussion is moot, anyway -- for the limited task of opening up an e-mail client, word-processor, and browser, you could train your secretary to use foot-pedals. The average corporate desktop adopter of Linux will be giving it to these secretaries, who have no need of the full functionality of the system (and indeed probably shouldn't have it.) For their limited needs, just about any GUI designed in the past ten years is sufficent, and <insert distro here> ships with about a dozen of those.

[ Parent ]

You do know... (5.00 / 1) (#115)
by gnovos on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:25:20 PM EST

That they make money on a PER SOLUTION basis, don't you? Having many, small problems that are difficult to diagnose but easy to fix means many many people calling for solutions.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
What I find quite hilarious (3.88 / 9) (#59)
by wji on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 06:47:01 PM EST

Is Bill Gates's principled indignation that anyone should DARE to undersell our wonderful commercial software. Hm, I thought that's what this whole "competition" thing is about?

Or you could read it another way, so that Gates is saying these evil GPL nazis are refusing to get paid for their work in a conspiracy to deny our government it's income tax dollars. Either way, it's completely incoherent. Gates seems to be to be the George Dubya Bush of Microsoft -- a spokesman who's nominally in charge, and in some limited ways quite brilliant, but really very ignorant.

But hey, haven't we talkied about this stuff enough yet?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

I agree with Gates, but for different reasons (4.42 / 7) (#73)
by khym on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 08:05:54 PM EST

I think that government funded projects should be released under a BSD like license, rather than GPL, but for a different reason than Gates: although tax money, payed for by citizens, went into the production of the software project, the result of spending that money isn't something that can be used up. If some person/entity comes along, modifies it, and won't release the changes, the original code is still there, unmodified; thus, I see no reason to put any sort of restrictions on the use of government produced code.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
And what about data formats. protocols and APIs? (none / 0) (#107)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:17:41 AM EST

Under that scheme any big company can use the knoledge gained, modify a product (including any specifications of the items I mention) and make the original product completely incompatible with a new comercail product.

Can you spell "embrace and extend"?

No public-founded project should be submitted to such danger, the GPL ensures that, other Open Source licensing schemes don't.
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[ Parent ]
Funny (3.50 / 2) (#122)
by lb008d on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:26:15 PM EST

MS still hasn't managed to "embrace-and-extend" TCP/IP, made widely available via the BSD license.

[ Parent ]
They have tried (4.00 / 2) (#171)
by enry on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 09:01:23 AM EST

They've tried with Kerberos and CIFS/SMB/LanManager.

TCP/IP already had 20ish years behind it when MS waddled up to the plate. It may take them a while, but you can bet they're working on it.

[ Parent ]
Data formats, protocls and APIs can't be GPL'd (none / 0) (#129)
by khym on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:24:59 PM EST

And what about data formats, protocols and APIs?
IANAL, but so far as I know, data format, protocols and APIs can't be protected by something like the GPL; only specific implementations of them can be protected.

And I don't think that the GPL could be expanded to deal with things like this. Entities like Microsoft can protect their protocols and such by making users agree to an EULA saying they won't do any reverse engineering; the end user agrees to give up a right he/she would ordinarily have in order to use the software. The GPL, on the other-hand, starts with copyright laws and then gives the user more rights. See this article by the General Counsel of the FSF for more details.

And besides making a massive change to the nature of the GPL, it would also require users to go through a "clickwrap" type deal to get the compiled software, and a different one to get the source code, plus you'd need to have the means to defend the clickwrap, and...



--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
[ Parent ]
God Bless you, sir! (2.33 / 27) (#78)
by elenchos on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 09:19:29 PM EST

Finally the truth about Micro-Soft is out! I didn't think anyone would ever have the courage to reveal that Linux is a perfectly good alternative to closed source! Not only that, you have revealed to the world the existence of The Register, the only journal dedicated to the noble goal of telling nothing but The Truth about Open Source! Nothing can put the cat back in the bag now. The revolution is about to begin!

Adequacy.org,

No taxation without representation (4.85 / 7) (#104)
by maroberts on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:18:21 AM EST

...so Bill Gates got to address the leaders of the Free World and tell them all that GPL code is a Bad Thing. Well, the man is entitled to his opinions, but what concerned me is the fact that in individual company head gets such political acccess without presentation of the opposite viewpoint.

One thing the GPL/ Open Source movement does appear to be sadly lacking is a few political movers and shakers to ensure that we are not closed out by the Microsofts of this world.
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
vote for Ralph Nader [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#127)
by panck on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:21:38 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I'd love to... (2.50 / 2) (#131)
by maroberts on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:11:02 PM EST

..but I'm a UKian. We have Tony Blair, who of course stands for everything to everyone. :-P
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
[ Parent ]
GPL has nothing to do with Open Source movement (3.75 / 4) (#106)
by Builder on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:02:18 AM EST

The GPL is a licence created by the Free Software Foundation. Richard Stallman has on many cases attempted to distance himself from the Open Source movement as many of their methods contradict what the Free Software Foundation stand for.

It's just a minor niggle, but in this article the terms Free Software and Open Source software are used interchangably. This is not the case.


--
Be nice to your daemons
'free software' is a subset of 'open source'... (5.00 / 1) (#119)
by Parity on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 02:50:19 PM EST

Free Software is defined as software that meets particular guidelines set out but the FSF, and are implemented in the GPL family of licenses.

Open Source is defined as software which meets a less-rigorous set of guidelines, as described by the OSF (but debated widely through the community.)

The Free Software Movement and the Open Source Movement have a fuzzier set of relations and definitions, but are, from any rational point of view, part and parcel of the same software-liberating community, no matter how much rms wants to distance himself from the Open Source community; they are still two communities with many members in common, many goals in common, much shared 'property' (software) in common, and generally, they're difficult for an outsider to distinguish.

It is precisely -because- these things are true, that Microsoft can successfully attack the open source movement by attacking the GPL, clearly (to insiders of the larger liberated-software community consisting of the union of the free software and open source movements...) a product of the free software movement.

Anyway, it clearly cannot be said that the GPL has 'nothing' to do with the open source movement when vast amounts of software used, written, documented and discussed by the open source movement are under the GPL. It can be said that the open source movement didn't create the GPL, but that's about all.

Parity None




[ Parent ]
Open Source is a subset of software... (4.00 / 1) (#141)
by vectro on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:24:48 PM EST

Open Source is defined as software which meets a set of guidelines, as described by the OSF (but debated widely through the community.)

The Open Source Movement and software authors in general have a fuzzier set of relations and definitions, but are, from any rational point of view, part and parcel of the same software community, no matter how much rms wants to distance himself from the commercial software community; they are still two communities with many members in common, many goals in common, much shared 'property' (software) in common, and generally, they're difficult for an outsider to distinguish.

It clearly cannot be said that the open source movement has 'nothing' to do with the software community when vast amounts of software used, written, documented and discussed by the open source movement are written by employees of software companies. It can be said that the open source movement didn't create the idea of software, but that's about all.

The point being, of course, that just because two things are similar, does not mean that they are the same. Everything is related, and if you stand far enough back you can find similarities.


“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
My views (2.41 / 12) (#117)
by Hopfrog on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 01:56:34 PM EST

You hear a lot of "Oh wonderful GPL, what Jon Katzesque idyll you have brought us!", and you see the masses rushing to attack anybody who criticizes it.

Now I dare you to tell me! Right now! What good has the GPL brought to this world? What has the GPL changed? Did the GPL ever send money for education to Africa? Did the GPL ever contribute computers for children who couldn't afford them? Did the GPL create half a million jobs throughout the world? No! The GPL has trouble providing for the 10s of developers who work on GPLed products, and actually doing anything that is beneficial to the needy of the world hardly crosses the minds of a GPL developer.

Capitalist software development, like practised by Microsoft has done all thse things.

Money is virtual. It involves a lot of intagibles. By not making software free, the money is also flowing into the software industry, which is providing for most of us.

Some weak assed weak brained idealogist will say - "Oh! But linux is free! is that not helping the developing world!?" That is the most stupid argument ever! In the developing world, software is pirated. They don't pay for their software, and also, even though software like linux are free they DON'T WANT LINUX. They want working software that does not need specially trained people to use, and if you give them free software that they don't know how to use, it is like giving a TV to a man living where there are no TV stations.

So, wipe the stars from your eyes my friend, and start working to make money with software. Because you need money to change the world.

Hop.

PS: I posted this as a reply to a comment, but I thought to bring it to the notice of the general public what my views are.

Re: My views (none / 0) (#126)
by warped1 on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 04:55:08 PM EST

"Because you need money to change the world."

I would argue that you're the one that needs to wipe the stars from your eyes.

Money will not change the World.

[ Parent ]

your views (5.00 / 2) (#130)
by Tsuraan on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 05:48:40 PM EST

For one thing, you're comparing the GPL to a corporation. This doesn't make much sense. Nobody expects a license to cure AIDS in Africa, or to pave roads in Brazil. Nor has the Microsoft EULA done any of the things that you mentioned. Microsoft has. Microsoft is a corporation, so maybe you should compare it with a corporation that bases itself around the GPL, like Redhat (or whatever). The would probably help your views make a bit more sense, and then your whole money argument could be used to compare something like microsoft to something like redhat, and you could perhaps attack the GPL that way.

[ Parent ]
My Views Concerning Your Views (5.00 / 5) (#137)
by MrMikey on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:47:15 PM EST

You hear a lot of "Oh wonderful GPL, what Jon Katzesque idyll you have brought us!", and you see the masses rushing to attack anybody who criticizes it.
I trust you'll see my response as part of a discussion rather than as an unreasoned attack.
Now I dare you to tell me! Right now! What good has the GPL brought to this world?
I suggest you read "The History of GPL". It will give you the basic timeline. In any case, GPL allows people to release their software in such a way that the source code remains freely available regardless of the nature of future modifications. If you do not see this as a "good", then I'd like to see your specific objections.
What has the GPL changed?
It has changed the ways in which people distribute software, and the ways in which people collaborate on large software projects. Linux is written and distributed under the GNU General Public License which means that its source code is freely-distributed and available to the general public.
Did the GPL ever send money for education to Africa?
Licenses don't "do" anything. Perhaps you meant to ask "Do those who write software under the GPL send money for education to Africa"? I can safely say that I have no idea.
Did the GPL ever contribute computers for children who couldn't afford them? Did the GPL create half a million jobs throughout the world?
Well, children who recieve old, donated computers can put Linux on them for free, and end up with useful computers. They can use those computers for many things, including learning how modern operating systems work. Did the GPL create jobs? Again licenses, software or otherwise, don't create jobs. However, a company like Red Hat could offer many jobs by selling packaged versions of GPL code.
No!
See above.
The GPL has trouble providing for the 10s of developers who work on GPLed products, and actually doing anything that is beneficial to the needy of the world hardly crosses the minds of a GPL developer.
That's a rather strong assertion. Do you have any actual facts with which you can support it?
Capitalist software development, like practised by Microsoft has done all thse things.
This is also another rather strong assertion. Besides, Microsoft was found, in Federal Court, to have engaged in illegal business practices... are you sure you wish to hold them up as a model?
Money is virtual. It involves a lot of intagibles. By not making software free, the money is also flowing into the software industry, which is providing for most of us.
Who is "most of us"? Do you include Red Hat's employees?
Some weak assed weak brained idealogist will say -
Is this what you offer as reasoned, adult discussion? Frankly, I'm disappointed.
"Oh! But linux is free! is that not helping the developing world!?"
See above.
That is the most stupid argument ever!
... and was this supposed to be an intelligent response?
In the developing world, software is pirated.
It gets pirated in the developed world, too.
They don't pay for their software, and also, even though software like linux are free they DON'T WANT LINUX.
Perhaps they don't want to pay the sums being asked for. Perhaps they use Linux and said pirated software, both. I fail to see what any of this has to do with the discussion at hand, however.
They want working software that does not need specially trained people to use, and if you give them free software that they don't know how to use, it is like giving a TV to a man living where there are no TV stations.
You seen rather uninformed as to the nature of software use. No one is born knowing how to use Windows, or Linux, or any other operating system... or any piece of software, for that matter. They all require training. If someone is accustomed to using a WIMP (windows, icons, mouse pointer) interface, they will have an easier time using a new one, whether that new one is a new version of Windows, Gnome, or KDE.
So, wipe the stars from your eyes my friend, and start working to make money with software.
I'm using a computer I assembled myself, running Debian Linux, and this machine has been running 24/7 for 114 days. I'd say my eyes see quite clearly.
Because you need money to change the world.
And all this time, I thought that ideas, and committed humans, changed the world

[ Parent ]
An OK troll (1.00 / 1) (#143)
by vectro on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:51:59 PM EST

But you're too obvious. Try tempering things down a bit at first. Then you can break out with the "10s of developers" once the bait is taken.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
haha, a good article to review the trolls (1.50 / 2) (#153)
by darthaya on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:02:38 PM EST

which are the ones who replied before I did.

Why?

Because NOONE, I repeat, NOONE had answered the question the original poster asked. Did the GPL make good contribution to the world in any way other than feeding some egos?

What they did is just dancing around the problems, like what the politicans do on CNN interviews. They dont directly answer your question, but stick to the little thing they know about and repeat it over and over and over.

How pathetic.


[ Parent ]
Speaking of trolls... (3.50 / 2) (#157)
by MrMikey on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:04:20 PM EST

Because NOONE, I repeat, NOONE had answered the question the original poster asked. Did the GPL make good contribution to the world in any way other than feeding some egos?
I thought I had answered it, but I don't mind restating my answer: GPL has been a means by which people have been able to colaborate on large software projects, one of which is the operating system running on my computer right now. I'd call that a contribution. Would you?

Could Linux have happened without the GPL? I honestly don't know. As has been observed elsewhere, GPL-based software is but a subset of the "Open Source" movement.

[ Parent ]

Why Money? (3.00 / 1) (#165)
by gasper on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 03:54:12 AM EST

Well...maybe you are over concerned about money. The problem with developing countries is not to give them enough money, but to give them stimulation and chance to be able living on their own. Not to be dependent on someone's help. I guess some people really think, that money is the biggest problem in this world, but it's not. And BTW, about beeing free. Its free us (freedom to use) is the main goal, not the free as in no money. Everyone should be able to use the software. Again, what you think about all the time is money. Get rid of this stupid paradigma about money. Bye, G

[ Parent ]
Too much nonsense (1.60 / 5) (#133)
by darthaya on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:26:31 PM EST

And too little substance, I wonder how this crap got voted up?

The best way to object to a viewpoint that says "GPLed software is impossible to commercialize" is to give an example of a successful, profitable company that is built on GPLed softwares. But instead of giving out an example, this guy went on ranting about the conspiracy of Microsoft, the importance of the source code, blahblahblah.

Give me a break! I really don't care if the source code for my program contains 10 for loops or 5 while loops. I only want something that works. And when this thing breaks, I do not want to fire up a debugger, and digging into thousand of lines of code and try to find out what is wrong. That is NOT my job. I paid for the software, and I deserve for some customer service/tech support. So what does it matter if I have the source code or not? If you want the access to the source code, fine, pay for the goddamn access. It is not like you should be able to look into other people's house for free and without consent, why should it be the same for the source code?

When some propietary software breaks, there is a phone number you can call up and demand for fix/support and more than often, you can get a satisfactory response.(I work for a proprietary software company, we treat our customer's tech support calls like talking to God.) But what if your GPLed software break, who can you call? I dont think any manager with a business sense would rely on ego-ridden open source programmers for tech support. Too often you have to kneel down, beg them for a hint of problems. And too often, what you get for response is "It is fixed in the CVS. Check it out and recompile". And even more often is there is nobody to ask for help to. The email of the original author does not work anymore, or he/she is simply ignoring your email.(It happened to me! )

Well, although there are still some partial benefits(like low cost) of GPLed softwares, there are just way too much hassle to deploy one in the field.

Btw, when I put Redhat 7.2 on my Sony Vaio PCG-FX215, it gave me a "INIT: can not fork, retry" error after some cryptic error code when booting up. Should I go crying and begging linus or any of those super-smart guys with an ego bigger than their brains for an answer?


It matters (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by Hoo00 on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:38:30 PM EST

Give me a break! I really don't care if the source code for my program contains 10 for loops or 5 while loops. I only want something that works. And when this thing breaks, I do not want to fire up a debugger, and digging into thousand of lines of code and try to find out what is wrong. That is NOT my job. I paid for the software, and I deserve for some customer service/tech support. So what does it matter if I have the source code or not? ...

Without source code, there is only one number that you can call - the developer of your program. If the developer doesn't care about your problem, too bad. With source code, you can pay anyone to fix it for you. In some cases, you don't even have to pay to get a fix.

[ Parent ]
Oh please. (1.00 / 2) (#152)
by darthaya on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 09:56:58 PM EST

I dont think a business that does not care about its customers will survive very long.

Thank god we live in a capitalism society.


[ Parent ]
Exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#154)
by koreth on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 10:31:44 PM EST

And if you happen to buy software from such a company, and they never released the source code, you have nobody to call when it breaks and they're long gone. Me, I'd rather have an egocentric free-software author to beg, and the option of hiring a consultant to fix the bug (you have the source, you don't need the original author) than be completely up the creek.

Or heck, forget going out of business. Say you don't want to migrate to their latest version, but you do want a bug fixed. Again, you're SOL without the source code. Free software never gets end-of-lifed into oblivion to squeeze more money out of existing customers.

(Typed while taking a break from working on the GPLed code I'm getting paid to customize -- free software and money are quite compatible from where I sit.)

[ Parent ]

Companies go out of business (5.00 / 1) (#159)
by ucblockhead on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 11:36:05 PM EST

A lot of the software companies that supply the software for vertical market software are fairly small, like thirty employees or so. Businesses of that size go out of business all the time. Suppose you buy software from that company before it goes out of business? Who do you get to fix it when you find a bug?

Don't say this is not an issue...it is a huge issue...I personally know of companies that paid through the nose for source code licenses despite having no programmers at all, because of precisely this danger.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

open source does not equal GPL (none / 0) (#167)
by Jevesus on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:05:34 AM EST

If the buyer of the software figures the source code would be neat to have, they can buy it. it's still IP, now _their_ IP.

What is it with you folks? GPL does NOT equal open source? Ok?

- Jevesus
[ Parent ]
I dunno.. (none / 0) (#170)
by enry on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:57:52 AM EST

MS is still around.

[ Parent ]
Blinded by Greed (4.75 / 8) (#134)
by Hoo00 on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:26:48 PM EST

(1) GPL does not restrict use, it restricts distribution. You can use other people's GPL software any way you want, including making changes to the source code. Just don't distribute the altered software without source code. It is not yours! (If your constribution is huge or substantial, consider doing the whole thing without GPL code.)

(2) If you want to make a living selling your own software written by yourself, don't use GPL license. On top of that, you have to either code from scratch or leech from BSD-like software (especially for large projects).

(3) GPL, by its nature, does not support or impede capitalism and will not create a huge competitive advantage or another monopoly under the current capitalist market. (If monopoly is a bad thing, then GPL is a good thing.)

(4) Capitalism makes money valuable. Thus, money can change the world. With proper restriction (laws and regulations), capitalism works.

I LIVE open source . . . and so do others (4.66 / 9) (#136)
by rigorist on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 06:39:26 PM EST

Just about everything I create for a living is open source. Same for most other lawyers

That's right, lawyers.

Want to see my most recent work? Go to the Dakota County Courthouse and pull the file for Beckman v. DaimlerChrysler Corporation. In that file you will find a very nice memorandum opposing a motion for JNOV.

You, or any lawyer, could copy large portions of that memo for your own memo. I copied large portions of the memo from a friend's earlier motion.

You can bet I got paid for writing that memo.

Copyright, on law? also bonus comment. (4.00 / 1) (#140)
by sonovel on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:16:27 PM EST

So who owns the copyright on that stuff?

Does it become public domain due to its use in court?

----

There is a difference that is pretty big between open source sw writers and lawyers.

Anyone who desires can create open source software. If they are good at it, their contribution may even go to millions of people, say if they worked on apache or the linux kernel, or some gnu tools.

In contrast, one cannot just make legal arguments. In order for the arguments to be used in court, one has to pass a very stringent licensing exam.

Since the requirements to practice law are so strict, it appears that the "openness" of this sort of "open source" is rather limited.

[ Parent ]
Code must pass through gatekeeper (3.50 / 2) (#142)
by Rhodes on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:46:26 PM EST

There is no official licensing for computer programmers, but for the code to be accepted into the next version, it must pass through a number of gatekeepers- which might be construed as an alternative to the societal gatekeepers provided by those issuing and licensing lawyers.

[ Parent ]
good point. (2.00 / 1) (#144)
by sonovel on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:55:23 PM EST

That's a reasonable point.

There are gatekeepers on the big projects but they can stop people from forking if they want.

Also no one is a gatekeeper for a new project. I can start any software I want.

The same is not true for legal arguments.



[ Parent ]
can't stop. (2.00 / 1) (#145)
by sonovel on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 07:56:34 PM EST

The gatekeepers _can't_ stop forking.

>MUST EDIT BEFORE POSTING!<

[ Parent ]
Public Domain (4.00 / 2) (#146)
by rigorist on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:29:45 PM EST

I know court decisions automatically go into the public domain. I am pretty sure other things filed with the court by the parties do too.

[ Parent ]
Anyone could use it (4.00 / 2) (#147)
by rigorist on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:35:39 PM EST

You only need a law license to represent other people. For your own cases, you can always represent yourself.

I have one client who does a lot of pro se stuff. I get hired when he gets in over his head, which is not as often as you would think.

So, if you are ever faced with a motion to set aside a jury's verdict (which is what a motion for JNOV is), you could use my nifty memo.

[ Parent ]

I considered that. (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by sonovel on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:47:21 PM EST

Still, to defend oneself (and become an open source "law hacker") one would have to be tried or sued a lot.

I still think the distinction is critical to whether law is "open source" or not.

It is an interesting point though.



[ Parent ]
Self-defense (none / 0) (#193)
by RadiantMatrix on Sun Apr 28, 2002 at 03:43:47 AM EST

to defend oneself (and become an open source "law hacker") one would have to be tried or sued a lot.
Not true. One can successfully defend oneself by doing careful research -- local (and some online) libraries have mountains of case precedent and legal documentation at your disposal. Transcripts of cases, and usually the documents that were filed pertaining to them, are kept at courthouses or public records offices, many of which upload them to thier website (start at http://www.state.xx.us where 'xx' is your 2-letter state abbriviation).

More people defend themselves -- even in reasonably complex circumstances -- than most folks realize.

--
$w="q\$x";for($w){s/q/\:/;s/\$/-/;s/x/\)\n/;}print($w)
[ Parent ]

NPR report (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by nytes on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 08:46:39 PM EST

I heard a report on public radio recently that said that prominent lawyers are considering (or already are) copyrighting legal briefs to prevent this sort of thing.

What would be the ramifications (or possibilities) of this?

[ Parent ]
I think it would suck (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by rigorist on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 12:40:18 AM EST

Really. Lawyers copy stuff from each other all the time. All my discovery instructions have been copied from various firms I have litigated against. My summary judgment standards are copied from others. My latest fees application was copied almost verbatim from a friend's standard form.

If it is not already in statute, I hope Congress will make anything filed with a court public domain, except for documents filed under seal (confidentiality order).

The biggest ramifications would be to freeze out small or solo practices.

[ Parent ]

Architects, builders, etc. (3.00 / 1) (#164)
by BobRobertson on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:27:08 AM EST

This is true of the building industry too. The properties, specifications, blueprints all are available for careful inspection and even copying by others.
<br>
Unlike Word, the minutia of how the Sears Tower was built is available to anyone.
<br>
Bob-

September 11, 2001. The most successful day for gun control and central planning in American history.
[ Parent ]
Lawyers and Open Source (3.00 / 1) (#175)
by jck2000 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 05:30:11 PM EST

Excellent point. On the corporate or securities law side of the profession, it is trivial to obtain agreements and other legal documents, which undoubtedly cost some client a great deal of money to have their lawyers draft, from the SEC's EDGAR website or from a secretary of state's office, and it is not atypical for a law firm to pull down a document from a public source to use as a starting point for their own drafting (sometimes merely changing names of the parties, sometimes making significant revisions). While lawyers will be reluctant give out to third parties agreements that are not otherwise required to be made public (for instance, by filing with the SEC), very little effort goes into asserting intellectual property rights with respect to legal documents. For instance, about the only legal documents I have ever seen copyright notices on are pre-printed standard forms. I really do not know the extent to which copyright would protect the concept embodied in an agreement, as opposed to its particular form, so it could be that a document that is produced by sufficiently transforming a previously created document (by changing party's names, etc.) may not be covered by the copyright -- I would be interested to hear the thoughts of a copyright lawyer on this.

I think comparisons between the practices of the legal and other professions regarding their work products with those of the programming profession would be very fruitful for understanding the conflict between open source and/or "free" software, on the one hand, and closed and/or proprietary software, on the other hand.

[ Parent ]

Hopefully, there's more... (none / 0) (#176)
by zonker on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 08:16:03 PM EST

I would hope that what a client is paying for is more than just the contract - I mean, I know that a law firm may put many hours into a contract, for example, but it would be dangerous in the extreme to assume that just changing the wording would be enough to cover a different client's interests. The advice and expertise of the lawyers preparing the document for a specific situation is really what a client is paying for.

The language of the document is worth something, but the time the lawyer spends advising the client - and the implied guarantee that the advice will help protect the client's interests - is what you're really paying for. A lawyer that just converts existing documents without doing the proper research would be in line for a malpractice suit (I believe the proper term is malpractice) if a contract or whatever is found to be lacking later on.

Come to think of it, this is a good example. Look at how many lawyers there are making a decent living in the states. If law firms could just churn out proprietary products of the "one size fits all" nature of proprietary software, there'd be a lot fewer jobs for lawyers (okay, I know people are thinking "fewer lawyers! W00T!" but not all lawyers are bad...) I also know I'd rather go into court with an Open Source or Free Software defense tailored by a really good lawyer than have to face charges with MS Defense XP that has a damn good chance of blue-screening in front of the jury...
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

Of Course There is More, Nonetheless (none / 0) (#177)
by jck2000 on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 10:54:18 PM EST

Of course there is more to lawyering than drafting, but substantial economies in lawyer time and thus lawyer fees are realized by "reuse", including reuse of documents initially drafted by other firms. Many types of business transactions are very formalized, to the point where great amounts of paper need to be generated, but relatively little customization needs to be done, for a particular transaction. It would not be atypical for two separate transactions to involve 100s of pages of text but have 95% overlap on a word-by-word basis. This overlap -- the non-transaction specific "infrastructure" of a document -- is what is often called "boilerplate".

In a sense, the boilerplate of a document is akin to library code in computer programs -- infrastructure that needs to be there and may make up the bulk of a program, but that does not (and should not) need to be reinvented each time. Because legal documents are drafted and read by humans, however, it is difficult to completely abstract the "library code" from the application-specific code, leading to situations (as described above) where 100 page documents are produced, transmitted, printed out, copied, faxed, etc. for only a few pages worth of changes. Even worse are situations where a lawyer (perhaps one unfamiliar with the conventions of a particular document type) changes or wishes to argue about a provision that has long ago settled into "library code" status (and on which the affect of the document may depend in obscure ways).

A few areas of law have had some success in formulating standard documents -- the one that comes most readily to mind is the "swaps" market, for which the industry association (the ISDA) has published a series of books containing agreed-upon defined terms and standard form documents. These standards have become so universal that the expertise of a swaps lawyer is now based in large part on his or her familiarity with these defined terms and standard forms. In a sense, such lawyers are explicitly using a higher-level API. These standards, by dramatically speeding up swap document negotiation, have allowed the development of the swaps market at an amazing pace over the last dozen or so years. Would-be lawyer-eliminators will be disappointed to learn that the swaps market may actually be a case where standardization of documents has increased the number of practicioners (by growing the market). The standardization has also led to the development of the swap documentation specialist job classification. These positions are often held by less senior lawyers or even non-lawyers. It would not be atypical for a financial services firm to have dozens of swap documentation specialists, but only a few swaps lawyers, whose efforts are generally devoted to the more complex points or longer-term policy issues. Analogies to the impact of Microsoft on the programming profession come readily to mind (except that the internal contents of swap documents are not secret or centrally controlled).

In other areas of law, efforts to create standardized forms have been less successful. The legal profession is fragmented into a very large number of relatively small firms, which generally bill by the hour. It is difficult for a typical law firm to justify putting unbillable effort into creating standard forms that may reduce the number of hours they can bill in the future. Significantly, swap documentation was historically done within financial institutions, not by law firms, and I believe that representatives of these institutions (rather than of law firms) were the prime movers of the standardization efforts. Also, few areas of documentation lend themselves to formalization to the extent that swaps do.

[ Parent ]

Sure they can (none / 0) (#191)
by Jevesus on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 08:44:16 PM EST

I think you're forgetting that the suggested businesses ain't developing GNU software, just using whatever someone else allready developed for them, and got no money in return what so ever.

- Jevesus
Just a Philosophy: A Response to Bill Gates | 193 comments (177 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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