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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 09:26:12 -0500

"Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message news:qCDfl.215344$2w3.56341@newsfe19.iad...
amicus_curious wrote:
It is still a joke. What firmware or software have you personally ever bothered to examine, change, or share? The whole idea is preposterous.

I haven't, but at <>
you can find that many people have been modifying their TiVos, and at
you can find people who have read, changed, and shared GPLed software
on a router, just as the FSF envisions.

I don't read it that way. In my view it is perfectly OK to share interesting information among hobbyist bretheren who delight in experimenting with their stuff as in the Tivo and router discussions. I think that this kind of activity will go on simply because it is fun for the participants to do so. They care not for any licensing or other restrictions.

The FSF, on the other hand, has a philosophy that essentially mandates the disclosure of one's innovations in software applications and design. Of course they would be laughed out of any serious consideration if that was the end of their efforts. But they have glomed onto the idea that anyone extending the utility of something that someone else disclosed is obligated to disclose the extensions if the result is distributed. Now that idea has some merit with a sort of quid pro quo that seems reasonable at first look. If that were the only result of the GPL, it wouldn't be so obnoxious and might have more support. The SFLC and FSF now are harassing companies who are merely using the GPL products as is, though, and confusing the situation to no end.

My company, and I am sure most others of any size, have a strict regulation for product developers to submit any contemplated used of open source software elements within out products to a legal department committee for review and approval. The net effect is that nothing in that vein ever gets into the shipping products due to the caveats attached by the lawyers. If it were a truly free and open situation, such as the MIT license or freeBSD license, I think there would be much more sharing.

Notice that it only takes a handful of people to make the improvements,
which can then be shared by many others who don't have the skills to do
it themselves. That's what free software aims to accomplish, and that
you find it preposterous says more about you than about the FSF.

Are you saying that I am a greedy sort bent on denying pleasure to the poor, tired, and hungry masses yearning for free stuff? That is hardly the case. I am just sick and tired of the noise surrounding what I think is an unimportant issue. It is like watching the Congress arguing about abortion and stem cell research while Fannie Mae wrecks the econonomy.

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