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Only 11% of OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study
Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 06:38 PM EDT

I changed the title, because the headline at eWeek is misleading, I think: "Study: Developers Do Not Want GPLv3 to Police Patents." I'll bet they do now, after last week's headlines about Microsoft's patent threats.

[ Update: Many are reminding me that the bias in the study is clarified by this breakdown on Freshmeat of the number of projects that are released under the GPL compared to the BSD license. It's not even the tortoise and the hare. GPL is about 70%, if you combine with LGPL. Alone it's just under 66%. BSD, old and new together, is not even 10%. The GPL is the overwhelming choice by the FOSS community. If you'd like to know why, you can find out in this article by David A. Wheeler.]

What I gleaned from a quick reading of the report is that between Feb. 28, 2007, and April 4, 2007, prior to Microsoft rattling its patent saber, Microsoft funded a study about the GPLv3 patent clause to find out how much FOSS programmers simply adore the idea of Novell-Microsoft patent/interoperability types of deals. It targeted specific programmers, avoiding headliners, so to speak, but they don't tell how they were chosen. If I were Microsoft, I'd look for folks who really don't much like the patent clause in the GPLv3 draft or the GPL either. I don't know if they did that. The study says they were looking for quiet folks who are unrepresented in the noisy debate.

Right. The silent majority gets trotted out again. Didn't SCO have them behind them, the last time they showed up in public?

Then they sent out emails to 354 programmers, some of whom are never going to use the GPL anyway, like the Apache developers, who are great guys but they already have their own license. 332 emails reached their targets. Only 11% of those asked even responded. And of that number, 32 of the 34 said pretty much what Microsoft must have hoped they'd say (at least one response sounds like the guy's on a job interview at Microsoft), that all they care about is license compatibility and they like the BSD-like licenses and often choose them and they don't like an organization like FSF telling them what to do, that they just want to solve problems, blah blah -- "most developers are aligned with the Open Source Initiative's open source definition, which focuses on allowing users to extend open-source creations but avoids mandating that users strictly adhere to the philosophies of upstream developers, the study found." Well, most of your 34 are aligned that way.

What do you know? Microsoft paid people to find what it was looking for and they did? Is that a crazy dovetail or what?

It's only a few zealots that care about patent clauses like the one in GPLv3, they conclude, after talking to these 34 individuals, hand-picked by Microsoft's hired study implementers, despite there being millions of developers in the FOSS world, thousands in the Linux kernel work alone. Why, the study participants are eager to let proprietary companies use and expand on their work in proprietary ways and vice versa. "'So it is natural that most see a value in having commercial software firms exist—and are very happy to leverage the technology from these proprietary efforts,"' he said." What could be better? Oh, except there's that little problem about patents standing in the way of said leveraging, unless you cross Microsoft's palm with silver. Isn't that the way it worked in the Novell deal? Sheesh. How stupid do they think we are? FOSS developers don't charge for their software, so where are they going to get the money to pay royalties, even if they were willing to sell their grandmother to get interoperability with proprietary code?

Here's the kicker, from the eWeek article:

The report concludes that its results suggest the actions of the Free Software Foundation may only be favored by about 10 percent of the broader community. "That leads us to ask, Should a committee be created with a charter to create and revise open-source licenses using a governance model similar to that of the open-source development model?" MacCormack said.

"Is it contrary to the spirit of the open-source community, which relies on the wisdom and view of the masses, to have the governance of licenses controlled by a few individuals whose views run contrary to the objectives of potentially 90 percent of the people affected by their actions, especially when the community members are the very creators and developers of the software under discussion?" he questions.

Like the GPL revision process was done in a cathedral.

Here is my question: how did he get from 11% of a tiny study to 90% of the worldwide FOSS community? Must be higher math. And since when do folks who do studies tell us what we should do with the study's results? A study with an agenda. How could that ever happen?

Joke. I know.

So, I guess that's the plan, Stan, a plan I am guessing preceded the Novell-Microsoft announcement. By the way, Novell told the world too it was supported by a silent majority, now that I think of it, and it was just a few zealots making a lot of noise. They know better now. Even the study participants said they don't like that deal, even if the rest of the study went whizzing past them.

What do you want to bet Microsoft sets up a committee called "Open Something or Other" to create and revise "open source licenses" it really likes, and then tells us it needed to do it because a Harvard professor did a study and found the vast majority of the FOSS community, judging by 34 people, wanted them to? Hey, that'd be great! They're all about openness, Microsoft. Who better to set up such a committee to define it? And then Forbes can write about it, and drop some thoughts about how great HP is believed to think it is and how the FSF is losing members or whatever they can think up to write, and Fortune can print a horrible picture of Richard Stallman waving his arms around and looking like a madman. It'll be fun.

I'll bet even that 11% who did respond wouldn't say the same things this week, after Microsoft's bullying about patents, but then again, one never knows. But since there is absolutely no way I can know who the 11% actually are, we'll just have to guess as to the value of this study and hope the guys woke up last week and smelled some coffee and are now hoping their names don't get leaked on Google or something.

Peter Galli snuck into the article that OpenLogic just did a study on this very subject, and it found half of respondents think that GPLv3 is looking good. So who are you going to believe?

Hey. If you can't trust Microsoft, who *can* you trust?

Seriously, the more Microsoft bashes the GPL and hires others to do it, the clearer it becomes that the only real safety from Microsoft is the GPL. Think about it. They obviously have, and judging from this study, I'd say they think they can't achieve World Domination if that icky GPL is allowed to stand in the way. Because it does.


Only 11% of OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study | 347 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Only 11% of 354 OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 06:56 PM EDT
... (yawn) .... Another study with framed questions, framed recipients of
the questions, and framed answers. Move along, nothing to see or care about
here. goatimus at gee mail dot you know.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: MathFox on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 06:57 PM EDT
if any

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic thread
Authored by: MathFox on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 06:58 PM EDT
Other Open Source and legal issues.

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Only 11% of 354 OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study
Authored by: tknarr on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:12 PM EDT

Oh, you can trust Microsoft. That's not the problem. It's what you can trust them to do that makes people nervous.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:20 PM EDT
Microsoft attacks Linux, so I know that, hey, this Ubuntu thing is pretty cool.
Maybe I should try it? Set up some dual boot, etc. ...

Microsoft attacks ODF, so I know it's a serious competitor and I should look at
keeping my documents in it. I mean, seriously, who *wants* to be stuck on an
upgrade treadmill? Most of my documents use little more than bold, italics,
tables and maybe some bullets and numbering. Why should I need to upgrade every
few years just to be able to read the things other people send me? I *really*
don't need any of the new features. I don't use anything I didn't use ten years
ago or so when I first used Word.

Now Microsoft attacks the GPLv3 after spreading patent FUD. There's also a
story about how the GPLv3 and their crazy Novell deal could combine to provide
people with a defense from their threats. Hmm, which license should I put this
software under? Let's think about that for a minute...

So Microsoft attacking something should be a signal that it's a good idea for
the rest of us (even if it harms Microsoft's business prospects).

[ Reply to This | # ]

My quick analysis
Authored by: MathFox on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:21 PM EDT
First start reading the study itself and not the journalistic spin of the researcher's spin... Take you to the methodology, bottom of page 8:
Given the complexity of licensing implications, we felt the topic was not well suited for a structured / quantitative survey. Instead, we used a semi-structured document to facilitate discussion and conduct exploratory research to identify developers’ opinions on open source and proprietary software licensing issues.
Page 11:
From the responses, we used an inductive approach to synthesize the developers’ responses into key themes. After defining these themes, we looked across responses to identify indicative phrases and responses of a pro or con position on each theme
Our sample size and semi-structured approach were best suited for exploring and unearthing themes and issues. A subsequent study using a quantitative, structured approach would be needed for statistical analyses.
I fully agree with the author of the study: Given a skewed sample of only 34 participants, it is only possible to get a qualitative feeling of the issue; it is not possible to get statistically relevant numbers; especially with free-format interviews that require translation of various grey-scale answers to "positive" or "negative" attitudes.

The summary of findings on pages 11 and 12 is interesting in its boringness... point 3:

Developers want the flexibility to vary the license they use for their own code based on need; they often choose licenses to increase adoption without concern over ensuring the code is never used for commercial gain or proprietary purposes
I wonder how the reseacher could defend his conclusion 6, in the light of his statement on statistical analysis:
The majority of developers do not support any organization imposing their views upon other developers or abridging other developers’ rights. Most developers are more aligned with the Open Source Initiative’s open source definition, which focuses on allowing users to extend open source creations, but avoids mandating users strictly adhere to the philosophies of upstream developers
My summary: this study does not support the eweek story.

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Only 11% Willing to Help MS-Funded Study -- Good Enough for the Party Line
Authored by: webster on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT
This article was a Newspick until seconds ago. The study should be tagged as
[FUD] or another attempt by the Monopoly to sculpt human perceptions.
Fortunately PJ is onto the FUD and has them surrounded. Be thankful that they
are not yet the thought police. Keep them away from the internet.

They are dismayed because the money they paid on that study is being wasted. PJ
makes it a top article exposing their deviance and lies. They think it is their
god-given right to say and do anything to maintain their Monopoly. They will
even destroy OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) because its success would not promote
their Monopoly. "Our toys or no toys. Stay ignorant! There is no way
around our brand."

Their favorite FUDmucker, SCO, is also becoming counter-productive, but what is
worse for them --the continuation of the fiaSCO ---or an abortion? All that
they know is that they keep doing these things and billions roll in. A Monopoly
world is not so bad.

When will the world wake up?


[ Reply to This | # ]

There's a knife in my back!
Authored by: kozmcrae on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT
I heard the guys (Chris and Brian) on the latest Linux Action Show beat up the
GPL3 pretty badly. I stopped listening half way through it got so bad. I'll
never download that show again. I checked out the comments on their forum
afterwards and guess what? All the poster were bashing the GPL3 too. I don't
know what the heck is going on but something smells very fishy.


Coming soon: Signature 2.0

[ Reply to This | # ]

What percentage of FOSS is GPL licensed vs the other licenses?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:40 PM EDT
What percentage of FOSS is GPL licensed vs the other licenses?
It would seem to me that would be a far more accurate indication of what the
Open Source community thinks of the GPL.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well, all those folks that dont like it can use some other license.
Authored by: Tweeker on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:41 PM EDT
Problem solved. Isnt choice wonderful?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Statistics, and [redacted] Statistics
Authored by: MDT on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 07:53 PM EDT
I have a degree in math, and one of the things I had to learn was Statistics.
Including sampling, sample margins, and margins of error based on sample size.

It's been around 10 years since I used any of this, but I still remember that
11% of your sample (with a sample size under 10% of your population) is
statistically meaningless.

I might just as well take a sampling of 35 out of 350 highschool students at a
catholic high-school, and ask them if they are virgins. To cap it off, I'll try
an all-girls catholic high-school.

Then, by taking those answers, I'll conclude that 90% of american
high-schoolers are virgins.

I'll be just as accurate as this study. :)


[ Reply to This | # ]

What I've noticed ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 08:09 PM EDT
What I've noticed about those developing software under GPL, BSD, Apache, or any
other free or open source license is that there is rarely any hesitancy to
express opinions concerning pertinent details of those licenses. While there
can be many disagreements amongst these folk regarding what is right and proper
concerning these licenses and the situations in which they are applied,
discussion belongs primarily within the group or groups formulating the
licenses. I'm sure that input from those affected by licensing terms is valued,
also, but it is absolutely not Microsoft's place to fund such a study, without
regard to whether it's flawed.

The future will reveal whether GPLv3 will be well-received. And this will not
hinge about Microsoft's posturing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well, Doh!
Authored by: Jude on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 08:18 PM EDT
> The study says they were looking for quiet folks who are
> unrepresented in the noisy debate.

In other words, they avoided any well-known FLOSS developers, and perhaps they
avoided FLOSS developers entirely. If this is so, they polled people who don't
really have standing to comment on the issue. Of course they favored more
generous licensing, what user wouldn't?

I'll bet if I took a poll that specifically avoided Microsoft employees and
resellers, I'd get a lot of responses in favor of Microsoft software being sold
for lower prices and under less restrictive license terms. Should Microsoft
feel obliged to consider this when they make business decisions?

[ Reply to This | # ]

11% result rate is worthless
Authored by: devil's advocate on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 08:44 PM EDT
One of the things I remember with a clarity like yesterday from my course in
statistics years ago was that to get unbiased results you pick a RANDOM sample
to start with, and then you ensure that you get a HIGH result rate out of that
sample. Otherwise the results are practically worthless. If you get an 11%
response rate then the only people responding are those who have an axe to
grind. In other words you couldn't get a more biased result if you set out to do
so in the first place. This falls into the same category as magazine online
polls like "Do you think Selina Bloggs should desert her boyfriend?" kind of
questions. When they do opinion polls before an election they choose people at
random from a selection of cities and then they physically go out and interview
them or phone them up. Anything less than well above 50% and you can throw the
results away.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Selective quoting
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 09:26 PM EDT
The e-week article stated:

"Although Microsoft paid for the Keystone staff that carried out the phone
interviews for the study, the Redmond, Wash., software company "had no
control over the questionnaire design or methodology, and certainly no control
over the process of synthesizing themes in the data or the results that were
found," MacCormack said."

Why was this not noted by PJ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What I want to know...
Authored by: Prototrm on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 09:40 PM EDT how many of the 32 who answered in a pro-Microsoft fashion either do not
currently use the GPL and/or are not likely to use it in the future (perhaps due
to a disagreement with another person or persons, or a future project that uses
a non-GPL license).

Let's ignore for the moment that this study is statistical nonsense (and the
amount of fudge in that math is enough to turn anyone into a diabetic -- since
when does the entire FOSS developer community consist of a total of 300-odd
people?), and look at the fact that this so-called "study" is not
composed of an objective cross-section of the targeted community to begin with,
but a potentially biased sample.

Microsoft might as well publish a survey of their top executives to prove that
corporate executives around the world overwhelmingly believe that everyone
should convert from Linux, Unix, and Macintosh to Windows as soon as possible.

Hey, if I were Gates or Balmer, I'd deny the whole thing and claim it was a
stunt by one man to grab publicity. As it is, this is an embarrassment. Hey,
guys, watch out where you throw those chairs. They might bounce back and hit you
in the face if you're not careful!

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the
exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Writing as a Member of the Silent Majority...
Authored by: stevem on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 10:39 PM EDT
As someone who manages and codes three Open Source projects:
1. I find any study trying to tell *me* what I should think and how I should
choose to volunteer my time... Highly Suspect. At best.
2. Such a response and "study" only serves to strengthen my belief
that GPL3 is the way forward for all my projects.
3. The FSF is going out of it's way to ensure that any and all questions I have
regarding GPL3 are answered. Openly. Honestly. And emphatically matter of fact.
"Here's the agenda, and this is why."
That in turn builds trust. Compare that approach with the alternate(s). Give me
ethics over sensation any day.

GPL3 can't arrive fast enough IMHO.

- SteveM

[ Reply to This | # ]

You aren't forced to use a particular license
Authored by: kawabago on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 11:37 PM EDT
No one is forced to use any particular open source license, everyone chooses the
license that best suits their needs or writes their own. Since a license is a
granting of rights to someone, it is the granters privilege to choose the
wording and conditions in their license. No committee by Microsoft or anyone
else can possibly stipulate the conditions that someone else will license their
copyrighted works under. If Microsoft actually paid these idiots real money to
come to the absolutely ridiculus conclusion that copyright should be replaced by
committee, no wonder their first product was the blue screen of death.

[ Reply to This | # ]

April 1912 - RMS Titanic strikes iceberg, sinks. May 2007 - M$ TitanicVoucher strikes GPL3,sinks
Authored by: SirHumphrey on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 11:39 PM EDT
Insufficent Microsoft LIFEboats on the poop deck. Extra room was needed to keep
spare deck CHAIRS on standby

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well you know ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 11:50 PM EDT
There are an awful lot of us out here who really do like open source sans the political agenda.

(Dons flame-retardant jacket)


[ Reply to This | # ]

Divide & Conquer
Authored by: sproggit on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 12:45 AM EDT
We have a pattern here, and in that pattern, so aspects of Microsoft's strategy
towards Open Source in general can be seen.

That strategy, loosely defined, is to divide and conquer. Microsoft know that at
the moment the FOSS community is too big, to powerful and too influential to be
suppressed. The only way that MS can hope to "prevail" or
"beat" FOSS is to break it down into smaller chunks and to try and get
those factions to fight amongst themselves.

So in part the deal with Novell [and from what I have read Novell went to MS
looking for interoperability and MS loaded the deal with all this patent
nonsense] was designed to turn Novell into a Pariah in the FOSS world. Hey.
Funny old thing, it darn near worked.

Now we come to the GPLv3. Microsoft have looked at it and decided that it's
worth attacking for 2 reasons: firstly, it's designed to ensure the continued
survival and growth of the FOSS world and therefore is a direct threat to their
business; and secondly because both the v3 version and RMS have become a
contentious topic in our community.

It's the same approach. Divide and conquer. Where there was harmony, sow
discord. Water with FUD, feed with half-truth and stand well back.

IMHO we're largely taking the right approach here in that we have comments
carefully de-bunking the findings of the specific survey. It was very helpful to
have some with the appropriate statistical analysis experience show how the
approach in the survey was so flawed. *This* is the kind of response that
reasoning and non-partisan readers can understand and appreciate.

We've all seen Microsoft become increasingly desperate. But, "We have seen
the enemy, and he is us" is frighteningly valid here.

Let's stick to the facts and the high ground.

Let's debunk the theories carefully.

PJ has established Groklaw as a source of careful and reasoned and insightful
analysis. At the end of the day that is more powerful than any amount of FUD
that anyone can throw at us.

[ Reply to This | # ]

34 people vs thousands of apps?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 01:55 AM EDT

e-week hasn't done its reputation any good by publishing pages of conclusions based on responses from ... just 34 people.

Most of the 34, who are drawn from a suspect sample anyway, say they wouldn't use the GPL. So e-week concludes that most programmers wouldn't use the GPL.

They don't comment on the fact that the GPL is by far the most popular license among people who actually develop free software. Among the thousands of programs that are in a typical distro, more are under the GPL than under any other license.

That has a lot more significance than 34 responses to a Microsoft survey.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fun with statistics or how to get from 11% to 90%
Authored by: Anonymous Coward on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 02:47 AM EDT
1) The 11% (or 34 out of 354 really being 9.6%) does not exist.
Reason we do not know how the other 89% (or 320 out of 354) would respond. For this reason they do not exist when calculating results for this poll.

2) 32 out of 34 respondents gave a positive (for MS that is) answer. This is 94% of the respondents.

3) Throw in an error margin. Estimate maximum possible error marging.
n = sample size in this case 34
at 90% confidence this is 0.82 * SQRT(n), 4.8%
at 95% confidence this is 0.98 * SQRT(n), 5.7%
at 99% confidence this is 1.29 * SQRT(n), 7.5%
And presto at a 90% confidence interval the maximum error removed from the 94% gives roughly 90%.

But This only works for a random sample and they did not get a random sample when they say they hand picked who to send the poll to. Just doing that is the worst kind of pollution you can get on a subject like this. No matter how you twist and turn those results there will be an inherent bias in them, due to the way the respondents were chosen, that cannot be removed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Speaking as a FOSS developer
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 03:13 AM EDT
I typically release my FOSS code using a ZLib/LibPNG license (which is very much
like BSD license) and public domain. But for those pieces of code I release
using GPL2, I like the patent clauses of GPL3. The main problem with the study
is that they asked people who have already chosen to not use GPL.

There's also the issue that the GPL is pretty much useless for certain types of
code (libraries, standards, reference implementations). That's why FSF invented
LGPL which still isn't liberal enough for most of those pieces of code, which is
why they are typically released with BSD-like licenses. If you ask developers
working on such projects, obviously they are going to vote "No" on
GPL, but not just because of the patents clause.

If you asked a more straightforward question like "Do you think it's fair
for somebody using your code to sue you for making it?", answers would be

[ Reply to This | # ]

Only 11% of OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 03:57 AM EDT
Didn't SCO have them behind them, the last time they showed up in public?
Yeah, carrying pitchforks, tar and feathers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Source is NOT a democracy
Authored by: Wol on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 04:28 AM EDT
It's a meritocratic tyranny.

A lot of people may not like RMS, but a lot of people trust him. You can follow
him (many do), you can ignore him (many do), but if you fight him you will get
trampled by his followers - he LEADS quite a big army - and generals don't bow
to democratic argument!

The same is true of Linus. And Larry Wall. And Han-Wen. And so on and so on.
Most projects have a tyrant at the head (in the old, "elected
dictator" sense of the word).

Oh - and the GPL v3 consultation wasn't democratic in the slightest. RMS took on
board any criticisms of weakness, that strengthened his ability to achieve his
aims. But try to change his aim, and you were summarily ignored. Nearly all
successful projects are like that, even if (like linux) your aim is merely
"technical excellence".


[ Reply to This | # ]

Hey, wait a minute!
Authored by: Ian Al on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 04:38 AM EDT
What does this mean?
which focuses on allowing users to extend open source creations, but avoids mandating users strictly adhere to the philosophies of upstream developers
Could that mean that they want to use the work of the original developers without keeping the open software, open? That sounds more like a proprietary software writer's requirement rather than an open source software writer's aspiration. Aren't these supposed to be open source programmers? Who sponsored this survey?

Oh! Fair enough.

Ian Al

[ Reply to This | # ]

Study author: Alan MacCormack
Authored by: MindShaper on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 04:53 AM EDT
According to Harvard, he's an "associate professor" "currently teaching the first year required curriculum course, Technology and Operations Management." This doesn't seem like the kind of researcher that normally does statistical studies of an industry.
A quick scan of his publication titles suggests that he's normally concerned with software development process and practices, not legal issues.
"Professor MacCormack's research takes the view that many of these failures can be attributed to the design of the new product development process within these firms, and specifically, a process which can deal effectively with radical change. ... At a broader level, MacCormack's research begins to explore the elements of a contingent view of product development process design..."

Article says the study is "in collaboration with Keystone Strategy". I did an eyeball scan of ALL 849 Google hits on "Keystone Strategy". I counted over 100 of the 849 hits on or and then stopped counting. To all outward appearances, Keystone Strategy is a shill for MS. Nearly all hits seemed to be either a "news article" (press release) or on a MS website. And they've been translated into an astounding number of foreign languages as well.

There's a difference between being free and being unnoticed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where are Patents Mentioned
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 05:32 AM EDT the study PDF? I can't find this. Are they mentioned?

Not saying they're definitely not, just that I read the PDF carefully without seeing any mention of patents. But I couldn't get "copy" or "search" to work and so I couldn't use my computer to search; I hate PDFs.

The most interesting thing about this report is that it highlights the difference between "Free" vs "Open Source" programmers. Many of the respondants seem to be paid programmers looking to use "Open Source" code to build mainly propriatary apps, so it's probably not surprising that their motivations would be diferent - giafly

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Hoist with his own petar"
Authored by: Wesley_Parish on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 06:46 AM EDT

Indeed, it kinda looks that way. I comment on Microsoft's patent threatenings, that they can't be taken seriously until they come clean with the details of which specific patents, etc, the Linux kernel et alii, are alleged to infringe.

After all, the F/LOSS communities prize openness as one of their most basic values.

Then, to bind the reason for my skepticism even more tightly to themselves, Microsoft go full out, before I have even had the opportunity to make such a comment, to prove my point.

he said, noting that "we did not target the top, 'household name' individuals who run the projects and get all the press, or the hundreds of contributors who contribute small amounts of code on a regular basis."
Which is good as admitting that they themselves never intended
to give open-source developers, who have been significantly underrepresented in the discussion over GPL 3, "a voice and bring their opinions into the debate,
because, after all, it is the hundreds of contributors of small patches that get the most significant work done - the bug-testing.

And that omission represents such a significant bias in the study, that to publish it without a significant disclaimer as to the bias, could quite conceivably be cause for formal charges of academic fraud to be brought against Harvard University.

finagement: The Vampire's veins and Pacific torturers stretching back through his own season. Well, cutting like a child on one of these states of view, I duck

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So help them out! What do you think on patents & GPL3?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 07:15 AM EDT
PJ permitting, post here if you're for or against & why? (If we could get
head yes, no & maybe reply threads, it might help :).

See if we can get more than 35 people to chip in. Then SCO can say "See
Groklaw & thus PJ must be IBM funded as they're doing a survery that may
negativley affect MS's market position!". Or something. >.>

There should be at least one silent majority who can add there $0.02.

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How to Lie with Statistics
Authored by: DL on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 09:44 AM EDT

By Darrell Huff

Wiki entry here: http://en.wikiped

A good summary of the book is here: udo/LieStat/.

This book will open your eyes. I guarantee that you will never look at a chart the same way again. He describes and illustrates many of the tricks you can play with statistics. Very clearly written, quite humorous, and it's not very long.

PJ, and everyone else, this should be a required read. You will enjoy it.

Chapter 1, "The Sample with the Built-In Bias" is certainly applicable to this study.

One warning: The first edition (orange cover) was written in the 50's and contains examples that will justifiably offend many people. This is the edition I read, so I assume the later editions were rewritten to replace the offensive parts and update some of the other examples. The latest edition was published in 1993 and has a blue and white cover.


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Five crucial things the Linux community doesn’t understand about the average computer user
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 10:45 AM EDT
Five crucial things the Linux community doesn’t understand about the average
computer user

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Only one poll matters: when you vote with your code
Authored by: turing_test on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 11:12 AM EDT
The study cited here is, of course, completely silly Microsoft claptrap.
However, it is true that FLOSS developers' opinons will decide the fate of

The release of GPLv3 will start a popularity contest between it and other
licenses, including earlier versions of the GPL. In this contest, the only
votes that matter are those of the developers or project leaders with the power
to choose a new software license. This sample size will actually be much
smaller than 11%, but it will be a sample that truly matters.

I confess that I was skeptical about GPLv3 until Microsoft's latest patent
saber-rattling. I now see that RMS and Eben Moglen were prescient about the

This study shows that Microsoft, in its inimitable manner, is trying to prevent
wide adoption of GPLv3 by developers. Unfortunately for them, Microsoft is
simultaneously trying to induce patent-related FUD regarding those developers'
projects. It seems to me that the developers will laugh at the silly PR
directed at them, but will not be at all amused by patent threats.

All things considered, I think Microsoft is successfully promoting GPLv3, while
trying to do the exact opposite.

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Harvard's Reputation
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 11:32 AM EDT
My daughter was looking at going to Harvard. We were told, in so many words,
that Harvard is worth the approx. $46,000 a year because of the superior
education that she would get there.

I wonder if Harvard knows that it's reputation is being damaged by publication
of this type of "statistics" by one of it's professors? I wonder where
I would send an email/letter to ask if this is the type of statistics that
Harvard professors teach their students and if it is, how do they justify the
cost of Harvard?

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Is this a justifiable statement?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 12:01 PM EDT
"What do you know? Microsoft PAID people to find what it was looking for
and they did? Is that a crazy dovetail or what?"

I don't see any justification for the saying Microsoft PAID the people in this
"study". Is this correct? if not we should not have misleading
information if we want to be on the moral high ground.

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Must be slow news day
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 12:32 PM EDT
both for enews and groklaw.

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Vista adoption?
Authored by: GLJason on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 01:09 PM EDT

Microsoft should do a study about people who want to move to Vista. Vista adoption has been poor, most people don't see a reason when XP does everything they need and Vista actually runs games 20% slower. People get annoyed with all the confirmation dialogs that come up for everything they do. There was enough pressure from people that didn't want to upgrade that Dell is still offering XP on it's computers.

The kicker? For the study to be similar to this one, Microsoft should poll Linux users...

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Much of what they discovered is valid.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 01:33 PM EDT
The 3 groups, and their views aren't too far off. I've found most developer
do fall into those groups. A fair majority of the 1st 2 groups. Really don't
care deeply about who uses their code*, how, and why. Of course the study takes
their attitude as anti-GPL. Sure if you ask "should the FSF should dictate
your license?" their response is no.

You've got to realize that most projects the FSF crowd is a minority. Most
developers are there to scratch an itch, pay, or the like. They may find RMS,
and the FSF crowd annoying, but they are anti-FSF by any means.

*More than one developer has said to me puzzled. "Why would I be upset
that someone uses my code in a propriety product?" That said most prefer
to get credit, and code back even if they are BSD types...

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Different communities
Authored by: Tyro on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 01:47 PM EDT
Apache license people aren't GPL people. They have different priorities, which
is why they chose a different license. The comments made don't really
misrepresent the Apache community. (Certain members of the community may have
VERY different opinions, but Apache, in general, is more BSDish..."The
point is to get the code used!")

FWIW, Apache is successful. And GPL is successful. And BSD is successful.
It's my perception that GPL is more successful than the other two, but I don't
insist on it. What I insist on is that they are separate communities, each with
their own priorities. And that GPL3 is addressed to the GPL community, not to
the Apache community or the BSD community. I've heard comments about GPLv2 as
disparaging as anything in the report from members of the BSD community, with
some reason as GPL can incorporate BSD code, but not vice-versa. OTOH, this is
explicitly permitted by their license. (I'm not sure what the current status is
between GPL3 and Apache license WRT code compatibility. I doubt that many
others are either.)

All that said, no study with only 34 responses can be taken seriously, even if
the ALL say the same thing. If the question was "Do you want to keep
breathing?" I would only accept a 100% "Yes" answer because I
have exogenous reasons to accept it, and I wouldn't be surprised at a 100%
"No" answer. (Some people are incureable smart-alecs.)

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10% is perfectly reasonable response
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 06:27 PM EDT
While the study is flawed, PJ's headline is misleading.

I am a professional marketing researcher. I design, field, and interpret survey
data for a living. There is nothing unusual about a response rate of 10% or so.
The reality is that most people don't want to bother answering surveys. With a
really highly motivated audience, you *might* get 30-40%, tops, but that is
really unusual. 10% is pretty typical.

The amount of people surveyed is too small to be meaningful. Normally you
know full well that you will only get 10% response, so you send out a few
thousand (at least) surveys in the hopes that you will get a few hundred back.

--A Researcher

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There are other reasons to prefer non-GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 23 2007 @ 07:41 PM EDT
For the one package that we open sourced at my company, management preferred
BSD's explicit disclaimer of warranty to the GPL's. The choice had nothing to do
with "philosophy" or "objectives", let alone patents.

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My right to decide what to do with my code is above any license
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 24 2007 @ 04:12 AM EDT
As a developer I want to have and enjoy the freedom to decide what happens with
my code. That means I, and no one else, picks the license.

Joining an existing project is an indirect way of selecting a license. I have
the freedom to refuse joining a project if I can't stand their license. Their
existing code base might be very tempting and interesting, but freedom comes
with responsibility. The price to pay for my freedom to pick a license is that I
have to respect other people's license selection, too. I don't have to like the
selection, but I have to adhere to it.

The later is something corporate people and FOSS license violators don't get.
"but I want it" is their credo. "What, I can't have it under MY
conditions? You have to give it to me! YOU HAVE TO!".

No, won't happen. My freedom to chose a license trumps their desire to make
money from my work or their agenda every day.

I do give away code under a BSD-like license - if I think it makes sense. I do
protect code with the GPLv2 - if I think it is needed. I do give code to - because I like to say thank you for their code. I program for money
and my customer selects the license - if I can't live with their selection
(never happened) I would have to reject the job.

I respect, but don't like RMS. The man has an agenda and is upfront about it. I
can relate to most of the agenda, but not all. But he is straight, predictable
and honest in what he is doing. As opposite to corporate drones. His idea is
bigger than him and he lives his idea. I would help to defend his idea, although
I don't like all details. But he is not going to dictate what I have to do. I
decide, not he.

It is just like with political parties. One selects the one which has the most
in common with one's own ideas, and accepts the discrepancies to some extend.

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Only 11% of OS Targeted Programmers Willing to Help MS-Funded Study
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 25 2007 @ 11:38 AM EDT
Most all programmers I have ever worked with (me included) couldn't give a damn
about GPL at all, let alone have any interest in Microsoft and Novell sitting in
a tree k.i.s.s.i.n.g. Business is business and in the real paid world most code
is proprietry and will not have anything GPL within 100 miles of it,
organisations like Boost service this real need very well, GPL doesn't as it
just plain doesn't apply beyond being able to use gcc if on a unix like system.
Don't get me wrong, I aint a Microsoft lover or hater , linux the same, i've
used a lot and they all have there ups and downs, just for a lot of paid
programmers proprietry code is a simple fact of life and GPL'd code is utterlly
and totally worthless to them

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