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Linus Calls Microsoft Hatred "a Disease" 634

Posted by kdawson
from the open-means-open dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "In the aftermath of Microsoft's recent decision to contribute 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community, Christopher Smart of Linux Magazine talked to Linus Torvalds and asked if the code was something he would be happy to include, even though it's from Microsoft. 'Oh, I'm a big believer in "technology over politics." I don't care who it comes from, as long as there are solid reasons for the code, and as long as we don't have to worry about licensing etc. issues,' says Torvalds. 'I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out.' Smart asked Torvalds if Microsoft was contributing the code to benefit the Linux community or Microsoft. 'I agree that it's driven by selfish reasons, but that's how all open source code gets written! We all "scratch our own itches." It's why I started Linux, it's why I started git, and it's why I am still involved. It's the reason for everybody to end up in open source, to some degree,' says Torvalds. 'So complaining about the fact that Microsoft picked a selfish area to work on is just silly. Of course they picked an area that helps them. That's the point of open source — the ability to make the code better for your particular needs, whoever the "your" in question happens to be.'"
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Linus Calls Microsoft Hatred "a Disease"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:52PM (#28821421)
    That's the sexiest thing to come from the Linux community in forever.
  • Good for him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndrewBuck (1120597) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:53PM (#28821429)

    I'm no fan of microsoft either however I think Linus really does have the interests of the kernel and the greater linux community at heart. I agree with him that we need to be very careful to make sure there are no potential licensing issues involved here but as long as the lawyers give it a good look and make sure there are no hidden patent claims, etc. then I think there is no reason not to include the code in the kernel.

    -Buck

  • Um, no (Score:1, Insightful)

    by DoktorSeven (628331) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:54PM (#28821443) Homepage Journal

    If hating a company that lies, cheats, and steals its way to the top is a "disease", then I don't want to be well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:56PM (#28821463)

    Not really. Free Software is pretty much entirely about what you're allowed to do with the code. As long as the new code from Microsoft allows the desired freedoms (and it does) there's nothing wrong with it from a Free Software perspective.

  • refreshing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @04:58PM (#28821475)

    It's really refreshing to hear some level headed comments from high profile open source guys once in a while. I tire of all of the "watch out for X!" and "Y are just out to get you!" stories, no matter how relevant they may or may not be.

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:02PM (#28821507)

    I mostly agree with him, but just to be anal (nerdly prerogative)... Stupid, irrational fanboyism isn't really a disease, it's just tribalism. We're apes. We choose some stupid tribe to identify with, be it PS3 or XBox or Windows or Linux or Mac whatever and death to all outsiders. The more underdog the group, the more rabid the members are (Linux, Mac, Amiga). Religion is one of the best, if not the best, strategies for cementing loyalty and killing all competitors, so it shouldn't be a surprise that even something as secular as this takes on strongly religious overtones.

    Not so strangely, as Linux continues to spread its influence the fanbase is getting less stupidly polarized (but then the old guard entrenches further, to combat this 'threat'). Generally this eases up as you get older and your penis stops ruling your brain, but not always.

  • re comments (Score:4, Insightful)

    by freddieb (537771) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:02PM (#28821509)
    Sounds very reasonable. Linus is correct. The point of open source is to do something you need done. Sharing it with others gives you satisfaction and reward. What's wrong with that!
  • What is a disease? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:03PM (#28821523) Journal
    Disease is just your body's way of letting you know that some part of the body is going rotten. Diagnosing something as a disease does not invalidate the cause nor does it cure what is rotten.
  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:03PM (#28821531)

    Their code was released GPLv2, licensing was never an issue that was discussed by anyone remotely informed.

    Now if we want to start arguing over weither or not patent violations could come into play then fine, we can also delve into the whole Embrace Extend Extinguish theory, but at this point we are right back to arguing politics, not technology.

  • +1 for Linus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidR1991 (1047748) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:03PM (#28821533) Homepage

    I don't think I can say anything, other than the fact this confirms my assumptions that Linus is an extremely level-headed, perceptive person.

  • Re:refreshing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gavron (1300111) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:04PM (#28821541)
    It IS refreshing to hear level-headed guys say that the FOSS community will happily accept code from those who won't turn on the community and sue it. Microsoft clearly is NOT one of those entities. They have sued as recently as this year (see FAT32 and TOMTOM) and they have funded other suits in the past years (see SCO vs IBM, www.groklaw.com). Microsoft isn't a "partner". They are the snake you let into your home to embrace, extinguish, and "extend" your neck.

    It would be refreshing to see their decline in sales (http://www.informationweek.com/news/windows/operatingsystems/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218600533) and in share value to continue. They've spent two decades making their bed -- mostly by ripping the feathers off of real contributors like Novell, Digital Equipment Corporation, etc. Let them lie in it.

    E

  • Re:Um, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:06PM (#28821545)

    If hating a company that lies, cheats, and steals its way to the top is a "disease", then I don't want to be well.

    If you hate anything so much that you injure yourself or your cause in the process of avoiding it, then yes, you have a disease.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:10PM (#28821593)

    No no no, the is the opportunity for us to say to Microsoft, look it really isn't that bad, is it? You benefit from open source, other people benefit, and it's a model you can profit from as well.

    MS is scared of open source because it has been seen as a threat. But what if at the end of all of this, MS realizes that giving people the source code, while selling a product and related support, benefits everyone? It will happen slowly, but they are coming around.

    WiX was the first shot, and now they are realizing that helping others helps them. So maybe somewhere down the line, we can get for example explorer.exe source code. Or something else that they give away free - so we can customize and fix bugs instead of whining that it sucks.

    If the "average open source developer" is supposed to hate microsoft, and not evaluate anything simply because it's Microsoft, we're going to have some very out of touch projects and non-interoperable software and an overall loss of quality.

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:11PM (#28821599)

    I generally respect the man, but he's turning into the extreme right rather than just letting things play out. It really isn't up to him to try to influence things in this regard. He should focus on getting other hardware vendors to cooperate and to get other software vendors to write programs and to get the kernel free of exploits--such as the one recently discovered.

    Microsoft has garnered the hatred. Microsoft created the disease. Microsoft is the cancer on software--and I'm sure we all have heard Microsoft claim Linux is a cancer on software.

    What Linus doesn't do, I'm certain of it, is follow what happens in the industry nor has he for a long time. Sure he keeps up on some things but not what counts for the rest of us. If he had he would understand the hatred. He would understand it isn't a disease but it is the world's software immune system kicking in to cure the disease that was let to roam free unchecked for far too long. The disease is really Microsoft.

  • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:12PM (#28821609) Homepage Journal

    I think its quite healthy to dislike ( ok, hate ) an entity whose stated goal is to wipe you from the face of the earth. We arent talking about some bully in a school yard, we are talking about a well funded organized corporation that wants you eradicated..

  • by lxs (131946) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:14PM (#28821619)

    What is he doing in his grave? Last thing I heard he was still alive.

  • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:19PM (#28821659)
    I don't use Microsoft products, and I don't like their corporate agenda, but I don't hate them. It's very counter productive.

    Making ironic jokes here and there is fun, but there are better things to do than hating someone/something.

    As long as I/anybody is actively forced to use Microsoft products, I'm fine with them being around.

    People who don't have a clue about the topic irritate me at times (OSS fanatics and clueless users and OEM's that don't give me choice).
  • by HermMunster (972336) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:21PM (#28821669)

    I don't think we are trying to become a tribe. I think we are trying to undo the decades of abuse Microsoft preyed on us using their monopoly.

    What many of you don't understand here is that Linus has been desperately seeking to have Microsoft write programs for Linux to validate his efforts for at least a decade. He even said that if they do then he's won.

    I think Linus doesn't understand much outside his purview. He hasn't really focused on what affects our pocketbooks, our future, and our goals. We want to have applications and game developers write their product for Linux. But when you have a company that threatens the industry with 235 alleged patent violations and then shuts down OpenGL support, then stacks the deck with DRM (at the core of the OS), and then says that they will kill Linux by such and such a year. Well, there's reason for the hatred. The community wants untainted product so that in the years when Microsoft is in serious decline they can't keep coming back holding a knife to the community's throat in an effort to stave off their own demise (which is inevitable).

    I dislike many things, spinach is one of them, and yet I have a disease because I hate it? Likewise with other foods and other things. I tend to dislike those that rip me off, yet I am suffering a disease due to that dislike?

    The guy really needs to know when to open his mouth and when not to. For instance, he should talk less about disease and more about how to make Linux a better product and to speak with influence to those hardware vendors and software vendors to create an environment where we can just do our own things and not be influenced by Microsoft.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:22PM (#28821677) Homepage

    It is an acquired distaste. The fact is, nearly everyone here who hates Microsoft for various reasons once loved and admired Microsoft. The love was eroded and destroyed by Microsoft's own actions and choices. For me, it was the way it intentionally abused "partners" by various means (especially) including some tactics such as forcing partners to fail in their contracts and then claiming whatever work was done by the partners. In particular, a story about a mobile phone maker who partnered with Microsoft where the agreement was that if the company failed to meet specific terms and deadlines, the partnership would dissolve and Microsoft would claim whatever IP that existed. Well, as it turned out, the other company needed something from Microsoft which it did not deliver, causing the deal to go bad and then Microsoft came in to claim whatever they wanted leaving the other company with nothing. That was a particularly dirty and rather deliberate act on their part and this was no isolated incident... there are others; many others.

    It's not that Linux or any other alternative is a Microsoft "opponent" for many of us. It's that Microsoft is simply evil in much of what they do. They do things that are difficult for many to believe or understand and they most certainly play dirty and illegally.

  • by garcia (6573) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:24PM (#28821693) Homepage

    Microsoft created the disease. Microsoft is the cancer on software--and I'm sure we all have heard Microsoft claim Linux is a cancer on software.

    I used to be like you. I really cared about all the drama that surrounds Microsoft vs Linux and then later, in my mid-twenties and continuing into my thirties, I stopped giving a shit. Why? Because it just doesn't matter anymore. I suggest you listen to Linus' words and take heed. The man is a visionary. He wants you to stop concentrating on the bullshit and start concentrating on what matters--supporting what you want to support.

    I can definitely drink to that and I think I will. Bell's Lager FTW. Cheers.

  • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:27PM (#28821715) Homepage

    Most open source development is a symbiotic relationship between developers. Each developer builds upon others work to create an even better work, often to fill their own needs. Few developers can carry a large project alone, so in that way, each developer relies on each other developer to bring to fruition a complete software product.

    Linus is right in that most OSS development is for selfish reasons, but the net effect is a benefit to the developer community as a whole because of license requirements to share. The result is that each selfish act is inherently beneficial for the community also.

    I don't hate microsoft, but 20 years of watching their actions has led to great distrust. MS has fostered a industry-wide corporate culture that views OSS as broken, untrustable, risky, unsupportable, or otherwise inadequate. Microsoft contributions to OSS projects is rightfully viewed with distrust by many in the OSS community. Their modus operandi for 20 years has been embrace and extinguish, in all areas of their business.

    Is it outlandish to think Microsoft makes contributions to OSS for subversion?

  • Re:refreshing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:35PM (#28821777)

    Except they can't sue for copyright infringement, since its under the GPLv2 just as the rest of the kernel, and while they theoretically could sue over patent infringement, that applies to any and all code more complex than "hello, world", and goes for all companies.

    That's what Linus is warning against, just because you hate them doesn't mean you have to leave your rationality aside.

  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:36PM (#28821779) Journal

    This driver, if I understood it correctly, has no other purpose but to enable a proprietary VM to work with the kernel (correct me if I'm wrong). If I'm right, I see no reason why it should ever be included in it.

    Because more choice is better than less. Isn't that the FOSS way?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:38PM (#28821799)

    If you simply dislike spinach, you don't have a disease. If your dislike of spinach, however, makes you start a massive campaign calling spinach evil and saying nobody should eat it, then yes, you have a disease.

  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:39PM (#28821805) Journal

    Oh, okay. I didn't realise it was "Freedom, but only on our terms". I thought it was just "Freedom".

    My mistake.

  • by paxcoder (1222556) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:45PM (#28821859)
    You're confusing choice with freedom. We are primarily free-software supporters. The software the driver is written for is non-free by any FOSS supporter's standards (weather from free or open camp). There is no benefit regarding the user's freedom (as defined by 4 freedoms - use, copy, study, modify+redistribute) in including the above in the kernel.
  • by dov_0 (1438253) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:45PM (#28821861)

    "That's the sexiest thing to come from the Linux community in forever."

    Which I why I will recite it, but certainly not buy into it. Without the "politics" of defending freedom, technology is reduced to a weapon against freedom.

    Let's face it. Decent code is decent code. Even if it isn't the best code, if it's open sourced and useful enough, someone out there is going to improve on it. Everyone wins. Microsoft isn't all bad either and I actually quite like some of their products. Like, err, ummm. Well... Notepad. And maybe chkdsk. Man I wish they'd open source their NTFS tools from Win7... Leaves the NTFS tools currently available for Linux for dead!

    Politics is there whenever 2 or more humans exist in the same airspace. That has always been and will be in the future. In this case however the politics is largely enclosed in the choice of license. Microsoft has chosen the right license for their product. They'll gain from it and others will no doubt gain from it as well. Hmmm. Net gain in freedom and choice for all. Sounds good to me!

    In the end though, I think that there has to be proprietary software for open source and free software to survive. There also has to be open source and free software for proprietary software to thrive and be pushed to higher standards. Let people choose what they want and decide what their own needs are. With proprietary and OSS/FS growing up alongside each other we have the choice and freedom for that to happen.

  • Re:a disease (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dov_0 (1438253) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:48PM (#28821881)

    Microsoft-hating is a disease that you catch from working with Microsoft products.

    There. Fixed that for you.

  • Re:+1 for Linus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weedhopper (168515) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @05:54PM (#28821925)

    And Linus once again shows why he's the reasonable, rational alternative to Stallman.

  • by derGoldstein (1494129) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:00PM (#28821973) Homepage

    I don't hate microsoft, but 20 years of watching their actions has led to great distrust. MS has fostered a industry-wide corporate culture that views OSS as broken, untrustable, risky, unsupportable, or otherwise inadequate. Microsoft contributions to OSS projects is rightfully viewed with distrust by many in the OSS community. Their modus operandi for 20 years has been embrace and extinguish, in all areas of their business.

    Is it outlandish to think Microsoft makes contributions to OSS for subversion?

    One of the biggest problems with OSS developers is short memory spans. Your description of Microsoft's history in regards to OSS was "diplomatic", moderate, and well-mannered. This is good when addressing people who aren't versed in the ongoing "struggle" between OS and proprietary software.
    I, on the other hand, am willing to sound like the neck-bearded 'FLOSS' hippie:
    MS has called Free Software "a cancer", "unamerican", "implicitly criminal", and "a threat to the economy". It's been practicing *extortion* when dealing with large corporation so that they include no open-source/free software in their stack. They've threatened to sue, and excommunicate companies advocating OSS, and have been slandering free software in an on-going, relentless campaign that any totalitarian regime would be proud of. They have fired *their own employees* who dabbled in OSS. Their FUD tactics have been to keep painting OSS as legally, and commercially unmaintainable.
    The most important thing to remember is: Nothing has changed. They've not changed their stance on the issue, not by a micron. The only change is that they've become more subtle and press-friendly about it.

    I reserve the word "hate" for extreme situations, but I will say that I do not trust Microsoft and will not develop anything that depends on any technology that they maintain, or have significant influence in.

  • Bayes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Onymous Coward (97719) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:01PM (#28821983) Homepage

    It's useful to know when an entity/organization has tendencies. If Microsoft has a history (and/or a nature) that leads you to expect more shitty behavior from them, you have to be smart and act accordingly.

    Hating them for their misbehavior is kind of unreasonable. Having a bad opinion of them without clear reasons (case histories, e.g.) is also irrational. Folks are sometimes driven by bandwagons and general hating, and those are surely diseases.

    Seeing every detractor as a hater is more stupidity.

    I'm just sayin'. Watch your reflexes.

  • by An ominous Cow art (320322) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:11PM (#28822069) Journal

    It is an acquired distaste. The fact is, nearly everyone here who hates Microsoft for various reasons once loved and admired Microsoft.

    I got my first exposure to MS products in 1988. I had no opinion of them either way at the time. Over the last two decades, 'indifference' has turned into a deep contempt and loathing for the company and its products.

    I'm guessing that given who Linus is and what he does for a living, he hasn't worked with MS's crap in quite some time, or else he wouldn't have made the statement he did...

  • by Trerro (711448) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:11PM (#28822071)

    MS released a server product. They recognized that for it to be as profitable as possible, it needed to support Linux, so they produced the drivers to make that happen.

    Result: MS makes more money, Linux is usable on more systems. Everyone's happy.

    Obviously MS only cares about the money part, but who cares as long as:
    1. The code is of sufficient quality. (The reviewers will determine this.)
    2. There's valid reason to include it. (There is.)
    and 3. They're not trying to exert control or otherwise screw with the Linux model (they GPLed this code, so they pretty much can't.)

    There's a LOT of reasons to fear some of MS' moves, especially when it comes to open source, but in this case, we're simply looking at a business decision that happens to be beneficial to all parties involved, so why not just take the code (assuming it doesn't suck) and move on? There are MS decisions that need to be fought, but I really, really, don't think this one of them.

  • by John Betonschaar (178617) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:14PM (#28822095)

    That sounds pretty ridiculous if you ask me. The Intel i8x0 graphics and sound drivers (just to name some drivers that are supposedly 'free' and 'open') are in the kernel to be able to use Intel graphics and sound chips. Last time I checked these weren't 'free' in any sense (you have to buy the chips and the IC designs are not open/free), so I fail to see why a 'free' driver for 'non-free' software would have to be excluded from the linux kernel.

    Then again, I always get lost when people go over the top in their RMS-like fetish for 'pure and unquestionable freeness' of all the bits and pieces running on their systems. It's just like with the Nvidia binary-only drivers. Finally a leading GPU company decided to offer full support for their hardware, not watered down and on par with the feature set supported on Windows, and still people complain how the source code isn't open. Of course it would be nice if every piece of software and hardware on earth was 'free', but things aren't like that, just live with it. It's not like we have attained world peace, eliminated poverty and created an ecologically sustainable world economy yet, but that doesn't mean initiatives to get closer, even a little bit, are impure, wrong and should be rejected because they aren't perfect or don't apply to yourself.

  • Re:refreshing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ruie (30480) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:15PM (#28822123) Homepage

    Except they can't sue for copyright infringement, since its under the GPLv2 just as the rest of the kernel, and while they theoretically could sue over patent infringement, that applies to any and all code more complex than "hello, world", and goes for all companies.

    That's what Linus is warning against, just because you hate them doesn't mean you have to leave your rationality aside.

    And I distinctly remember some nice level headed comments that Linus made about Bitkeeper. We know how that turned out.

    Microsoft got the reputation they have for a reason and "hatred" is merely an accumulation of experience of many people. It is not our fault it is very negative.

  • Re:I disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:18PM (#28822155)

    Microsoft's /goal/ is to make money. That's what corporations do. Now, Linux was a threat to their profits, and so they reasonably sought to get rid of that threat. Now someone realized that they can, in fact, get more profit from the server side of things if Linux ran better on their host. So, they worked toward that end, which included writing GPL'd software. Their goal isn't to be the only OS, it's to be the OS people buy. Linux has every right to compete with Windows, and they have every right to compete back. Why can't success be judged by people's choices, rather than arbitrarily stated definitions of "freedom"? If someone values free-software freedom enough to pay (in time, training, whatever) for Linux instead of Windows, then they will. I do; and I love Linux. But seriously, Microsoft is a company, not a big scary monster. Lay off.

  • Re:Um, no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by derGoldstein (1494129) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:23PM (#28822197) Homepage

    Microsoft is an easy target; at times they appear to actually strive to be one. Nevertheless, geeks are supposed to be about tech, not religion. :)

    How about "freedom", "law", and "standards"? Does that count as "religion"? If I want to partake in the usage and development of new technology, should I give up a part of my freedom in order to do so, because I'm a geek?
    Sure, MS can't cut off my air supply or electricity (yet), but they can cut off, or change, or add draconian conditions to the platform I'm working on, as long as I'm working on it.

    Check out this Silverlight stuff -- it's great isn't it? It's cross-platform and everything. What happens if MS decides to charge for development tools for Silverlight one day? Or decides to change the "standard" so that you've forced to migrate to the new set of tools they've developed, which doesn't add much, but it does make you buy new software.

    I'll be the type of geek that avoids having his chain yanked in order to satisfy a company's commercial needs.

  • by Svartalf (2997) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:32PM (#28822257) Homepage

    I'd have to concur with your position. I don't hate Microsoft, but I do distrust them and do remember all the things they have said done in the past regarding FOSS. I'm not going to not accept their contributions (albeit along with making a few jokes about Hell having froze over and pigs flying...more because of their past positions than about anything else...), but in the same breath, I don't think they're even close to having convinced me that they're doing it for what they said they were- or that they're now even remotely members of the FOSS community as a whole. Linus is sort of right in that it's a problem with the "hatred"- but in the same breath, I strongly think Microsoft has wholly earned the dislike and distrust that is showing with their two releases.

    There really is no call for calling them "Microshaft", "Micro$oft", and the like- they might deeply and truly deserve that, yes, but it reflects poorly on yourself and the community when you do it.

    But, in the same vein, there is no good reason to even give them the time of day past thanking them for their contributions and going on. This ISN'T them any more changing their tune than them "changing it" over the last 4 or so years.

  • Re:refreshing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:42PM (#28822329) Homepage Journal

    Except they can't sue for copyright infringement, since its under the GPLv2 just as the rest of the kernel, and while they theoretically could sue over patent infringement, that applies to any and all code more complex than "hello, world", and goes for all companies.

    Actually they (probably) can't (successfully) sue over patents, because by distributing under GPLv2 they've already granted infinite-downstream permission to run/use/tweak what they distributed. Which logically must include permission to use any patents they might have that would cover what they distributed.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:44PM (#28822341)

    Because more choice is better than less. Isn't that the FOSS way?

    Not really. Choice is the Open Source way. Free is the Free Software way.

    "FOSS" is a sort of amalgam of two similar, but fundamentally different, philosophies.

  • by rattaroaz (1491445) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:46PM (#28822355)
    Making fun of someone else's philosophy through personal attacks is not new, and I don't agree that it is particularly insightful either. And making sacrifices to freedom for the sake of convenience is certainly understandable, but it doesn't seem to be a very powerful argument against an opposing philosophy, nor does that seem particularly insightful either. I respect your position, and I make similar sacrifices to my freedom every day, but to me, I find that more of a problem and a personal dilemma, rather than a strength.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:46PM (#28822363)

    You're confusing choice with freedom.

    I laughed. Hard.

    And, apparently, missed the point.

    Freedom is the ability to take action. Choice is the ability to choose from options. You can have a million non-free choices, or just one truly free choice. The two might seem similar, but really are not.

    Semantically, you might confuse the issue by stating "freedom is the ability to choose what you want to do", but that's not the context here. Choice isn't being used to refer to the options of what you can do with something, but the ability to choose from various distinct somethings.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @06:55PM (#28822437)

    That sounds pretty ridiculous if you ask me. The Intel i8x0 graphics and sound drivers (just to name some drivers that are supposedly 'free' and 'open') are in the kernel to be able to use Intel graphics and sound chips. Last time I checked these weren't 'free' in any sense (you have to buy the chips and the IC designs are not open/free), so I fail to see why a 'free' driver for 'non-free' software would have to be excluded from the linux kernel.

    What's ridiculous is not seeing a difference between software and hardware. The FSF is the Free Software Foundation for a reason.

    Then again, I always get lost when people go over the top in their RMS-like fetish for 'pure and unquestionable freeness' of all the bits and pieces running on their systems.

    Stallman has made it abundantly clear that his view isn't that you must use only free software, but that you should use free software when there is an actual free alternative. In the case you mentioned about sound chips, there are no free sound chips (or if there are, they aren't reasonably available on motherboards). In that case, while he would wish it didn't have to be the case, Stallman would state that it's OK (in his view) to use the non-free sound chip.

    While I don't follow the same ideals, they do seem much more reasonable than people seem to believe.

    It's just like with the Nvidia binary-only drivers. Finally a leading GPU company decided to offer full support for their hardware, not watered down and on par with the feature set supported on Windows, and still people complain how the source code isn't open.

    That's not "full support". It's only partial support. Full support, for a free software advocate, would be for the driver itself to be free. Freedom is a feature of a free operating system, and the Nvidia drivers do not support that feature.

    Of course it would be nice if every piece of software and hardware on earth was 'free', but things aren't like that, just live with it. It's not like we have attained world peace, eliminated poverty and created an ecologically sustainable world economy yet, but that doesn't mean initiatives to get closer, even a little bit, are impure, wrong and should be rejected because they aren't perfect or don't apply to yourself.

    I always sense a bit of hypocrisy in someone who says "quit complaining about something you don't like", in a post where they are complaining about something they don't like.

    Why do you get to complain about Stallman, or free software advocates in general, but they don't get to complain about non-free software?

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:04PM (#28822515)

    Do you honestly believe the whole open source movement depends on people uniting around a hatred for Microsoft, as opposed to sharing a love for innovation and technology?

    As a relatively neutral observer on this forum (my favorite OS was Mac OS 9.2.2 to give you an idea), it seems to me that the Linux community *is* based around hatred for Microsoft. Look at all the paranoid anti-Microsoft loons on this board who won't change their minds even after their greatest idol says they're acting stupid.

    Maybe Slashdot isn't representative of the Linux community, but if it's not-- what is?

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:06PM (#28822535)

    And "celebrities" are no different, apparently.

    After all that Microsoft did, does, and will probably always do, the hatred for Microsoft is completely rightful and perfectly founded on those actions.

    It's like calling it "a disease" to call a murderer and mass scammer what he is, just because some of it was some time ago, and some of it is still happening, but more or less sneaky.
    If that someone got what he deserved, then it's acceptable to stop the hatred. But not before that.

    I will treat Microsoft for exactly what they are, as long as it takes go give them their rightful punishment.
    And it's not only Microsoft. By far. MS looks like a joke in the light of criminal giants like Monsanto & the rest chemical industry, the defense industry, RIAA/MPAA, etc. But still, they are close followers.

    Inform yourself, before you mod this comment. *Really* inform yourself. There are many lists out there about what Microsoft did.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:27PM (#28822661)
    You're wrong. The hate isn't rightful and deserved if it goes way too far, far beyond the what the actual facts support. It get away from the realm of disciplined intelligent discourse and into fanaticism. Hate in general is not justified as it is not sign a rational state of intellect.

    The problem is of course, once you get fanatical prosetlyzing microsoft haters spouting outright misinformation, it actually starts work against backwards against getting any change from MS.

    So there are lists out there of what Microsoft has done? Link pls? Well I'd like to point out that MS is not the only bad guy, do you want a list of what Apple or Sony do? What Novell, SCO and Sun have done?

    I'm sorry but where are these benevolent mega corporates that we are comparing to? Google?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:31PM (#28822687)

    You will never use open source? Better switch off the internet then.

    And while you're at it uninstall firefox, chrome, 7zip, vlc and all those other useful little bits and bobs that have made it onto your windows box but somehow don't count as "adult".

    I've assumed you're running windows, if you're running Mac, you'll have to remove the kernel.

    good luck with that.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:32PM (#28822691) Homepage

    Hatred of Microsoft has nothing at all to do with the virtue of the alternatives. If there was nothing but Microsoft anything to use, Microsoft would still be hated. Bell telephone was quite hated when there were no alternatives simply because of the abuses it put people through. Microsoft is an extremely abusive company and hasn't faced competition is nearly 20 years. Linux isn't a challenger and wasn't born of hating Microsoft either. Microsoft and those who love, support and admire Microsoft might see all others as challengers, but that is not truly where why others exist or have existed. In fact, that particular view is one of the reasons why Microsoft is so contemptible. They tend to view everyone and everything else as a challenger and do whatever they can to keep then down. Linux started as a school project, for god's sake. OS/2 was born of IBM with the enlisted help of Microsoft before Microsoft ripped off IBM. Apple..? You tell me why Apple has never made it into the business enterprise despite its quality and serious users. DR-DOS existed because someone thought they could do it better... and pretty much did until Microsoft wrote Windows in such a way that it denied DR-DOS access. The list is longer than I know to be sure. But none of them existed as an "enemy" of Microsoft... it's just that Microsoft saw them that way and attacked.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:43PM (#28822753)

    When you're dealing with the fallout of various microsoft tech failures at work around you, buggy worm ridden OS, buggy worm ridden web server, buggy non compliant browser, etc. it's hard to remain professional. It was OK to mess with DOM implementations in IE4's day but not IE7. >/

  • by MpVpRb (1423381) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @07:53PM (#28822801)

    Believe it or not, Microsoft has done a lot to make the computing world better.

    Anybody remember color monitors before Windows? It seemed like everybody used a different standard. You had to pick your hardware based on what your software supported. And not all software supported all hardware. Same with printers.

    Whatever you may say about Windows, at least it set a standard.

    And yes...I am often annoyed/angered/disappointed by some of Microsoft's policies. I often humorously threaten to "quit programming, move to Idaho, and raise potatoes" as a result of Microsoft decisions. My latest sore spot is their decision to lock out hobbyists from kernel mode driver development. Sometimes, a kernel mode driver is the only way to solve a problem.

  • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:08PM (#28822883) Journal

    He said no such thing.

    He did say exactly that. He said "We don't consider that free".

    I know what the purpose of the code is - but I'm telling you that being allowed to run proprietary code is a freedom, which paxcoder clearly disagrees with, hence why I distinguished between his definition of freedom and what could be considered absolute freedom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:11PM (#28822909)

    Philosophies?!? Dude, it's software, try to gain some perspective.

    Free = anything that can be used without monetary cost.
    Open source = anything that can be modified without monetary cost.

    Much simpler and much easier to deal with and it doesn't try to redefine terms like all of this nonsense of "Free Software" does. Free means "without cost", nothing more, nothing less.

  • by rattaroaz (1491445) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:28PM (#28823005)
    I gently disagree. Maybe we are just arguing semantics though. Freedom is not choice. Choice is a result of freedom, and there really is no such thing as "freedom of choice." Freedom, in American terms, is a result of "God granted" rights. (I am an atheist, but I still understand the point). The rights being, among others, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights are responsibilities that the individual has to protect and live by. Therefore, you are NOT free to sell your vote (in America). That is lack of choice, but you cannot give up your responsibility, and that responsiblity is liberty/freedom. You always have choice, and you always have ability to take action. You CAN physically sell your vote, but that is not consistent with the concept of freedom. Therefore, freedom is the result of having your rights protected. Choice is simply what you want to do. When freedom exists, you certainly have more choices, but ultimately, freedom is a responsiblity, not a choice.
  • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:30PM (#28823019) Homepage

    No, it's a lie that not even Torvalds believes.

    In 2005 Torvalds chose the politics of siding with Bitkeeper proprietor Larry McVoy over fellow coder Andrew Tridgell when Tridgell dared to write an interoperating program that was compatible with Bitkeeper API. Tridgell had figured out that by telneting to a Bitkeeper repository server and typing "help" he could get a list of relevant commands. Torvalds took McVoy's side saying Tridgell "screwed people over [theregister.co.uk]" blaming Tridgell for somehow causing McVoy to no longer allow Torvalds to use the proprietary software source code manager (as opposed to recognizing that as McVoy's choice as it was). Torvalds' arguments against software freedom come off badly for multiple reasons including how often Linux kernel hackers leverage their software freedom to continue improving that kernel. In this case where Microsoft contributes Linux code, it seems prudent to consider if a self-declared enemy of FLOSS would contribute a trojan horse to a prominent program. But this is not a consideration one can take if one views code only in terms of code quality and developmental efficiency. Given how much proprietary software is in Torvalds' fork of the Linux kernel (I'm sure the Linux-libre project can tell you all the details) it seems clear that Torvalds is not as concerned with licenses as the /. quote would indicate. Nor is Torvalds apparently concerned with his users' freedom to know what code is in that fork of Linux.

    The phrase "technology over politics" is also a naive position to take: it tries to frame technology and politics as non-overlapping things. In the real world no collaboration is free of politics, that includes technological collaboration. The reason the open source movement exists is because its founders wanted to break away from the older free software movement over a disagreement on politics. The open source movement argues for a technocratic developmental method aimed primarily at benefiting businesses, while the free software movement fights for social solidarity, community, and specific freedoms for all computer users.

    Generally, Torvalds gets way more press than he deserves on politics. His views on the proper approach to solving certain problems with the Linux kernel might be well worth one's time to understand and abide by (particularly if one wishes to get their code into his fork of the Linux kernel). But his views in computer-related politics are so often wrong (either in framing the issue or in the side he takes) one wonders why anyone would bother to give him such heed.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:37PM (#28823081) Homepage Journal

    There really is no call for calling them "Microshaft", "Micro$oft", and the like- they might deeply and truly deserve that, yes, but it reflects poorly on yourself and the community when you do it.

    Practically every one of us called Compuserve "Compu$erve" back in the day. Microsoft charges too much for an inferior product. The name Micro$oft is a part of geek history and an indelible entry in the lexicon. When you badmouth people who put a dollar sign in Microsoft's name, you're doing Microsoft's work for them. I hope you're getting paid, because that's otherwise ridiculous.

  • by Draek (916851) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @08:41PM (#28823109)

    I'm sorry, I know I'm gonna sound like a Free Software zealot and a member of the Cult of St. IGNUcius here, but please bear with me.

    Yes, its outlandish to think Microsoft makes this contribution for subversion because Richard M. Stallman has made it his main purpose in life to grant us a tool to prevent that from happening, and has fought hard for it. And that tool is the GPL.

    Simply put, the "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy only works if you can keep your extensions from your competitors, and preventing that is *exactly* the main point of the GPL so as long as their contributions are under it we have nothing(*) to fear, be it from Microsoft or anyone else.

    (*) except software patents, but due to the way its designed the only way to ever be safe from patent litigation is to abolish the patent system altogether. And in fact accepting code from Microsoft helps us a bit since trolls have a much bigger target to strike at.

  • Re:+1 for Linus (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rohan972 (880586) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @09:51PM (#28823489)

    I don't think I can say anything, other than the fact this confirms my assumptions that Linus is an extremely level-headed, perceptive person.

    Yes, his level headed approach to using bitkeeper proved that. Despite all the anti-proprietary software hype, it was a good choice and it wasn't taken away, despite the closed licence.

    Oh, wait a minute ....

  • by putaro (235078) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @10:20PM (#28823653) Journal

    What's ridiculous is not seeing a difference between software and hardware. The FSF is the Free Software Foundation for a reason.

    What's the difference? Free as in beer doesn't work so well for hardware but the whole point of the FSF is to give you the ability to modify your computer to meet your needs.

    Hardware can be "free as in speech" and older hardware tended to be, at least as far as the interface definition went. Modern hardware is orders of magnitude more complex than early 90's hardware and the documentation for hardware interfaces has largely gone the way of the dodo - partly for competitive reasons but also partly because the cost of producing that documentation is high and the number of consumers for it is small.

    Open source drivers show how the hardware is interfaced with and are very useful to the subset of people who like to tinker with their hardware.

  • by Chrisje (471362) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @10:47PM (#28823769)

    You're confusing choice with freedom.

    I laughed. Hard.

    That's funny because I had a tendency to cry. I always end up in Freedom discussions with Americans in particular. I come from Holland. This means that as soon as you hit 18 you can choose to smoke dope, frequent hookers, drink alcohol (that's from 16, really), eat shrooms, vote, have sex (that's from 16, really), have same sex sex, marry someone of any gender, have an abortion, commit euthanasia in a pinch and convert to any or no religion.

    Yet we are a social-democracy. According to many Americans this seems to equal a Socialist or even Communist State. In spite of all the choices we have, we're reputed not to be "free". When I then urge these individuals to consider the range of choices they have and from what age, they tend to shrug their shoulders and tell me they're right anyhow.

    The reason I bring this up in this discussion is that religious zeal, no matter what area of life it is directed at, does not listen to reason and logic. You will never get the guy who's telling you that "You're confusing choice with freedom" to see any kind of light ever.

    So while I really appreciate Linus' comments on hating MicroSoft, and while I agree to his sentiment completely, there will always be these induhviduals who burrow down into their trenches about this topic even if there's really no war to speak of.

  • Re:What? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2009 @11:02PM (#28823877)

    A large majority of the Linux movement does, in fact, depend on people uniting around hatred of Microsoft. It's one of the defining differences between the Linux and BSD communities.

    Indeed: unlike Linux community, which has people united around hatred of Microsoft, the BSD one is united around hatred of Linux (and, in general, everything GPL'd).

  • Re:+1 for Linus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @11:05PM (#28823897) Journal

    Linus isn't an "alternative" to Stallman. Linus is a brilliant software engineer who's been successfully leading one of the most prominent software projects of our time. He's not a messianic fuhrer figure with a follower cult, and I've never seen him pretending to be one.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Saturday July 25, 2009 @11:05PM (#28823901) Journal

    But why does anybody listen to RMS anymore? Here we see Linus giving a quite thoughtful and logical answer, which he usually does, meanwhile we have RMS coming out for crazy copyright lengths [slashdot.org] because it helps his idea of "free software". And finally let us not forget that RMS thinks it is perfectly acceptable behavior to sit on stage during a lecture, pull off his fricking socks, and EAT TOE CHEESE [youtube.com] right there on the stage!!!

    Look, I'll be the first to admit that the work he did in the 1980s was VERY important in establishing the FOSS movement. But that was decades ago people. And anybody who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to pull his socks off in the middle of a lecture and eat toe funk is somebody I think we can all agree with is a few bubbles off of plumb. If we have to have a figurehead or a major voice for FLOSS, like Bill for MSFT or Steve for Apple, let it be Linus. He is incredibly smart, his answers are nearly always thought provoking without the major attitude that RMS displays (who refuses to give interviews unless you agree to use "His words" like only referring to Linux as GNULinux) and no matter which side of the free/proprietary divide you stand on Linus is able to make good points without the bad attitude.

    So while I say we should respect RMS for his past contributions to FOSS, frankly he hurts a lot more than he helps anymore. Hell if I wanted to sell enterprise Windows or OSX all I would have to do is trot a video of Bill or Steve giving some heavy lecture and play that video of "Mr. Toe Cheese" side by side and say "Now which guy do YOU want having major pull on the licensing and direction the software that YOUR company is betting its business life on? Here we have Bill Gates talking File Systems and licensing issues, we have Steve Jobs on design and his "it just works" philosophy, and here we have RMS eating foot funk." The guy just becomes more "out there" every year, and with many in the Linux community wanting to see Linux become as mainstream as Windows and OSX, he certainly don't help the cause folks.

  • by gnupun (752725) on Saturday July 25, 2009 @11:50PM (#28824125)

    Jesus christ freedom is fucking complicated.

    No kidding. When faced with explaining the unpleasant truth how OSS reduces choice (by wiping out small software companies) and therefore freedom, OSS fanbois have to redefine freedom. Let's face it, consumers don't give a rat's ass about source code -- it looks like noise to them (heck, even most geeks can't add their own feature to the OSS code). If doing something important they are going to do for months or years, few consumers will haggle over $0 vs. $50. They want something that works and does what they want it to do. All OSS fans really care about is destroying the evil, closed-source software world.

    Closed-source software promotes competition and a wide variety of programs because your competitor's code is not available to you and there's the profit motive. Variety in OSS comes from the same software forked N ways. There really is no incentive to create more versions of a successful OSS program -- there's no profit involved. By comparison, a successful closed-source product results in dozens of competitors vying for some marketshare. More products, more freedom, more convenience.

  • by jbellows_20 (913680) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @12:16AM (#28824239) Homepage
    This driver, if I understood it correctly, has no other purpose but to enable a proprietary VM to work with the kernel (correct me if I'm wrong). If I'm right, I see no reason why it should ever be included in it.

    This seems like very odd logic as if followed through, we shouldn't allow any drivers into the kernel. Every driver in the kernel has the express purpose of making a proprietary piece of hardware work in Linux, whether coded by the manufacturer or not. The truth behind your statement is exactly what Linus was referring to, the "M$ Disease." Simply because it is Microsoft you feel the complete and utter need to bash it. No rhyme or reason. Defies all logic. It just must be done.

    This is a great step for the Linux community. I doubt very few people would believe that Microsoft would ever become a contributor to the Linux kernel. They have made an investment now in Linux. That is quite monumental. Those 20,000 lines of code weren't free and they will likely be continued to be maintained. This is an exciting time!
  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @01:14AM (#28824511)

    It's not a question of freedom. If MS's stuff worked half as well as unix I wouldn't care.

    Ah, funny, I say the same thing about Linux. Particularly after spending numerous hours trying to get something working Linux that takes a few mouse clicks in Windows or OS X (recent examples: multiple monitors and docking stations, and reliably sharing a mobile broadband connection).

  • by microbee (682094) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @04:41AM (#28825327)

    You don't have to trust Microsoft. That doesn't mean you can't trust their code. That's the whole point of GPL and open source: you don't need to trust who wrote it. Once it's contributed, it's not owned by Microsoft anymore.

  • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @05:00AM (#28825391)

    I think there are two separate things: rational dislike of Microsoft, and irrational hatred of Microsoft. Bot exist, and are distinct - and you will see both on /. I think that Torvalds, as the figurehead for Linux, hears more of the foaming irrational hatred than, perhaps, you do, and is responding to that. There are people who have suggested rejecting Microsoft's OSS contribution purely on the grounds that they are from Microsoft - that is the hatred side. The dislikers would accept any good quality, proprely licenced code - as Torvalds has done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2009 @05:30AM (#28825503)

    And, apparently, missed the point.

    Freedom is the ability to take action. Choice is the ability to choose from options. You can have a million non-free choices, or just one truly free choice. The two might seem similar, but really are not.

    You mean, like "some freedoms are more free than others"?

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday July 26, 2009 @05:57AM (#28825615) Journal

    Thanks it has been awhile since I actually had to look up an argument. Notice how quick the RMS zealots downmodded me, that is funny as shit. I've got karma all day baby!

    Lets be honest here folks, image matters! Does anybody actually believe that Steve Jobs is sitting there in some workshop cooking up the next iGadget? NO! But the man has presence and style, and he brings a level of cool to the company. Same as Bill had that "evil supernerd" thing going on. So who do we see all over the place representing Linux? RMS. linus has always been more low key and probably doesn't get 1/5th the press of RMS. So yeah, the fact that he thinks eating toe junk on fricking stage is cool matters. The fact that he won't give interviews unless you speak "RMS language" matters. Hell the guy even calls himself a squatter on the MIT campus [wikipedia.org]. And finally you want relevant? How about this: Linux, whose big selling point is how well it works with the web, is taking pointers from a guy who doesn't actually browse the web [lunduke.com].

    Look, just because a guy once upon a time did something great does not make him a savior or expert now. Hell even Linus won't put the kernel under GPL V3 because he believes that RMS has pushed it too far. Bill and Steve couldn't ask for a better spokesman for Linux if they tried. The man just gets farther and farther from mainstream every single damned day. So the Linux guys need to ask themselves a question: Do you want a shot at the title? or do you wanna stay a niche? Because RMS is a guy that wouldn't even allow the wireless on his OLPC because it didn't have a driver that matched his "four freedoms".

    And finally any guy who would allow himself to be quoted saying this [stallman.org] does NOT need to be looked upon as a major spokesman for Linux "I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.". Ooooookay. Seriously, how much fucking creepier does the man have to get before the community stops listening to this dude? Notice I don't hide behind Anon coward. I don't because I think Linus is a MUCH better spokesman and once everyone stops treating RMS as all that and a bag of chips the better. RMS does nothing now but hurt the cause, especially with crap pouring out of his mouth like the above.

  • by k2r (255754) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @06:49AM (#28825803)

    In spite of all the choices we have, we're reputed not to be "free".

    That's because of your socialized healthcare. Being really free obviously means letting a significant portion of your poplation suffer.

    Ã¥âΩAnd you should have a neonazi-party, otherwise you don't have freedom of speech. But I see, you made progress in this, so there's still hope :-)

    "Freedom" is a marketing-thing in the US as is "christian" or "low-fat".

  • by PReDiToR (687141) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @07:20AM (#28825907) Homepage Journal
    That brings to mind Lord Vetinari's definition of choice that Reacher Gilt truly believed in at the end of "Going Postal".
  • by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @10:05AM (#28826625) Journal

    It's not exactly fair to pin the blame for lack of choice exclusively on open source software. There are other factors as well. For one, we (often) have proprietary software competing in the same field, sucking up the market share from smaller enterprises. There's also the free market, which, while providing many benefits, naturally favours more popular products (like OSS), and can't sustain less popular products (like some small proprietary software). Finally, there are the people who, thanks to their being given a choice, have chosen the cheaper yet completely functional alternative to small proprietary software. It's a combination of these factors that cause small proprietary software developers to go out of business.

    In fact, similar processes occur in every market, where a competitor arrives in a market with a different way of doing things, that produces similar products for cheaper, and then people start to prefer their products over the competition. Then the competition have the choice to either adapt or close shop. So, yes, a few choices die along the way, and the freedom of choice is devalued slightly, but then other products pop up, and people are given new choices to replace the old. The dead competitors are not typically mourned, because their market share was obviously too small, or their product too inferior to the new competitor's, for them to survive. The same principles apply to OSS; old companies die because, well, people just didn't like them as much as the OSS alternative.

    Let's face it, consumers don't give a rat's ass about source code -- it looks like noise to them (heck, even most geeks can't add their own feature to the OSS code).

    Having access to the code is not merely about modification or copying features; it's about trust. If you have a copy of the code, then chances are many other people, including some who have the skills necessary to read or modify code, have read the code (in accumulation) and have verified that it doesn't contain malicious code. Of course, it's not fool-proof, but in the days of silent phoning home, and bundled rootkits from big brand, or trusted sources, it doesn't exactly hurt.

    If doing something important they are going to do for months or years, few consumers will haggle over $0 vs. $50.

    $50 isn't a lot for software like that, but it does make a difference. With that $50, you could buy another piece of software to do a different function, while still retaining the services of the original software. Or you could rely on OSS for that as well, and spend it on something else yet again!

    But, then again you may be right; maybe people are just as happy to fork over $50 than to fork out nothing. That's the beauty of free market; the market can decide for itself.

    All OSS fans really care about is destroying the evil, closed-source software world.

    Well, I for one, am an OSS fan, but I happily use closed-source software, and I have no problem with them existing. I think they provide a valuable alternative to OSS, and vice versa. I will readily admit that there are many proprietary software packages that OSS hasn't managed to equal (without mentioning any names and starting a flamewar). What makes OSS worthy of my fandom is its ability to make something out of nothing (financial). The price is certainly right! But of course, I'm not averse to paying for certain software packages, e.g. Finale, that fulfil my needs better than any OSS packages. I know many other OSS fans who feel the same.

    Closed-source software promotes competition and a wide variety of programs because your competitor's code is not available to you and there's the profit motive

    It's true that if your code is locked down, you get a larger variety of code. However, there's also a darker side to this. It means that developers need to code the same functions independently, which requires large amounts of r

  • "... foaming irrational hatred..."

    That makes sense. However, it is only one thought deep. Carry the analysis to the next level: What is Microsoft doing that causes many people to dislike the company, and is so intense that some people become irrational?

    Remember, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia became irrational, also, during a famous anti-trust case against Microsoft. He violated "... the Code of Conduct for US Judges.[13]" [wikipedia.org].

    Why did a United States District Court Judge become irrational? Perhaps because of numerous continued abuses by Microsoft. Some examples, drawn from the Wikipedia article:

    "In the videotaped demonstration of what Microsoft vice president James Allchin's stated to be a seamless segment filmed on one PC, the plaintiff noticed that some icons mysteriously disappear and reappear on the PC's desktop, suggesting that the effects might have been falsified.[6]"

    Another example: "Brad Chase, a Microsoft vice president, verified the government's tape and conceded that Microsoft's own tape was falsified.[8]"

    Another example: "When the judge ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows which did not include Internet Explorer, Microsoft responded that the company would offer manufacturers a choice: one version of Windows that was obsolete, or another that did not work properly."

    There are many, many, many examples of Microsoft being abusive during that trial, and before and after.

    This is a fact: When presented with repeated abuses, some people will be pushed beyond their ability to be rational, and will become irrational. Mr. Torvalds apparently did not carry his analysis deeply enough to realize that a common social effect will not be lessened by him speaking in an overly simplified manner, a manner that considers the results, but ignores the stimulus.

    What is the effect of Mr. Torvalds apparently giving the subject a shallow analysis? As I said, I think the effect is to publicize dislike of Microsoft, not to stop it.

    Very unfortunately, it seems to me that Mr. Torvalds also again established himself as socially shallow, and therefore again made it more difficult for him to lead. I am very sympathetic to his position, in which it is extraordinarily difficult for him to do all that is required of him. But Mr. Torvalds made his life more difficult by his statements, and the world should not want that, because the world needs his leadership.

    Will Microsoft, because of continued abuses, once again succeed in overloading and partly neutralizing someone who is interested in counteracting those abuses, and providing the world an alternative?
  • by Xabraxas (654195) on Sunday July 26, 2009 @11:49AM (#28827387)

    That makes sense. However, it is only one thought deep. Carry the analysis to the next level: What is Microsoft doing that causes many people to dislike the company, and is so intense that some people become irrational?

    I think you missed the point. Irrational hatred doesn't have a reason, that's why it's irrational. Looking for a reason for the hatred is as useless as looking for a reason why people deny the moon landing or the holocaust. The only reason is a lack of rationality.

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