On the future of Open Source thought leadership

On the future of Open Source thought leadership

Summary: After over a decade of being in the shadow of the Free Software movement and 30 years of its inflexible dogmatic principles, disruptive new Open Source thought leadership is emerging that is truly able to compromise with the realistic needs of business and end-users without carrying the baggage of strict adherence to an ideology that is by definition a culture of exclusion. (artwork by Spidermonkey, Inc.


After over a decade of being in the shadow of the Free Software movement and 30 years of its inflexible dogmatic principles, disruptive new Open Source thought leadership is emerging that is truly able to compromise with the realistic needs of business and end-users without carrying the baggage of strict adherence to an ideology that is by definition a culture of exclusion. (artwork by Spidermonkey, Inc.)

My last article on Richard M. Stallman's verbal attack on Miguel de Icaza and his continuing crusade against anyone who doesn't fit the mold of the Free Software community seems to have struck a chord with those who sympathize with that movement's ideals to the point of driving them to utter histrionics, unjustified hero worship and irrational thought.

Since then, there have been further dust-ups. Stallman, rather than clarify or deny his "traitor" statement that some have posited was simply hearsay, has published a paranoid rant on the supposed machinations of the new CodePlex Foundation without giving the organization the benefit of proving itself, and has added further gasoline to the flames by calling De Icaza a "Apologist", in reference to his cooperation with Microsoft in joining the CodePlex Foundation and his embracing of Microsoft-originated technologies through the creation of the .NET-compatible, GPL-Licensed Open Source development framework, Mono.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Finally, after years of staying out of the ideological and political fray and strictly choosing to pursue his software development interests, Miguel de Icaza rightfully decided he had enough of Stallman's boorishness, ad hominem attacks and fear-mongering, and published a response on his blog.

What we are witnessing here is the making of the new Thought Leadership of Open Source and ushering in a new age of Open Source pragmatism, as my colleague at CNET, Matt Asay, best describes it. Those of us who are Open Source evangelists use Open Source software because it is practical and useful to do so, not due to an inherent ideological need to do so.

Open Source and Free Software are thought by many individuals to be the same or have similar philosophies, given that they share software licenses that they have in common, but the overall tone of the two movements are very different indeed. The fact that the General Public License, version 3, the preferred software license of the Free Software Foundation happens to be a conforming Open Source license has added to the confusion that Free Software and Open Source are the same thing. Again, they aren't.

By definition and in practice, as Richard Stallman would have you observe it, Free Software must be "ethical".  It has nothing to do with what the software costs. In a nutshell, Free Software has as much to do with how a producer of software behaves or how that behavior is perceived as ethical or not according the FSF as it does with the actual distribution of software.

According to the Free Software definition, proprietary software, that in which the source code is not distributed is unethical. Therefore just about every company you can imagine that produces commercial, closed source software is engaging in "unethical" behavior, and that of course includes Microsoft.

However, it is also possible to have software licenses and products which have freely distributable code that is not acceptable under the terms of Free Software. For software to be Free Software, it has to meet the following criterion as well:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Free Software also introduces the notion of "Copyleft" which is an inherent property of the GNU GPL license that guarantees free reproduction, adaptation and derivative works of the software that is licensed with it without restriction. However, Free Software allows for non-Copyleft software to exist in its ecosystem.

Open Source, however, is not about ethics or who or what should determine what is ethical. It is about allowing unfettered distribution of software and its source code and protecting/including people who consume it and develop it. In effect Open Source sets a an overall tone of "Your software can be classified as Open Source if it conforms to our definition and meets our criteria" whereas Free Software sets the overall tone of "You are excluded from our community of Free Software unless you conform to behavior that which we find acceptable".

This is why it is possible for Microsoft or another company such as Novell or Red Hat to release Open Source software and be good Open Source citizens, and yet still be classified as "unethical" or engaging in activities that are unethical by the strict dogma of Free Software. There is no ground for compromise in Free Software. You are either ethical or you aren't.

There is another distinction between the two philosophies. While Free Software has a single designated leader, Richard Stallman, Open Source does not.

Instead, we have several thought leaders that have written different treatises on what it means to be part of the Open Source community. However, the efforts of Open Source have often been drowned out by the FSF's and Stallman's well-documented boorishness and paranoia.

Public perception has often unfairly lumped Open Source advocates into supporting Stallman's views, and unfriendly to business because as a culture of inclusion the FSF's GPLv2 and GPLv3 are Open Source conforming licenses. This, despite the fact that Stallman himself does not support Open Source because its values do not conform and are incompatible with his. Really, it's true. Listen to the man say it himself.

We are at an important crossroads in the history of our Open Source movement and what is happening now is nothing short of amazing. We have begun to influence Microsoft in seeing the benefits of our development model and are ushering in a new age of interoperability. We are now guiding and influencing the business philosophies of the largest technology companies in the world, and for that we should be very proud.

But if we are to continue to do so, we must draw a line in a sand. That we are NOT Free Software. That we have our own identity. That we are mainstream. That we are pragmatic, flexible and work well with others. That we shall continue as a culture of inclusion and will not be the arbiter of behavior or demonize those who cannot yet or refuse to join us. That we seek opportunities for others to join our cause by enticing them to work with us in harmony.

Because as Miguel de Icaza most eloquently says in his adopted tongue, Not only (do) you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, there are lots of shoes to sell." It comes out better in Spanish, trust me.

Is it time for us to recognize new Thought Leadership in Open Source? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Disclaimer: The postings and opinions expressed in this column are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Topics: Open Source, CXO, Software, IT Employment


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • It's time we recognized the advantages of both

    IMHO it's time to recognize the advantages in
    both, and not to do silly things like pretend that
    somehow software is a moral agent.

    I can certainly see the advantage of software
    being open source. It helps the educational
    community, and gives tools to developers.

    But, it also has its disadvantages. Many licenses
    are in conflict with the idea of direct sales, and
    you [b]lose[/b] the ability to use many types of
    open source as a tool if you decide to create
    proprietary software. As much as it claims to open
    up your options - the sad truth is, it'll
    [b]close[/b] many options if you don't follow it
    like a religion.

    Personally, I think the answer lies not in one
    extreme or the other, but somewhere in the middle.
    • Open Source is Moderate

      Free software is the ultra conservative zealot that wants to return to the age when all code was free and open and shared in academic circles. People were more interested in selling hardware than software. Back in the 70's the radicals started to close the code and setup a Utopian society where all software you needed was in nice simple shrink-wrapped packages, and hardware is a commodity. Then in the 90's a Ronald Reagan like visionary decided he didn't want to purchase a version of Unix, and created something similar, building off the William Buckley like ideas and tools.

      Sure some people aren't going to like the comparison of RMS to William Buckley (thought leader of the conservative political movement) and Linus Torvalds to Ronald Reagan (embodiment of Buckley's ideals). Without the rigid idealism of RMS the greatest success story of open source might not exist (or it could have developed like the Apache project).

      Now we are facing a situation where the greatest benefit of the 70's proprietary software movement, the commodity status of hardware, is being stripped away by the move to cloud computing and lock in to mobile devices and appliances that can't be modified and customized. Once again RMS is our canary in the coal mine sounding the clarion call of the dangers of cloud computing and hardware lock-in.

      Does he go off the deep end sometimes when more moderate members of his ideology compromise? Yes he does, and he should be reprimanded for not pitching the big tent. That should have little influence on the overall legacy of RMS and his importance to the overall ideology.
      • RMS is a collectivist, not an individualist

        To compare him to a conservative makes zero sense.

        He wants all software to be under his license in one big collective and could care less if the creators of the software get paid.

        If he was in charge he would only allow one license: the gpl.

        True freedom means choosing the license you want for your software and keeping the source a secret if you see fit.

        If you have bought into his own definition of "freedom" and his ideology of proprietary software being unethical then make sure you stay away from MRI scanners and other medical devices:
        • Actually RMS is a reactionary.

          While his political leanings and appearance might be far left, the free software movement is a reactionary (that's far right conservative) desire to return to the early age of computer use where all software was open and freely shared between academics and industry. While I'm sure there are earlier examples, it was primarily in the 70's when open software sharing started to stop. With the PC revolution in the late 80's, open software sharing shifted from being normal activity to a classification as piracy. It took RMS to reach back into history and pull free software forward as a counter revolution. In many ways he is like a strict adherent of the constitution.

          You assume that because I've "bought into" the "free software" movement, that I'm a black and white zealot. Like many people, I'm squarely in the gray area. I recognize the long term benefits free software, but am willing to compromise with the current quality of open source, and don't exclude proprietary if required to get the job done (but it is a very last option).

          I'd rather have open source software on my MRI machine, my voting booth, and my car. I'm not going to live in a cave to avoid closed software.
          • Stallman describes his own license as left-wing

            Far-right is not defined by wanting to preserve an era or status quo. If that was true then the Soviet Union was far-right for decades.

            Far-right loosely defines a part of the political spectrum that strongly favors individual rights over collective security or equality. This often results in favoring the status quo in reaction to the goals collectivists or redistributionists.

            Stallman is a classic collectivist. He wants ownership and distribution of software to be under the control of of a collective (gpl), not by individual programmers. His long term goal is to create a system (gnu) that is under public conrol. He's for banning proprietary software, something that free-market conservatives would never support.

            He even calls his license "copy-left" as in left-wing and defines it in terms of what the public can do with it.
          • Stalin was right wing

            The Soviet Union was a right wing dictatorship, especially under Stalin. Just because Stallman is politically a progressive liberal, doesn't change the fact that the free software movement is reactionary conservative. [u]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactionary[/u]

    • Stallman has his place

      What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that it's very possible to be 100% accurate in diagnosing a problem, but absolutely clueless as to the appropriate way to fix it. (Karl Marx comes to mind!)

      Since people tend to propose a solution together with warning people about the problem, and since the human mind works by association, when the proposed solution doesn't work, that leads a lot of people to dismiss the existence of the problem. This is often a mistake.

      Forcing the GPL down everyone's throats is a horrible catch-all solution to the problems of the software industry. But that doesn't diminish the fact that Richard Stallman has been almost prophetically accurate about the threats posed by Microsoft and by DRM technology. We'd be wise to pay attention to his warnings, and then figure out ways to solve the problems that actually work.
      • As a software developer and as a consumer of software

        the GPL, and licenses like it, works for me. In addition it takes nothing away from the people who might use my code. The only people I see complaining about Free, as embodied in licenses like the GPL, are those who seem to want to own and control everything.
        tracy anne
        • One thing it takes away...

          ...is freedom of choice. I have nothing against the requirement that free software remain free, that I need to publish any GPL code I use and make any modifications to it available to the general public. That's completely reasonable, and I support the idea completely. But the viral nature of the license is a deal-breaker.

          If I am not free to use libraries that other people have created and published under another open-source license that's not compatible with the GPL, that's a problem.

          In the field I work in, there's a ton of really useful MPL code available. A lot of it is as good as or better than commercial libraries that do the same things. Now the MPL requires you to publish any changes made to the MPL code, preserving the GPL's spirit of giving back to the software community when you benefit from the library, but it's better at keeping to itself since it defines the boundary at the borders of its own files instead of requiring you to use MPL code exclusively.

          By its own exclusivity and viral nature, the GPL is the only "free" software license I'm aware of that I am *not* free to use. And I really think that's a shame.
          • There is a simple solution to your dilemma

            Do not use any GPL code. Then you can do anything you like with YOUR code.

            Perhaps Microsoft will let you appropriate their code, modify it to suit yourself, and sell or pass it on as your own? Oh, wait! They have an EULA to prevent that, don't they?
            Ole Man
          • Please actually read what I wrote

            OK, you get an F on reading comprehension.

            This has nothing to do with *my* code, and certainly nothing to do with with Microsoft's code! I'm not using any of their code, and I strongly resent the implication that me pointing out a fatal flaw in the GPL's philosophy makes me pro-Microsoft. I would like nothing better than to see them go out of business.

            The problem is that the GPL, by demanding exclusivity, makes itself incompatible with any other free software, thereby severely limiting my freedom if I choose to use any GPL code anywhere in my app, because, as I said earlier, just about all the best libraries available for what I'm doing are MPL-licensed.

            Your "simple solution" is exactly what I end up doing: there is no GPL code anywhere in my work. But not by choice. There's some good stuff out there under the GPL that could be helpful to me, and if I had the choice, I would use it. I don't because the viral requirements of the GPL <i>deny me the freedom to do so!</i>
          • I was not attacking you, Mason

            But I was attacking the premise of your statements.

            I see people over and over again assailing the evil intricate complexity of the GPL because it is designed to protect the code, while excusing monopolistic corporations for excercising absolute control. So I must defend the GPL. And my reading comprehension serves me quite well in spite of YOUR low grade.

            Sorry if you think I stepped on your toes, but I do not consider apathy (no reference to you) an adequate defense against totalitarianism.
            Ole Man
          • Again, you miss the point

            >I see people over and over again assailing the
            >evil intricate complexity of the GPL because it
            >is designed to protect the code,

            I'm completely in favor of protecting the code. MPL does that, and I'm all for it. That's not what I'm "attacking" the GPL for. The problem is that the GPL goes far beyond protecting its own code; it tries to <i>assimilate other code</i> as well. That causes problems when trying to use code from other licenses together with it, and IMO it makes the GPL license non-Libre.

            Protecting code = good
            Viral license = evil

            Is that sufficiently clear?
          • I'm NOT missing the point

            You're skipping over the point, in order to define your agenda.

            And I'm pointing it out.

            Why do you not hold proprietary software to the same standard you want to hold the GPL? Do they let you appropriate, assimilate, sell, distribute, or whatever you want to do with their code, and suffer no consequence? I don't think so.
            Ole Man
          • For one simple reason

            Proprietary software doesn't call itself free. Since it doesn't attempt to claim that it's free, I don't judge it by the same standard of freedom that the GPL asserts.

            I don't believe that there's something inherently bad with proprietary software. I wouldn't have taken the job I have now if I did. It's one of those cases that a lot of people on this thread have mentioned: I work for a small, privately-held corporation and we make a very specialized product that's in high demand in the field of brodacast media, and nowhere else.

            It's something that's not generally interesting enough to attract open-source development. (Do <i>you</i> want the code to the program that schedules the TV shows you watch tonight? What would you do with it if you had it?) I could probably count all of our competitors on one hand, and they're all proprietary, and I just don't think anyone's going to care enough to change that anytime soon. Do you?

            I hope that doesn't make me a traitor or an enemy of freedom or whatever it is the extreme wing of the FSF is calling people like me these days.
          • Well I can cure that disease right now

            Code covered by the GPL IS NOT FREE. Everything has a price, and, just like proprietary software, if you don't like the price, don't use it.

            Now you've been told. Its not free to you. Its only free to people like me, who respect the license and don't mind paying the price.

            One should educate themselves about the intricacy and complexity of a license before publicly complaining about it.


            Basic questions about the GNU Project, the Free Software Foundation, and its licenses

            * What does ?GPL? stand for?
            * Does free software mean using the GPL?
            * Why should I use the GNU GPL rather than other free software licenses?
            * Does all GNU software use the GNU GPL as its license?
            * Does using the GPL for a program make it GNU software?
            * Can I use the GPL for something other than software?
            * Why don't you use the GPL for manuals?
            * Are there translations of the GPL into other languages?
            * Why are some GNU libraries released under the ordinary GPL rather than the Lesser GPL?
            * Who has the power to enforce the GPL?
            * Why does the FSF require that contributors to FSF-copyrighted programs assign copyright to the FSF? If I hold copyright on a GPL'ed program, should I do this, too? If so, how?
            * Can I modify the GPL and make a modified license?
            * Why did you decide to write the GNU Affero GPLv3 as a separate license?

            General understanding of the GNU licenses

            * Why does the GPL permit users to publish their modified versions?
            * Does the GPL require that source code of modified versions be posted to the public?
            * Can I have a GPL-covered program and an unrelated non-free program on the same computer?
            * If I know someone has a copy of a GPL-covered program, can I demand he give me a copy?
            * What does ?written offer valid for any third party? mean in GPLv2? Does that mean everyone in the world can get the source to any GPL'ed program no matter what?
            * The GPL says that modified versions, if released, must be ?licensed ? to all third parties.? Who are these third parties?
            * Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
            * Does the GPL allow me to charge a fee for downloading the program from my site?
            * Does the GPL allow me to require that anyone who receives the software must pay me a fee and/or notify me?
            * If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge?
            * Does the GPL allow me to distribute a copy under a nondisclosure agreement?
            * Does the GPL allow me to distribute a modified or beta version under a nondisclosure agreement?
            * Does the GPL allow me to develop a modified version under a nondisclosure agreement?
            * Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy of the program?
            * What if the work is not much longer than the license itself?
            * Am I required to claim a copyright on my modifications to a GPL-covered program?
            * If a program combines public-domain code with GPL-covered code, can I take the public-domain part and use it as public domain code?
            * I want to get credit for my work. I want people to know what I wrote. Can I still get credit if I use the GPL?
            * Can I omit the preamble of the GPL, or the instructions for how to use it on your own programs, to save space?
            * What does it mean to say that two licenses are ?compatible??
            * What does it mean to say a license is ?compatible with the GPL??
            * Why is the original BSD license incompatible with the GPL?
            * What is the difference between an ?aggregate? and other kinds of ?modified versions??
            * Why does the FSF require that contributors to FSF-copyrighted programs assign copyright to the FSF? If I hold copyright on a GPL'ed program, should I do this, too? If so, how?
            * If I use a piece of software that has been obtained under the GNU GPL, am I allowed to modify the original code into a new program, then distribute and sell that new program commercially?
            * Can I use the GPL for something other than software?
            * I'd like to license my code under the GPL, but I'd also like to make it clear that it can't be used for military and/or commercial uses. Can I do this?
            * Can I use the GPL to license hardware?
            * Does prelinking a GPLed binary to various libraries on the system, to optimize its performance, count as modification?
            * How does the LGPL work with Java?
            * Why did you invent the new terms ?propagate? and ?convey? in GPLv3?
            * Is ?convey? in GPLv3 the same thing as what GPLv2 means by ?distribute??
            * If I only make copies of a GPL-covered program and run them, without distributing or conveying them to others, what does the license require of me?
            * GPLv3 gives ?making available to the public? as an example of propagation. What does this mean? Is making available a form of conveying?
            * Since distribution and making available to the public are forms of propagation that are also conveying in GPLv3, what are some examples of propagation that do not constitute conveying?
            * How does GPLv3 make BitTorrent distribution easier?
            * What is tivoization? How does GPLv3 prevent it?
            * Does GPLv3 prohibit DRM?
            * Does GPLv3 require that voters be able to modify the software running in a voting machine?
            * Does GPLv3 have a ?patent retaliation clause??
            * In GPLv3 and AGPLv3, what does it mean when it says ?notwithstanding any other provision of this License??
            * In AGPLv3, what counts as ? interacting with [the software] remotely through a computer network??
            * How does GPLv3's concept of ?you? compare to the definition of ?Legal Entity? in the Apache License 2.0?
            * In GPLv3, what does ?the Program? refer to? Is it every program ever released under GPLv3?
            * If some network client software is released under AGPLv3, does it have to be able to provide source to the servers it interacts with?

            Using GNU licenses for your programs

            * How do I upgrade from (L)GPLv2 to (L)GPLv3?
            * Could you give me step by step instructions on how to apply the GPL to my program?
            * Why should I use the GNU GPL rather than other free software licenses?
            * Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy of the program?
            * What if the work is not much longer than the license itself?
            * Can I omit the preamble of the GPL, or the instructions for how to use it on your own programs, to save space?
            * How do I get a copyright on my program in order to release it under the GPL?
            * What if my school might want to make my program into its own proprietary software product?
            * I would like to release a program I wrote under the GNU GPL, but I would like to use the same code in non-free programs.
            * Can the developer of a program who distributed it under the GPL later license it to another party for exclusive use?
            * Can the US Government release a program under the GNU GPL?
            * Can the US Government release improvements to a GPL-covered program?
            * Why should programs say ?Version 3 of the GPL or any later version??
            * Is there some way that I can GPL the output people get from use of my program? For example, if my program is used to develop hardware designs, can I require these these designs must be free?
            * Why don't you use the GPL for manuals?
            * How does the GPL apply to fonts?
            * What license should I use for website maintenance system templates?
            * Can I release a program under the GPL which I developed using non-free tools?
            * I use public key cryptography to sign my code to assure its authenticity. Is it true that GPLv3 forces me to release my private signing keys?
            * The warranty and liability disclaimers in GPLv3 seem specific to U.S. law. Can I add my own disclaimers to my own code?
            * My program has interactive user interfaces that are non-visual in nature. How can I comply with the Appropriate Legal Notices requirement in GPLv3?

            Distribution of programs released under the GNU licenses

            * Can I release a modified version of a GPL-covered program in binary form only?
            * I downloaded just the binary from the net. If I distribute copies, do I have to get the source and distribute that too?
            * I want to distribute binaries via physical media without accompanying sources. Can I provide source code by FTP instead of by mail order?
            * My friend got a GPL-covered binary with an offer to supply source, and made a copy for me. Can I use the offer to obtain the source?
            * Can I put the binaries on my Internet server and put the source on a different Internet site?
            * I want to distribute an extended version of a GPL-covered program in binary form. Is it enough to distribute the source for the original version?
            * I want to distribute binaries, but distributing complete source is inconvenient. Is it ok if I give users the diffs from the ?standard? version along with the binaries?
            * Can I make binaries available on a network server, but send sources only to people who order them?
            * How can I make sure each user who downloads the binaries also gets the source?
            * Can I release a program with a license which says that you can distribute modified versions of it under the GPL but you can't distribute the original itself under the GPL?
            * I just found out that a company has a copy of a GPL'ed program, and it costs money to get it. Aren't they violating the GPL by not making it available on the Internet?
            * A company is running a modified version of a GPL'ed program on a web site. Does the GPL say they must release their modified sources?
            * Is use within one organization or company ?distribution??
            * If someone steals a CD containing a version of a GPL-covered program, does the GPL give him the right to redistribute that version?
            * What if a company distributes a copy as a trade secret?
            * Do I have ?fair use? rights in using the source code of a GPL-covered program?
            * Does moving a copy to a majority-owned, and controlled, subsidiary constitute distribution?
            * Can software installers ask people to click to agree to the GPL? If I get some software under the GPL, do I have to agree to anything?
            * I would like to bundle GPLed software with some sort of installation software. Does that installer need to have a GPL-compatible license?
            * The beginning of GPLv3 section 6 says that I can convey a covered work in object code form ?under the terms of sections 4 and 5? provided I also meet the conditions of section 6. What does that mean?
            * My company owns a lot of patents. Over the years we've contributed code to projects under ?GPL version 2 or any later version?, and the project itself has been distributed under the same terms. If a user decides to take the project's code (incorporating my contributions) under GPLv3, does that mean I've automatically granted GPLv3's explicit patent license to that user?
            * If I distribute a GPLv3-covered program, can I provide a warranty that is voided if the user modifies the program?
            * If I give a copy of a GPLv3-covered program to a coworker at my company, have I ?conveyed? the copy to him?
            * Am I complying with GPLv3 if I offer binaries on an FTP server and sources by way of a link to a source code repository in a version control system, like CVS or Subversion?
            * Can someone who conveys GPLv3-covered software in a User Product use remote attestation to prevent a user from modifying that software?
            * What does ?rules and protocols for communication across the network? mean in GPLv3?
            * Distributors that provide Installation Information under GPLv3 are not required to provide ?support service? for the product. What kind of ?support service? do you mean?
            Ole Man
  • We have begun to influence Microsoft

    Fat chance Jason. Microsoft has no interest in you, or your
    development model, or your philosophy. Microsoft's only
    interest is in gaining total control of all computing
    platforms, whether through licenses, patents, or buy outs.

    If I were you, I would be extremely careful. As Andrew
    Grygus stated in his excellent artlcle <a
    href="http://aaxnet.com/editor/edit029.html">2003 and
    Beyond</a>, and I quote <blockquote>A Microsoft
    partner is a victim they haven't gotten to
    yet</blockquote>. In fact if Microsoft wants to partner
    with you, its time to run like hell.
    The Mad Hatter
    • ... or you could just write better software

      ... instead of the usual laughable wannabes we are all too familiar w/, which may actually increase the market share for FOSS.
    • The Proper Place

      Don't religious messages have a better place on belief.net?
  • FSF and Stallman are a threat to open source

    The ideologically infested FSF which behaves like a
    cult - or more appropriately - behaves like the
    "concrete" communism of the Stalin era.

    Dissent cannot be tolerated. The leadership cannot be

    With that kind of behavior the risk is that FSF and
    Stalinman taint open source in general. If a company
    decides to base their future development on a certain
    project, but that project is killed by a few fired-up
    ideologists, you can bet on that company exploring the
    more predictable commercial alternatives in the