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The Open Source Evangelists Respond 252

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
EconomyGuy writes "Looks like the some big players all got together to respond to Microsoft's recent claims about the GPL. CNet is running a story about it, or you can read the response right here. If names like ESR, Linus, RMS, and Perens can all agree on something to say, then Microsoft's plan to split the community just might back fire on them."
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The Open Soure Evangelists Respond

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    microsoft's own damnable arrogance and consumer-unfriendly software renting schemes will sooner or later drive them into the ground, i swear this to you. Nobody but the most blind microsoft fundy listens to stuff like this and believes that microsoft is serious. it's obvious to anybody with brain cells that microsoft is scared to death of open source because they can't do anything about it, short of putting hits out on the top coders which they have not yet done to my knowledge.

    So it's great that some people have shot back at microsoft, but let's face it, it wasn't exactly needed because any reasonable person knows that it was all fud to begin with. how does that old joke go? "How do you know steve ballmer is spreading FUD?" "his lips are moving." damned straight. Linux is looking better every day (and i'm not a leftist.)

    ed edwards
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:38PM (#218792)
    ESR, RMS, Linus, etc. It's like a human Beowolf Cluster!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:48PM (#218793)
    May I have your attention please,
    may I have your attention please,
    will the real bruce perens please stand up,
    I repeat will the real bruce perens please stand up
    .....we're gonna have a problem here.........

    Ya'll act like you never seen a slash poster before
    mouse all on the floor
    like mom and daddy just burst in the door
    and started whoopin yer ass worse than before
    they first had endorsed
    buyin' ya a crappy computer (aaaaaah)
    It's the return of the...
    "awww..wait, no wait, you're kidding,
    he didn't just say what I think he did,
    did he?"
    and Mr. Cray said...
    nothing you idiots, Mr Cray's dead
    he's locked in my bassment
    microsoft women love Sig '11
    chicka chicka chicka bruce perens,
    "I'm sick of him, lookit him
    walkin around, grabbin his GNU know what
    flippin' to GNU know who"
    "yeah, but he's so smart though"
    yeah, I probably got a couple of screws up in my head loose
    but no worse than what's goin on in your sister's webcam (eheheheh)
    sometimes, I wanna get on ZD and just let loose
    but cant, but it's cool for RMS to hump a dead GNU
    My mouse is on your link, My mouse is on your link
    and if you're lucky, I might just give it a little click
    and that's the message that we deliver to little kids
    and expect them not to know what a free software is
    of course they're gonna know what Microsoft is
    by the time they hit 4th grade
    they got MS-NBC, dont they?
    we ain't nothing but omnivores
    well, some of us carnivores
    who read other people's mail like crackwhores
    but if we can read your e-mail like it's available
    then there's no reason that a man can't forge spam from your account
    but if you feel like I feel, I got the antedote
    trolls wave your penis birds, sing the chorus and it goes........

    I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so won't the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up
    cause I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up

    Sig 11 don't got to cuss in his posts to get Karma
    well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too
    you think I give a damn about my Karma
    half of you trolls can't even stomach me, let alone stand me
    "but bruce, what if you win, wouldn't it be weird"
    why? so you guys can just lie to get me here
    so you can sit me here next to Natalie here
    shit,Enoch Root's momma better switch me chairs
    so I can sit next to trollmastah and Post First
    and hear em argue over who modded it down first
    little troll, flamed me back on IRC
    "yeah, he's fast, but I think he types one-handed, hee hee"
    I should download some audio on MP3
    and show the world how you released it BSD (aaaaaah)
    I'm sick of you little troll and l33t groups
    all you do is annoy me
    so I have been sent here to destroy you
    and there's a million of us just like me
    who post like me, who just don't give a fuck like me
    who code like me, walk, talk and act like me
    and just might be the next best thing, but not quite me......

    I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so won't the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up
    cause I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up

    I'm like a head trip to listen to
    cause I'm only givin you things
    you troll about with your friends inside you rabbit hole
    the only difference is I got the balls to say it
    in front of ya'll and I aint gotta be false or sugar coated at all
    I just get on the web and spit it
    and whether you like to admit it (riiip)
    I just shit it better than 90% you trollers out can
    then you wonder how can
    kids eat up these posts like gospel verse
    it's funny,cause at the rate I'm going when I'm thirty
    I'll be the only person in the chat rooms flirting
    cyberin with nurses when I'm jackin off to porno's
    and I'm jerkin' but this whole bag of viagra isn't working
    in every single person there's a bruce perens lurkin
    he could be workin at Micron Inc., spittin on your SDRAM
    or in the printer queue, flooding, writin I dont give a fuck
    with his windows down and his system up
    so will the real perens please stand up
    and click 1 of those fingers till you drag up
    and be proud to be outta your mind and outta control
    and 1 more time, loud as you can, how does it go? ...........

    I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up
    cause I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up

    I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up
    cause I'm Bruce Perens, yes, I'm the real Perens
    all you other Bruce Perens' are just imitating
    so wont the real Bruce Perens please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up

    haha guess it's a bruce perens in all of us........
    fuck it let's all stand up
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:55PM (#218794)
    It's pretty amazing that those 10 guys could agree on anything. I can imagine them trying to agree on the wording of the document...

    O'Reilly: Okay, let's not be too rough with Microsoft here, I still sell a lot of books about Microsoft products.

    Perens:Yes, when you're not being a parasite [slashdot.org] on the free software community.

    Torvalds: Come on, guys, we're going to try to be positive here. Instead of focusing on bad things about Microsoft, let's look at good things about Linux.

    Stallman: You mean, "GNU/Linux [slashdot.org]"...

  • You mean () <-- these things?

    Someone named them Bruce?

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Stallman wanted it to be called lignux.

    Any old school Slashdot troll knows that the correct term is, of course, "Gnulix [slashdot.org]". :-)

  • This has taken a long time.

    There is not much more that Microsoft can throw at this community. In the years that I've been reading slashdot. I've seen the average age drop. The amount of MS Serf spy's increase. I now have a desktop I don't have to configure with VI. I've enjoyed Oracle on Linux. I fell in love with Java on Linux. Seen Linus go from THE guy on a mailing list to Information Systems Rebel Icon. I've seen OS2 die... Then come back. ( useless interjection ).

    Microsoft has accused the community of being a bunch of hackers and failed. Reported Open Source as being buggy only to have software developers around the world installing Linux looking for a stable plateform. Microsoft has givin the vibe that Open Source is not suited for security applications. When Net Admins have favored the security of Open Source for years. (BSD anyone?) Do i need to say anything about benchmarks? This is now the last real volly. We are no longer cannon fodder.

    So is that it?

    The Open Source sprit wins after decades of floating around?

    Not really.

    Now come something interesting... Can we get the implications of using open source libs in company applications. What about taking a Function out of a opensource application. Is it okay to just put "Stole from [ProjectName]"? These are the rules that need to be understood by companys. How will using opensource java classes affect my customer? With out the anwsers to these question outlined more then "free like beer" companys will stay away. Lets remember that the Homer in us thinks "Hmm Beer" for about 30 secs after hearing the word 'beer'.

    Just my 2 cent's
  • Yes but GvR has no reason to love the GPL (the current Python license isn't GPL compatible) and he still signed his name to the article. I would have liked to have seen a prominent BSDer on the list, but that's probably a little over the top. After all, a lot of those guys agree with Mundie's criticisms of the GPL (they would disagree with most of his other points, however).

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:47PM (#218804) Homepage Journal

    Mundie's remarks have definitely backfired. Mundie got to speak to one small room of people, and the rebuttals have been seen everywhere. News agencies are falling all over themselves to print lucid, well-written, and oftentimes very biting replies to Mundie's remarks.

    It has long been known that GNU/Linux is basically immune to being bought, bankrupted, or stolen, but now it appears that GNU/Linux is immune to FUD as well.

  • by Jason Earl (1894) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:28PM (#218805) Homepage Journal

    Fah, I need to triple check before submitting, because I agree 100% with what you have said. If Guido would have taken care of the licensing issues before he started work on Python then the whole problem wouldn't have happened.

    This is one of the things that the FSF does right. They get all of the legal ducks in a row before they start hacking.

    My point was that Python's license is a BSD style license (and not even GPL compatible there for a bit), so it wasn't his software or license that was under attack. He had no need to pitch in with the rest of the GPL advocates. His software is part of the BSD style crowd that Microsoft seems to approve of. He could have done what Ransom Love did and say that perhaps the GPL isn't such a good idea after all. The fact that he didn't do that is heartening, and shows that the rift between GPL advocates and BSD advocates isn't as big as the flamewars on Usenet make them out to be.

    Thanks again for your hard work Bruce. Keep it up.

  • If you want to give me free Chevy trucks, I guarantee you I can make money off them!

  • Let me know when these companies top bleeding cash and start becoming profitable.
  • Oracle sells a GPL'ed database?

    IBM sells a GPL'ed database?

    Electronic Arts and Loki sell GPL'ed games?

    I don't think so.

    Go back under your bridge, troll.
  • I don't want a blueprint. I want a pre-built truck.
  • by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:53PM (#218810)
    "If names like ESR, Linus, RMS, and Parens can all agree on something to say, then Microsoft's plan to split the community just might back fire on them."

    Does anybody have links to rebuttals from the likes of Theo da Raadt or Jordan Hubbard?

    I went to their websites and didn't see anything. Did they rebut Mundie, or just not think it's important?

    When you say Microsoft has an intention of splitting the community. Which community are you talking about?

    They certainly never intended to split the GPL community. But they did attack the Open or Free Software community, which has always had a large chasm between GPL and BSD licenses.

    Seeing a number of GPL supporting noteworthies agreeing that the GPL license is good does not surprise me. On the other hand, seeing BSD camp members saying Microsoft's attack on the GPL was wrong would be news.


  • Eerily, it's like The Justice League of America vs. The Legion of Doom


  • Perens, like the Latin word, not as in parenthesis. "Bruce Perens" is latin for "Traveling Bruce".

    Bruce

  • Well, I thought there was some virtue to getting news first-hand, "from the horse's mouth", rather than second-hand, from some other part of the horse :-)

    Bruce

  • Brian must be out of town or otherwise busy, because I got no answer from him. I didn't ask Jeremy or Tridge, just as I didn't ask most of the Linux distributions. Next time, it has been suggested that I just make a web form for public sign-up so that nobody at all is overlooked. You can all be on the list.

    Bruce

  • Next time. Someone please send me the CGI.

    Bruce

  • Like Tim O'Reilly? He's about the best-known proponent of the BSD license, and he's on the list. Brian Behlendorf, and advocate of the BSD-clone Apache license, would have been on that list too, but it's been confirmed that he was out of town and off email during the entire discussion.

    Bruce

  • Brian is out of town and off email.

    Bruce

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:57PM (#218820) Homepage Journal
    Guido has been working with FSF to fix the license incompatibility. Apparently it wasn't an easy or comfortable process, but I think it's done. Unfortunately, the fact that the license got messed up in the first place is mostly Guido's own fault, he didn't do his legal homework with CNRI. OK, I've made worse mistakes.

    Bruce

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:02PM (#218821) Homepage Journal
    I did not contact BSD folks, Debian folks, KDE folks, and no doubt some other people who would have been included if this was an exhaustive list. Mea culpa. 10 people was enough to manage, especially 10 as forceful and opinionated as them. However, those 10 would defend BSD, KDE, Debian, etc., too. This was not intended to be a slight on any project. The people with the most name-recognition were the ones involved. I have already been told to include Mattias Ettrich or someone like him next time, and I shall.

    Thanks

    Bruce

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:09PM (#218822) Homepage Journal
    "We appreciate the dialog on this issue--it's exactly the type of discussion Craig was hoping to foster," the company said in a statement.

    What did you expect them to say? That was the proper P.R. move at this point. They were expecting us to be a lot more brash than we were.

    By the way, I am brought in to talks with Fortune 100 corporations through my job, so those CIOs and CEOs are being reached - not that I agree with the assertion that they are the only important ones. IBM representatives are doing some of that CIO lobbying, as well, as are a number of the other evangelists. Maddog, ESR, and O'Reilly all make regular appearances in executive offices.

    But this is not where the real battle lies. It is on the intellectual property law front that we will win or lose. P.R. efforts are important to that, but let's not let them distract us from the real goal.

    Bruce

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:37PM (#218823) Homepage Journal
    We are indeed in danger. Open source developers risk bankruptcy and asset forefiture or even jail due to recent abuses of intellectual property law like software patents and DMCA. This will only get worse at MS pushes its international agenda to strengthen software patents. If Franklin could have seen U.S. jails today, he might not have been so worried about just being hung.

    Bruce

  • To quote Robert Fripp, "A group only exists in service of an aim". When the need to group is there, the group will form. When the goal of the group is achieved, or failure is innevitable, the group will disband.

    We band together only when we need to. Its only when the Common Enemy uses our "disunion" as a tool (in this case, FUD) against us that we must turn on the Common Enemy and remove its threat. Then we can get back to our infighting in peace. ;-)
    --
    You know, you gotta get up real early if you want to get outta bed... (Groucho Marx)

  • Right. Because having RMS, Linus, and ESR sign a document may be impressive, but it will be even more impressive if 15,000 /. users sign it.
  • Forgot about this one --

    Hmmm... funny... you know, last time I looked at the definition of opensource on www.opensource.org and the last time I looked at the GPL license, GPL'd software and Open Source software were both, by definition, free as in price as well as free as in liberty.

    Nonsense. You really should read them again before acussing Bruce of semantic waffling.

    There is nothing that says you can't charge for your software, in the GPL or the Open Sfotware definition. However there is an implied result that it may not be to successfull, since anyone you do sell the software to can turn around and distribute copies for free.

    Nevertheless, you can buy a copy of Debian on CD for a cost substantially above the cost of pressing the CD.
  • Please, Bruce, explain how a license that explicitly says that others can copy your work for free is compatible with a business that sells software.

    He didn't say it was. He said it is compatible with business. If the only business involving software development that you can imagine is one where you sell individual copies of your software, then that's your problem.

    So yes, one type of business doesn't work very well with the GPL. So what? In the space of business models, most of them don't work for one reason or another. That doesn't mean those reasons are incompatible with business. It means you need to think of another model.

    If I'm going to give it away, I'm going to give it away no strings attached.

    That's your choice. I like the "so long as you keep it free, too" string to be firmly attached, myself.
  • Parens is correct. However he mispelled ISR's, Linux's, and PMS's names (respectively). I was in taco's spelling class, where they teach you those finer points of distinction.
  • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:47PM (#218834) Homepage
    Wow, that's sure an impressive list of open source advocates. But, just as noticible is the lack of people from the BSD camp who have endorsed this statement. I'm curious: is this because they weren't invited or consulted? Is this because the BSD community thinks this statement is silly? Help me out here.

    ObJectBridge [sourceforge.net] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.
  • Microsoft deceptively compares Open Source to failed dot-com business models. Perhaps they misunderstand the term Free Software. Remember that Free refers to liberty, not price.
    Gooly gee whiz, why can't you guys EXPAND* the english language? Why don't you simply add a distinctive word, different from "FREE", to specify what LIBRE SOFTWARE really is, instead of senselessly encountering the wrath of bean counters???

    * Note that I didn't say EMBRACE and EXTEND...

    --

  • RMS signing a document full of the term "Open Source"!

    Quick, someone check the weather in hell...

    Stuart.
  • What did the C-Net article say? That the response was ``exactly the sort of discussion that Craig was trying to foster'' (or something like that, anyway; damn my short-term memory problem!). I, for one, quite seriously doubt that Microsoft is interested in any discussions about OSS at all. They have to be wishing that it'll all just go away if they bad mouth it enough.


    --

  • by domc (11897)
    This reminds me of a Voltron episode when all of the tigers form together. Am I alone here?

    domc
  • Not to be too pedantic, but Parens is a Latin word, meaning parent (it also means obeying). I don't see any word in my dictionary that could become perens, and Whitaker's Words [erols.com] also says that perens isn't a word. Of course, it could be wrong, but the only thing I could think of that could look like perens and mean traveling is periens, which you might think would mean traveling (because per=through and eo, ire, ivi, itus sum=go) in fact means dying. I'm ready to be corrected, but I don't think this is valid.
  • by mr_burns (13129) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:20PM (#218844)
    Oh my gosh, what a bunch of spaghetti logic. What these luminaries really should have done is all chip in for a real PR flack, because they just exposed a hand of jokers.

    Seriously. The "this is the kind of dialog [paraphrased]" quote says it all. MS employs some of the brightest spin doctors in the biz. The Mundie speech was probably engineered to elicit this very response, so that the spin doctors could get inside the Open Source PR thought cycle.

    Now that this watered down, weak screed from inexperienced open media warriors has laid down exactly where they're inept at a media fight, MS now knows exactly how to attack. And their media army is quite more experienced at this sort of thing.

    What needs to be done is the assembly of a proficient, professional PR effort. We in no way could outspend them in an attack or a push, but we certainly could employ or at least get volunteer skilled spin people to defend and counterstrike. Part of the MS spin strategy might be to distract or otherwise deplete the heroes of our cause. A third party needs to be esatblished to insulate the media efforts from the actual operations of Open Source.

    This "Old monkish coder" as PR flack will only take us so far....and if overextended....maybe painted into a corner.

    The points brought up in the article are all very good ones that needed to be expressed. Their delivery, however, was wholly incompetent. We need somebody on this who knows how to craft rhetoric to it's full potential and impact. Something that an 8th grader could read and understand, and bring out the Henry Flemming in all of us.

  • Although I'd sign such a statement as quickly as anyone, I actually prefer the way you did it this time, Bruce. I agree with the viewpoint that the original Microsoft screed was aimed at CTOs/CIOs, and I think that you have a better chance of convincing those folks with a statement signed by luminaries they've actually heard of.

    Yes, that's an undemocratic and somewhat elitest viewpoint, but that's the way upper execs think. After all, they already know (or can find out) that plenty of random people on the 'net like open source/free software and are using it every day. That's not going to be the deciding factor when they choose what to use for their businesses, though (unfortunate, but true).

    Although there's no reason you couldn't run an open sign-up at the same time, and refer from the "short list" to the open list, but then feathers will get ruffled as people try to figure out why they weren't worthy of the short list.

    Heck, maybe more important than including Linus, RMS, et al. would be to get big business users of open source/free software to sign something. Rather than being reactive to Microsoft's attacks, perhaps we (by which I mean mostly you, Bruce, since I imagine most of these people won't return my emails :) should go on the offensive, presenting an in-depth look at businesses that are significantly improving their operations with open source/free software. I know there's a bunch of testimonials littered about in various places (unixvsnt.org used to have a bunch, your writings have several I imagine, etc.) but it would be nice to combine them all together and beat the media about the head with the rolled-up newspaper of real users solving real problems without Microsoft.

    Although I think this was a great comeback to Mundie's speech, I think in the long run this community needs to be less reactive, or else the Microsoft PR machine will be able to spin things the way they want fairly often, through virtue of always getting the first shot. A series of forward-looking investigations into why open source/free software works might even get Microsoft on the defensive, which would be the best thing to happen since the antitrust trial.

    Just some thoughts, thanks as always for your sterling work on behalf of our fractured, feisty, but mostly good-hearted community.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Please do remember that the license stated that the laws of Virginia would govern. And Virginia is a UCITA state.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • by JabberWokky (19442) <slashdot.com@timewarp.org> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:39PM (#218851) Homepage Journal

    Bruce... I have to tell you, I nearly had tears in my eyes when I read the first few paragraphs and then slid that down to read the signers.

    It's not because the people who signed that are important; if you invited everyone to sign, I think you'd see an outpouring of thousands of developers who had written one or two apps, artists who worked on icons or themes for those apps, and documentation managers and translators who polished those apps into professional solutions. As well as leigons of sysadmins, programmers, and a growing base of "average joe" users who only use open source.

    It was proof that we are in competition among each other, but not locked in battle. That we are teams each working hard for the best score, but who can go to a pub afterwards and tell stories together.

    Years and years ago, the big rivalry was vi vs. emacs... but (other than grabbing new users), the feel regarding the "war" was that it was a big joke; everyone was aware that they were editors we were talking about. The topic was something that two good programming partners could always razz each other about "Yeah, I ran it through awk/sed" "You know, if you were using a real editor like emacs...". The same went for the Apple/PC/Amiga/etc. groups - sure, they would argue you to death about why their platform was best, but at the end of the day, they didn't really care.

    Somewhere along the line, as open source has expanded, we have gotten a thin but vocal layer of religious proponents. This group takes the new "wars" (KDE/Gnome, BSD/Linux, BSD/GPL, deb/RPM, distro1/distro2) as an excuse to call the other side every name in the book. Raw hatred is exposed, profanities are screamed through ascii or html, and ocasionally, real world attacks are made (posting addresses, etc).

    But, this letter shows that when all is said and done, we can go to that theoretical pub together, and raise our glasses high to toast each others works, be they technical (KDE, Gnome) or philosophical (GPL, Open Source). It is the mutual respect from the heads of the various camps that moves me... it is their gentlemen nature.

    And it puts me in mind of other groups of gentlemen with differing ideas who all banded together - one group in America in the late 1700s, another who got together at at Runnymede in 1215, another who followed a simple man named Ghandi, even a certain thirteen who were around during 30AD... all had a few things in common. They gave to the people around them, empowered the general populace, and they all changed the world.

    --
    Evan


  • ... No, I think it's more likely that it's because there's the chance (especially with RMS's push to move away from the LGPL) that at some point in the future, you won't be able to develop for Linux without putting your software out under the GPL as well.

    huh? This won't happen through any technical changes. That is pure FUD. The only way this is going to happen is if consumers decide they won't pay for software. Thats their decision. I hope proprietary software does become economically untenable.

    No, it's not compatible with business

    Erm.. you redefine business to mean "selling proprietary software". Then you "prove" that the GPL is incompatible.

    Unfortunately, both steps are flawed.

    Businesses USE free software, MAKE MONEY, and then MODIFY IT and MAKE MORE MONEY. They can even keep their changes inhouse if they feel it gives them a competitive edge. Generally, to reduce maintenance pain, it is worthwhile to give back to the community. This is the type of business that open source is far better for than closed source.

    On the second point, it is perfectly possible to sell proprietary software and also give away GPL'ed software. Or even sell GPLed software, by getting the work funded before it is released.

    You don't seem to understand that something can be bad for one business, and good for another.

    You don't seem to understand basic economics. Not everyone can win. In the case of open source, the consumer gets all the surplus. So? How is that bad? Maybe some businesses which fail to respond to changes in the market go under. So? Thats bad management, not some inherent evil in the GPL.

    You want to use a closed licence or the BSD license. That is fine. Why do you feel the need to attack other peoples choice of license?

    I think the real problem for you is this:
    You make money out of proprietary software. You don't want to change. You can see that the market for proprietary software will shrink as the coverage and quality of open source increases.

    The world, and the market is constantly changing. Deal with it.
  • While it's true that you've named a bunch of competing projects, and their adherents may be a bit overzealous, do remember that they are still a bunch of people who have banded together to produce:
    a text editor
    a desktop environment

    In fact, the whole point of open source is to band together to achieve a common goal. It's not a perfect situation, but it's not bad.

    And hey, we just saw Stallman named an Open Source Evangelist! If that can happen, maybe we're closer to getting along than it seems.
  • The whole industry is becoming more resistant to FUD, IMO, even where that FUD is reasonable (iMac not having a floppy drive-- I really like some other Macs, but not that one for that reason). This si very good for open source. Furthermore, Opensource is like an organism-- by the time you see it, it has already reached critical mass and is growing rapidly, IMO.


    To use your own analogy, much like an organism, we've been fed so much FUD by MS, that we've developed an immunity :)
  • by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:29PM (#218858) Journal
    How often to parents and children fight?

    What about siblings?

    Cousins?

    Now... what happens when someone picks a serious fight with a member of the family?

    I think we all agree (at least on some high essoteric level), we just prefer to fight with family :)

    "No one can push your buttons like a family member. Of course thats because they installed them!" --unknown
  • This raises an excellent point. A while back I was working at a tech consultancy that really did the bleeding edge stuff everyone talks about. One day we see an article touting this new study by Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) which said basically that wireless was going to be the next big thing. Mind you, this was less than 6 months ago, so none of us at the office thought it particularly newsworthy, nor that it needed to be stated so verbosely in a hundred page "study". We laughed it off as just another example of Andersen being 18 months behind us.

    What one of the senior guys pointed out was that we, the geeky tech types, were not the target audience. Instead, Andersen was using this study to prime the pump for its own wireless implementations by planting the seeds in executives' heads. Their name is respected, so CEOs read what they have to say, and then think of them when they finally decide to hop on the wireless bandwagon.

    MS is doing the same thing. I was at the Mundie speech with friends and all of us remarked that it was more a press conference than a speech. They're starting slowly on what will be a larger process of "educating" the people who matter. No you, not me, but the people who have the power to make those purchasing decisions.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  • Microsoft deceptively compares Open Source to failed dot-com business models. Perhaps they misunderstand the term Free Software. Remember that Free refers to liberty, not price.

    Hmmm... funny... you know, last time I looked at the definition of opensource on www.opensource.org and the last time I looked at the GPL license, GPL'd software and Open Source software were both, by definition, free as in price as well as free as in liberty.

    Nice semantic waffling there Bruce.

    Although Microsoft raises the issue of GPL violations, that is a classic red herring. Many more people find themselves in violation of Microsoft licenses, because Microsoft doesn't allow copying, modification, and redistribution as the GPL does. Microsoft license violations have resulted in civil suits and imprisonment. Accidental GPL violations are easily remedied, and rarely get to court.

    Yes, that's because people were stealing their intellectual property. If you don't want to pay them for their stuff, don't use it. Use something else.

    It's the share and share alike feature of the GPL that intimidates Microsoft, because it defeats their Embrace and Extend strategy.

    No, I think it's more likely that it's because there's the chance (especially with RMS's push to move away from the LGPL) that at some point in the future, you won't be able to develop for Linux without putting your software out under the GPL as well. Which means you may as well stop running a software business the moment Linux reaches the point where it seals up the market.

    Microsoft's Shared Source program recognizes that there are many benefits to the openness, community involvement, and innovation of the Open Source model. But the most important component of that model, the one that makes all of the others work, is freedom.

    Different aims -- the MS program allows developers to see under the hood so that they don't have to rely on the docs. That's it. That's all it's for. And frankly, that's all it needs to be.

    We urge Microsoft to go the rest of the way in embracing the Open Source software development paradigm. Stop asking for one-way sharing, and accept the responsibility to share and share alike that comes with the benefits of Open Source. Acknowledge that it is compatible with business.

    No, it's not compatible with business

    By DEFINITION, other people get the right to copy, distribute and publish your work the moment you release it under an open source or GPL license. If your business is based on selling software, that means that the moment you release your work under such a license, you've just lost your revenue stream. Which means that your shareholders have every right to take you and string you up.

    Please, Bruce, explain how a license that explicitly says that others can copy your work for free is compatible with a business that sells software.

    You don't seem to understand that something can be bad for one business, and good for another. As a developer, I would release my software under the BSD license, or as closed-source software. Nothing in between. Why?

    Because I want compensation for my work. The cost of living in today's economy is not zero, no matter what you may have seen on Star Trek.

    If I'm going to give it away, I'm going to give it away no strings attached. Which means that others can use my work freely.

    Simon
  • They were expecting us to be a lot more brash than we were

    And I thought it was a very appropriate letter.

    Please do be careful, since it does seem that MS is trying to get you into some sort of trap.

    I believe the original poster is correct in saying that MS is aiming at the top execs, but I would also say they are aiming at two other groups. The non-techies and the congress. They want the non-techies (general public) to have a bad association with Open Source, kind of like the association to Communism. Thus, when you have public opinion on your side (whether correct or not) you can then persuade the Congress to pass a law in your favor.

    This is where the main damage can occur. If they were to get the GPL struck down as being illegal (there are sillier laws on the book) then basically most of Open Source is dead. You may get the die hards still developing and maintaining the software, but the industry will love to take it and abuse it.

    So what I'm saying is that this is a very dangerous war. MS is a very strong (and smart) opponent, and must be dealt with cautiously.

    Steven Rostedt
  • MS is fighting to prevent you from freely receiving and communicating information. The ability to pass knowledge from one person to another and from one generation to another is what separates us from animals. Ms is fighting the very core of what it means to be a human being. This my friend is much more severe then a couple of people being hung.
  • Because we are pack animals like brown bears or wolves.
  • Being a software maker these days is a dismal business plan for anybody. If by some chance you can make a product that catches on becomes popular you can be guaranteed that either.
    1) Somebody will sue you into oblivion.
    2) An open source project will try to duplicate your product and give it away for free.
    3) MS will duplicate your product and give it away for free.
    4) All of the above.

    Unless you are already established you have better chance of making money by buying lottery tickets.
  • by Sogol (43574) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:15PM (#218882) Journal
    So Microsoft [theonion.com] views GPL [gnu.org] as an 800lb gorilla squatting between them and global domination...?
    They are right about one thing: Open source is an "intellectual-property destroyer". (They neglect to point out that intellectual-property is an innovation destroyer).
  • "Microsoft, hmm, sounds familiar, don't they have a project on Source Forge?" Ahhh, that'll be the day.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:09PM (#218886) Homepage Journal
    I dont know if the few hundred thousand web hosting companies in existance would agree that Open Source makes for a lousy business model. Even if Eazel was keeping their source closed and giving away their lame file browser for free in the hopes of selling services it would still be a lousy business model, it has nothing to do with their source being open.
  • The Economist has been running stories about open source responses to Mundies' claims, see last week's story [economist.com]. Idon't think the NY Times is capable of doing a good story on this.
  • I'd agree with you that building and then selling GPL-based software for a profit is not a particularly attractive business model (Cygnus has done OK, but margins aren't as lucrative as a pure software sale, and ramping up that sort of business means ramping up people (because it's really a service business, not a software business.))

    But this ignores a subtle but critical distinction. You may not be able to sell software, per se, but you can sell a software-based service. Which is exactly what legions of dot-coms that use Apache and other open source tools. And which is exactly where Microsoft is headed with .NET.

    A software service has equal leverage as a business model to a software sale, and a more predictable revenue stream.

    --LP
  • by dbrutus (71639) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:56PM (#218896) Homepage
    then again, I would never buy from a company which gives its core (and most expensive) product away....

    You mean that they've started giving away their support incidents? I don't think so...

    DB

  • by nublord (88026) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:59PM (#218903)
    Why? Because humans, from day one, like to form groups. It just seems to be in our nature. There must be an in group, and out group, etc. It starts at birth (older brother or sister missing all the extra attention) and goes on throughout life in everything we do: car, clothes, skin color, political alignment, sports, IQ, career, house style, yard display, etc etc etc.

    You will never get away from it. Even if you bring together 20 people who have the exact same thoughts and ideas they will somehow, someway, form groups that not everyone will fit into.

    All that happened here was that each of those listed above forgot their special group (linux, OpenSource, GPL, etc) and formed a new group to attack a common enemy. When that enemy is beaten or destroyed they will quickly fall back into their respective groups to wildly hack about at everyone and everything.

  • I did not contact BSD folks...Mea culpa.

    Is this a change in your POV Bruce? If technocrat still existed, I'd point out how you said "It is not the job of Linux Advocates to promote BSD".

    Hardly Mea Culpa. More like "keeping with your GNU/Linux promotion".
  • by vaxer (91962) <sylvarNO@SPAMvaxer.net> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:58PM (#218905) Homepage
    ...is that it's a bit too long to make a good tattoo.

    A more concise version would be "Dangerous, my ass!" -- but that would be either redundant or inaccurate, depending on where the tattoo goes.

  • by TomatoMan (93630) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:46PM (#218906) Homepage Journal
    ...when faced by a common enemy? Whether as hackers banding against the evil forces trying to quash open source, one city's sports fans against another, nations, or multinational alliances, it seems we can only get over ourselves enough to cooperate when we're threatened. Make no mistake, I support every word of this statement and am amazed by the signatures on it - the policies and strategies espoused by Microsoft are a threat to us all and need to be taken seriously. I just wish we could get together more often on things that weren't as directly threatening, with less venom and bile directed at each other (Perl vs Python, Emacs vs Vi, Gnome vs KDE, Red Hat vs. Just About Anybody, ad nauseum), instead of waiting for Big Evil Threats from Outside to remind us that we're all in the same camp.
    TomatoMan
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:50PM (#218911) Homepage Journal
    This post initially angered me, but on thinking about it, I think it's a fair post that deserves a fair response.

    The open-sourse crowd as a whole really, truly does not want to destroy software companies. Maybe Stallman does; certainly the original GNU Manifesto was rather hostile toward the whole idea of making money in the software biz, though I think even he has mellowed over the years. But the rest of the signers have no desire to see software companies go out of business en masse.

    What they do want is for software companies to play fair, and to respect other people's ideas of how intellectual property should be disposed of (e.g., the GPL) even when it conflicts with the established business model. Ultimately, the blame for failing software companies doesn't lie with the GPL: it lies with a) anti-competitive business practices from giant companies like Sun, Oracle, and (especially) Microsoft that quite naturally crush small companies before they crush large ones, because small companies are more vulnerable, and b) mindless VC's (who are hardly ever techies themselves) who are much more interested in cashing in on whatever they perceive as the Next Big Thing than they are in really understanding how the software industry works.

    A) is too well documented to require further discussion, IMO. B) is not so well understood. The problem is that the Next Big Thing usually turns out to be a Not Quite So Big Thing, and even when there's still money to be made, the sheeplike mentality of the VC's requires them to drop their investments and find Another Next Big Thing to pin their hopes on. A lot of dead "dot-bomb" companies were actually on the verge of profitability when the VC's panicked. Meanwhile, the likes of Microsoft keep going through sheer inertia, no matter how lousy their products, because the VC's and other business droids all use Windows and Office ...

    In short: it's not the GPL that hurts programmers. It's morons in suits.

    I urge you not to get out of the software business. It's still one of the biggest, most stable, and most important industries in the world, and will remain so for a very long time. Suits, VC's and all, it's still a better place to work than 99 44/100 % of everything else.
  • You have got to be kidding. Those "bells=and-whistles" are exactly the things that users want and expect. If they learn that it is those extra formatiing will go away, you can bet that they will prefer something like XML. (which incidentally is only an incrementally better solution).

    To be fair, this is no longer an issue any more in Office 2k. But the point remains, and still gives support to the arguments that RMS et al makes.

  • CD-R to burn latest copy of Debian [debian.org]: $.40
    Red Hat [redhat.com] 7.1 Standard Edition: $39.95
    Micro$oft [microsoft.com] Windows ME: $162.85 [yahoo.com]
    RMS, ESR, and Linus agreeing: Priceless

  • by SpanishInquisition (127269) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:36PM (#218920) Homepage Journal
    see [segfault.org]...
    --
  • >>"Microsoft, it's time for you to join us."

    >What they really meant to say was:
    [snip]

    No, what they really meant to say was "resistance is futile". The irony of the Borg icon strikes again.

  • Oh cool! Bruce Perens. I've been waiting for... oh... wait a second. Your user # is really low. You must be the real Bruce Perens. Do you know where the imposter is? I want his autograph.

  • There are times when the truth spoken plainly sounds louder than all of Madison Avenue. Just watch--this message will get through.
  • Here's a business plan for getting paid for writing software but also guaranteeing that everything useful becomes open source.

    Software comes in many versions, it looks like a tree, and each branch takes so long to create. Developers charge by the hour so each branch will cost so much. The developer puts the software on an ASP. The ASP charges users a flat monthly fee. The ASP lets people use any revision over the net, but not look at the code or binaries. The ASP tracks what users use and pays the developers of whatever gets used. Once any root-to-leaf has been paid off in the version tree, that version becomes open source, free.

    Whaddya think?

  • Seriously.

    you raise a disturbing possibility, but then you leave it at that. how does the MS rejoinder, which seems to me pathetic in the extreme, since it is obvious to anyone with even an iota of intelligence that no one on either side expects a dialogue, show that the open source/free software advocates have stepped into an MS PR trap? That's my first challenge.

    Second challenge, please explain better why you think that "spin" is necessary. Spin is alien to the entire thrust of open source/free software, as your other respondants have noted. How are you going to spin a response which is basically nothing but facts? Are you enough of an expert in these matters that we - or, more importantly, Bruce Perens - should be worried by what you say?

    No more challenges than these. If you can respond, maybe you're not a troll.

  • You sure it wasn't just an imposter? I didn't see user ID #3872 mentioned anywhere in the article.
  • In the words of Robin Williams in "Toys":

    It's time to fight fire with marshmallows.

    Only problem is, is that it takes something like this to get ESR and RMS in the same room by choice. :-)

    With the big Open Source guns coming out together, though, Linux, et al. definitely stand a chance against the behemoth.

  • I'd say it was pretty obvious how Open Source is compatible with business...

    Basically, your business has to be service oriented rather than product oriented. Despite what most people in the technical industry think, lusers do not want programs - they want capabilities. They don't even really want to use the damn machine in the corner of their cubicle, and the best thing a programmer can do is to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.

    Where was I? Oh, yeah. AOL gives their software out for free (though, sadly, only as in beer), yet charges for a service. This is reasonable and sane, and has made them lots of money and market share. Contrast with .NET and you'll be a little more educated.

    To sum up, unless you're Stallman (who, he says, gets paid to add features to GNU programs), or Linus (who has a service-oriented position), you're not going to make any money writing Open Source for the world. But you can use Open Source software to solve problems, and that is where you can get yer business. Especially since it's a lot more fun to work on something because you need it.

  • Actually, Bruce hit the nail on the head when he mentioned software that differentiates your business from your competitors and non-differentiating software. ASPs will be a big player in non-differentiating software.

    However, in many cases, you won't want a cookie-cutter website or other generic software the ASP's will provide. You will want your software to provide an edge on your competition. Therefore, independent software companies and consultants will still thrive, even in the face of the giant ASP's were bound to have in the next 5-10 years.

    The concept of ASP's used to scare me, as they represent a threat to my livelihood(if software is only produced by giant megacorps, it means I either sell my soul or get a new profession). Bruces distinction was helpful for me - I now realize that there will likely always be a market for custom software.

  • >> These all build profitable software on top of Free Software quite successfully.

    Not trying to argue the point really, but MS singled out the GPL. You can't build your software on top of GPL'd code and then sell it as a proprietary product. Clause 2b("You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License. ") of the GPL expressly forbids this.

    What I don't quite get is the number of people who insist that the GPL is compatible with building software for a profit. It is incompatible - you must sell services or hardware or something other than the GPL'd software to make money.

    So unfortunately, in a limited sense, MS is right. The GPL is incompatible with selling software as a stand alone product. I doubt if anyone can seriously refute that statement, but I would be very interested if someone could.

  • This all of course assumes that you want to run a software business. Most of the software produced does not have *any* sale value be it closed or open source simply because it is not produced for sale. As a model of choosing what software to use to run your business with opensource is a better model on many levels and that is where most of the money in any economy is at and that is why opensource is better for a country and an economy then closedsource. So the question is not are there companies making money by making opensource software the question should be are there companies that are making money by using opensource software. And the answer there is yes a great many companies are. This is what is important.
  • If names like ESR, Linus, RMS, and Parens can all agree on something to say, then Microsoft's plan to split the community just might back fire on them.

    I always thought that they were generally in agreement in all their views. Although, Linus isn't quite the Free Software fanatic that RMS, ESR and Perens are.


    --

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:46PM (#218950) Journal
    There is an excellent recent article [netslaves.com] in Netslaves [netslaves.com] about recent Microsoft Tactics. One of the Major introductory points he makes is:

    [ . . . ] when Jim Allchin attacks Linux, he's not going after Linus and the kernel people. He's trying to reach about a hundred CIO/CTO's who can force their company to use Win2K servers on their boxes. All of MS's anti-Linux speeches are designed to get a very small audience to hold the line on Linux growth within the corporation. Of course it pisses you off, but that isn't the point

    There is a lot more to it as well in the following paragraphs.

    Point Being, the attack and response should not be against each others egos, but for the hearts and minds of the people who really count, who make the high power decisions. I note that

    Late Tuesday, Microsoft responded to the open letter. "We appreciate the dialog on this issue--it's exactly the type of discussion Craig was hoping to foster," the company said in a statement.

    Somehow it feels like MS is trying to try to trip up the evangistas into being too brash, by seeming to be so reasonable.

    And utterly un-repentant.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Parens or Perens?

    I like Lisp as much as (heck, more than) the next guy, but let's keep it out of this discussion, okay? :)
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:29PM (#218963) Homepage
    When you're dealing with other businesses, and one of them sends you a file in Word97, and you're in Word95, you have to upgrade to (1) see the "extrat" formatting he has in there (by default often) and (2) make the changes you need to and send it back to him looking the same way, with your additions. The average person you're doing business with ain't gonna put up with you hacking their presentation. And saying "Save in Word95 or RTF please" - doesn't work. Word throws errors up warning of formatting stuff that may be 'lost' if you save in an older format. Whether or not your document contains any of those enhancements is beside the point - it warns you, and that's enough to scare people off it. Bottom line - you upgrade to keep up with the others you deal with who upgraded and don't like to be pushed out of their comfort zone.
  • by bitva (206067) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:54PM (#218964) Homepage
    "Microsoft, it's time for you to join us."

    What they really meant to say was:

    "Microsoft it's time for you to grow up and stop being a bunch of whiney bitches. All we hear from you is: 'Our product is better, linux sux'. You don't hear people from the Linux community bashing Windows do you?"

    p.s. linux 0wnz m$

  • Mundie's remarks have definitely backfired. Mundie got to speak to one small room of people, and the rebuttals have been seen everywhere

    Uhmm.. you underestimate the power of the Dark Side. Mundie spoke to one small room and look how well we have distributed his message. Not to mention that open source advocates look like madmen in the eyes of the CTO's (how can anyone make money off of 'free' software? THEY MUST BE CRAZY!). Mundie got the exact response he wanted. It's called a troll and we (open source advocates) fell for it. We highly publicized Mundies rants and we thought people were listening when we said 'look how crazy he is'. Instead Joe (you know, average Joe) will walk away thinking that Microsoft must be right, after all, look at all that pretty glowing stuff in their coffers (read MONEY).

  • by AlphaOne (209575) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:10PM (#218967)
    From the C|Net article:
    Late Tuesday, Microsoft responded to the open letter. "We appreciate the dialog on this issue--it's exactly the type of discussion Craig was hoping to foster," the company said in a statement

    Microsoft's arrogance just comes into full view with this statement. They're essentially taking credit for the Open Source response!

    Completely astounding.
    --
  • ... but will it get the exposure necessary to make an impact on normal people (ie non Slashdot nerdz)? Surely everyone has heard of Microsoft's little speech, as it was broadcast on many news channels, but will we see the same exposure for this rebuttal? Me thinks not. It sucks, but I can't see MSNBC headlining this...

    Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;
  • Agreed. I submitted this [newsforge.com] interview/article about a great fellow in our community, Loïc Dachary, (well ok my community) and it was rejected. I believe my problem was in mentioning the fact that I've worked with him. I guess being an insider isn't all that it's cracked up to be. :-)

    Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;
  • Oh, and one more thing before I go home:

    Microsoft deceptively compares Open Source to failed dot-com business models. Perhaps they misunderstand the term Free Software. Remember that Free refers to liberty, not price. The dot-coms gave away goods and services as loss-leaders, in unsuccessful efforts to build their market share. In contrast, the business model of Open Source is to reduce the cost of software development and maintenance by distributing it among many collaborators.

    Huh? What's happened to all the theology about the distinctions between Open Source and Free Software? The two seem to be used interchangeably. (Maybe RMS was so pleased they said "GNU/Linux" that he let that one slide.) But that slight of hand is important here. They counter the attack on "Open Source" with something about "Free Software" and then jump back to the "business model of Open Source." And then back to Linux (which was largely created before anyone with an "Open Source business model" got involved) and then on to the GPL.

    Now, I thought the most insightful part of Mundie's speech was the analogy of free software companies to dot-coms. Both had schemes where they would give away the uniquely valuable things they created (services, content, software) and make money from tangential activities (ads, selling information, stuffed monkeys). Both had plans that seemed awfully silly once the avalanche of clueless money stopped. Sorry, guys, Santa Claus has moved on. People will still make and give away free software but continuing to insist that it's the most sensible way to run a software business is starting to look pretty threadbare.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • Re Sleepycat and Digital Creations and others: I'm not suggesting that it's impossible to turn a profit on making free software. But the fact that it can be done is a long way from proving that it's a superior business model, as the Open Source evangelists have been asserting. Do you think Microsoft really ought to be adopting Sleepycat's model?

    Re Cygnus: See above. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Cygnus' revenue come from proprietary extensions to gcc?

    Re Red Hat: I know Red Hat employs Alan Cox and supports a lot of other development, including RPM and GTK. But they're still fundamentally repackaging and selling other peoples' work. They're not CheapBytes but they're hardly earning a living from the code they write.

    Re Prosa, Cybersource and O'Reilly: Again, they make money by supporting products they don't actually make. In fact, RMS denounced O'Reilly for profiting from free software by selling "unfree" books.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • by update() (217397) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:57PM (#218976) Homepage
    Recently on segfault.org:

    Open Source Advocate Has Yet To Rebut Craig Mundie [segfault.org]

    Jeff Parns considers himself a model for free software advocacy: helping out at installfests, answering questions on the Central Kansas Free Unix User's Group mailing list, working in his spare time on a user-friendly graphical interface to cron. Why, then, has he yet to write a long-winded essay rebutting Microsoft exec Craig Mundie's recent remarks about open source?...

    Honestly, these Microsoft speeches are really a windfall for open-source advocacy windbags. They're so utterly foolish that responding is like shooting fish in a barrel. (I'm talking about the "Open source destroys intellectual property!" stuff, not the part about it making for a lousy business model, which happens to be entirely true.) The Eric Raymond / Bruce Perens line went over as long as nobody had actually put their theories to the test, but it must be a tough sell to convince companies to follow Netscape* and Eazel into oblivion.

    * Yes, Mozilla is _vastly_ better in the 0.9 release. I know that. But in the meantime, the company has still seen it's market share go from nearly half to zero.

    Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

  • It would be a nice feature if Bruce could set up a system so that we could all sign our names.
  • by mojo-raisin (223411) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:52PM (#218979)
    I bet John Carmack would sign something like this. He could be another great name to add for people who use GPL'd software, but release proprietary products: proof that GPL'd code doesn't "infect" the whole business.

    Plus he released Quake under the GPL.
  • I haven't seen any 'mainstream' news organizations print anything about this OSS reply. I have seen the MS statement written everywhere. Think about it... does Joe User know the name 'Microsoft' or 'GNU' better? Those guys can make statement until they're blue in the face, but they won't come close to making the impact that MS has when they make a statement.

  • It has long been known that GNU/Linux is basically immune to being bought, bankrupted, or stolen, but now it appears that GNU/Linux is immune to FUD as well.

    The whole industry is becoming more resistant to FUD, IMO, even where that FUD is reasonable (iMac not having a floppy drive-- I really like some other Macs, but not that one for that reason). This si very good for open source. Furthermore, Opensource is like an organism-- by the time you see it, it has already reached critical mass and is growing rapidly, IMO.

  • Somewhat off topic but...

    Red Hat is a consulting company, not a software company. While they have yet to post profits on a given quarter, they were close last year, and their annual revenue now is strong ($100M per year). They expect to make a profit this year, and are well on their way.

    Yes, they have their shit together, and that is why they are able to make the GPL work. It also lends credibility to their support on this document... (Unlike Caldera whose support for the GPL has been waning along with thier business. Their spinoff, Lineo is doing pretty well, though.)

  • Please note that your name is not the one mentioned in the writeup.

    Poser.

    Dancin Santa
  • by melquiades (314628) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:49PM (#219013) Homepage
    A number of the free software evangelists, in informal discussion, felt that the proper response to Microsoft would be to stand together. Mundie's speech shows that Microsoft's strategy is to keep us divided and attack us one at a time, until all are gone.

    Right on.

    The current global enthusiasm for both free and open-source software amounts to diddly if the proponents of these ideas can't present a united front. When the software community responds to something like Mundie's speech or the DMCA with a thousand flame wars in the underbelly of the Internet...well, guess what: nobody cares. When we respond with consensus -- especially with such a thoughtful, articulate, and nail-on-the-head treatise as this one -- then we have a chance of getting somewhere!

    My thanks and respect to this document's ten signers. I wish I could sign it, too, or at least give them all +5 karma.
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:49PM (#219019) Homepage
    I'm curious to see which if any "mainstream" news carriers pick up this story. Craig's letter got coverage in the NYTimes. Will this letter appear beyond CNet, /.,and ZDTV? Maybe with AoL/TW weighing in against M$ CNN might pick it up.
    This is what saddens me in the FUD war. When computer science visionaries speak, geeks listen. When M$ speaks, everyone hears.
  • by Tech187 (416303) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:38PM (#219021)
    Stallman wanted it to be called lignux [indiana.edu].
  • by GFish4 (449161) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:43PM (#219025)
    "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

    --Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
  • by blang (450736) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:48PM (#219029)
    MS: it's exactly the type of discussion Craig was hoping to foster

    So, they're saying is "Craig was only trolling, and you guys ate the bait", but what is stuck in the grey unwashed masses' memory is some unspecified feeling that there is something fishy with free software licences.

    Anyways I don't care. I don't give a damm what other people run on their computers anymore. Linux works well enough for me. I won't force the other suckers to get off MS-products, it's their loss. But they better not step on my toes.

  • by cnelzie (451984) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:14PM (#219032) Homepage
    I am personally very impressed with the professional representation that has been made within this letter. What we need to do, as open source software users, is to band together and to work towards opening the eyes of our companies CTOs and CIOs.

    This does not mean bashing the products that many of us are forced to use in our daily work days. This means to carefully offer up solutions to problems using Linux/BSD in a professional manner. Simply put, advocating the use of open source and free, as in liberty, software requires calm and rational reasoning.

    One great avenue of advocating Linux/BSD is to form a users group in your area. While it is not an easy thing to do it can be used to greatly open the eyes of the people that attend because they have an inkling of interest. You would be surprised at the number of, "WOW! Linux can do that?!" that are prevalent at a LUG meeting.

    If you choose to start a LUG be professional about it. Plan meeting times and agendas, put together thought out plans of action. Impress your members and they will mention it at their offices. The more your LUG is mentioned around their offices, the more likely that someone with decision making powers will show up.

    The most important thing is to stop with the bashing. So what if Windows crashes, everyone already knows that. So what if Windows has security issues, people are already used to that. Show people that Linux has fewer security issues, when configured properly. Show people that Linux does not require regular reboots. Stop doing this by exclaiming the shortcomings of Windows. Do this by showing the strengths of Linux.

    As users of solid, open source software we should work from a common vision. One of growth through education and hard work. Instead of the rabble-rousing vitriole that many of us spit out today.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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