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Why does anyone care what Merkey thinks?

Why does anyone care what Merkey thinks?

Posted Oct 14, 2004 17:26 UTC (Thu) by dwheeler (guest, #1216)
In reply to: Why does anyone care what Merkey thinks? by BrucePerens
Parent article: Buying the kernel

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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Putting a price on it

Posted Oct 14, 2004 23:37 UTC (Thu) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

He offered $50K; my calculations estimate that it would cost $612 million (US) to redevelop the Linux kernel.
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.

Well, not's not confuse apples with oranges.

First of all, Merkey did not offer to buy the copyright. He offered to buy a copyright license. The crucial difference is that if his offer were accepted, everyone else would continue to have the right to distribute and modify the Linux kernel.

Second, in any pricing, there are two sides -- what it's worth to the buyer and what it's worth to the seller. Microsoft would have to demand a huge sum for a copyright license to Windows because Microsoft would lose a ton of revenue to the competition. What do the Linux copyright holders have to lose? A lot less.

Third, I doubt that redeveloping the Linux kernel is Merkey's second best alternative, so the license is worth nowhere near $612M to him.

It would be really interesting to see someone like Merkey just go ahead and take the code and settle the claims of the copyright holders as they come forth. The damages under law might be pretty reasonable.

Putting a price on it

Posted Oct 18, 2004 17:16 UTC (Mon) by hppnq (guest, #14462) [Link]

What do the Linux copyright holders have to lose? A lot less.

If you think in terms of money only.

absolutely OT

Posted Oct 15, 2004 21:30 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

Your SLOCcount is a wonderfully useful tool. Thank you very much for it.


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