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UK Government to Tax Linux?

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.

Linux 343

An anonymous reader writes "The UK government is looking at introducing a tax aimed at software published under GNU GPL. It claims that because programmers do it for free, it is losing out on income tax and that commercial software companies (read Microsoft) are at a disadvantage. Some pressure group has already put up a website with more details and news site Techworld have got a quote from a Treasury spokesman saying that they're only considering it."

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Looking for a date! (-1, Offtopic)

Klerck (213193) | about 10 years ago | (#8739778)

Cute 21 year old geek seeks female companion for nerdy fun. If you want to date me, mod this up!

Re:Looking for a date! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739798)


Re:Looking for a date! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739806)

Slashdot has personals for that you know...

Re:Looking for a date! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739850)

What the fuck? I just got mod points and I tried to mod this post up. When I did I got a message that said it was "administratively frozen" and that users cannot moderate it.


Re:Looking for a date! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739891)

That's funny, the same thing happened when I tried to mod up your post as "interesting". Somebody else try it, please.

Re:Looking for a date! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739943)

Huh, I was able to mod it up; maybe you should write cowboy neal there, pal.

Re:Looking for a date! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739857)


CmdrTaco, bohica

Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs!Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs!Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs!

OMG (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739779)

Worst April Fool's article ever

first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739780)

happy april fools

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739819)

Yeah, too bad that was the THIRD POST.

Even a 100% tax is ok (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | about 10 years ago | (#8739782)

What is 100% of "free"?

Re:Even a 100% tax is ok (4, Informative)

bheer (633842) | about 10 years ago | (#8739923)

I know this is a joke, but in a way the UK (any .gov, really) bills open source already. Folk who install/deploy/sell Linux solutions pay Value Added Tax on the services they render. The only reason open source volunteers are -- and will remain -- exempt is that they don't enter into transactions with the organizations they're volunteering code to. You can't tax volunteer activity.

Re:Even a 100% tax is ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739958)

That would really suck if we had that in the US. Right now all I have to pay is federal and state income tax on the money I make from my linux services. I dont even have to charge sales tax. but to have another tax on top of that? no way.

What? (5, Funny)

vwjeff (709903) | about 10 years ago | (#8740039)

Another April Fools article. We all know that Linux is not real. You can't tax something that does not exist. Grow up people.

That sucks (5, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8739783)

At least with the Microsoft tax, I get a neat holographic coaster.

eDrugTrader disagrees (5, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | about 10 years ago | (#8739871)

If you like shiny plastic and psychedelic colors, I would say that your money might have been better spent on hallucinogenic drugs.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA ... (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739789)

Linux taxes you!

Thank God! (4, Funny)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | about 10 years ago | (#8739792)

Real news on April 1st! Thank you! And please dear LORD no Open Source Tax!

Re:Thank God! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739902)

Real news on April 1st! ...to make up for the bullshit we get on the other 364 days.

Re:Thank God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8740050)

Be careful removing that hook from your mouth ;)

OK, I'm bored (1, Redundant)

bigHairyDog (686475) | about 10 years ago | (#8739793)

of the April fools jokes... 5 in one day is excessive.

Re:OK, I'm bored (5, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8739895)

"OK, I'm bored of the April fools jokes... 5 in one day is excessive."

Every single April 1st, there's always some git who gets modded up for saying the exact same thing. Slashdot's been running 365/24/7, you can can take a day off for silliness.

Re:OK, I'm bored (1)

q-the-impaler (708563) | about 10 years ago | (#8739906)

Last year, or maybe the year before (they all run together), /. posted multiple duplicate stories on April 1st. Even more than normal! Anything is possible.
Luckily it only lasts 24 hours.

Re:OK, I'm bored (4, Funny)

chef_raekwon (411401) | about 10 years ago | (#8739920)

of the April fools jokes... 5 in one day is excessive.

you think that is excessive - maybe you should try working instead of trolling on slashdot. now that, is excessive, my friend.

Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739801)

So, a tax on my free time is it?

What next? Sexual Enjoyment Tax??

Re:Great (1)

ookabooka (731013) | about 10 years ago | (#8739847)

Of course, and following that is a charity tax (after eliminating deduction of course) and a general waste of time tax, if you arent producing anything, the government looses money, so its in their best interest to charge you a tax for doing nothing.

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739996)

its in their best interest to charge you a tax for doing nothing.

Well, this certainly is an issue to be evaluated. Consider the following activities:

- volunteer work: This deprives the government of rightful tax funds as individuals and organizations conspire to provided services often in competition with the government. Better to have you work an extra 20 hours weekly at your job, apply a tax and then have the government provide those charitable services. Not only is volunteerism cheating the government from rightful funds, but it's depriving them of applying all those helpful "strings" and conditions to the money and resources provided to the needy.

- unemployment: What are you unemployed bums doing? Not paying taxes, for certain, if you've had your unemployment benefits lapse. This is shameful citizenship and it needs to be dealt with per firm, forceful action. Unemployed individuals should be taxed $10/hour for every hour under 40 they do not work. This would affect the underemployed as well and motivate them to take that extra gas station or telemarketing job.

You people need to understand that your government has costs. Paying large Senate salaries to Senators who are too busy to show up for work [deanforamerica.com], sending billions of pork to wealthy incumbant telephone companies under the guise of "providing broadband" (new broadband providers meeting the challenge need not apply per the rules - you don't return enough funds to your Congresspersons wallet), etc. all take lots of cash, and if you fools wanna prevent further increases in the deficit, you're gonna have to pay for that free time.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739880)

What next? Sexual Enjoyment Tax??

I don't Gates could even afford that! ;-)

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739886)

Since most value their free time at exorbitant rates (say, $90 / hour)... You will be taxed on your time period for sexual enjoyment. The US Postal Service will handle this. Your 15 seconds of glory will cost you one stamp.

Books and rolls of these SE stamps will be available.

Thank you, please drive through...

Re:Great (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739896)

It's called a wife.

Posted anon because she reads ;-)

Re:Great (5, Funny)

gellenburg (61212) | about 10 years ago | (#8739952)


It would be called the Sexual Enjoyment Tax Initiative.

We will be releasing a distributed client to assist in this endeavour called "SETI@Home".

Have a good day.

thingy! (4, Funny)

stevenrieder (698445) | about 10 years ago | (#8740009)

Obligatory Monty Python sketch:

Third Official: "Well most things we do for pleasure nowadays are taxed, except one."
Politician: "What do you mean?"
Third Official: "Well, er, smoking's been taxed, drinking's been taxed but not ... thingy."
Politician: "Good Lord, you're not suggesting we should tax... thingy?"
First Official: "Poo poo's?"
Third Official: "No."
First Official: "Thank God for that. Excuse me for a moment." (leaves)
Third Official: "No, no, no - thingy."
Second Official: "Number ones?"
Third Official: "No, thingy."
Politician: "Thingy!"
Second Official: "Ah, thingy. Well it'll certainly make chartered accountancy a much more interesting job."

Very cute. (4, Interesting)

Jaywalk (94910) | about 10 years ago | (#8739808)

And the "what you can do" plea to get readers to get major news organizations to pick up the story is a nice touch. Nice example of viral marketing. It would be a bit more convincing -- but less funny -- if they got people to write Parliament instead.

I'd dearly love to see Forbes get suckered by this one. They've been such dorks about anything to do with Linux, it would be par for the course. It looks like they bought [forbes.com] the Google mail story hook, line and sinker.

Re:Very cute. (4, Informative)

Draoi (99421) | about 10 years ago | (#8739982)

It looks like they bought the Google mail story hook, line and sinker.

Actually, it's true [forbes.com]

And hey look, Slashdot got a mention;

"It's going to go down in history as one of the biggest pranks ever pulled," wrote one message poster at Slashdot.org, which bills itself as a news provider for nerds.

Re:Very cute. (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 10 years ago | (#8740013)

Also you have to love how Slashdot posters get quoted in all sorts of articles these days, and they always cite a single highly rated post and make it sound like it represents the voice of geekdom on the Internet. Usually there's enough diversity in even the highly modded posts on Slashdot to show that there is no one opinion out there (well, perhaps we all agree that SCO are a bunch of scumbags...).

Early adopters, loud opinions, and lazy journalists. Great combo.

Not Funny (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 10 years ago | (#8739809)

This one's too scary and too possibly real to be funny.

Anyone familiar with the use of emminent domain to seize low value property and give it to private developers to turn into something worth some property taxes?

must be a joke (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739817)

If it's real, I'm fine with that as long as they also tax all charitable donations, community service and all forms of generousity towards others.

April Fool's: An Important Message (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739824)

For four years straight, Slashdot has consistently run poor, unfunny "gag" stories on its front
page for April Fools Day. As a united userbase, we must take a stand. Enough is enough. If
an attempt is going to be made at the funny, it should be bold and [eff.org]
pervasive. Right now regular Slashdot readers tremble at the approach of April due to
the impending parade of sickening unfunny that is April Fools on Slashdot.

If you're SICK OF IT and FED UP, mod this post up. If you're afraid of the "metamod
consequences", use underrated. The editors may modbomb this post, but if enough of you
vote with your points, maybe they'll get the message:

Make it funny, or don't make it.


HA Very funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739826)

Nice. Finally a REAL April Fools joke!

Nice try! (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | about 10 years ago | (#8739831)

Almost got a muffled laugh out of me with that one. Keep it up and you'll have some good jokes by about, oh say, the 31st of April.

Too bad... (0, Troll)

SirNAOF (142265) | about 10 years ago | (#8739834)

Too bad we can't moderate the articles...

Re:Too bad... (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about 10 years ago | (#8739959)

Too bad we can't moderate the articles...

That is *sooo* clever! Did you think of this all by yourself? I've hardly ever seen a post like this here before! I mean, I've seen it for a *lot* of stories, but the way you used it on an April Fools post is genius! You are too clever! I was just reading the posts to this story, thinking *exactly* what you said and *boom*, there it is! You should be modded up a lot for this insightful yet clever post! Maybe even funny! Thank you for this little pearl of wisdom!

April Fools Not Funny? Mod this up instead. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739835)

a aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
a V
a +oooxooxooosooooooaoooaooooooooaoooaoooo+ "And so, I went soul-searching.
a |Has the feature been implemented before>-o-+ I thought back on the other
a | on Kuro5hin or another weblog site? |yes| night and the bitchslapping
a +ooooooooooooooooooVoooooooooooooooooooo+ | rampage I went on in that
a .,. no .,. V thread. I thought of some of
a .,. V | the very low UIDs whom I'd
a +oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo+ | smacked down, I though about
a |Was the feature implemented or|+-->yes-| the many user moderations
a | suggested by a known Troll? | | that me and the other
x +oooooooooooooo|ooooooooooooooo+ | editors had unjustly
a .,. no .,. .. | overturned..."
x V |
a +aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaao+ | auxauxauaoo
a | Have hundreds of users suggested |+-yes-| / \
x |the feature to CmdrTaco via email?| +-aa->< WON'T SCALE ><+
a +aaaaaaaaaaaaaaao|aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoo+ ^ \auaauauauoo/ |
a no no ^
a V | |
x +aoaaxaaaoaaaiaaaoxiaaaaaosxiaa+ +aaoaaaxaasaaaiaou+ |
a |Will the feature make Slashdot|--yes-\|Can jamie or krow| |
o | even more like a game? | /| hack it for me? | |
a +aaxiaoaxiaoaxiaxaxioxaixaxiaaa+ +aaiaauiaia+xaasoo+ |
x | | |_______
a .,. no ,.. .. yes |
o V xiiixx---V--xuixiuuouxxuxo |
a +oxaoaxuaoaxuxxauxxxauxixxiaxxaxox+ / THIS FEATURE IS PERFECT \ |
x |Can CmdrTaco use his limited Perl|-yes\/ FOR SLASHDOT. IM SO GLAD \ |
a | knowledge to kludge it in? | /\ I THOUGHT OF IT!!! TIME / |
o +xuuuxxxusxuxuxuxxisuuxusxuxxsuxxx+ \xu..FOR SAILOR MOON!...ixx/ |
a | ^
o no->-xsaxxsxxaxsxaxxsaxxs xxxastxxqxyxxovtxxxyo->-xaaox+

Windows now bundled with Linux! (1)

twocents (310492) | about 10 years ago | (#8739840)

Just bundle Windows with Linux, that should shut them up about any unfair advantage, as noted April 1 (-:

April Fools .... again? (1)

kwandar (733439) | about 10 years ago | (#8739855)

Come on, enough is enough. This one is so bad that I don't even have to look at the references to know its an April Fools joke.

Re:April Fools .... again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8739919)

Unfortunately I actually wouldn't put it past them

is this a suprise (1)

bwy (726112) | about 10 years ago | (#8739860)

Is this a suprise for a country that has a pretty much across the board ~18% tax on any item or service sold? The government is obviously greedy so of course they're going to be figure out a way to tax stuff that is free- Linux, air, walking on grass, you name it. It is all fair game to these crooks.

In other news, Habitat for Humanity... (1)

tcopeland (32225) | about 10 years ago | (#8739861)

...will be taxed for building houses for free.

As a member of the Union of Concerned Carpenters, I applaud this new policy.

One of the better ones (1)

jonathan_ingram (30440) | about 10 years ago | (#8739863)

Sadly, this is probably one of the more plausible 'fool' stories. The UK government has had a love-affair with Microsoft for quite a few years now. Gave me a bit of a shock until I remembered the date :).

I can't believe this... (1)

Doches (761288) | about 10 years ago | (#8739872)

Would Europe really give up it's biggest advantage over American software companies?

The problem with April Fools Day stories (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 10 years ago | (#8739874)

is that there is no idea that is so stupid, evil, or pointless that SOMEbody SOMEwhere wouldn't think that it's a good idea. Most probably someone in the government.

This one isn't a joke (2, Informative)

Meor (711208) | about 10 years ago | (#8739879)

This being published today is just a coincidence. Check the BBC, it's been in process for a while. Puting things out for free is a compeditive advantage analogous to Microsoft providing free browsers when there is a commercial alternative.

Personally I welcome the tax, I think it will even out the playing field a bit and create competition.

The other option is... (1)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | about 10 years ago | (#8739887)

MS could give its products away for free in the UK.

It's not like they don't overcharge in other regions to more than make up for it.

If it only was a joke (5, Interesting)

pdan (624244) | about 10 years ago | (#8739894)

In my country (Poland) a few years ago they decided that they should put VAT (value added tax) on free software. They found some law that enables tax officials to reassess value of goods if they seem underpriced. They assumed value of a Linux distro to be a price (not value of course) of Windows Server and for Open Office of MS Office Pro.
Fortunately all media ridiculed this idea and they backed off.

Argh (1)

retro128 (318602) | about 10 years ago | (#8739898)

Dammit, I hate April Fool's. I almost fell for that one. But with all the Big Brother shenanigans the Brits have been up to lately, can you blame me?

I'm glad slashdot is posting this instead of... (0, Offtopic)

110010001000 (697113) | about 10 years ago | (#8739908)

...my submission on how Bill Gates claims that Linux and *BSD's are not secure in his latest email to business partners:

"Since these [OSS] systems are typically created by part time non-professionals, they are subject to a wide variety of security "holes" which criminal hackers can exploit."

Might Sound Crazy (1)

mattwarden (699984) | about 10 years ago | (#8739910)

Yeah, it might sound crazy, but I'm afraid it's just going to give [microsoft.com] people [senate.gov] ideas.

I should do research on whether there was previously an April Fools joke about a partnership of recording industry companies gaining FBI-like powers.

What about other free services? (1)

neuroslime (304931) | about 10 years ago | (#8739931)

If they do decide to tax open source software, they should also tax other free services like religious institutions and non-profit organizations. Of course they would never do that, for all these years they've been giving special tax breaks to orgs like that. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe there should be special tax incentives to developing Free software.

Get your own Artificial Intelligence - Verbots [verbots.com]

Great News! (1)

geomon (78680) | about 10 years ago | (#8739932)

I hope all countries save one adopt this strategy.

That would leave the one remaining free-software country with such a HUGH software development advantage that the rest of the world would be lining up to "find out how they did it".

It figures that globalization and free-trade advocates always fuck themselves silly trying to protect corporations that *marginally* have a presence in their host country. These corporations give a rats-ass-not about the host country and do everything possible to drive living wages through the floor, cut benefits, and ship taxable income to off-shore havens that benefit NO ONE but themselves.

Sad Truth: People Deserve The Government They Vote For.

Boxed sets are already taxed. (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 10 years ago | (#8739933)

Not only are they taxed, but they actually cost a good chunk of change in the first place. Problem solved!

April Fool's aside... (1)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | about 10 years ago | (#8739966)

...I'll believe any story involving an EU country levying new taxes.

Mod me troll if you don't accept this, but com'on, the VAT??? WTF? What's next, an Air Tax for all of the oxygen Europeans use over the course of a year?

Bad Planning (1)

Lattitude (123015) | about 10 years ago | (#8739983)

I watched this server die right in front of me. No doubt hosted on someone's sister's i386.

What's the point of making a high-larious website and posting the link to /. when exactly 6 people can come look before it's dead?

These jokes could be funny, but most of us wouldn't know!

Use Tax (1)

mar1boro (189737) | about 10 years ago | (#8739994)

This may be a funny 4/1 joke and all, but I would not be suprised if
someday this happens. If Open Source takes a big enough chunk of
enterprise, governments will begin to notice the loss of revenue.
They will then begin imposing use taxes based on profitability per seat.

What can I say, I'm a cynic.

More Taxes!!! YES!!! (1)

LynXmaN (4317) | about 10 years ago | (#8740000)

Then we should also tax the silly walks and instaurate the Ministry of Silly Walks!

That would be really nice

Oh and put a tax for looking at the ducks in Hyde Park as well

Microsoft wants this. (2, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | about 10 years ago | (#8740007)

Upon receipt of this news, Bill Gates ordered every lobbyist at Microsoft to stop whatever they're doing and lobby the government for a tax on GPL software in the U.S. as well.

April Fools or reality? (1)

GoldenWolf (767107) | about 10 years ago | (#8740015)

Let's just hope that this type of tax garbage doesn't come to the US. We've already got enough problems with the DMCA, RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft.

argh!!@!#@ (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8740022)

I hate aprils fools nonsense! When respectable sources of information play these ridiculous games it makes this entire day useless. Everywhere you go you have to constantly be on the defensive for these stupid pranks. If you want to play some retarded joke on a friend in private then go for it, but why must you poke holes in my daily sources of public information????

Hmmm (0)

BlackLeader (764682) | about 10 years ago | (#8740033)

Guess they better start going after stores that sell less thna they expected too, cause they're unfairly depriving government of sales tax. Hey, I made a character sheet for a roleplaying game and GAVE IT AWAY to be printed, instead of selling it and contributing taxes to the government. How dare I.

A tax on giving away the products of your hobbies is the most utterly ridiculous thing I can think of-- not to mention hardly enforceable, except against large companies that are already charging and paying tax on services instead of hardware. But of course, those large companies are the only ones that are their target. They wanted to get more money from Linux-using companies, and this is the only way they coudl think of. Dissapointing, if it's true (anyone else ready for the 1st to be over with?).

Slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8740042)

If you're going to have links to phony April fools stories, you might want to make sure they're not going to get slashdotted. Sort of takes away the joke when you can't even read it.

I've had enough... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#8740044)

Michael, knock it off with all of these April Fools stories. We're getting sick of them.

What? Taco's doing it too? Uh... wake me up tomorrow.
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