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Bill Gates On the GPL — "We Disagree"

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the doesn't-that-mean-disagreeing-with-copyright dept.

Microsoft 778

Dionysius, God of Wine, writes with a link to an Ars Technica story, quoting Bill Gates: "'There's free software and then there's open source' he suggested, noting that Microsoft gives away its software in developing countries. With open source software, on the other hand, 'there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.' Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,' he claimed, bemoaning the squandered opportunity for jobs and business. (Yes, Linux fans, we're aware of how distorted this definition is.) He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: 'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said, adding with a shrug: 'That may seem radical."

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Not radical to charge, just greedy. (5, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183838)

Nothing wrong with greedy. Just, when you're competing with 'free' you better bring a lot to the table.

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23183880)

Nothing wrong with greedy. Just, when you're competing with 'free' you better bring a lot to the table.
And Tesco charged me for my groceries too, the greedy bastards.

Weird disjoint (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184190)

the GP post never mentioned wanting tesco to give away food.

However, if you have a back garden, you can grow potatoes for ... wait for it ... FREE! So do you think it right that tesco tell you you CAN'T produce food from your own garden and either use it yourself or give it to friends?

Bring a lot to the table (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183990)

You are sooo right.

'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,'

Because if somebody else invents better drugs to give away for free, you're sunk.

Re:Bring a lot to the table (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184178)

Because if somebody else invents better drugs to give away for free, you're sunk.
Nah, you just give out enough free coffee cups and iPods to the doctors that they prescribe your expensive version anyway - after all, it's not them that's paying for it.

Re:Bring a lot to the table (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184472)

Except for the fact that the amount of resources required to conduct research (particularly pharma research) is over the top.

You can't just hire a bunch of folks who spent 10 years going to school and ask them to produce something for "free". Also, that electron microscope or that gene sequencer does not grow on a tree.

Software is a little different, but even then, programmers aren't the same as computer scientists. And while being paid for a service is great, I still do not mind paying for good technology because it pays for someone who loves technology.

I am all for making everything available freely, but I believe that the market should determine if that is feasible. Viva la Laissez-faire!

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (5, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184098)

Wanting to make a profit is not evil. However, lies still are. Saying that nobody can improve (read innovate) in open source is a flat out lie, and he knows it.

Also, if he really cared about making a profit he wouldn't still be clinging to his short sided, quick buck mentalities he started the company with decades ago...

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184206)

[grammar police]

short-sighted

[/grammar police]

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184368)

ok, ok...ya got me :P

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (0, Troll)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184362)

Ok.. so tell me what has OSS innovated? What was new and radical that others have tired to copy?

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184516)

The Internet? UNIX?

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184238)

RMS has at times suggested that all software should be free in price as well, but I think most open-source and GPL advocates don't have a problem with commercial software.

In fact, many major GPL projects have business models.

Re:Not radical to charge, just greedy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184364)

Nothing wrong with greedy. Just, when you're competing with 'free' you better bring a lot to the table.


Real tech support
stability that the people making the "free" won't get bored and move on to something else
stability from knowing that it's not a one-man project
product liability
knowing a problem can be fixed without requiring an armada of high paid consultants

etc, etc, etc.

Seems open source takes a whole lot off the table from the very start.

I would never, ever, ever let my company get shackled into open source. Every company which has done so, has done it to their own detriment, because it revokes all their ability to choose. It also limits their ability to grow, but that's a side issue.

That's the problem with people who have never worked in IT... they can't understand how a person providing a good or service in exchange for money isn't greed. The idea that a company would be happy to pay if it gains them assurances of support should something go wrong is completely foreign to FOSSies.

There's a reason MS and Apple have successfully competed against "free" for as long as Teh Lunix and Teh FOSS have been around.

Dionysius, God of Submissions (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183852)

I think I'll be sticking with Cygnus, God of Balance.

Re:Dionysius, God of Submissions (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183942)

Who is the God of 'pimping your web consultancy firm?' More importantly, who's His high priest, and how much cash do you have to grease his palms with?

Charge for drugs? (5, Interesting)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183856)

Isn't this the same guy who says that when they cure cancer, he'll buy enough of the cure to distribute it to everyone in the world for free?

Re:Charge for drugs? (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183894)

That's ok - as long as rich people with lots of money are the ones who decide what is handed out and what isn't. When the hoi polloi start making those kind of decisions, we have a problem.

Re:Charge for drugs? (2, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184524)

Wow, you successfully managed to make an incredibly charitable remark about curing cancer sound like a bad thing.

Correction (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183902)

I was thinking "AIDS" but I typed "cancer"... no really, I was....

Also I realized it was a false analogy before I typed the post.... ok, fine I didn't...

Re:Charge for drugs? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183948)

What the hell does that have to do with software?...

and considering the quote about "make drugs, get money for it"... if someone developes a cure for cancer and Bill buys up a quarter of it... the drug maker is getting his money... you sort of validated his point...

Re:Charge for drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184036)

Wouldn't it be much cheaper to buy the recipe and GPL it?

Re:Charge for drugs? (2, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184188)

As well as increasing the self-sufficiency of developing nations.

There's a real lack of foresight by a lot of charities. It has a lot to do with government funding of independent charity, it creates a real conflict of interest. The people who run the a more controversial (to voters or $ contributors) organizations have to pick policy with the goal of being invisible to congress.

"The Revolution Will Not Be Funded" is a good read.

Re:Charge for drugs? (1)

Saint V Flux (915378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184156)

If he did, how does that contradict his recent statement? The pharmaceutical company would be charging for it and making a profit, it's just that Bill would be footing the bill for it. Just because he understands that a company exists to make a profit doesn't mean that he's against philanthropy (as evidenced by the tons of money he gives away each year, I know my high school received several million from him).

In other news, I'm off to download Hardy Heron.

More drug analogies (4, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184470)

He must know a lot about the drug business. If you get them hooked on a free sample, you can charge whatever you want, and your users end up "stealing" to get their fix in the end!

And this is... (2, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183866)

news why? Seriously did we really need to be told that?

Re:And this is... (5, Funny)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183944)

Well, with all Bill Gates philanthropy stuff he does today...sometimes we need to be reminded he's still evil ;)

Im not sure... (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184144)

!news or slownewsday....
both seem fitting.

What do you expect considering that.... (4, Insightful)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183882)

OSS typically goes after mature late life cycle applications, such as OS's, Office suites, etc.. If Microsoft was truly on the cutting edge of innovation, I dont think they would care either way....

Meaning, people can say what they like, but in my opinion OSS is capitalism's way of preventing companies from profiting on a product the developed indefinitely... And this is a good thing, in my opinion.. :)

Uh? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183916)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,'

<boggle/>

Poorly worded (3, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183920)

"If you steal drugs, you should be able to charge for them".

There, much better.

Re:Poorly worded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184482)

"If you steal drugs, you should be able to charge for them".

There, much better.
Or, "If you sell drugs, you should be able to take them".

There, even better.

Drugs... (4, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183928)

He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: 'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said, adding with a shrug: 'That may seem radical."

What if you invent diseases?

Well, viruses.

Well, a platform that viruses thrive on.

Re:Drugs... (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184442)

Well, a platform that viruses thrive on.

Human beings? ;)

Re:Drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184544)

no, no, no.

He's saying that MS Software is addictive, like heroin or crack (only not as much fun.)

Headline and Gates Icon (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183938)

Today they just kinda seem to go together so very well.

Interesting... (5, Insightful)

AndyCR (1091663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183946)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,
It's pretty amazing that anything gets done, since what he describes as impossible is almost the only way Open Source software improves.

Re:Interesting... (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184532)

It's pretty amazing that anything gets done, since what he describes as impossible is almost the only way Open Source software improves.

Bill Gates has never understood this. Read his open letter to hobbyists [blinkenlights.com] .

Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?

Amazing, isn't it?

Move over Chewbacca... (3, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183964)

Cos this makes no sense. It makes no sense.

And we all know what that means.

Flamebait (5, Insightful)

CheckeredShirt (944734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183966)

This sort of "article" is just flame bait. It doesn't provide any new information nor does it push any sort of point with facts or clarity.

Drug development != Software development (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183968)

In order to create a good quality drug, you have an enormous amount of costs. (R&D, materials, FDA, distribution, ect). Open source does not have a corporate cost associated with it. People develop it for free, and they do it for personal pride. If the costs are zero, why should you expect to get paid for it? *Note: Nothing is free, it takes peoples time. However, this time is "Donated" to the project, which makes it more of a non-profit entity.

Re:Drug development != Software development (4, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184292)

Open source does not have a corporate cost associated with it.

Yes it does. The biggest contributors to Open Source and Free Software are large corporations like Red Hat, IBM, Novell, and Sun. They do it because they don't make their money on that software specifically, but products and services based on it. By sharing contributions, they also receive contributions in return, and are able to make a better product, and more money.

Companies do pay for it. They pay for it because they get value in return.

Re:Drug development != Software development (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184336)

In the US, yes there are enormous costs associated with bringing a pharmaceutical product to market. I like you analogy but it leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. All that R&D, FDA, distribution etc. is supposed to free the end user of failures, side effects, and other harmful things. Looking at the environment that MS has created for malicious software I'd say the FDA needs to take Windows off the shelf, and give their ok on a class action law suit.

If you find the original letter that Bill wrote to the homebrew computer club (I think that's the name) about software and costs you'll find that charging for software, even then, was something of a character flaw for Bill.

don't forget marketing (5, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184356)

That's one area where (commercial) software development and pharma are a bit closer. Most pharama companies spend significantly more on marketing than on R&D - Merck, for example spent $7.6 billion on marketing vs $4.9 billion on R & D, according to their 2007 10-K filing. Microsoft, similarly, spent $11.5 billion on marketing and $7.1 billion on R & D.

You can think of open source software as being mostly the other way around. There's significantly more spent on development (in terms of donated time, resources, etc) than on marketing.

Drugs (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183976)

'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,'

Sure, but he has a problem with some people choosing to not charge for them?

Re:Drugs (5, Insightful)

AndyCR (1091663) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184284)

I think his point was that if you choose Open Source software to modify and base your commercial software on and it is under the GPL, you must also Open Source your commercial software. He is arguing that that prevents proprietary improvements, and that that is wrong. What he can't seem to understand is that it -isn't their work to make proprietary in the first place-, and you can't base a commercial project off of Microsoft's code unless they specifically allow you to either. He's completely missing the fact that it's no different with the software he himself produces.

You're free to use GPL's tools to write proprietary software (John Carmack used the GNU toolset to write Quake on NEXT, and later donated $20,000 to the FSF as thanks for use of their tools), but you can't take a GPL'ed program, add a few lines of code, and sell it as a proprietary package. Bill Gates sees this as wrong, but somehow doesn't see that not being able to get the source code for Windows, add a few lines, and sell it as a new OS is the same darned thing.

Re:Drugs (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184420)

Sure, but he has a problem with some people choosing to not charge for them?
I think it's fair to assume that if there ever comes a time when it is possible for an organisation to come along and create and distribute drugs for free to anyone who wants them, the incumbent drugs companies would fight tooth and nail against it.

Oh really? (2, Insightful)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183980)

'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them'

Yes, and as such those who can't afford the drugs may die. Perfect system huh?

Conversely ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183984)

I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them

Conversely, if you basically steal the idea that other people have come up with, and implement them in a proprietary manner, you shouldn't go around claiming you invented it.

The list of things that MS basically borrowed or copied from Xerox, UNIX, Apple, and general computing research is basically ... everything Microsoft makes. Other than implementation specifics (and, I guess MS Bob) I'm hard pressed to think of a single instance of a technology which they completely invented from scratch.

Mostly I just remember things like Kerberos being hijacked, made incompatible, and claimed as their own invention. Fuck, they'd pretend to have invented TCP/IP if they'd been successful in forcing everyone else to adopt their version of it.

Not to Bill Gates: We disagree too.

Cheers

Re:Conversely ... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184094)

Remember when MS invented symbolic links back in 2002? Good times...

He said it (5, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183992)

'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said
And remember, the first one is always free.

Perhaps it's brought on by sleep deprivation... (1)

Tychon (771855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23183994)

...but I have this fuzzy notion that there are licenses outside of the GPL -- ones that even allow being both for profit and open source. I'm using the simple meaning of open source, admittedly.

Re:Perhaps it's brought on by sleep deprivation... (2, Informative)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184158)

...but I have this fuzzy notion that there are licenses outside of the GPL -- ones that even allow being both for profit and open source
You mean... like the GPL?

Re:Perhaps it's brought on by sleep deprivation... (1)

Tychon (771855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184264)

Bill seems to have this funny thing against that one, so I figured I'd try to vaguely gesture at others.

Free software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23183998)

RMS would have an argument with Gates' definition of free software. It's free as in speech, not as in beer Mr. Gates.

Isn't The United States A Developing Country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184002)



or soon will be.

There's free software and then there's open source (1, Informative)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184012)

I bet Stallman would flip out if he saw his implied improper use of the word "free software"...

Re:There's free software and then there's open sou (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184534)

I think the reason Stallman hasn't responded is because he passed out when he read that and hasnt regained consciousness...

That explains it! (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184026)

'Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software'

I've been using Linux since pre kernel 1.0 days. This explains why there is still no IDE support and I am stuck with that damn A.OUT executable format. I really wish they'd at least add support for more than VGA graphics. I know it's asking a lot, but I'd also like DVD and USB support.

Re:That explains it! (1)

keysersoze_sec (1229038) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184216)

'Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software'
At the opposite, Microsoft has been releasing ever poorer versions of Windows, Vista being the latest example. Yeah, that explains it.

Obvious statement? (3, Interesting)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184028)

"Bill Gates says that all things being equal, he'd prefer to continue making money."

There's a shocker ya.

Of course Gates is going to support M$ and its business model. To do otherwise would be harmful to the company's shareholders, including himself.

Re:Obvious statement? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184398)

One can certainly make money with open source. I'm seriously considering doing some work building custom Linux-based or FreeBSD-based file servers and routers and selling them at minimal cost (the price of the hardware, basically) with an annual support contract. I've been getting enough negative feedback about licensing and upgrade costs that I think there might be a reasonably profitable niche market.

And that's the real key to open source. Yes, you don't make money giving away code, but you can make money, whether your IBM, Redhat or a consultant, off of selling support. IBM has basically been doing this for many decades. Just because guys like Microsoft have chosen a business model that amounts to "we're leasing you this software on our terms" doesn't mean that's the only business model. In fact, I'd say it's an inferior business model because it requires ludicrous product life cycles that end up producing trash like Windows ME and Windows Vista, just because you've got to have something to push on to the OEMs and customers.

When you sell support, you don't have to necessarily live on any particular upgrade cycle. If the customer is doing well with Samba 3, then other than security and performance updates, there's no particular reason to move them to the next version. They can sit on that one as long as you can guarantee a reasonable level of support.

The man is a fucking contradiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184040)

On one hand, Bill Gates' political views are treehugging Washington hippy style "redistribute the wealth, man" socialism. And then when it suits him and his half-assed-quality company, he pretends to be an objectivist.

Somehow I don't think Ayn Rand would be able to talk to this guy with a straight face.

Oh Gates... (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184054)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,' he claimed
Clearly. We all know that the Linux kernel never improved beyond the initial release by Linus.

Re:Oh Gates... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184348)

And it goes to show you Bill Gates and Richard Stallman have something in common. They both don't know the definition of free software [marc.info] in Open Source.

Their argument... (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184060)

Their argument is based off a strictly capitalist view. If you consider the notion that there is no way to claim your work as your own once it is under the GPL and generate a profit directly from it, in this world view, it's a waste. They see GPL as a trap where once entered, there is no escape.
This view is flawed because it assumes there is no such thing as altruism, and that shared benefit from availability can't outweigh the potential benefit of carefully planned and limited sharing. This kind of idea comes from Economists who take the tragedy of the commons and the failures of universal communism to ridiculous extremes, making rules out of specific observations. Society is created from compromises and sharing, and open source is about developing a healthy society amongst developers.
That said, I do personally like to be able to release closed source versions of things, and allow others to do the same. The BSD and Eclipse licenses appeal to me more than the GPL.

Distorted? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184070)

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone would regardless if I asked), but doesn't the GPL not only allow improvements but stipulate that if you improve the software you are required to give back the improvement to the community, or something to that effect? Saying that you can't improve on software covered by the GPL seems like a bald-faced lie, not a mere distortion. Not that I'm surprised he said it, but maybe the author could call him on it instead just labelling it a 'distortion.'

Seems like... (1)

wobedraggled (549225) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184076)

Old dogs really can't be taught new tricks...

Nobody can improve the software? (5, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184110)

Can I improve Windows? Unlikely. Not without getting a job there and spending several years moving up the ranks to be in a position where I can fix* things.

Can I improve Linux? Yes*

Why? Because the source code is there for me to play with and fix the bugs* in the software. I can't do this with Windows. I can file a bug report and perhaps they might fix it in a service pack or just write back and say it's intentional.

*Granted, what I think is an improvement might be a step back in someone else's opinion, but at least I have the choice. Like Neo [wikipedia.org] did.

Troll (4, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184112)

Mod Gates -1: Troll.

Also note that he re-defined Free Software, confusing it wizh Freeware. He's either dumb or malicious, and considering his track record, I'm inclined to say that doesn't have to be an xor.

Great Analogy Bill! (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184122)

He went back to the analogy of pharmaceuticals: 'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said, adding with a shrug: 'That may seem radical."

Sure, so who cares if a few million die [cnn.com] as a result. You made your money!

What's Senial Dementia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184124)

http://sg.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060703093225AAsmMFT

It's just a few more days until Bill steps down from leading Microsoft. Poor guy, he's been fighting the GPL all these years and now can't remember what it is and what it's for.

We miss you Bill!

Bill hates competition (3, Insightful)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184148)

Ask most successful business men about if they would rather own something completely or have a market where there is healthy competition, and most will tell you that they will do anything to block competitors.

So if we look at the GPL and many other open source licenses we have a problem where the intellectual property can not be completely controlled. Now in a market where you can make money by fairly offering support and ancillary services why would they view this as bad?

If you own the intellectual property behind a product you have the ability to 'strike out'. You can screw up marketing, sales, development, etc and still be protected from someone else doing the same thing better. But if you sell services for GPL/Open products you have to conduct business the 'proper way', and deliver a better product then your competitors.

I'm not trying to bash the windows here, as if you look at Bill's investment work outside of Microsoft he tends to do the same thing; look for something that he can take 100% ownership of a marketplace. And I doubt you will find too many CEOs of large companies who would not take the chance to do the exact same thing. Even though most of these people have business/economics knowledge of how capitalism should work with healthy competition & innovation; they would much rather be unmerciful and dominate to make more money now, and find a way to be charitable, or 'play nice' later. Basically if they can own it, they will, and if something stands in their way they will try to crush it, denounce it, or produce FUD against it.

radical (1)

dermond (33903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184150)

I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said, adding with a shrug: 'That may seem radical.

yes this is radical. holding up this kind of neoliberal ideology costs the live of several million people/year. (10 million are starving each year). million of death just to be able to cling to some stupid ideology.

property is exclusion.

Society confronts the simple fact that when everyone can possess every intellectual work of beauty and utility--reaping all the human value of every increase of knowledge--at the same cost that any one person can possess them, it is no longer moral to exclude. If Rome possessed the power to feed everyone amply at no greater cost than that of Caesar's own table, the people would sweep Caesar violently away if anyone were left to starve. But the bourgeois system of ownership demands that knowledge and culture be rationed by the ability to pay.
--Eben Moglen dotCommunist Manifesto [columbia.edu]

Oh wow, a THIRD definition of free software... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184152)

Or is it the fourth?

First, free software was basically open source, and it was published in source code in magazines and on user group tapes and places like that.

Then there was freeware, which was binary only. I don't know if this counts as some kind of free software or a separate term.

Then RMS said that "free software" was software that couldn't be made non-free. A lot of people thought that was a bit over the top and 10 or 15 years later the term "open source" was settled on.

So we have GPLed "free software" and MIT/BSD/CC/... "open source" software.

Now we have this:

"There's free software and then there's open source," he suggested, noting that Microsoft gives away its software in developing countries.

What he's calling "free software" means "free samples", not even freeware. And I'm sure that RMS will disagree with his identification of the GPL with "open source".

Sheesh.

World's richest man is a capitalist, news at 11 (0)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184154)

n/t

Hasn't been the richest in a while (1)

Tony (765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184322)

Sorry, he's not the richest. I think he's third or forth now. Carlos Slim is richer. I think he might've been beaten out by Warren Buffet, though, leaving Gates in third place.

I guess the recession is hurting us all.

Good Grief (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184160)

He sits there with that eight hundred pound disaster known as Vista and then thinks he has still has some position in the community to poo-poo another development model? Well, at least he's not calling the FOSS community communists any more, and for all that "squandering" it's pretty amazing just where you'll find open source, including on Windows boxes.

WTF? Did he just say that? (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184170)

Did Gates just compare Windows to drugs? huh?

So all the jokes about MS giving software to schools cheaply like a drug dealer are right?

After that, I can't think straight....

Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184172)

How about "I think if you invent [ anything ], you should be able to [ do whatever you want with ] them."

Sorry if that's too radical for you, Bill. If something is made open source, it is the inventor's choice. It's not as if you invent something, plan to make a nickel off it, then some jerk comes along and open sources your invention before you get a chance.

Go play with your own toys (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184180)

If you don't like the license, don't use the software.

FUD, of course (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184192)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,' he claimed


Er? WTF?

I think he has closed source and open source software mixed up. Open source licenses, pretty much by definition, allow anybody to improve the software. Closed source licenses, not so much.

There is a legitimate philosophical debate about the ability to profit from creation, but as long as these kind of outright lies which are absolutely backwards are going to be spread instead of making serious cogent arguments for the potentially legitimate points which might support the closed-source model, there is not really much to discuss here. Gates is, instead of making a serious argument, simply spreading outright lies to create FUD around open-source. Its not surprising, given the amount of personal financial interest at stake and his past behavior on the issue, but its still breathtakingly dishonest even considering the source.

Talking about improving software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184198)

Talking about improving about software, it looks like closed source software hasn't improved a lot over the last few years, especially one operating system. He must be a long time mac or linux user to forget about that one. Who is this Bill Gates anyway?

Fudging vs Lieing (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184208)

Fudging is what you do when you are a smart monopolist.

Lies are what you use when your mind is gone.

the limited viewpoint of a businessman (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184214)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software

That is an incomplete statement. How about we add a little bit to it: Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software to make money off the original work they got for free

There, that's more like it. When you realize that's the "complete sentence" that's running through his head, it makes sense. Fortunately, not everyone thinks that way. Just because you can't improve GPL'd software to make a profit, does not mean you cannot improve it.

Re:the limited viewpoint of a businessman (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184282)

That's incorrect.

You can take my GPL program, improve it, fork it, and make money off it. What do you think Red Hat is doing? Do you think they wrote every line of code in the Linux distro they sell support contracts for?

You can make money off my GPL code, but you can't take my code and include it in a closed-source project.

No (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184230)

"Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that nobody can ever improve the software,' he claimed"

Actually, Bill, it does the complete opposite.

On his own, one man can only go so far; but with the help of his friends, he can achieve anything.

No Improvements? (4, Funny)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184236)

Well considering that he considers Vista an improvement to XP, I am certainly happy that GPL prevents people from "improving" the software...

Drug Analogy (4, Interesting)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184240)

'I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,' he said, adding with a shrug: 'That may seem radical."

Well if I invent the cure for AIDs then I can't give it away? And I can't license my drug patent so that it can't be used unless you plan on giving it away. I realize that selfless acts do seem radical to him. The tax write benefits and goodwill generated by any company agreeing to the terms would be priceless. They would go down in history as the company that saved Africa. Bill Gates is being either a short sighted idiot, or a greedy lying sob. I can't decide which.

Re:Drug Analogy (0, Troll)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184546)

No, you would probably go down in history as an idiot that doomed Africa.

You see, it costs money to develop drugs. Money that usually isn't just lying around waiting for someone to need it. It comes from people that want something for their money. They would be happy to lend you the money to develop your drug, but they want something for it. If you don't want to help them, they certainly aren't going to help you - or the rest of the world.

So, likely as not under your terms nobody would ever develop your drug to save Africa. Africans would keep on dying and you would go down in history as a selfish monster that was responsible for millions dying needlessly.

It isn't greed to get paid. It is instead greed to think that everyone else should support you because you are a nice person.

Family Guy reference (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23184266)

Just seeing the title reminded me of the family guy episode with the drive by arguments

*while driving*
Bill G: 'Hey Steve, that looks like that young upstart Stallman who's been touting the benefits of open source software'
Steve B: 'oh yes, lets get him!'
Bill Gates: 'Oh Richard!.... WE DISAGREE!'
*speeds off*

Bill Gates says: "Windows is like drugs" (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184272)

Remember, kids: drugs are bad for you. Even if the dealer says you'll like it, it's nothing more than an expensive, antisocial habit that you'll come to regret once you're hooked.

Re:Bill Gates says: "Windows is like drugs" (1)

tehBoris (1120961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184366)

I used too much Windows and now I can't remember where are my modpoints :(

Not recorded properly (1)

allthingscode (642676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184306)

Just like Neil Armstrong's statement when he landed on the moon left out the "a" - "One small step for a man", what Bill actually said was: "GPL creates a license where nobody can ever improve the profits on software"

Re:Not recorded properly (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184450)

And the funny thing is he's STILL wrong.

Companies like Redhat are doing quite nicely on selling enterprise editions of linux, which btw is GPL'ed.

Disagreement is bad? (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184326)

Of course Gates & MS disagree with the GPL. They have since the 1978 computer-club letter because it undermines their entire business model. MS wants to sell standard programs. They've made a large business of it.


But all businesses face competition, and the most devastating tends to be from competitors who follow different business models. Clones are much easier to see off.


The most interesting thing here is Gates acknowledges the competition and is starting to fight [more]. Entirely following Ghandi's script: "First they ignore you, then they laught at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Inventing drugs? (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184372)

So... the folks at DHMO [dhmo.org] should file a patent for Dihydrogen Monoxide [wikipedia.org] , after all they invented it!

You don't invent drugs, you discover them. The trick is figuring out the right drugs to use, and the manufacturing process to get them produced at an acceptable cost.

Patents are a balance struck to encourage capitalists to invest in things which ultimately help us all when they enter the public domain.

Dear Slashdot Editors... (2, Insightful)

perlith (1133671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184422)

The link provided only provides paraphrased quotes based on notes made by a field reporter. Get me a full transcript where the quotes are put in context of the presentation, and then perhaps we can have a good discussion about this.

What he means is.. (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184452)

Open source, he said, creates a license 'so that Microsoft can never embrace and extend the software
There, fixed it for ya.

I disagree... (1)

Stardo (465325) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184480)

I disagree with Microsoft licensing structure, and a lot of the concepts of intellectual 'property' in general. 'I think that if you buy a product, you should be the owner of that product.' ::shrug:: 'That may seem radical.'

But Bill... (0, Troll)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23184514)

You really haven't invented all that much.
MS-DOS you bought and what you bought was a cheap clone of CP/M that ran on the 8086.
Basic? That was invented at Dartmouth and you never paid a cent that I know of to the inventors.
Widows? That was a pretty bad copy of MacOS and MacOS took a lot of ideas from the XeroxStar.
Excel is a spreadsheet and you took a lot from Visicalc, BoeingCalc, and Lotus123.
Word????
IE, Outlook....
Nothing really new here.
Oh... You want to take others code that they give away and then sell it for a pot of money and then not others do the same to yours....
I have no problem with people wanting to write software and sell it. That is their right. I have no problem with people that want to write GPL code and give it away or sell it. That is also fine and I support their right to do that.
I don't support the idea that you can tell people that they can not control their work. Even if they decide to give away their work.
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