|| ||"Eric S. Raymond" <email@example.com>|
|| ||"Proposed" Software monopoly?|
|| ||Tue, 30 Sep 2003 19:45:28 -0400|
Citizens Against Government Waste should be ashamed of itself. As a
liberty-loving foe of intrusive government, I'm normally sympathetic to
their crusade against bureaucracy and over-regulation. But today,
CAGW made the strongest argument I've ever seen for writing them off
as mere shills for corporate greed.
CAGW's press release attacking the Massachusetts Freeware
Initiative reads like it was dictated by Microsoft's PR department --
complete with a fraudalent assertion that open source is more
expensive, and even an attempt to associate open source with the
hideous evils of the Soviet Union and socialism.
CAGW affects to be horrified by what it calls a "Proposed Software
Monopoly". Which raises this question: where has CAGW been all these
years while Massachusetts taxpayers were being gouged by an *actual*
Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn is doing his job, ensuring that the
government and the people of Massachusetts will no longer be
locked into closed formats and closed software and unhealthy
dependence on a monopolist. Open government demands open source.
 Press release at PRNewsWire
<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>
This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were
no religion in it. -- John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
Comments (none posted)
|| ||firstname.lastname@example.org (Ketil Z. Malde)|
|| ||Darl McBride hits the nail on the head|
|| ||25 Sep 2003 12:37:59 +0200|
(Not tired of the SCO case yet? :-)
Darl McBride, interviewed by Computerworld
Clearly, the free model just about killed our company, and I would
argue that it's going to kill a lot of other software companies if
the GPL [General Public License] is able to gain a foothold and run
rampant throughout the industry.
Among all his wild and ludicrous statements, I think this is right on
the mark, addressing the core of the problem. One reason Microsoft is
so vehemently opposed to open source, is of course that, in spite of
all their ventures into different markets, it is only making real
money by producing shrink-wrapped software: Windows and Office. Open
source is threatening that business model.¹
This is, of course a real problem, in particular if you work at, own
stock in, or have your political campaigns funded by a software(-only)
However, that business models are obsoleted over time is a fact of
capitalism and free markets. Railroads made a lot of other
transportation obsolete, but helped to instigate the industrial
revolution. Ever wonder how the world would look like if the horse-
and oxcart interests, unable to compete in a changed marketplace, had
managed to sue the steam engine out of existence?
But looking only at the downside is, I think, rather naive and
unproductive. With open source, a lot of power and freedom is turned
over to users, system integrators and consultants: for instance the
power to adapt anything to your specific needs, the power to repair
any perceived problem, and the freedom to be independent on any
particular manufacturer or contractor. From an economic perspective,
commercial software -- like any other "intellectual property"
introduces monopolization, the exploitation of which is generally
negative. Open source is the key to setting the economy free from
burden of these monopolies.
In a sense, the fact that SCO is suing IBM is very telling; SCO is a
software company, that, in McBride's own words, is being killed by
open source; IBM is in addition a hardware manufacturer, system
integrator and service provider that thinks open source is so
beneficial that it invests heavily in both developing and marketing
it, even if it is at the expense of IBMs own software offerings.
SCO was unable to give its products an edge over competing open source
offerings -- something that could have kept it, along with companies
like Microsoft and Oracle, alive and perhaps profitable. SCO was
obsolete, technically insignificant. It's only function now is as a
legal obstacle to technical and economical progress. Good riddance!
¹) Ditto for Sun, who to a large extent depend on the qualities of
Solaris and control over Java to dominate the commercial Unix niche,
large scale adoption of Linux along with open source J2EE
implementations may relegate them to being yet another hardware
If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants
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