June 2, 2006 7:43 AM PDT

Open-source politics are 'American as apple pie'

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--The politics of open source are not anti-business or anything to be ashamed of, but a return to America's inventive roots after a period dominated by innovation-stifling monopolies.

That was the claim made by Eben Moglen, professor of law at Columbia Law School, speaking at Red Hat's annual user summit here Thursday.

Moglen, who is also the founding director of The Software Freedom Law Center, was largely preaching to the converted when he made the remarks at the open-source company's second annual user conference.

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Far from being communist or anti-business, as some proprietary companies have claimed, the politics of open source go to the roots of what made America great--the ability for individuals to capitalize on their own innovations, Moglen said.

"The actual politics are very American--they are not scary, but as natural as apple pie. The free software solution is a return to the traditional result of personal ingenuity. It's freedom to invent, not reinvent--not invent over again something someone else had invented and locked up, but invent in the way that inventing was done in the great spurt of 19th-century inventiveness."

In 2005, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates argued that people who wanted to reform the laws around intellectual property rights were "communists." This sparked a lively debate, including a rebuttal from free-software advocate Richard Stallman.

A premium on innovation
Moglen, who has a Ph.D. from Yale University and has worked as a designer of advanced programming languages at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, said there has been a general reluctance to discuss the political ideas at the roots of open source.

"There was a feeling that if the politics of open source were talked about then it would be scary and business would flee," he said. "People spent good money creating that idea. If you're a Microsoft licensee then it was your money that they spent. The revolution was about protecting users' rights. It never said it was against anyone's business."

Several other speakers took part in the conference, including Alfred Spector, chief technology officer of IBM, but Moglen's was the only speech to win applause midway through and an extended ovation at its conclusion.

"We are having an immense spurt of invention. We are producing stock value for the society that seems to be coming out of nowhere, but actually it is coming out of the basic American idea of individual invention," he said. "Something was holding back that growth. Monopoly was doing what you would expect it to do, but it has been removed and inventiveness has flourished."

Moglen is currently engaged in developing the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3. The final GPL 3 license is expected to be released by spring 2007. There has already been some discussion around what changes may be included. It is expected to offer improved compatibility with other free software licenses and improved internationalization.

Other possibilities include an anti-DRM (digital rights management) clause, a patent retaliation clause, and a clause to force Web companies to publish the source code of any GPL-licensed software that they are using for commercial services.

Andrew Donoghue of ZDNet UK reported from Nashville, Tenn.

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17 comments

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GPL allows for profit sharing
I agree with everything the GPL stands for as it allows you to sell the product on the open market.
The only thing there is, is that I would have to put the product under a dual license to gain money if someone commercialized it.
So most users just want to give it out freely but if there is money involved then I can make a profit too. I have heard some arguments that the author is loosing money by distribution. But I don't see how overall if there is no overhead involved. If there is still a market outside the free Internet or commercially on the Internet then that's where you would make your money but you would want to duel license it since the GPL doesn't stipulate any percentages. It's mainly focused on ownership and control, not money issues.
Maybe it might be good to put in a profit clause that if someone wants to take a percentage of money profits they can. Like: You can charge for it if you like and can even take a percentage of other's profits.
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Twisted View of American Ingenuity
Consider the liberal source where this doctrine is being espoused--Columbia. These liberals abound in our nation's colleges and universities and with them they bring their own political baggage twisting the minds of our young--and re-writing history.

Our country was founded on the rights to intellectual property (i.e. copyrights, trademarks, patents and business secrets) per the Constitution. For this professor to twist this around and leaving out one VERY important aspsect of creativity or innovation is an utter joke. I hope his students see throught the garbage he is spewing. No doubt they will probably be brain washed.

That's the problem with open source. You can't reliabliy profit from your inventions and hard work. Rather the socialists behind the movement (not talking about joe bloe programmers here) want your efforts and ingenuity for free (and in some cases theft)--as usual.

Open source or "free" = mediocrity
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Or perhaps a twisted understanding
OpenSource is all about copyrights, trademarks, patents and business secrets. What do you think the GPL is? But instead of keeping the inner workings private the OpenSource advocates have made their contributions available to the general public. The GPL works to keep those works public. What others want to do is hijack that right, incorporate OpenSource into a proprietary system, and then tell the contributors that they will be forced by law to pay for the use of the works that they created. Now that's twisted.

There are copyrights, trademarks, patents and business secrets in OpenSource. Do you know what RedHat's next move is? Can you box up Mandrake Linux, call it RedHat and then sell it as a RedHat product? Why not? Because of copyrights, trademarks, patents and business secrets.
Posted by sunergeos (111 comments )
Link Flag
oh good god your serious you poor damaged soul
Good god your serious. Really? You think open source is the new commie threat? Really? The penguin threat is coming, protect your children, save your souls. Boy, you must be pretty pissed about all these jews you got walking around your streets. I bet that's it.. the jewish threat has been laying low since the 30's and now there back with the socialists, communists and open source supporters.

What is this columbia crap? Open Source was first chapioned in the states by full blooded (and far more intelligent than yourself) americans.

There is nothing against profiting from open source. The documentation for open source and GPL even gives viable business models for making money off your work.

To any problem there may be ten or more solutions especially in a programming solution. While all solutions work, one of them is the best solution (best design, cleanest programming code). open source says "here's my best solution, your welcome to build on it if you can" where proprietery says "here's our solution, touch it and we'll see you in court".

Hell, open source is beyond political ideals. It's not based on boarders or who has the most oil to sell to whome. It says, red, green, blue, purple, white american or (dare I say it) non-american; everybody is aloud to contribute.

Didn't ever cross your mind that maybe the open source ethics where actually the better way did it?
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Hmm. The Constitution, Hunh?
We teach them and they do not understand. Look at the constitution. I know there are specific words that are there about patents and copyrights. But, see that fellow Benjamin (as in Franklin) who signed at the bottom? Never patented a thing he invented (lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, the Franklin stove, etc) in his life. He felt it was better to help everyone then help himself.

Now, what was it you were telling us about the constitution and our founding?

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
About the U.S. Constitution
Hmm. The U.S. Constitution. You mean the one signed by Benjamin Franklin? Of course you do! Now, ol' Ben never patented any of his inventions (lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, Franklin stove, etc). He felt it was better to leave them free for all to use for the betterment of man. He said that what he received in return (by similarly minded inventors) was worth more than the money he'd make off his inventions.

The problem isn't a twisted view of American ingenuity. It's a twisted understanding of the most basic principals upon which this country was founded.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
You are the one rewriting history
WJeansonne, You are the one rewriting history. A number of the US founding fathers were very skeptical about intellectual property laws. Yes, they did put a provision for them in the constitution, but they also cut back the copyright priveleges which were granted under British law. A number of the founding fathers spoke against intellectual property laws and saw them as corrupt monopolies granted by the king. The founding fathers probably would have cringed at the term "intellectual property"--remember that it only came into the lexicon in 1967 with the creation of the WIPO.

It is also important to recognize that most of the early industry innovations were copied from Europe and brought to the US--we were famous for stealing technology from other countries during the 1800s. You should also read Lessig's account of early radio and movies in the US. The US has a long history of stealing innovations, as is witnessed by the creation of Hollywood by people who stole the technology from the East Coast and brought it to California.

You have to realize that the intellectual property laws no longer adhere to the spirit of the intellectual property laws of the late 1700s. Not a single copyrighted work has moved into the public domain since WWII, because we keep increasing copyright lengths. Scientists are told by their companies to never read the new patents that are granted, because they are more liable than if they don't know about the patents. Computer science patents are written is such ridiculous legalese that no programmer can understand them--thus defeating the whole purpose of patents--to get the ideas into the public.

The founding fathers were very skeptical about government granted monopolies which is what intellectual property is. I also think that you need to be paying attention to where real innovation is happening in the computer science world today. The best ideas are just as likely to be implemented in open source as they are to be implemented in proprietary code.
Posted by amosbatto (12 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Wjeansonne? Bwaa..ha..ha..U Out in Left Field!
It's get confusing these days with so called liberals to the left and conservatives to the right, but one thing that is not that confusing and has stood for well over 200 yrs. Is the the U.S. Constitution. And no where does it talk about the rights of copyright holders, trademarks, patents or business secrets. It talks about the rights of citizens! No corporations, no business, groups, but the rights of the individual!

Benjamin Franklin the father of invention in the Federation of States (which btw. doesn't exist anymore). When approched by the newly opened US Patent office, did with one of his inventions what scores of Americans have done ever since!

He had drawn up plans for his Franklin Stove and when asked if he'd like to patent that invention, replied "No Sir, most people that could put this stove to good use, can't afford it. And I can't see charging for something that was a gift from God, in the first place. Besides I have more than enough wealth to live the rest of my life in good comfort!" The plans were published to public domain for all to share to this day!

So you see our very own Forefathers were not only the fathers of a great nation, but of Open Source itself! Yes for millions of our fellow citizens the benefits of giving to and promoting invention everyday doesn't require a return on that investment. But they get it in the end and it's because of a lack of greed!

Does that mean they don't benefit? Hell No! But instead of just one it's society as a whole! But that is something someone from your mentality can't fathom. And that everything doesn't revolve around money in this world! That sometimes to Us software writers and artists the greatist benefits are in the "DOING" of something!

There are a very few poor "Open Source" programers and developers that you could call poor! A good living is just a fringe benefit of giving after all!

Even Benjamin Franklin knew that, back in the day! ;)
Posted by eye2fun (32 comments )
Link Flag
Open source - generally a HOAX created by the rich to get free labour
1st, Open source is both good and bad. But it is more bad than it is good, although in rare cases such as Linux it has been very good.
And to be clear I am talking about GNU/BSD open source, since there are many
forms of Open Source.

2nd, Open source rarely creates a success, such as Linux & Apache. That is for each successful software product that it creates, it creates 10,000 of useless junky software, as can be seen by 1000s of products posted on sourceforge.net
which no one ever uses, again with the rarest of exceptions.

3rd, and probably most important: Open Source is tantamount to slave labor.
I mean how would you like to work for free?
How many people do you know work for free in any industry?
Of course we may volunteer our time for free, but that would be for a non-profit good
cause. Not for a commercial effort where someone stands to make Billions of Dollars from the work we have done for free! You have to see through the "looking glass" to see/know what the facts are here. I mean the Big media has told you that Open source means community of software developers working on software products for free because they like doing it. Doh!
What in fact is happening, why they love it, is that they are getting software developers working free and then their buddy VCs step in, take over that software which has been developed for them for free up to that point, and then they make 100's of Millions (Billions) of it as they take it public or sell it.
I mean it is fine for software developers working for free on a product that remains non-commercial,
but if someone is going to make tons of money of that work, then those software developers
should be paid, otherwise such use of work done is tantamount to slave labor, or certainly
at least in violation of US & EU laws which states people should be paid at least minimum
wages.

So for this professor of law at Columbia Law School to say that Open Source is like "apple pie"
just shows how really un-informed he is or how he was paid by RedHat to say this.

There are also other reasons why Open Source, that is as practiced by GNU/BSD, can be very bad: they have to do with software developers working for free & anonymously putting copy righted or outright stolen code into the product that they are working on for free. After all, what can you expect from some one working for free!
I mean you certainly cannot expect good & honest work all the time, since they are anonymous, they have signed no employment agreement, etc.

Again there are some rare cases when Open Source has produced good results, such as Linux
and few more. But these are the rarest of exceptions rather than the rule. And even in these
cases it is not right for the VCs and Investment Bankers in to have made $100s of Millions of dollars of these products when they were turned into commercial products as in case of RedHat while 100s of software developers in poor countries generally were paid Squat. Although just to be complete in case of RedHad a few of software developers where paid a scrap, a token for their work when RedHat went public.

In closing:
Software code should be made available open to one's customer.
One's customers should be able to read & change the source code openly, that is good.
Customers should not be held hostage to proprietary software.
If someone works on a project they should be a known person and should sign a
work agreement and should be paid for that.

This is the new Open Source model that is needed, not the unfair (people working for free)
and unsafe (people working anonymously) model of GNU/BSD.
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You have no idea what you are talking about
> 1st, Open source is both good and bad. But it
> is more bad than it is good

Having no access at all and being totally dependent upon the vendor to make changes or to trust them that the application has no problems is bad, and having the capacity to know what the application contains, and to potentially make changes if the vendor is non-responsive isn't good. I see. I presume you would like the idea of an automobile with the hood welded shut, that you could only get repairs done by the dealership, that if they choose not to repair your vehicle or won't make changes you want, that you be forbidden by law to have repairs or modifications made. I presume you would find this state of affairs to be "more good than bad."

> although in rare cases such as Linux it has
> been very good. And to be clear I am talking
> about GNU/BSD open source, since there are
> many forms of Open Source.

BSD licensing allows someone to redistribute an application in binary-only format and to make proprietary changes that are not shared. GNU licensing does not permit proprietary unshared changes. The licenses are not the same, and if anything, the BSD license is more appropriate to your argument since it more readily supports proprietary development.

> That is for each successful software product
> that it creates, it creates 10,000 of useless
> junky software, as can be seen by 1000s of
> products posted on sourceforge.net which no
> one ever uses, again with the rarest of
> exceptions.

A large percentage of software is designed for specific purposes. If what you are doing does not encompass those purposes the software is useless to you. Further, just because a piece of software has very few downloads from Sourceforge does not mean it's useless. It may have few downloads because it's included in the standard distributions, meaning people do not need to download it because they already have it. Or it may be an esoteric piece of software which has a limited usefulness. Or, in simple terms, it may be a linux-only package, which, compared to a program that runs on Windows, will have about 1/10th the demand of a Windows application

> 3rd, and probably most important: Open Source
> is tantamount to slave labor.

"Slave labor" implies forced servitude. No one makes anyone work on a particular open-source package. Your argument is inaccurate. People will work on a any package where they are not being paid to do so because it is of interest to them that it have some sort of change in the manner they want. Unless the product has some sort of value to the person making the change, the change is not going to be made.

> I mean how would you like to work for free?
> How many people do you know work for free
> in any industry?

A number of people who have no work experience do unpaid internships for that reason. And there are literally tens of thousands of volunteer firefighters who team up out of self-interest, in order to protect each other's homes (and businesses). But again, people donate the labor because there is something that they want out of the (software) product and if they don't do it, nobody else will.

> Of course we may volunteer our time for free,
> but that would be for a non-profit good cause.

And that is often exactly the case with open-source applications.

> Not for a commercial effort where someone
> stands to make Billions of Dollars from
> the work we have done for free!

The only software packages where *anyone* is making "billions of dollars" on are closed-source applications where the users *cannot* contribute anything to the code base even if they wanted to. Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Oracle, IBM DB2, and other closed-source, inaccessible applications, are making huge amounts of money holding people hostage to closed applications, often with protected formats.

Since open source, by definition, is freely available, often at no cost, there is no way people can be making "billions" off its sale or licensing.

> You have to see through the "looking glass"
> to see/know what the facts are here.

Interesting that you use that metaphor. Open source, by definition, provides transparency and, well, openness. Proprietary software does not.

> What in fact is happening, why they love it,
> is that they are getting software developers
> working free and then their buddy VCs step in,
> take over that software which has been
> developed for them for free up to that point,
> and then they make 100's of Millions (Billions)
> of it as they take it public or sell it.

Name one case where this has happened. If someone can download an open-source package for free or get a copy on CD for a few dollars, exactly how can someone sell this for "100's of millions (Billions)"?

I think you are confusing the taking of a company public, which involves selling stock in that company, versus selling an open-source package. And who exactly would pay huge amounts of money for an application they can get for free?

On the other hand, what someone could be paying is for technical support and service. Now, that is a different matter, where someone is paying for the expertise of a professional to assist them to do something, which seems to go hand-in-hand with what you are saying, e.g. why should someone provide free labor for someone else's enterprise? And they are not doing so. Some company is providing paid professionals to assist someone else to use or operate a software package which they can get the software for free, but pay for professional help to allow them to understand how to use it. Professional help which they can obtain from competing vendors. Or which they could conceivably learn how to do themselves or, if they have enough need, hire someone themselves to do this. But the software itself is not being sold.

If you had abandoned or donated lumber and wanted a shed, either you'd need to expend the labor yourself and hire someone to build it. The labor costs money or requires your time even though the raw materials are free. Doesn't mean you're being gouged because you have to pay someone to put together something with free materials.

> I mean it is fine for software developers
> working for free on a product that remains
> non-commercial, but if someone is going to
> make tons of money of that work, then those
> software developers should be paid, otherwise
> such use of work done is tantamount to slave
> labor, or certainly at least in violation of
> US & EU laws which states people should be
> paid at least minimum wages.

When an open-source product gets big enough to have commercial interest that's exactly what happens. There's a recent article about MySql, which has something like 400 paid employees working on the program, in many countries. They were people who often submitted patches and other contributions before being recruited to work on the product as paid employees. But let's not forget that there is no obligation for anyone to pay anything to MySql A.B. for the software unless they want some of the benefits of the company's support. And if someone wants a change to the software that MySql won't make, they can have it done themselves. An option unavailable with closed-source databases.

> There are also other reasons why Open Source,
> that is as practiced by GNU/BSD, can be very
> bad: they have to do with software developers
> working for free & anonymously putting
> copyrighted or outright stolen code into the
> product that they are working on for free.

Please cite an example of where this was proven to happen. Despite hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence, SCO, despite all its claims and examples, was unable to do this. Nor have I heard this happening in any open-source application. The transparency of changes and public access to change logs makes such scenarios unlikely.

The places where this often is reported to have happened are in closed-source applications where everything is hidden.

The rest of your comments make very little sense because they tend to contradict each other so I'll stop here rather than go on and on.

Paul Robinson <paul@paul-robinson.org>
Posted by rfc1394 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Re: free_people "You Don't Know Jack"! ;)
No good "Open Source" programmer in the world is going hungry! And I see you need a re-defining of the term "Open Source"!

We have proprietary "Closed Source" software, like Microsoft Windows (you or I can't see it, can't change it, can't even attempt to fix it or a problem it creates w/o Microsoft's permission).

Then we have "Open Source" non-proprietary software. Anyone can read it, modify or change it, under certified open conditions and those conditions require a certified signature. The original code must remain in tact and serve as way points in correcting mistakes as it's developed. It always evolves and gets better! You're working front an center exposed to the public and believe me you don't want a mistake or claim of theft being against YOU! So it just plain don't happen!

Not all Proprietary software is of good quality just because it's been written under for-profit hidden closed source coding! Tons of bad programs die every year that were written as closed source and are unable to make even enough money to pay the developers.

"Open Source" is a growing living software program (like Linux)! Closed source is proprietary and always meant to die and be replaced by a so called better program for more money! Thus making much of your hardware extinct along the way. So you have to replace that as well!

Yes it's true that not all "Open Source" software is the greatest either! But the major difference is that like our modern Wiki's (Open Source - meaning anyone can revise, correct or rewrite a piece of software), it can grow and be corrected over time. The bad or stolen parts taken out, of course!

It becomes a living, growing, changing investment in the world at large! So if you or I found a piece of "Open Source" software with a problem, we can fix it if we choose. In this way "Open Source" continues to evolve and benefit us in ways few of us are even aware of!

Back to your puny list of good "Open Source" software! There are software tools you use everyday that are rooted in "Open Source" (including the Internet itself), that you may not even be aware of! The list is HUGE and you use them believe me!

Even Microsoft the Software King, had to disclose that it uses "Open Source" Software recently! When they released Windows 2003 Server (3yrs late), they gave notice that one of the key programs they're using in it, is "Open Source". A huge required piece of software written for Linux, that if they would have had to write it from scratch, would have cost well over half a billion and 5 years to write! So even the Evil Empire benefits from "Open Source"! BTW take a look at their new Command Console in Vista! Very Linux like it seems, some of the same commands even!

Oh it seems "Python" (one of the over 2000 programs available in Linux) is now overshadowing MS Virtual Basic in web creation by a large margin! Reason? Developers tired of forking over $2000 to $3000 every year for the newest and greatest Edition of beautified hash! Still complete with the same old problems the US Government said were responsible for much of the malware damage in the world in 1999! In fact, the two Microsoft coding languages of Active X script and Virtual Basic Script are responsible for well over half the virus and malware infections around the whole web!

Perhaps you surf the Internet? You use a browser I take it? Maybe even Mozilla's Firefox Browser (Open Source) and if you use IE you are also using some open source derived features, that Microsoft has borrowed in spite of calling OpenSource "Communist".

Do you realize that most of the file compression algorythoms and tools are written "Open Source"! 7-Zip format tops the list as the best and fastest. It's an Open Source free program.

How about media compression? More good "Open Source" Programs and formats than you can shake a stick at! The first and still leading "Lossless" codec = FLAC = Open Source! In fact Open Source codecs out number closed, over 2 to 1!

How about "Gaming"? Well if it wasn't for "Open Source" and the 1000's of individuals who have contributed to the "Counter Strike" revolution in online FPS gaming (yes these people worked for free), with their coding hours, we wouldn't a single MMO or MMORPG world to play in online! The other so called "Proprietary" designed games wouldn't have a genre to follow or the millions of fans that have crossed over to their games as well!

"Open Source" is the continuation of the American Revolution in individual freedom of everyone to innovate and create for common good! It is the inventive process itself in continual renewal! It is the very expression of public and open discourse to the benefit of society!

Go read your Wiki! Get informed and find out what BSD stands for! Before using it as one example. The reason you and I are on the net today lies in it's very foundation in the Open Source environment of Universities around the World!

And finally you "Ignorant Ba$ta#d", the reason for "Open Source" being OPEN in the first place is because theft of code (copyrighted or not) is imposible by it's very nature!

What? You imbecile! If you for once think that we "Code Warriors" make no money, you're sadly mistaken. We as does the rest of the world make a good salary or wage working either on "Open Source" or proprietary software! Even Firefox employee's get paid and the company makes a profit, just not an excessive profit like some Microselfish companies.

Finally GNU is an organization of developers established in 1991 as a open aggreement of stardards that fit your model perfectly.

BSD = Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD, sometimes called Berkeley Unix) is the Unix derivative distributed by the University of California, Berkeley, starting in the 1970s. The name is also used collectively for the modern descendants of these distributions.

That's back when they didn't call it Open Source! Before "Al Gore" invented the Internet (LOL), and most all software was "Open Source", except of course AT&T's Unix OS written to run their advanced telephone network in co-operation with major Universities of the day! Thus eventually becoming the Internet! Circa 1960's!
Posted by eye2fun (32 comments )
Link Flag
Re: free_people "You Don't Know Jack"! ;)
No good "Open Source" programmer in the world is going hungry! And I see you need a re-defining of the term "Open Source"!

We have proprietary "Closed Source" software, like Microsoft Windows (you or I can't see it, can't change it, can't even attempt to fix it or a problem it creates w/o Microsoft's permission).

Then we have "Open Source" non-proprietary software. Anyone can read it, modify or change it, under certified open conditions and those conditions require a certified signature. The original code must remain in tact and serve as way points in correcting mistakes as it's developed. It always evolves and gets better! You're working front an center exposed to the public and believe me you don't want a mistake or claim of theft being against YOU! So it just plain don't happen!

Not all Proprietary software is of good quality just because it's been written under for-profit hidden closed source coding! Tons of bad programs die every year that were written as closed source and are unable to make even enough money to pay the developers.

"Open Source" is a growing living software program (like Linux)! Closed source is proprietary and always meant to die and be replaced by a so called better program for more money! Thus making much of your hardware extinct along the way. So you have to replace that as well!

Yes it's true that not all "Open Source" software is the greatest either! But the major difference is that like our modern Wiki's (Open Source - meaning anyone can revise, correct or rewrite a piece of software), it can grow and be corrected over time. The bad or stolen parts taken out, of course!

It becomes a living, growing, changing investment in the world at large! So if you or I found a piece of "Open Source" software with a problem, we can fix it if we choose. In this way "Open Source" continues to evolve and benefit us in ways few of us are even aware of!

Back to your puny list of good "Open Source" software! There are software tools you use everyday that are rooted in "Open Source" (including the Internet itself), that you may not even be aware of! The list is HUGE and you use them believe me!

Even Microsoft the Software King, had to disclose that it uses "Open Source" Software recently! When they released Windows 2003 Server (3yrs late), they gave notice that one of the key programs they're using in it, is "Open Source". A huge required piece of software written for Linux, that if they would have had to write it from scratch, would have cost well over half a billion and 5 years to write! So even the Evil Empire benefits from "Open Source"! BTW take a look at their new Command Console in Vista! Very Linux like it seems, some of the same commands even!

Oh it seems "Python" (one of the over 2000 programs available in Linux) is now overshadowing MS Virtual Basic in web creation by a large margin! Reason? Developers tired of forking over $2000 to $3000 every year for the newest and greatest Edition of beautified hash! Still complete with the same old problems the US Government said were responsible for much of the malware damage in the world in 1999! In fact, the two Microsoft coding languages of Active X script and Virtual Basic Script are responsible for well over half the virus and malware infections around the whole web!

Perhaps you surf the Internet? You use a browser I take it? Maybe even Mozilla's Firefox Browser (Open Source) and if you use IE you are also using some open source derived features, that Microsoft has borrowed in spite of calling OpenSource "Communist".

Do you realize that most of the file compression algorythoms and tools are written "Open Source"! 7-Zip format tops the list as the best and fastest. It's an Open Source free program.

How about media compression? More good "Open Source" Programs and formats than you can shake a stick at! The first and still leading "Lossless" codec = FLAC = Open Source! In fact Open Source codecs out number closed, over 2 to 1!

How about "Gaming"? Well if it wasn't for "Open Source" and the 1000's of individuals who have contributed to the "Counter Strike" revolution in online FPS gaming (yes these people worked for free), with their coding hours, we wouldn't a single MMO or MMORPG world to play in online! The other so called "Proprietary" designed games wouldn't have a genre to follow or the millions of fans that have crossed over to their games as well!

"Open Source" is the continuation of the American Revolution in individual freedom of everyone to innovate and create for common good! It is the inventive process itself in continual renewal! It is the very expression of public and open discourse to the benefit of society!

Go read your Wiki! Get informed and find out what BSD stands for! Before using it as one example. The reason you and I are on the net today lies in it's very foundation in the Open Source environment of Universities around the World!

And finally you "Ignorant Ba$ta#d", the reason for "Open Source" being OPEN in the first place is because theft of code (copyrighted or not) is imposible by it's very nature!

What? You imbecile! If you for once think that we "Code Warriors" make no money, you're sadly mistaken. We as does the rest of the world make a good salary or wage working either on "Open Source" or proprietary software! Even Firefox employee's get paid and the company makes a profit, just not an excessive profit like some Microselfish companies.

Finally GNU is an organization of developers established in 1991 as a open aggreement of stardards that fit your model perfectly.

BSD = Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD, sometimes called Berkeley Unix) is the Unix derivative distributed by the University of California, Berkeley, starting in the 1970s. The name is also used collectively for the modern descendants of these distributions.

That's back when they didn't call it Open Source! Before "Al Gore" invented the Internet (LOL), and most all software was "Open Source", except of course AT&T's Unix OS written to run their advanced telephone network in co-operation with major Universities of the day! Thus eventually becoming the Internet! Circa 1960's!
Posted by eye2fun (32 comments )
Link Flag
Open source is not the issue
The real debate should not be open source vs proprietary software. The real problem is the absolutly broken patent system in regard to software. Before 1986, the system was correct. Software was not patentable because you can't patent mathmatics. On top of that, having been a software developer since the days of punch cards, I shake my head at many of the software patents I see as I just don't see how in the world they ever pass the non-obvious tests for patents.

And then on top of patents of dubious quality, you have firms out there who's sole purpose of existence is to use patents to sue honest companies trying to create a product, but produce NOTHING themselves.

But of course congress gets large amounts of money from big business, who of course like patents alot as a barrier to startups who are nimble enough to eat their lunch. Never mind that the current state of affairs is rapidly making the US non-competitive in the software market.
Posted by User Information Private (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Beg to Differ
Software Patents are nothing other than business processes, which have been patentable for years. Either you are for patents or against them. There is no gray area.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
patents have there place
patents do have there place but not in software. Software is a string of programming code. Again, for a solution, there are dozens of solutions. One solution is the most efficient; the strait line that touches all problem requirnments. The rest accomplish the same goal through slightly less efficent means.

How can you pattent a programming sequence? "oh, I'm sorry, you can't use screenprint("hello, world"), we have a patent on that." that's absalutely absurd. This is on par with companies that patent colours. "I'm sorry, you can use this colour, we've patented that frequency of light waves" Crap, so in photoshop, I can use any colour accept ferarri red. Damn I hope I don't accidentily hit on it when adjusting picture contrast and brightness.

But then, anyone who things a topic is strictly black and white missed some critical thinking skills classes.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
Was Benjamin For or Against?
There's no gray area? Then, was Benjamin Franklin for or against patents? His signature is at the bottom of the U.S. Constitution, upon which the basis of patent law is founded. But he never patented any of his inventions (lightning rod, bifocal spectacles, Franklin stove, etc) because he felt it more important to help people with his inventions than to help himself. There's even a great quote about how he got more from the inventions of others in return because of this. I'm still searching for that, but the substance of my comment is completely true. Benjamin Franklin: Signatory to the U.S. Constitution . . and the original open source advocate! ;-)

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
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