Meaningful vs. meaningless support from businesses
Posted Sep 30, 2010 11:23 UTC (Thu) by FlorianMueller
In reply to: Meaningful vs. meaningless support from businesses
Parent article: Red Hat Responds to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Request for Guidance on Bilski
You are claiming that it is better that public spend more (10 times more, no less) on the same thing
No. The market should result in competitive prices but on the basis of healthy, R&D-centric business models (including healthy, R&D-centric open source models). I took Red Hat's own numbers and assumptions, plus publicly available information on R&D budgets. The 10:1 ratio is their claim. My reasoning was that their case isn't a model for the innovative economy at large and you don't seem to contest that point -- which is the key conclusion it was all about.
There is a reason we get cheap stuff from China these days. They can make the same thing for less.
That's a question of a competitive global market. My angle was which approach to innovation -- parasitic weak-IP vs. R&D-centric strong-IP -- would work for an economy at large. If you let China copy any medications researched in the West, it will be cheaper but at some point there will be no more research. That's what intellectual property rights are for, and China has software patents by the way.
How many are willing to pay 10 times more for essentially the same thing? Not many. And yet, you are saying we should continue doing it, because nobody wants to write open source software (demonstrably false).
The thing you say I said is wrong. I never said that.
On the first part, I've been in this industry for a long time and I can see that open source development has certain unique strengths, but I can't see that full-time programmers on a payroll are 10 times more productive because of open source. So if you want the same quantity of the same quality of programmers, you need more or less the same R&D budget.
Red Hat contribute _all_ of their software back to open source and they wrote quite a bit.
They didn't create their original product. That's different from MySQL and JBoss (yes, I kno Red Hat acquired the latter, but it never acquired Linux).
What would you have them do? Just say "Oh, we won't use PostgreSQL, we didn't write it from scratch. Oh, we won't use Apache, we didn't write it from scratch." Please be serious.
Instead of you telling me to be serious, I have to ask you to stop claiming things I said or implied that I never said or implied. This is already the second such item I have to address in reply to just one posting.
I don't complain about them bundling other software on open source terms. You bring PostgreSQL or Apache, which aren't the issue. I said Red Hat didn't create or acquire the core of its offering: Linux. In all other market segments the leader has either created or acquired the core of his offering. Therefore, no serious politician will dare bet (in terms of intellectual property rights) on the Red Hat model, which so far works in only one market (Linux -- and not even in any other open source segment on any noteworthy scale), to be replicable and to be a model that can replace the traditional R&D-centric strong-IP innovation model.
You obviously have a problem with Red Hat because they are successful. You should really get over it.
In addition to claiming things I said or implied, you now turn this into a speculation on my motivation. Actually it's already the 2nd time you allege envy of Red Hat. That's not a facts-based, issue-focused way to have a discussion.
I've repeatedly made it clear, on my blog and here, that the angle from which I look at it is whether they are an argument for or against software patents with their business model, and responsible politicians can only conclude "for", regrettably.
They didn't get there by stealing other people's stuff, like you are trying to portray. That stuff was there for picking, whether Red Hat wanted that or not.
I'm not trying to "portray" it as stealing. Yet another thing you falsely claim or misguidedly conclude. It's not about a moral dimension, it's all about whether it's an economically sustainable approach to innovation. Even a parasite in a biological sense is just part of nature and can't be condemned morally, but an ecosystem can't live out of just parasites because eventually they all need a host.
My whole point, to state it one last time in this reply, is that politicians look at how innovation must be incentivized and (in terms of IPRs) protected, and Red Hat is a counterproductive "success story" to show to politicians when arguing against software patents. It's almost as bad as if you used the success of manufacturers of generic drugs as an argument against pharmaceutical patents.
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