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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Why Folks Do What They Do
Monday, April 05 2004 @ 06:55 AM EDT

There is a sad tale being told on The Register by Andrew Orlowski about why Sun settled with Microsoft -- they needed the money, he says:

"Principles are fine things to have, but only if you can afford them. With its stock declared a 'junk bond' and finishing a terrible quarter, Silicon Valley's leading Microsoft antagonist Sun Microsystems has now decided it can't."

It's too sorry a tale to tell you more. You can go read all the details for yourself. There's an article about Sun VP Rich Green, leaving "in disgust". And Investor's Business Daily has a different take on the pact:

"Both, however, agree that having unique intellectual property is key to standing out in a sea of commodity systems. While neither mentioned Linux — Sun itself sells Linux systems — the comments seemed to target such open-source software.

"'I don't interpret that as a direct cut against Linux,' said Al Gillen, an analyst with International Data Corp. 'But the fact that they were using the term "intellectual property" so liberally seems to suggest that Microsoft and Sun believe they need to focus on the intellectual property they have and how they can leverage that.'. . . "'Does this open the door for Microsoft software to run on Linux or Solaris?' Murphy said. It opens the door for future conversations.'"

But the reason I mention Orlowski's article is because it made me realize why GNU/Linux software is Microsoft's unbeatable foe. FOSS wasn't written with money as its object, and it can't go out of "business". Microsoft has nothing that the creators of FOSS want. They don't even want their code, let alone their money. I think it can safely be said that if either Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds could be bribed into compromising, it would have happened already. They aren't in this for the money. So we'll never read a headline, "Linus sells his soul to the Devil."

Well. Maybe on ibiblio. On April 1st.

Principles aren't "a fine thing to have". They are indispensible, what make humans precious. I was thinking about that even before I read Orlowski's piece, that the two sides in this debate, proprietary and FOSS, are separated by principles. One side says money is a god worthy of worship, worth doing anything for and useful for all things. The other says that some things are priceless, just can't be bought and paid for, and that it diminishes humans when they live selfish lives at the expense of others. There is a price, a toll on the heart, when you love money enough to hurt others, because it's a repudiation of what makes humans more than dogs or pigs. Selling out your principles for anything, let alone money, is pitiable. Being willing to harm your fellow man for a buck is evil.

Microsoft sells anti-your-neighbor software. You can't run anybody else's software applications on it unless it lets you, and it doesn't want to let you, and it has even stooped to hobbling competitors' applications so they wouldn't run well on Windows. Can you imagine needing a court to force you to let people choose the software that they want to use? What kind of a business is that? That's just not neighborly. You can't even readily interoperate new versions of Word with older ones, let alone interoperate well with other companies' software.

The MS EULA alone chills the blood. And the license is so lopsidedly for the benefit of Microsoft only, a customer could tip over reading it. If you try to do anything the least bit out-of-the-box with that software, like look at the code, you risk being sued. It's software that mistrusts you and that insists on controlling you. Sound like anyone you know?

SCO's software is a weapon, a torpedo. It doesn't care who or what it damages, and in fact it wants to do damage, to hit its targets and get some money, honey. They obviously realize that nobody much wants UNIX any more, so they are bullying the world to try to force people to use their software or pay them to continue to use software they do like, which they claim has software snips, or lines of code or ideas or methods, or whatever it is this week, allegedly hidden somewhere in it that nobody can find or verify. Or else it's bombs away. Is that nice? They made the world an offer they hoped it couldn't refuse. What kind of business is that? Not a neighborly one, anyway.

Obviously, SCO has no sense of neighbor or human autonomy or freedom or even something as basic as a free market economy. They want money and they want it now. But it underestimated the reaction on the FOSS side and even from the business world. It really thought everyone would sell out just to be left alone, that decisions would be made based solely on the bottom line, and short-term bottom line at that. It's a human weakness to imagine others think the way you do.

GNU/Linux, in contrast, is a gift to the world. Here, it says, need some nice software? Help yourself. Just help the next guy, will you, so we can build up a nice pile of great software we can all enjoy? And if you want the software in a more convenient form, we can sell you some and you can hire us to take care of any problems you may run into, if you want to. You can donate too, to make sure this kind of software gets written. Or you can hire someone to write software precisely matching your needs. Your own monogrammed version. Impractical? Unrealistic? You could say that twenty years ago, maybe even ten. Nobody writes software for free, Gates once opined. But they did write it. They still do.

And now Microsoft's empire is in danger of crumbling, because for the first time, some folks made some competing software they can't buy off. It can't buy the folks who made it, either, because they value some things more than money. But, you may say, maybe the businesses jumping on the Linux bandstand will sell out? They might, some of them. But FOSS doesn't much care. It has a life of its own, and its life just doesn't depend on what businesses do.

Another reason Microsoft's empire is crumbling is security issues, speaking of software that is anti-consumer. People are fed up, according to Dr. Simon Moores of Zentelligence, in his Computer Weekly column. He read Microsoft's latest promise to deliver more secure software, but he's unconvinced:

"Bill Gates writes bravely of the future and downstream Microsoft technologies which demand 'fundamentally new thinking about software quality, continuous improvement in tools and processes'. ....However, the basics need to be sorted out before we start star-gazing into the future. . . .

"Unless Microsoft quickly and creatively sorts out the runaway consumer and small and medium-sized enterprises security problem, it runs the risk of a catastrophic loss of public confidence when the next big virus or worm comes along.

"Government and big business are fed-up. What we need is immediate solutions to today’s problems and we’ll worry about Microsoft’s next generation of products at a later date."

I wonder if Dr. Moores has tried GNU/Linux? If he wants security, I don't think he needs to wait for Microsoft to be hit by lightning. Nor does the goverment have to step in to do something about security. Just switch to GNU/Linux software and you'll improve your security overnight. The solution already fell in your lap. And it's free.

Top officials from Korea, Japan and China just signed an agreement Saturday to work together to develop a common GNU/Linux platform. Korea's representative explained why:

"'With a Linux-based operating system, it is relatively easier to prepare security measures against computer virus attacks because of open source codes' . . . . According to the agreement, the three nations will promote the use of Linux-based software they develop; research Linux-based software for cell phones; and establish an open-source software forum for the Northeast Asian region. The three countries came to the conclusion that open-source operating systems are more effective in protecting computer systems from hackers and developing the software industry, the Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese daily, said."

Here are some other reasons people are switching ("Linux is, inarguably, the quintessential better mousetrap."). Interestingly, Orlowski writes that Microsoft's biggest competitors are Nokia and Sony, "two companies whose core revenues don't derive from Windows and who can set global standards." (Speaking of standards, you might want to read David Berlind's latest on the Liberty Alliance.) If entire countries, including China, go GNU/Linux, and they just did, Microsoft will have to change its ways, unless it plans on taking over Japan and Korea and China and the whole world by force. Not even Microsoft has enough money and power to do that, judging by Saturday's agreement. So, here's a suggestion, guys. Why don't you try to figure out why everyone is running away from the software you are trying to sell them? Determine what customers want and provide it. You can only control a market with force for so long before humans rebel, if what you provide doesn't satisfy. It's kind of built in to us to gravitate to friendly, pleasant, neighborly folks, and that goes for companies too.

What SCO does not comprehend apparently is that GNU/Linux is beating UNIX precisely because it is open and because everyone can build on everyone else's ideas. It's the same reason why Picasso and Matisse used to get together and paint in the same room sometimes, despite being rivals, to feed off each other's creative ideas. They'd both paint the same still life and talk about painting, to rejuvenate each other and be more productive. Creativity needs to feed on others. It's how it works best. The GPL guarantees it can happen. Innovation in software thrives, it turns out, in expansive, low-barrier-to-entry environments where talent is free to be expressed and ideas can build freely on other ideas. Neighborliness turns out to be the more practical choice.


Why Folks Do What They Do | 352 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: mdchaney on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 10:45 AM EDT
Okay, not to be a jerk, but apparently you're not familiar with Sun, PJ. The
anti-Microsoft rant coming from Scott McNealy has never been anything more than
jealousy. Particularly of late, since Sun had hoped to use Java to become
Microsoft (the gatekeeper of the technology that everybody uses). This move was
not unexpected...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 10:59 AM EDT
Looking at my bank balance, my soul is currently on sale for a reasonable

Seriously, though, MS must try to kill Linux and the major FOSS apps over the
next couple of years. At the rate of current improvement, in three years' time
Linux will not only be more secure and stable than Winblows (as it already is),
but more user friendly (which to be honest it ain't yet). Various FOSS office
suites are coming on and will be as good as MS Office within the same time
frame. IIS/ASP is already a minority presence on the web, which could leave MS
with nothing to sell but development tools for environments no-one wants to
develop for, Pocket-PC and the X-Box (for those with an extra X Chromasome).

MS knows this, so we can expect them to fight like cornered rats.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Rich Green quits Sun "In Disgust"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:02 AM EDT

Nice to see some people still have principles. Should find
himself a nice job with IBM pretty quickly... provided his
contract doesn't have a non-compete exit clause.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Value of Individuals
Authored by: Observer on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Funny thing about FOSS is that, at the same time, it both values the contribution of the individual, and insulates itself from a dependency on any one individual.

Your comment on the possibility of either Linus or RMS being bribed got me thinking...

On the one hand, the beauty of Open Source is that anyone can look at the source code, and make a change for his own purposes. If that change is valuable enough, it will be incorporated into the main development line, and everyone will reap the benefit. In this sense, the individual rules his or her own destiny. Even if my change does NOT get accepted by the primary development organization for that product, I still get to keep it.

On the flip side, if some pivotal member of the organization is taken out of the loop (they get "bribed", leave, lose interest, have a heart-attack), there is no reason why the project should die. If an entire company backing a project should suddenly go under, then someone else can pick it up. If Linus were to finally get to the point where he was so fed up with SCO that he threw up his hands in disgust and left to start a farm raising Angora goats, the Linux Kernel project would certainly flounder for a little while, but eventually someone else would step in, and progress would pick up again.

So, FOSS is actually far more valuable than proprietary software.

The Observer

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: meat straw on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:29 AM EDT
I have no pity for Microsoft; I'm actually happy to see
the imminent hard times that loom for the company (yes,
yes, I know lots of people will lose thier jobs) because of
what that company represents. I am upset by Sun's decision,
but something like this has been coming for a while now.
I do disagree with PJ's generalization of UNIX not being
usable; HPUX (imagine the company was Packard-Hewlitt?) I'm not fond of -- just
personal preference. However, I dual boot both Gentoo and FreeBSD on both my
personal notebooks and workstation and I love it. For me,
it comes to need: I need Linux and BSD (both have advantages over the other with
respect to certain applications), but I don't need to
use Windows (though getting my wife to migrate was a little tough).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Silence Groklaw?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:30 AM EDT
Hello all,

If I were PJ, I'd think about someone coming after Groklaw on some trumped-up
"hate crime"/RICO/"civil unrest" charge.

It's not too farfetched, really. Microsoft owns a lot more than Sun (think
political contributions and "good ole boy clubs"). Truth must be
suppressed at all costs. Isn't everyone SICK AND TIRED of having to pay the M$
tax on an O/S that "comes with" a PC even though you might choose
another more-suitable o/s? I've been seriously considering trashing my Windows
and going fully FOSS. It's close. Or perhaps buying white box (sans o/s) on my
next upgrade to avoid having to pay for something I won't use.

I wonder what M$/$un will do to try to kill OpenOffice now? And what lawsuits
are in the wings from M$'s latest sock puppet. SHAME on Sun. How unprincipled
and low can people sink to? Oh, never mind, it's McNealy.

PJ, think about getting Groklaw hosted in other countries... "off
shore" as the outsourcing slogan goes. We need outlets that, at least,
make a sincere effort to tell the truth.

... and a tip of the tinfoil hat to all PJ's (and fellow Groklawers) tireless


[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: booda on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:32 AM EDT
I like Sun, I always have. I think they are one of the few companies in business that have done a fairly decent job of balancing the good of the community against the good of the company via Wall Street. Ditto IBM.

To automatically lump Sun in with Microsoft simply because they came to this agreement is, I think, unreasonable. In today's WSJ, there was a decent article about this. Essentially, the driver for this was not Sun capitulating. It was large enterprise customers saying "look, we have heavy investments in both companies' products, either learn to work better with each other, or we will be forced to choose one or the other." Sun can't afford that to happen for financial reasons, and Microsoft can't afford to let that happen for PR/FUD reasons.

"One side says money is a god worthy of worship, worth doing anything for and useful for all things. The other says that some things are priceless, just can't be bought and paid for, and that it diminishes humans when they live selfish lives at the expense of others."

Remember, it comes down to what you define as "money". Yes, the open source community tends to shun common monetary rewards for their work, but that does not mean they are doing the work without expectation of return. It merely means their "currency" is not the conventional currency. You can easily make the argument that open source contributors "worship money" if you define "money" as the respect of your peers, etc.

I think polarizing the I.T. industry into an "us vs. them" all-or-nothing type of environment is a bad thing, and in the long run will do more harm than good. Face it...both types of software models (closed and open) are going to be around for a VERY long time (how many businesses still use Fortran and COBOL, for example? LOTS). The better decision in the long term is to figure out a way for everyone to play fair and work together to help the greatest number of people the longest...not to keep turning everything into an all-or-nothing fight to the death.

What I'd like to see here is a discussion of the agreement between Sun and Microsoft. The news says the agreement will let each company's products interoperate better. But one of Sun's "products" is Linux. Does the agreement specifically preclude Sun from using any of the technology it licenses from Microsoft in its Linux products? If not, what are the ramifications for Linux? How will Sun distribute Microsoft's tech with it's own Linux products? Or is the Microsoft-licensed tech restricted only to Solaris? If Sun can use it with its Linux products, that is very interesting indeed.

More agreements like this are bound to happen. Anyone who thinks that a company with $55 billion in cash is simply going to dissolve someday because "they can't win" is silly...Microsoft will simply morph into something else. It's much more productive to realize that companies like Microsoft aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and figure out a way for products to work together more efficiently so the customer is the winner. You can do this while still giving preference to the open source isn't "all or nothing" and in fact, anyone who goes to a large company and says "you have to choose Linux or Microsoft and nothing in between" will get laughed out the door.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: javajedi on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:39 AM EDT
I admire the stand taken by Mr. Green in leaving Sun Microsystems. It is indeed nice to see folks with real conviction. I must admit to being a strong supporter of Java in the past, actually up until this past Friday. Now I find myself in a real quandry.

I do not work for Sun and my reasons for backing the Java platform have to do with it's cross platform capabilities. Removing the platform lockin and allowing software to be written in a language that seemlessly runs on multiple underlying operating systems was second only to GNU/Linux and FOSS in being a threat to the Microsoft Monopoly. IMHO

I write software for internal use at a large corporation and though I can write just as well in C or C++, perl, php and a variety of other languages, including some rather ancient and outdated ones, (I have been at this for almost 30 years now) Java still seems to be the language of choice for cross platform applications that are scaleable, especially on the server side of the house.

My current project is relatively mature, having invested over three years with a team of developers thus far, so proposing a rewrite of the software is out of the question. Hopefully the fact that IBM is a strong proponent of Java as well will ensure the survival of the language beyond Microsoft destroying SUN from the inside, as this is what I expect will happen in the long run.

We use Solaris Servers on the back end to support our J2EE application servers. It had been my intention to propose a shift from the long standing Windows desktops at least for the developers working on projects that wind up being hosted on Unix platforms. The Sun Java Desktop was a logical workstation OS to propose. The distaste that these recent events leave in my mouth has caused me to change course. So, while I can't immediately stop supporting Java as a development platform because it still is the most logical solution to the business problems I develop to solve, Sun has most definitely reduced the number of silent supporters inside large organizations. I truly believe they have completely underestimated the reaction from thousands of proponents (former proponents that is) as I know I am not the only IT professional that feels this way in my circle of aquaintances. Much in the same manner that SCO underestimated the reaction and ability to move and make a difference with reguard to their actions of the entire open source community.

PJ has depicted Sun's actions perfectly in my opinion here. Not very neighborly indeed. Thanks to PJ, and Groklaw, we CAN make a difference! United we stand!

The Matrix is real... but i'm only visiting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:42 AM EDT
There are some things where Linux is dragging its feet. Multimedia is the major
one. Take a look at games - very few are available under the Linux. UT2004, for
example, works almost _twice_ faster in Windows than it is in Linux. And, again,
hardware support. Still no decent support for Audigy, for example, which is for
now is the best soundcard for games.

I myself spend about 50% of time in Linux, and the rest of it - in Windows.
There's just not too much outside of my work that I can currently do in Linux.
Music creation (Propellerheads Reason, CoolEdit Pro and others), games, graphics
and video - all multimedia stuff, where Linux still sucks big time. And yes,
I've seen some attempts to make something of that kind in Linux, but believe me
- it is SO FAR from what is available in Windows - there's just no comparison!

And lets face it: most of successful linux projects are successful just because
they have someone behind them. IBM, RedHat, SUN, you name it. I can't think of
too much of Linux projects that are successful on their own, without someone
elses backing.

Regards, DNiq.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: inode_buddha on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:45 AM EDT
Actually, I figured the game was over when Bill Joy left. As far as I'm
concerned, everything else since then has just been the follow-through.

"When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price." --
Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Sun/Microsoft Connection
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:47 AM EDT
For years Sun has been trying to steal MS's thunder but Sun and MS have always
been in the same boat. Sun and MS paid SCO big money to be FUD against Linux.
Both companies recognize Linux as their single biggest threat. Both have now
realized that their best bet is to cooperate against their common enemy. The
enemy of my enemy is my friend methodology holds true always.

Although Sun may someday truely embrace Linux I don't think McNealy's ego will
allow it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Principles and pragmatism
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:48 AM EDT
I think it's worth emphasizing that principle is not the only reason to use FOSS. When people use open-source software, frequently they do so because it works, it works well, and it can be made to do exactly what they want. I think that's the reason for the popularity of Apache, the BSD/ARPA protocol stack, gcc, Linux, etc. ... I think some people perceive the OSS movement as being motivated entirely by principle, as if we were a bunch of ascetic monks living in command-line hermit caves and decrying the moral failings of the orgiastic Windows(tm) lifestyle. But that's not true; oftentimes, FOSS is simply the best, easiest, and fastest way to get the job done, and I would select it for its pragmatic, short-term advantages even if I weren't interested in its long-term, principled advantages. (Which I am.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:50 AM EDT
With MS (BG), I truly believe that control is #1. Money is
just a way to get control. Not that money and control can
be separated, but control is the real motivator with MS/BG.
This is based on observation of all their past behaviors.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why FOSS Developers Do What They Do
Authored by: Erbo on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:54 AM EDT
It's worth remembering that FOSS projects get started for a variety of reasons, but those reasons rarely have anything to do with Microsoft or any other proprietary software vendor. (Except in the case of Richard Stallman, of course.) For example:
  • Linus started writing Linux because he was dissatisfied with the kludges needed to make Minix work well on the 386, and he wanted to learn more about the guts of his CPU (as well as have some fun).
  • The Apache developers wanted a more reliable and more full-featured Web server for the systems they administered. For a long time, they distributed their code in the form of patches to the then-current NCSA Web server (it became "a patchy server," geddit?); they resorted to this because NCSA hadn't updated its code for a long time.
  • Larry Wall created Perl as an outgrowth of both his system-administration work and his training as a linguist.
  • Jeremie Miller created the Jabber instant-messaging system primarily to keep from having to run several different IM clients at once, as well as to learn about programming and XML.
  • And, on a personal note, my main motivation in writing the Venice Web Communities System was to create a platform for the Electric Minds community so it could survive after it was dropped by its corporate sponsor. I made it open-source because I felt it was the right thing to do, considering that I had leveraged so many other open-source technologies to get the software and the community's server running.
You'll notice, in the above list, the absence of "crush Microsoft like a bug" or any similar verbage. The better FOSS developers don't really give a damn about Microsoft or any other proprietary vendor; they just focus on their own code and making it as good as it can be. Which is as it should be.

Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Timing: why Bill Joy left Sun when he did...
Authored by: freeio on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:58 AM EDT
Perhaps the exit of Bill Joy from Sun a couple of months ago has to do with the
fact that he may have been privy to the ongoing negotiations, and saw this as
his que to exit promptly. I can see why someone of his backbround might not
necessarily be terribly pleased with the cash-for-principles transaction.

(For those who do not know, Bill Joy was one of the founders of Sun, and was
from the BSD camp. He was considered the technical star at Sun for many years.)

Tux et bona et fortuna est.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Night Flyer at work
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:05 PM EDT
When I read 'MS & Sun Settle Lawsuit, Create "Patent Regime"', I
became very depressed that powerful corporations were manoeuvering to squash
Open Source.

Now, reading "Why Folks Do What They Do", I now realize that we are
not so helpless, and we have champions and heros on our side.


My Clan Motto: Veritas Vincit: Truth Conquers

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:22 PM EDT
Sun is the MS of the Unix world. They are getting killed by linux - in fact,
Linux hit them much worse than it did MS. It makes sense for them to join forces
with MS.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but IBM isn't there for ethics or principles either.
It has none of these (certainly didn't when I was there, and I doubt very much
it changed). If they hadn't lost the OS/2 battle, MS would be doing Linux now,
and IBM would be financing SCO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

M$ Releases OSS
Authored by: bsm2003 on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:23 PM EDT

The Windows Installer
XML (WiX) is a toolset that builds Windows installation packages from XML source

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Linux is unstoppable
Authored by: Peter Smith on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:31 PM EDT
PJ, you made the point that Linux is unstoppable because it cannot be bought.

I would add to that: because it represents the best and most generous instincts
in humankind, to share, to cooperate and to help.

But I can't help adding a final and conclusive argument: because my mother says
so!! :))

My 78 year old mother has determinedly clung to Windows 98 until 5 days ago when
an e-mail born virus destroyed her system.

Seizing the moment I installed Mandrake Linux (10.0 Community) with Open Office
1.1.1 and Firefox.

This dear old lady didn't bat an eyelid. Within two days she was happily
browsing the Internet, corresponding by email, conducting her financial affairs
online and maintaining her other correspondence with Open Office.

She much prefers it to Windows 98 and adjusted to the change with ease.

I was hoping for this result but never expected it.

This experience just adds another reason why Linux has become unstoppable

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corporations are amoral
Authored by: rsmith on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:44 PM EDT
By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more. -- Albert Camus

IHMO this quote is also valid for corporations.

Corporations are amoral in the sense that they are not a person with a moral code. A corporations sole purpose is to generate revenue for it's shareholders. Being moral is not part of its duties.

It is therefore unrealistic to expect corporations to behave in a moral fashion like we expect from persons, even though they are persons in a (limited) legal sense.

Originally, corporations were time-limited government charters. They couldn't sue anybody, and couldn't buy other corporations (see this link).

It seems to me that legal reform is overdue in this area. Big corporations can and do buy political influence (Mickey Mouse act?), to the detriment of real persons.

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Gathering momentum.
Authored by: tintak on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:50 PM EDT
My opinion on all of this from the start has been that if M$ get their way and
force business to not use Linux then so be it.
I will have the latest Linux version on my box and will use it for all my
computing needs. If eventually I can not use the web, well that will be a
shame, but I will get over it.

I have nothing to lose, but M$ et al have a great deal at stake.

However that is not to say that I will not do everything in my power to support
the FOSS cause and as this link shows we are not without allies.

( I post links in this form so that readers have to take affirmative action to
read them. I think is more "open" this way.)

'it is literally impossible' for SCO to itself provide
direct proof' Mark J. Heise 02/06/04

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 12:55 PM EDT
Read: "Why a certain class of people do what they do"

Bill Gates, Steve Balmer, Scott McNealy, Darl McBride, Larry Ellison et al (the list goes on and on...) are all cut from the same bolt of cloth

Little boys who got older but didn't grow up; little boys who (unfortunately) found themselves in positions of power and influence where they could inflict their childish personalities on the world at large.

Little boys who firmly believe that juvenile adage "He who has the most toys, wins." as if it matters that anyone wins, and as if it matters how many toys one has.

Little boys who would really be better off simply growing up, but who certainly never will.



Mad cow? You'd be mad, too, if someone was trying to eat you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't Confuse Corps with People
Authored by: RabidChipmunk on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 01:02 PM EDT
You are making the mistake of attaching personhood to corporations. This is
classically what they want you to do-- why they claim a voice in politics even
if they don't represent the good of the public (or even their members).

Corps live on money. It is the basis of their cohesion. Corps are basically
subcultures based on money. Therefore, if they can't make money, the
corporation will die. They're not evil, just self perpetuating structures.

This is all quite distinct from the individuals who make up the corp. Not
because the corp has a mind, but rather because it has an organizational
momentum and necessity. People who depend on a structure/culture/corp will act
to support it. In this case by trying to acquire money.

FOSS is distinctive because it's structure is not based on money. It's still
not free to produce. It is also incorrect to imply that the authors were not
paid. The defining factor is that the (near)zero marginal cost allows for the
author to only be paid once. Remember that money is just a placeholder for
power. You could theoretically buy out Linus and RMS, but MS only has $50b in
the bank and I don't think that would cover it. For instance, RMS might be
tempted to support "Open Source" if he got control of the entire US
government computing structure.

The FOSS comunity acts more like a collection of individuals, because the
structure can be maintained as if it is a public utility. It is more analogous
to people living on the same street. They all share a common interest in the
road surface and sewage pipes, but may never talk to each other as long as those
keep working.

Linux is like a barn raising. People don't often raise barns in big cities
because the marginal cost is not recouped by the good will. Once you drop the
marginal cost the potential to recoup is astonishing.

FOSS runs on exactly the same people and principles as a corporate structure, it
just lacks almost all of the monetary overhead of that structure. This is why
it will outlast any corporate that does not add further value. Only goods and
services with continued marginal cost will be able to feed a money-based

IBM is "our" friend because they feed their structure by adding
service and hardware value. IBM is my competitor when I try to make money by
adding similar value. FOSS is Microsoft's enemy because it threatens MS's
current structure.

Microsoft and the drug companies are in the same boat of trying to inflate their
percieved marginal cost in order to justify and recoup sunk costs. In the end,
only the people who print the money can sustain that. I'm investing in ink.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Hydra on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 01:14 PM EDT
So, here's a suggestion, guys. Why don't you try to figure out why everyone is running away from the software you are trying to sell them? Determine what customers want and provide it. You can only control a market with force for so long before humans rebel, if what you provide doesn't satisfy. It's kind of built in to us to gravitate to friendly, pleasant, neighborly folks, and that goes for companies too.

If you ask me, this is the wrong angle to look at the situation. Microsoft may be a monopolist bully (d'uhh, it most definately is!) but it aint stupid. They know what the market really wants. At least, I assume they have the resources and budget to know what people really want. "Bought" *cough* independent *cough* published reviews aside, they will know that there is resentment among customers.

It's a bit of a no-brainer really. MS didn't get where it is now by being a fool. Do not let the ethics distract you from their know-how and intelligence. Doing so would be kind of stupid, wouldn't it? Microsoft is just riding this one out as long as it financially can. Why change their way if they see that so far, the market is still largely accepting their strong-arm tactics? Just stick with that which is making you the most money. It's what I would do if I try to think as a corporate greedy bastard.

If they time it right, all they have to do is reduce licence prices and all of a sudden migrating to Linux will become less enticing. It could take the wind out of the sails of a lot of people who haven't decided yet on switching. And hey, they may just have bought themselves another few years before drastic product improvement is required. They will have worked out several scenarios of various degree of "Revolution" already, all including a "suggested course of action".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sun needs to be platform agnostic
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 01:14 PM EDT

I wonder if McNealy will be platform agnostic. His core business is SPARC. The
software that runs on it is irrelevant. I really see Sun more as a competitor to
Intel and AMD than Microsoft.

In my view, he hopes to continue his Unix business (I don't think Unix is dead)
and bring both Microsoft and Apple onto SPARC. He couldn't bring Microsoft on
board unless he settled. Steve Jobs might like the idea of porting OS X to
SPARC, giving him something else to run on beside the PPC without jeopardizing
his own hardware, as would happen if OS X were ported to Intel.

There have been a rumors in recent years of an Apple-Sun merger. This might be
the only way for McNealy to salvage shareholder value. But I have NO inside

Sun's future may be as a one-stop-shopping center. They'll sell you any platform
you like to run on SPARC. Maybe even Java, too.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • SPARC my arse - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 05:08 AM EDT
UNIX not dead
Authored by: chrisbrown on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:05 PM EDT
They obviously realize that nobody much wants UNIX any more...

I disagree on this statement. AIX, Solaris, BSD, etc are still good unices. GNU/Linux may one day be permitted the UNIX(tm) name as well. SCO OpenServer and UnixWare are in disfavor, not UNIX.

Or is PJ falling into SCO's hypnotic matra of "UNIX is SCO is UNIX..."

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • UNIX not dead - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:27 PM EDT
    • UNIX not dead - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 05:35 AM EDT
  • UNIX not dead - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 09:17 AM EDT
Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: drh on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:19 PM EDT
You can't eat principles.

Sun had to give in or die. I don't think they had more
than two years of life left in them had they continued on
without this settlement. They know they could not win this
fight, Microsoft could easily have waited them out, and
originally intended to. I am more suprised that Sun was
able to get so much than that they gave in.

Sun has only one real mark to make now, and that's Java.
StarOffice is a nice add-on for them, but not really a
seller yet. Sun knows that Java is the future for them,
even if only in the short term. But this deal and the
Chinese deal are all about saving Sun in the short term.

So, the real question now is, did they sell their soul, or
did they live to fight another day?

Just another day...

[ Reply to This | # ]

What each one needed - WINUX!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:43 PM EDT
Sun needed the money. GNU/Linux will eventually outproform and outscale Solaris
and their hardware is becoming too expensive relative to Intel. Their days were

MS needs UNIX technology to jump start its OS. I expect to see alot of UNIX
like technology under the hood of Longhorn. Of course it will be the typical
embrace and extend to the point that it won't interoperate (except with
Solaris). Java will turn into C# and dot net.

Both need to stop or at least slow down OSS in general. IBM will also need to be
slowed down in the enterprise.

Let's not forget how trusted computing may play into this whole picture. In my
mind trusted computing is the biggest enemy. MS needs to change the hardware to
survive in the long term. Could this be a way for MS / Sun to have a trusted
UNIX? Maybe like WINUX ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Morals don't play into it.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:45 PM EDT
You wrote: I think it can safely be said that if either Richard Stallman or
Linus Torvalds could be bribed into compromising, it would have happened
already. They aren't in this for the money. So we'll never read a headline,
"Linus sells his soul to the Devil."

Well, the main thing is that the devil would not be making a bargain. RMS has
little power over Free Software. Even though essential GNU core projects are
copyrighted by the FSF, the assignment contracts clearly state that the FSF is
not allowed to release unfree versions of the software.

In addition, it can't control the further spread of already released software.
For example, control over Gcc development was wrenched from the FSF against
their will. The projects were merged again years later, and this was possible
because the copyright assignment policy was still followed to a t: at every time
the FSF had full power to enforce the copyright of egcs, and no power to
influence its development.

A similar fork occured between Emacs and XEmacs. This fork never was mendable
again, partly because of the less meticulous copyright assignment policy which
was considered useless since other reasons seemed to rule out recombination,

Now RMS has failed to keep control over forks of software that is entirely
copyrighted to the FSF.

Linus is in a much weaker position, since the copyright of Linux is widely

There is simply no point in winning free software developers over to the
"dark" side. Their software stays available freely.

It is perhaps the greatest achievement of Stallman that he has created a public
licence, one in which every licensee has the same rights as the original author
(except for the legal possibility of suing for compliance).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Was SCO under a gag order?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 03:36 PM EDT
Many people have theorized that the judge told SCO to keep quiet in the Dec 5
in-chambers meeting. And SCO has generally kept quiet since then. SCO has even
made references to having to avoid being specific due to judge's instructions.
But if that is the case what is this eWeek article about?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Members Only
Authored by: grayhawk on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 03:37 PM EDT
It is a sad tale to see companies like SCO and SUN and in the long run MS fall
by the way side because they missed the boat. Their problem is that they tried
to control the market through a "members only" philosophy. I produce
a product and set it up so that no one else can interact or use my product
without my getting a pound of flesh.

What these folks have not counted on is that as long as they are the only club
on the block it will work. You can even shutdown competing clubs by either
litigation or purchase. However when a club comes along that is world wide and
no longer local, a club that people see as providing a better service to its
members, then their fortunes will wane. Being a member of their club is no
longer the only game in town and being a member has lost its luster.

Unfortunately their business is based mostly on software. Software has and is
becoming a commodity and no longer the means to make millions. This is where
IBM, HP and Novell shine. IBM's, Novell's and HP's income is in business
solutions which in IBM's and HP's case also includes their main line of business
hardware. FOSS is not hardware centric as old Unix is. You can't run buy and
HP computer with Sun Unix. You can't buy a AS 400 with SCO Unix. You can buy
either though with Linux. Now it boils down to what can you Mr. Supplier do to
lower my MIS costs so that I can be competitive on the world stage. I'm getting
my butt kicked by an Indian corporation or a Japanese firm.

The new business is selling solutions to these problems and that comprises using
the most effective hardware with the most effective software at the least cost.
Companies that are only software driven are left out of the game. M$ doesn't
run on a mainframe or an HP3000 or even a VAX box. M$ is a niche company only
handling Intel and can't handle other diverse hardware. M$ would have been much
better off to create or invest in a line of hardware instead of buying out
software and OS competitors. They would have been smart to develop a versatile
product that can run on anything.

Sun should focus on the hardware making it cheaper and better so that they can
offer a real solution to their customer at a minimal cost. IBM, Novell and HP
see their role now being companies that are there to provide a reasonable and
affordable helping hand to the business world so that companies can compete on
the world stage grow and as a result drive the requirement for more support.

M$ philosophy is how much can I charge you in order to make ME grow and how do I
FORCE you into ONLY using my product.

The new business philosophy is what can I do for YOU that will make YOU grow at
an affordable price and because I was such a great help you come back to me for
additional needs.

This was and is called "Customer Service". Something that you don't
see too often anymore these days. With true "Customer Service" not
everything is chargeable and in some cases you give away some things in order to
gain the good will of your customer. You essentially become a friend to your
customer, you develop a relationship, you help your customer survive the hazards
of the market. You essentially become a member of THEIR (your customer's) team
instead of the M$ way were you have to be a member of their M$ team with no help
from them in your survival.

FOSS is all about everyone helping everyone. It is a community comprised of
companies, intellectuals, specialists educators and fellow business types. It
is about teamwork. It is about being a member of a team that you can turn to
for help if and when you need it and not have to loose your shirt when you do.
It isn't about paying the devil his due. It isn't a software protection

You can't beat that type of environment. It is the nature of humans to want to
belong, to be a member of a team, to have a sense of community, to not have to
be alone in our fight to survive and to not be fleeced for desiring such. FOSS
offers that, M$ doesn't. M$ and SCO want to punish you for wanting to belong,
to have a sense of community because it drives you away from their protection
racket because when it comes down to it, they don't give a damn wether you are
profitable or not as long as they get their pound of flesh.

All ships are safe in a harbour but that is not where they were meant to be.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Historical Precedent-->Closed source
Authored by: scott_R on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 03:43 PM EDT
This maybe entirely wrong, but if you look at the time in our history when
closed source emerged, it fits perfectly. In the 70's, when I was a kid, you
were taught (almost on a daily basis), that people were no good, don't trust
anyone. Not just us kids, but it was constantly on the news in those "how
to protect yourself" scare stories.

Walking or jogging down the street was practically suicidal (in any town),
because you could get picked up in a van and raped or killed. Everybody and
their uncle was not to be trusted, because the moment you did, they'd stab you
in the back or scam you into the poor house. Trick-or-treating was just asking
for trouble, because you were certain to (according to the reports every night)
find needles, razor blades, and acid-laced candy in your sack, regardless of how
well you knew the people who's doors you went to. And if you left your doors or
car unlocked for ten seconds, all your stuff would be gone, and your car would
be found in some dark alley, nothing left but the bare chassis on blocks.

This continued into the eighties, and mid-nineties. At that point, you couldn't
even drive down the street without someone taking your car while you're still at
the wheel. Driveby's kept people from even peeking outside if they heard a
noise or yelling. Everyone waited with bated for the police and government to
make things better.

However, I think that kind of thinking is losing it's appeal. People are (while
still aware of the possibility) getting tired of distrust. Some of the old
assumptions are proving wrong. For example, September 11, and the NE blackout
disproved the idea that most people are more likely to hurt their neighbor than
to help them.

Linux and OSS is another face of this "recovery". People are tired of
feeling like they are potential criminals, and sick of hiding their heads in the
sand, hoping things get better. Much as neighborhood residents are having
crackhouses torn down, patrolling their own streets, and looking out for their
neighbors, Linux users are looking after each other.

The SCO case is solid proof of that. Ten years ago, if IBM was sued for this
same thing, the only people that would give it much thought would be IBM and
SCO. Now, there are millions of people watching this case, adding their
thoughts and opinions, and donating money to help others that may be threatened
by this.

MS, Sun, and SCO thrived when people were too scared to help one another. Now
they are dying, because modern society is outgrowing it's fears, much like a
child outgrows the boogie man. A thousand years ago, the world was a scary
place, with dragons and monsters lurking everywhere, but now that we've explored
the planet (and established fast-food restaurants all over the place), the world
isn't quite as scary as it used to be. (Suicide bombers and other relatively
isolated crazies aside.)

"In the beginning" the computer world was only understood by the
priests and holy men. Then others began to understand it, and knowing the
desire of people for someone who could take care of all their problems for them,
they became kings and emperors. Finally, realizing that the kings and emperors
had far too much power, people decided that there were some things they needed
to do for themselves, if only to keep the greedy at bay.

Welcome to the GNU world. It may not be as simplistic as the old one, but it's
a better place to live, IMHO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not to be too picky
Authored by: jesse on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 04:05 PM EDT
But it isn't UNIX (the trademark) that is the problem.

It is SCOs so-called ownership of AT&T System V.

Any OS may gain the UNIX designation (even Linux) provided it meets the
requirements, and passes the evaluation.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: mscibing on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 04:11 PM EDT
The MS EULA alone chills the blood. And the license is so lopsidedly for the benefit of Microsoft only, a customer could tip over reading it. If you try to do anything the least bit out-of-the-box with that software, like look at the code, you risk being sued. It's software that mistrusts you and that insists on controlling you.

Yes. Very much so. The contempt of Microsoft for me, the user, is why I don't use their software on my computer, and avoid proprietary software in general. But while Microsoft's "marketdroid" principles are common in the proprietary world, they are not universal. Opera for example, despite being a proprietary software company, does not share Microsoft's principles, and does share many of the principles of the FOSS world.

I very much dislike the simplification of the software world into "good guys" and "bad guys".

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Fresh FUD from the mouth of Laura D.
Authored by: jayfar on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 04:58 PM EDT
Quoted in Linux Unlikely to Unseat Windows Soon - Survey, a Reuters story via Yahoo. Yes, Yankee group has released a new survey. Yahoo lets you vote on the story, BTW, on a point scale of 1 to 5. Good news I read elsewhere is that Reuters is soon ending their free content distribution on Yahoo (Yahoo does currently pay some fees to Reuters, from what I read), effectively reducing the audience for what is largely a press release service operating under the guise of a news organization.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft preparing for the worst
Authored by: UrsaMinor on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 04:59 PM EDT
See this as if Microsoft has accepted they can't stop Linux (if the rest of the
world don't buy DMCA etc.). Then what?

- First choice: Windows XP server edition can't win the server market. The next
best thing is to help Sun to regain strength in the server market. Why - because
Sun is not a threat to the desktop, whereas Linux can be used almost anywhere.
Trying to keep status quo.

- Second choice: Pretend to accept Sun. Port applications to Sun OS or at least
make integration of heterogeneous networks easy. To prepare for a coexcistence
with UNIX-like systems without admitting openly that its all about Linux. Given
the story like the one about Korea, Japan and China they know it is highly

A little of topic: Millions of gameplayers use Windows because the games they
want only runs with Windows. If a great part of players goes to the XBox (as MS
wants them to do) and Playstation2 or the next generation of gameboxes,
Microsoft removes the last reason to run Windows. So they need an emergency plan
(see above) for making money in a world where they don't have a monopoly on the

[ Reply to This | # ]

Has GROKLAW Jumped the Shark?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 04:59 PM EDT
seems to me this place was once about fact based information aggregation and
analysis around a truly evil firm, SCO. its value was the value of the open
source approach; informed, insightful opinions from all were welcomed, digested
and processed.

the culmination of these efforts was a truly amazing information source that
blended tremendous research ability with a wide spectrum of opinions.

while a wider view of the world beyond SCO was both inevitable and welcome, the
emotional tirades being issued at this point seem a little out of place minus a
real bad guy like SCO.

now? we get paeans about FOSS, conspiracy theories and good vs evil arguments.
GROKLAW's shot from the reporting arena right through the editorial section to
full blown sermonizing. i know Linux is a religion, but i'm in no mood to be
preached to. passion is a welcome portion of analysis and argumentation - blind
faith and dedication is not.

corporations that make brutal, gut wrenching decisions like Sun aimed at keeping
it - and their 30K+ employees - employed are lambasted. dissenting opinions are
dismissed as evil.

i love FOSS myself, but i can't see how these emotion driven rants are at all
helpful, and i think they hurtthe credibility of GROKLAW and its community.

if i'm the only one feeling this way, so be it. i had nothing but respect for
this site and its community up until recently, and i ask this question out of a
genuine desire to honestly question the direction in the hope of doing good.

but if things keep going the way they are, i know i'll be visiting a lot less.
not that you'll miss me.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT - New critique of recent FUD
Authored by: DrHow on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 05:20 PM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: SCOX hits ``strong sell''
Authored by: superluser on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 05:24 PM EDT
FYI, the average recommendation for SCOX is now 5.0, meaning ``strong sell''

Check it out:


[ Reply to This | # ]

Something fishy with the share price
Authored by: AdamBaker on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 05:43 PM EDT
Does anyone have any ideas what has happened with the SCO share price today? It
has shot up by $1.20 to close above $10.50 for the first time in 20 days. If it
had closed below $10.50 today then SCO could have forced Baystar/RBC to convert
their preferred shares.

The best explanation I can think of is that Baystar and RBC don't want to
convert because they still see a possibility of SCO recovering and they think
SCO would force them to. In theory a conversion is good for SCO as it removes
the interest liability and increases their freedom but it would also flood the
market with new shares and destroy what confidence remains in their case. What I
can't work out is why Baystar and RBC would think that there is enough hope of a
recovery to make this worthwhile. With todays volume I can't see how they could
have boosted the price like this without spending ~$2M buying 200,000+ shares.
Maybe it is a simple case of throwing good money after bad but if they have to
do the same thing in another 20 days they won't be happy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Great, now I can see...
Authored by: frk3 on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 05:56 PM EDT

...a new Microsoft trademark, covering Windows and Java technology together...

Wava(TM), LOL!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 06:00 PM EDT
PJ, you are doing a great job. Keep it up. You are venting and you have a
website to do it on. You go girl!

Yes, all that has happened in the past few months HAS BEEN a long-time-coming.
And it is still coming. 7 years ago when I was introduced to Linux, people told
me it would never last and Microsoft would continue to rule. That when I
upgraded to Windows 95 and at that time, I swore (literally, because 95 sucked,
and as a promise) that I would find some alternative to Microshifty Winblows. So
far, I have proven the Linux critics wrong and the Windows critics right.
After 7 years, Linux is still here. That is more than I can say for Novell DOS
7, OS/2 Warp, Caldera DOS, Novell DOS 7, Amiga, Commodore-64/128, and the Atari

I STILL say, Linux is a better value because it works great and it works better
than a piece of software that takes an R&D budget of $6.5 billion a year to
"improve" and "innovate." And how much did it cost people to
innovate improve Linux? 2 cents per programmer, as in opinion and a legacy that
can't be "sold to the devil."

I ENJOY my KDE desktop, and my CHOICE of various desktops (Gnome, FVWM95, IceWM,
etc.) and themes. I was also impressed yesterday of the increased performance of
my Compaq 200 Mhz PC with a limited 48M of memory. I have a AMD Duron 1.2 Ghz
with 512M memory downstairs and I really can't afford a computer upgrade yet for
the upstairs. I have kids to feed. Anyway, I tried installing SuSE 9.0 on the
Compaq and it didn't work well. About to throw the Compaq away, someone told me
about Slackware and how well it runs on slower machines. I loaded it and it ran
fairly well, but Mozilla and StarOffice dogged it and quickly ate up the memory
quickly. I then pointed my Compaq X server to connect to my 1.2Ghz AMD. And you
know what? A breath of new life. It ran almost as fast as if I was RIGHT on the
console of my AMD. I could connect my slow PC to my fast AMD and get a second
desktop, for free (sound and CD-ROM connections coming.) Could I do that with
Windows? Sure I could, if I bought Windows XP Pro ($300,) installed a Beta
Service Pack 2, and then I could only get one Remote Desktop while someone is
logged into the main screen. With Linux, the limit of connections I have are
only bounded by the ability of my fast PC to do it. What am I going to do with
my $300 saved from Windows XP pro? Buy an Ibanez Bass and a practice amp.

What about SUN? What if they have complaints just like SCO that maybe they
contributed some of their IP to Open Source and then want to take it back? Then
they should not have done it in the first place. It is released, out there, and
there isn't a prayer of getting it back into propriatary IP space. On a
sarcastic note, they should get their open sourced IP back just as much as I can
buy a DELL PC with Windows XP, and then go to Microsoft and get a refund from
Microsoft on the unused Microsoft software. How is that for fair, eh?

Yes, we seeing how a cornered rat of a company like Microsoft will react to
survive. See, even if a company like SUN dies, it's open source stuff will
remain behind so others can pick up where it failed and CONTINUE THE FIGHT
against Microsoft and continue the benefits of developing useful software for
the Open Source users. Remember Netscape? Open sourced. Netscape, the company,
is essentially gone. Netscape, the software, lives in Mozilla which I am using
today. Microsoft killed the company. They didn't kill the software. Hah!

About a month ago, a Microsoft manager talked about a lot of noise coming from
the Open Source camp. Well, Mr. Manager, is the noise good and loud enough for
ya?!? As in the Megadeath song, a "Symphony of Destruction" for

[ Reply to This | # ]

Billy Joy left the Dark Side...
Authored by: vruz on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 06:07 PM EDT
Because Joy was a great engineer and thinker, and his vision of the future was
always held back by Sun business types.

Because he knew what was going to happen

After reading this (and some philosphical questions)
what's the difference between mindless robots, and
principle-less engineers ?

It wouldn't be surprising if Joy joined the ranks of the FOSS.

Sun controls Java, and Microsoft has .NET.
The business world is increasingly depending on these architectures, and we have
no FOSS alternative to these technologies.

There's Mono, there's dotGNU and there's BlackDown, but even if they wrote their
code from scratch, Microsoft and Sun together will complicate the scene if they
can blow a hole in the FOSS ranks.
Remember Sun already put pressure on Blackdown in the past because of their
runaway implementation of Java.

Don't worry about Office suites that have already been comoditized.
We need a definitive alternatives to Java and .NET, the sooner the better.

A complete business-oriented framework different from Java and .NET, that can
also import their code. (embrace them and extend them)
Otherwise we are at peril of being locked out of the business world.

Eric Raymond, Miguel de Icaza:

We need something other than Java and .NET.
Raymond's open letter, and separately IBMs open letter, were timely and
well thought, but the outcome was unfortunate. I'm not saying it put pressure on
Sun and on Microsoft, but it certainly didn't help.

Novell sponsors Mono now, and there's the new Kimono project under KDE,
bringing .NET to the KDE environment.

We need legal help to make sure these projects won't ever be
compromised by the Dark Side, or leave them completely.

Either that, or start from scratch a backwards compatible framework (yes,
backwards in every sense)

IBM, Novell:

Joy was a major force behind Java.
We want him on our side.
We might need him.


There's the Parrot project, which is a compiler, framework and virtual machine
that is well under development, and will have support for Perl, and other open
source languages (fingers crossed) namely Python and Ruby.

Any other options I'm not aware of that have the potential to replace the Java
and .NET frameworks ?

--- the vruz

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Deutsche Bank
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 07:10 PM EDT

From the article "Windows of opportunity closing on Microsoft?" by
Malcolm Berko I noticed the following:

Quote -
Meanwhile, Cole National is now using Linux, Delta may begin using Linux at its
airport terminals, Deutsche Bank is considering Linux while Brazil and other
Western governments have adopted policies that favor using Linux to improve
their own software industries.
End Quote -

Let me get this right - SCO investor Deutsche Bank is using Linux? How soon
before McBride and Boies file a lawsuit against them?



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  • Deutsche Bank - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 02:35 AM EDT
    • Deutsche Bank - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 06:59 AM EDT
It's OK, some things are misunderstood
Authored by: pyrite on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 07:10 PM EDT
There was just an article about 3-4 days ago about this "Zero Install"
system that runs on Linux, with a particular desktop environment called ROX -
where you use an application "over the internet", or kind of... it's
actually cached in a special directory on your hard drive. Thing about it is,
that you don't have to be root to install it. It's just drag and drop or
something like that, and the application transparently goes out and downloads
any libraries or any other dependencies that it needs to run, so any user can
very easily "install" any program that they want, just by going to the
developer's webpage. You're not actually installing it, it's "cached"
on your hard drive in a particular directory along with all the other "Zero
Install" apps. Some people feel that installing software as root is a
security risk, which, to a certain extent, I can understand (depends on the
source and the software) - but that's the reasoning behind it anyway.

The part that I am somewhat unsure about is the "transparent"
dependency downloading - from a security standpoint, but the flip side of that
is that it is easy to use. On the other hand, what's wrong with /opt or
/usr/local/bin, as some folks mentioned on Slashdot. Many corporations don't
want employees installing their own software; depends on your policies.

So here are the two opposite sides of the coin, now on Linux itself. I find this
interesting. The one side of the coin is "ease of use". It's nice to
be able to run apps over the network, but it's very important that you get them
from a trusted source - the more commercial you make this, the more people are
going to have useless apps that transparently download things that aren't to
your benefit. Just like the Windows-compatible "free" virus scanner
software that actually just installs some sort of malware on your machine that
you can't get rid of.

The second side of that same coin is "technical superiority, or stability,
security, standardization". Linux will never truly be able to compete with
Windows because "ease of use" is not really the primary goal, at least
in the sense of someone who is relatively computer-illiterate being able to make
sense of what is going on. The Linux (Unix, BSD) that I know and love isn't
willing to sacrifice security for "ease of use". The idea is that the
user becomes more educated about how to use the computer - that, in and of
itself, makes me more comfortable ordering online. Is there really a point in
making it incredibly easy for any teenager to create an online store? Should we
just do away with PhD's because they aren't "user friendly"? Who
needs all these legal documents - they are too hard to understand. Therefore,
they need to be made easier to understand. Down with legalese! (Sorry, I am
being facetious).

I actually hope that Linux (Unix, BSD) never competes with Windows, because if
the whole point is to have Linux _become_ "just like" Windows, then we
no longer have Linux, right? I'd rather learn how to do it myself, rather than
pay someone else to make expensive sacrifices in security, stability,
standardization and cross-platform / cross-architecture compatibility and
portability in order to make it easy for me to do it. I am beginning to wonder
to what extent "ease of use" and "user-friendliness" affects
compatibility with other platforms. If I am going to pay someone to do
something computer-related, I am going to pay someone to do those parts that are
difficult that I cannot do (such as manufacture processors) - I am not sure how
important it is to develop a way where I can make my own processors in my house.
It's just not as black and white as "ease of use". There are pros and
cons to everything, the easier you make it to do good things, the easier you
make it to do bad things.

The whole idea behind the way Linux (or BSD, or Unix) is set up, part of the
whole philosophy is to put up little roadblocks and barriers that make things
more difficult (like not designing software package management applications that
allow miscellaneous software packages from any website in the world to
automatically install themselves, along with any dependencies, in a
"special" folder, not needing root priviledges). There is a very good
reason to have "root". Root is a good idea. Permissions are a good
idea. Setuid needs to be used with caution. Linux is not this huge diamond that
you can just toss around as being secure no matter what, security is a process,
and the way I see it, enough of the "process" of security has been
designed into Linux (Unix, and BSD) up to this point in time because the people
who were designing it weren't primarily focused on "ease of use". Ease
of use CAN be somewhat effectively implemented as sort of an "icing on the
cake" layer via somewhat dumbed-down documentation and an intuitive user
interface - Solaris with CDE strikes me as being this way - but the internals
need to be put together while being mindful of the various things that make
security the preventative process that it is. Besides, when you spend a couple
grand on documentation, and probably a five-digit figure on the hardware, you
probably have someone around to ask questions about things you don't understand.
Good security not so much a response as it is a preventative measure. You have
to design it in, and the more secure you make it, the more difficult it is to
use. (removing the path, for instance).

The easier you make it for a computer-illiterate person, the easier you make it
for a script written by a questionable character. The easier you make it period
to operate a computer, the easier you make it to operate a computer.

I like Linux the way it is going. If no one else wants to use it, that's fine
with me. It's no big deal. I don't want Linux to become the "next"
Windows, because I am beginning to realize that there is a flip side to
"ease of use". The analogy of a car, where you take your car to the
mechanic, or a pair of cowboy boots, which you can get new leather soles put on
(not that I am a big fan of leather or anything, it's just an analogy) as
opposed to a pair of sneakers, which you toss when it's time.

Like a good bottle of wine, it's sold before the grapes are picked. There is a
waiting list. The best things in life are like that. If you have to push it on
people, it probably sucks.

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MS is trying, believe me
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 08:24 PM EDT
So, here's a suggestion, guys. Why don't you try to figure out why everyone is running away from the software you are trying to sell them? Determine what customers want and provide it. You can only control a market with force for so long before humans rebel, if what you provide doesn't satisfy. It's kind of built in to us to gravitate to friendly, pleasant, neighborly folks, and that goes for companies too.
Microsoft's magic Security Initiative is their attempt to give the customer what they want. It will be interesting to see (a)if they succeed, and (b)what new restrictions they place on computers in the process.

As for neighborly folks, most people will take a lot of beating before they complain. Wal*Mart wins hearts by lowering prices. Microsoft, hate 'em or not, work very hard in the convenience and ease of use departments.

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Off topic... SCO News article
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 08:40 PM EDT
Not sure where to post this.. so.. am posting it here...,4057,9199875%255E15306,00.html
An odd little story as follows as Im not sure why its been published.. still it
IS interesting.. and I would expect the US Military etc would also be
similarly exempt ???

SCO can't touch government
James Riley
April 6, 2004

FEDERAL Government departments are expected to be exempt from exposure to the
SCO Group's claims over Linux.

The Copyright Act allows the Commonwealth to assume intellectual property rights
and negotiate payment later.

But no such preferential treatment exists for government contractors and
suppliers, which must carry the legal burden under present federal contracts if
they supply software found to infringe a third party's intellectual property.

It is not clear how the Commonwealth's special treatment under the Copyright Act
will be applied should SCO's claims on Linux be upheld in US courts.

Software suppliers' contracts with federal agencies such as Centrelink and the
Australian Tax Office contain strict clauses indemnifying the agencies against
any "claim, suit, demand, action or proceeding" from any third party
claiming intellectual property.

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Death Without Dignity ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:02 PM EDT

... was the title of an article written about SCO by Andrew Grygus over at aaxnet, when the SCO first brought it's lawsuit. I think it applies here as well.

I doubt that this will save Sun. The end result will be the complete loss of any scrap of dignity that Sun ever had before Sun ends up at the bottom of the scrap heap of companies the MS has "used" and destroyed along its way to wherever it decides to go.

But, I think, it's not as if McNealy ever had all the much dignity to begin with. As someone noted earlier, he has seemed for some time to be mostly someone who can't manage his jealousy of BG.

Wally Bass

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Power and Control
Authored by: kawabago on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:03 PM EDT
Logically open source is the best production model for OS and popular
applications and I don't see how that can be denied. So this isn't about design
philosophy nor money. Gates and Co. have so much money already more is
superfluous. So it comes down to Power and Control. Gates and company are
raping the software landscape, it feels good and they want to continue no matter
what the cost.

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Implications for Star Office and Open Office
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:10 PM EDT
Don't forget that Sun, as the owner of Star Office, is the major threat to
Microsoft's other desktop stranglehold: MS Office. With the protocol and patent
license agreements, will this mean a major fork is ahead? Will the (closed
source) Star Office be "improved" with proprietary MS protocols, which
Open Office cannot use? Granted, the FOSS contributions of will
have to be stripped out to do so--but Microsoft might happy to license
proprietary technology that replacemes the open-source code. This looks like a
strategic play for MS on many levels, with Sun assuming the role of the pawn.

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Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: ivern on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:22 PM EDT

But the reason I mention Orlowski's article is because it made me realize why GNU/Linux software is Microsoft's unbeatable foe. FOSS wasn't written with money as its object, and it can't go out of "business". Microsoft has nothing that the creators of FOSS want. They don't even want their code, let alone their money. I think it can safely be said that if either Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds could be bribed into compromising, it would have happened already. They aren't in this for the money. So we'll never read a headline, "Linus sells his soul to the Devil."

Pam, the important thing is not just that they will never sell out, but that they have created a system in which it doesn't matter if they do. Thanks to the GPL, we have full access to the code. If a major OSS project leader went to the dark side, the project would be forked that same day and someone else would take over the free fork.

Moreover, even if Linus wanted he couldn't release the kernel under different licensing terms. The reason is simple: he doesn't own a lot of it. Since the beginning, he has encouraged individual contributors to retain copyright on the files they create, so there is no single person that could sell the project would take hundreds of people's approval to do it, and for every one that says no there'd be a good bunch of code that would need to be taken out and redone. And, like I mentioned before, someone would just take the latest GPL-distributed version of the code and fork from there.

The situtation with RMS is slightly different...the FSF holds the copyright for all GNU code, and he's the boss there. However, the forking solution is still there.

I think that's the main beauty of the doesn't require untouchable project leaders. OSS would survive if Linus or RMS (or whoever) went away. It owes a lot to them, but it would be business as usual for everyone else. The fact that they are indeed untouchable is just icing on the's nice to have a hero leading the way.

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Open-source *does* have fewer defects
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:36 PM EDT
This study in this month's IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. The most important conclusion:

"...our analysis finds that the changing rate or the functions modified as a percentage of the total functions is higher in open-source projects than in closed-source projects. This supports the hypothesis that defects may be found and fixed more quickly in open-source projects than in closed-source projects and may be an added benefit for using the open-source development model."

That IEEE membership does pay off sometimes...

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OT: article on IBM amended counterclaim
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 09:55 PM EDT
Article says IBM's amended counterclaim indicates it is certain there is no infringement


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Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: Nathan Hand on Monday, April 05 2004 @ 11:51 PM EDT
It's too sorry a tale to tell you more. You can go read all the details for yourself. There's an article about Sun VP Rich Green, leaving "in disgust".

TheRegister article seems to have fabricated the "facts" to create a story. Green himself was instrumental in the settlement. He had tendered resignation much earlier to go join a startup, but he wasn't planning on leaving until he'd finished the Microsoft-Sun settlement. It certainly doesn't seem to be the case that he left in disgust.

Green has resigned from Sun as of last week. However, a Sun spokesperson said Green actually tendered his resignation "long before last week. It was coincidental timing, not related timing." This comment refutes other sources who said Green left Sun in protest over the Microsoft deal. [,1759,1561738,00.asp]

I know it's fun to find conspiracies but wasn't this one assumed a little too quickly? The news wire that created the "left in disgust" story was TheRegister and let's face it, if you have any knowledge of the IT industry you know TheRegister is about as reliable as the National Enquirer. They didn't even quote anybody. Wouldn't it have been much better to ask Mr Green before jumping to conclusions? I'm not saying that eWeek is more credible than TheRegister (they're both fairly crap) but at least eWeek quotes a Sun representative.

At the risk of becoming even more unpopular - because I know bashing critics is a favourite pasttime here - others have already commented on the declining quality of Groklaw. I've nothing to add to those comments. My own observation is that one of the things that I admired about the earlier Groklaw commentary was that facts were confirmed before being published. The eagerness to condemn Sun has deeply saddened me because I see fewer facts being confirmed, and more speculation making the front page. Flame away. I'm not a troll, nor trying to dictate how this site operates, and I appreciate obvious solutions like "go away", but like many others I am observing significant changes in the way this site operates. Perhaps the editors are not aware of the changes? I disagree with defensive comments that Groklaw has always written stories this way. I would never have read Groklaw in the first place, if it had. But perhaps this new strategy appeals to a wider audience?

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Full Circle
Authored by: grayhawk on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 01:38 AM EDT
You know you hit the nail on the head. Once upon a time folks could leave their
doors open their cars unlocked put out a milk bottle with money for the milkman
and know that all would be as they left it.

Once upon a time we shared source code, we exchanged ideas and we worked
cooperatively. Those were the early days of the computer, what was then the
internet, and what were the early days of the programmer. The days of languages
like basic, cobol, fortran, RPG, PL1, Assembler, etc.

Then came the personal computer and all of a sudden there was closed source, no
more exchange of ideas, no more cooperative work.

During the heyday of the mainframe you could always get the source of any
program if you wanted to pay for it. You developed much of the software you
needed yourself or did it in cooperation with others through a thing called time
sharing, and cost sharing.

The personal computer threw a wedge into that though. You bought canned
software. You couldn't adjust it to make it fit your environment. Instead you
altered your business environment to make it fit the software. This worked as
long as everyone else had to do as you. Now open source says, wait a minute,
why should we be required to alter our business environment that is successful
to suit a piece of software. Here is the source code, make it fit to what you
do and share it with others who also need those changes. It is less costly and
more practical this way then having to alter the business. For example why
should I have to purchase and install the 1 Gig Pentium on a receptionists desk
when all she does is some word processing and a bit of spreadsheet. The
software and OS up to this point made you do it. Now with FOSS you can setup a
PII for her and provide the horses to the jobs that require such power. You now
get to match the hardware to the job. You no longer need use a dump truck to do
pickup truck work.

We have come full circle just like it was in the early days of the computer, the
days of the big iron and the dumb terminals on the desk. We get to customize
our tools to suit our business and no longer have to customize our business to
suit the tools.

All ships are safe in a harbour but that is not where they were meant to be.

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Understand the positions to better interpret the results.
Authored by: jbn on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 03:24 AM EDT

I think it can safely be said that if either Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds could be bribed into compromising, it would have happened already. They aren't in this for the money. So we'll never read a headline, "Linus sells his soul to the Devil."

Microsoft could tempt Linus Torvalds to run and endorse their software if they released a program that Torvalds cared about. It would cost Microsoft very little of their enormous cash on hand to accomplish this goal in a way that makes people take notice of the pragmatist philosophy Torvalds has espoused for years. Many people who don't understand the distinction between the free software and open source movements don't get this point: Torvalds is not the software freedom hero you take him for. He actively endorses the use of the proprietary code versioning system "Bitkeeper" because it has some features Subversion and other free software code versioning programs do not yet have.

RMS, on the other hand, has a 20-year history of turning down non-disclosure agreements and telling software proprietors words to the effect of 'No, I will not accept your offer to hurt my ability to help my community.'. It's ironic, as RMS is quoted (in response to a t-shirt which features Torvalds carrying a lightsabre like Luke Skywalker and RMS riding atop R2-D2 as though RMS is Torvalds' sidekick), that "Picking up that sword is exactly what Linus refuses to do. He gets everybody focusing on him as the symbol of the [free software] movement, and then he won't fight. What good is it?".

Microsoft sells anti-your-neighbor software.

They sure do, but so does every other software proprietor. All proprietary software is a monopoly because you lose the freedoms of free software when you deal in proprietary software. If any other proprietor had Microsoft's power, they would probably wield it in much the same way Microsoft wields their power today. IBM had that kind of power before Microsoft was big and IBM lost their power in the market because they too were big and lumbering, and they decided to dismiss the coming microcomputer revolution by virtually declaring that they would not get involved in commodity computing. By the time they changed their mind and tried to compete in that market, the competition was fierce and unstoppable. Ironically, the competition was building on what were IBM's computer designs.

What this really points to is a catch-22 for the open source movement; a point of weakness which separates the two movements. The free software movement champions the freedoms to inspect, run, copy, distribute, and modify all published computer software for all computer users. This movement's advocates never have to endorse software that is non-free because they are arguing their point from the perspective of being able to do these things.

By contrast, the open source movement's message is a message of practical convenience--it is better for businesses (this movement's target audience) if more people have access to a program's source code. The open source philosophy is a development methodology which stresses practical function and dismisses software freedom. So, if an open source program doesn't work as well as a non-open source equivalent program, the open source advocate is ironically duty bound to endorse the non-open source alternative program.

The open source philosophy, as I've illustrated above, is eminently exploitable for anyone willing to spend the time developing a sufficiently technically advanced non-open source program. Larry McVoy of Bitkeeper did just that. Fortunately there are people who see the bigger picture for free software--one which demands staying on point with the philosophy that got us the free software community we cherish today. Eben Moglen in his recent talk at Harvard knows that the fight for free software is a social movement of greater import:

"We stand for free speech. We're the free speech movement of the moment. And that we have to insist upon, all the time, uncompromisingly. My dear friend, Mr. Stallman, has caused a certain amount of resistance in life by going around saying, "It's free software, it's not open source". He has a reason. This is the reason. We need to keep reminding people that what's at stake here is free speech. We need to keep reminding people that what we're doing is trying to keep the freedom of ideas in the 21st century, in a world where there are guys with little paste-it labels with price tags on it who would stick it on every idea on earth if it would make value for the shareholders. And what we have to do is to continue to reinforce the recognition that free speech in a technological society means technological free speech. I think we can do that. I think that's a deliverable message."

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Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: muswell100 on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 04:05 AM EDT
Like a good novel or play, the issues concerning Open Source vs Proprietary
Software highlight and explore a number of very important concepts; Free Speech,
Market Forces, Social Conscience, Economics and Politics to name just a few.
Ultimately, FOSS wins out on all fronts - and not because it offers a cheap or
'free' alternative to the status quo.

No one living in the Western World (or at least Western Europe, as in my own
case) would argue that there is anything wrong with being able to make a living
from ones own labour. Like everything else in life, however, there has to be
some degree of moderation in how much emphasis is put on the value of ideas -
meaning 'intellectual property'-against the value of ones conscience. I doubt
anyone would resent Microsoft making money from its work, but the almost
Orwellian way it goes about stifling competition and reaping such obscene
amounts of cash in doing so has to be indicative of things having moved well
beyond the pale. And the current situation with the levels of spam and viruses
now making its way across the Internet are an obvious symptom of this situation.
Its the MS monopoly that has caused this, party through lax attention to
security, sure, but mostly because of the lack of variety/competition. It would
be interesting to find a virus that operated across multiple platforms. Anyone
know of any?

Here in the UK, there is no tax on books. This is due to the underlying
principle that no tax should exist on knowledge. Likewise, FOSS represents - to
me, anyway - the same idea. It exists as a freely obtainable resource, for the
benefit and greater good of all. To put a tax on it, whether via SCOs lamentable
'Scosource Toll' or through any other form of restrictive licensing, is in the
same way a denial of Free Speech and the right of access to knowledge.

Of course there is room in the world for both closed and open source software to
co-exist. The issue is not whether one is 'better' or 'cheaper' or 'safter' or
'more stable'; it's all a matter of giving people choices.

Why Do Folks Do What They Do? They do what they want when they have choices -
otherwise they only end up Doing What Others Want Them To Do.

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Fireworks on long island
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 08:36 AM EDT
I also recall that Gotti used to pay for the fireworks on
Long Island every fourth of July, and offer a free picnic
for the neighborhood. I would not attend Gotti's picnics,
and I don't want to use a criminals projects either.

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Nature of intellectual property
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 08:48 AM EDT
Since this seems to be the day of slightly off-topic rants :-) I think I can add one observation to the debate on "intellectual property" and how extensive its reach is or should be.

Basically, "intellectual property" in its various different forms (yes I have read this board long enough to know it is an ill-defined term, but for the following high-level discussion it is convenient) is just a convention, an agreement.

Without laws there would not be any of it, as intangible things like songs, books, technical ideas are infinitely shareable. Copyrights and patents are just like artificial fences around land plots. People in the proprietary software camp and the music publishers' organizations like RIAA are arguing the fences should always be high and tight. All gates through them must have toll-booths.

Free software and open source people argue for free flow and use of ideas, on the basis that free exchange without metering benefits all sides. Bernard Shaw is supposed to have written the prefect description of this ideal: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

Although not an exact analogy, this reminds me of how the rights conferred by land ownership differ in various jurisdictions. Isn't it so that in USA, for example, trespassing can be prohibited by the landowner entirely, even if the land in question is a piece of forest? In Nordic countries it does not work that way. Except for courtyards, gardens and fields in cultivation, you cannot prohibit people from walking on your land or even picking berries and mushrooms there. This is called the everyman's right and is an ancient tradition. Both jurisdictions have ownership of land, but what it means in details is different.

The free use idea works much better for ideas than for land, because land can be overused. The Nordic everyman's right works mainly because up here the population is rather sparse. But for software the opposite is true: The more users (who can also potentially be developers or at least testers) a piece of free software has, the faster the development.

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OT - News article Quoting Yankee Group.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 10:15 AM EDT

they think Windows
is cheaper than Linux...

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Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: rben13 on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 02:54 PM EDT

I think we are living in a pretty exciting time. A process has already begun that will culminate, I believe, in a new model for how software is developed and used that has room for both FOSS and closed code. I think we may all be surprised at the speed with which it happens, too.

For some time it's been apparent that FOSS is a superior model for developing operating systems. Eventually Linux will surpass every other OS out there and will continue to race ahead as a new generation of programmers from all over the world embrace it and strive to make their own contributions in exchange for recognition from their peers. No commercial effort will every be able to catch up without some kind of government intervention designed to destroy FOSS.

The Operationg System is a great example of a class of software that is used to enable other applications to run. I believe that this class of software provides the most fertile ground for FOSS. If you extend the concept to include all software that is commonly used to process information, you can see how even office productivity software falls into this category.

It makes economic sense for companies to invest in FOSS software that is used in widespread support applications since every improvement in that software will improve the efficiency of the organization. There is a larger benefit to larger organizations just because they have more workers and customers that will be affected by any improvements. Finally we have a model where there is a natural inclination for large corporations like IBM to make contributions that extend well beyond the corporation and it's clients.

I expect to see a great deal of "middleware" type applications become dominated by FOSS. Eventually I expect even game companies start to use common FOSS infrastructures to provide underlying game engines and multiplayer gaming environments so that the companies can focus on providing content needed for a rich gaming experience.

There are areas where FOSS doesn't work was well. It's unlikely that a group of well-meaning software developers can be depended upon to pop up to write control software for each new piece of manufacturing equipment, space probe, or pace maker, although I expect to see significant contributions to those applications in the form of libraries. There will always be a need for custom programming and for commercial applications that explore new domains. In many applications, FOSS will follow a kind of Slow-Follower (as opposed to Fast-Follower or Innovator) model. Once a new domain has been explored by commercial software, FOSS versions will start to appear and if they gain followers, they will quickly catch up to their commercial predecessors.

Even the move by Sun and Microsoft is a step towards this direction, even if they don't understand it themselves. They have realized they have a need to share ideas, intellectual property, in order to better serve their customers needs. They realized that such sharing enriches both companies. Unfortunately they don't realize how much they are missing out on by fighting so hard against FOSS rather than trying to adapt to the changes that are going to sweep over them.

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Why Folks Do What They Do
Authored by: gek on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 03:31 PM EDT
Hi PJ! Don't get me wrong (you won't as my reply is in a place where nobody will read it anyway), but this was the worst article by you I have ever read. You sound like a fanatic. This is war and Microsoft is the enemy. I always thought Groklaw was about facts. This article has nothing to do with facts. Anyway, I know I'm not in a position to complain. I really value Groklaw and read it almost every day to stay posted on the story. Greetings, Daniel

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Re: Why is it up?--Cluless IDIOTS
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 11:30 PM EDT
This answer was written by "karbomite" in Yahoo! SCOX Message Board. IMHO this is an bitter answer with a lot of reality, the kind of thing we have to change using knowlegde, attitude, ethics and work for mankind and for us. Here is the link to the article, an next is the answer. (Please, forgive me is this answer was commented before, just IMHO we have to think om it):

"Re: Why is it up?--Cluless IDIOTS by: korbomite Long-Term Sentiment: Strong Sell 04/02/04 08:28 pm Msg: 119861 of 120971 I'm an American, tired of being abused by a corporate system that sees nothing wrong with Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Adelphia...I'm tired of hearing how Martha Stewart is "innocent of Insider trading" when that wasn't what she was found guilty of. I'm tired of our court systems sentencing young men and women to multi-decade prison terms for drugs and minor desparation crimes, while fat cats, CEOs and CFOs who have raped investors for TRILLIONS walk away. I'm tired of being the laughingstock of the world, afraid for my family's safety because the American people are too stupid and greedy to realize that we are indeed part of the problem, now and no longer the solution. I'm tired of hearing that the Iraq War of aggression was "justified", when the truth is that it was no more justified than Germany's invasion of Poland and Checkoslovakia in 1939, and was actually perpetrated on the world for many of the same reasons the Nazis had. I am tired of Darl and his girlfriend Billy Gates and their mindless little toadies in Redmond, Palo Alto, Lindon, LA and Washington D.C. assert that they have a "right" to profit, at my expense, that is guaranteed by the Constitution that I spent 22 years "preserving and defending." I'm tired of being led by draft dodgers, coke dealers, idiots and thieves. I'm most of all tired of being told, after I spent 22 years VERY actively defending your rights, mostly in other countries, at the behest of the leaders you elected, that I don't any longer have a "right to speak" because you see the truth I see in the wider, non-US, non-media, non-partisan REAL world as disturbing and therefore want to shut me up. Go ahead. That is your right. One that I defended, gladly. The question was: why did the price go up today, given the bad news in IBD? and the questioner wanted a simple answer. The simple answer is that SCOX is a criminal enterprise with a more than 3 year history of playing on the greed and stupidity and general clulessness and laziness of the typical American investor to profit from that greed, laziness, cluelessness and stupidity. Microsoft has made an empire taking advantage of the same traits in clueless computer users and businessmen. If you fell threatened or feel that I am targetting you, because you use Windows or have traded recently in this stock fraud and criminal enterprise, and therefore think that I am calling you clueless, fat, lazy, stupid, ignorant, greedy or uneducated, I am sorry. If you wish to defame my spelling skills or my grammar, feel free. Just do it constructively with examples. Thank you. ...and to all those who have a glimmering of the truth, understand that the stupid and ignorant often win and drag the rest of us down to their level. It is why Microsoft is so successful. Be vigilant and fight the power. Want to be REALLY depressed. They declared a mistrial for the Tyco thieves today. k "


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A Bigger Picture
Authored by: danelray on Friday, April 16 2004 @ 01:19 PM EDT
The official Chinese report is at People's Daily.
In a bigger picture, the control and dissemination of "public standards" by mocking corporations through INCITS threatens the entire concept of "public standards".
We can get cheaper disseminators at techstreet and at ansi.
The format is PDF and generally English-only.
The license locks the copy to a particular computer.
The license allows printing exactly one copy.
The license does not allow conversion to other formats for study or translation.
Accurate non-profit re-distribution is forbidden. In essence, these are standards for exclusive control of trade.
Their explanation is at Copyright Guidelines.
The key quote is
When standards are copied illegally, either on paper or electronically, everyone suffers. Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) spends hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on the development of industry standards that dictate the safety, quality, and efficiency of technical products and services. Their work advances the state of the industry and furthers the harmonization of global standards, allowing users and manufacturers to market their products and services around the world, and allowing you to do your job more efficiently and effectively. SDOs depend on the sale of standards to fund standards development and the improvement of distribution and access. Please comply with copyright laws and ensure that standards development continues without the threat of diminished funding. With your complete and consistent compliance of copyright laws, standards publishers will be more likely to make their information available online in electronic format. Of course, that benefits YOU! So please spread the word and educate other users on the rules of copyright.

My key complaint is that the corporate sponsors receive exclusive control of the standards and that in exchange for that control they should bear the burden of all costs. To limit the burden of those costs, accurate and free dissemination should be encouraged rather than forbidden. Utility to study and analyze the standards also should be encouraged rather than forbidden.
The desire to stifle superior variants to the SDO standards seems more at issue than the money.
Standards Organizations Express Concern About Royalty Fees for ISO Codes.
New ISO fees on the horizon?
Letter from Tim Berners-Lee to Dr. Oliver Smoot
How ANSI Coordinates United States and International Standards Activities (pdf)
Mr. Keith Moyes of the British Standards Institute conducted a question and answer session that explored the various constituencies that argue standards should be free, why they believe this is necessary, and what the standards community could do to respond to these desires – and what the resulting threats might be. This discussion has big and important ramifications, as there are many who are of the opinion that standards should be free, including committee members and their employees, academics and students, governments and regulators, and indeed those who surf the net. The arguments that one commonly hears from the first group are the following, said Keith Moyes : “ We give you our time free ”, “ we assign our IPR to you free ”, “ we only benefit if the standards are used” and “ charging for standards discourages use ”. Academics claim : “ Knowledge grows by being shared,” and government and regulators say : “ Standards should be a public good, like the laws and regulations that they support.” As to the web surfers, they normally claim : “ Everything on the web is free except standards and pornography.” Mr. Moyes then provided the counterarguments to each set of arguments.
“Standards,” he said, in reply to the committee members, “ will be used because they are useful, not because they are free.” Furthermore,” the infrastructure you are using is expensive and needs to be paid for.” As to academics, it is important that they realize “ Standardization is all about sharing and developing knowledge, and everyone can comment and have their comments considered. This is possible because people pay for the standards, not for the participation.” To Governments and regulators, the answer has to be : “ Standards are in the public interest but are not a public good. Nor, he said, should people forget that laws and regulations are not free – they are paid for by the taxpayer. Standards, being voluntary, are only paid for if you want to use them. “Referencing standards in regulations saves you and your taxpayers money.” While listing the threats to the standardization process, and highlighting the improvements that could make it more efficient and acceptable to all, Keith Moyes summarized his view of the standardization business model by paraphrasing Winston Churchill : “ The standardization business model is the worst one in the world… except for all the others ! ”

The ISO picture of the new world order just does not work out.
In the new world order, the cost of an SDO is microscopic.
The potential for inordinate power and profitability of the SDO's themselves creates anti-trust situations.
We NEED a competitive SDO environment.
That is what the ISO and others fear most!
Entry to the SDO marketplace can be done by a small group anywhere in the world.
The WTO and national governments should be free to shop SDO's for any standard they want.
The perversion of SDO standards into closed proprietary intellectual property from open public intellectual property is the goal of the power-grab.
It is designed to restrict control of world standards to a small group of companies that force English as a universal language.
In actuality, "the standard" should be what is chosen.
The chooser should be the WTO or a nation or others.
The SDO's should present candidates for standards.
The chooser should be able to meld those candidates into a composite standard.
That a single SDO might have exclusive control of standards is an anti-trust situation.
We must get accustomed to a fluidity in "ownership" of standards in order to progress.
We should be more concerned about the "management" of standards in order to maximize utility.
Emphasizing ownership minimizes utility.
Emphasizing management maximizes utility.
The ISO displays an absence of managerial skill.
That weakness is intolerable for world progress.


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