I don't think many people care if it was Merkey or anyone else. It's just that Merkey gave such an insultingly low offer that it's bizarrely entertaining. He offered $50K; my calculations estimate that it would cost $612 million (US) to redevelop the Linux kernel. Even if he offered $612 million, I doubt the offer would be taken. Even if you managed to contact all copyright holders, I doubt they'd all agree to this. But the offer provided is so low, compared to what's being requested, that nearly everyone is incredulous -- and I believe a lot of people are enjoying laughing at the offerer. If anyone had made the same offer to Microsoft, I suspect there'd be about as much laughter. I'm certain that Microsoft's leaders would have a good laugh if they were given an offer of $50K for the copyright to Windows or Office.
It's the entertainment value of what he said, not who said it. And it's a nice excuse to jump off and think about more interesting topics, like copyright law implications and effort estimations, that don't normally get covered.
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