IBM/TurboHercules can be resolved with license; no need for abolition
Posted Sep 30, 2010 16:56 UTC (Thu) by FlorianMueller
In reply to: IBM/TurboHercules can be resolved with license; no need for abolition
Parent article: Red Hat Responds to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Request for Guidance on Bilski
I was not talking about patents
I'm sorry if you'd have preferred me to dismiss your question as off-topic in this patent context. I tried to interpret it from an on-topic perspective.
Real word for Red Hat business model would be commoditizing. Not destroying, or parasitic.
We must keep those two angles separate. I'm all for commoditization per se; that is a question of market dynamics. The "parasitic" business model relates to a company having built its success on the basis of something it didn't originally create (or acquire its creators).
You can commoditize -- by providing customers with solution meeting their needs but at a greatly reduced price -- without being "parasitic". MySQL started to commoditize the database market, but it developed its product with its own resources. So you can commoditize and be open source, and still don't have to be "parasitic".
So my question was how come you support TurboHercules' attempts to commoditize Mainframe, and at same time you are attacking Red Hat because it comoditizes UNIX and Windows?
In the mainframe market, IBM is a monopolist and abuses that position, so we have a clear case of a market failure. That's why antitrust intervention is needed. If TurboHercules's antitrust complaint succeeds (the fact that it gave rise to a full-blown investigation is obviously great progress), the outcome will be a license deal on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. So we talk about commoditization that fully respects the commercial value of the intellectual property involved. IBM can take those license fees and invest them in further innovation, while customers get the benefit of more choice, which will reduce IBM's monopoly rent.
TH is willing to pay the racket and stop being open source (by OSD) and free (as in freedom).
They'd love to get a license from IBM on terms that are 100% in line with FOSS ideas. The problem is that if they can't get a license on that terms, they'll have to make the best out of what they can get. Antitrust can't force IBM to grant a royalty-free license. All that antitrust can achieve is a requirement to grant a FRAND license. So the problem isn't TurboHercules' support of FOSS -- it all depends on IBM. Contrary to supporting FOSS, IBM so far doesn't even offer a FRAND license. So IBM is right now on the other side of the spectrum.
You say TH is "willing to pay the racket" when all we're talking about is IBM. As far as the proprietary z/OS operating system is concerned, it would be wonderful if IBM open-sourced it, but since it doesn't happen, customers need a way forward. They have legacy code in which they invested (according to IBM's own estimate) $5 trillion (5,000 billion dollars). Being able to run z/OS on non-IBM hardware would be an important step.
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