Comments on: the extremists in power http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/ Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 By: iBoss http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23847 Tue, 25 Nov 2008 13:22:41 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23847 Demand for Open Source Development is rapidly increasing

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By: offshore outsourcing http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23846 Tue, 05 Feb 2008 13:27:10 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23846 it is such a nice blog…i dont find these typ of blog these days

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By: brickred http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23845 Wed, 23 Jan 2008 10:48:25 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23845 The balance of having extremests and moderates is very important to keep the society functional.

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By: Leo http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23844 Tue, 16 Jan 2007 04:56:30 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23844 I dont know but why i don find such informative and profitable blogs so often,I suspect blogging world is becoming so small that we cant find such lucrative blogs like this one.

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By: jerome http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23843 Wed, 17 Nov 2004 21:55:05 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23843 The very fact that this idea did not arise from a response to any innovative proposal, new paper, new event, legal change, new invention or new development is an indication that this was more political than it should have been.

emprunt consomation

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By: jeremy http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23842 Fri, 12 Nov 2004 21:08:22 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23842 The second issue brought up by Mr. Lessig is an important one, the issue of balance in intellectual-property rights. The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act and Digital Millenium Copyright Act to today�s proposed CBDTA legislation are tipping the scales in favor of corporations at the expense of the public.
alizee

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By: John http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23841 Sun, 26 Sep 2004 07:10:16 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23841 The reality is that many commercial products will forever exist alongside open source, as the most successful open source projects are merely the �commodity� projects: Servers, operating systems, �office� tools, languages, and general-purpose libraries. Yes, if you�re a commodity vendor enjoying your monopoly or oligopoly, that appears threatening. However, there is no intrinsic need at any level to protect commodity monopolies/oligopolies. Rather, competition should merely take place through a value proposition, as is done in any other industry. BadCitizen Forums

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By: BadCitizen http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23840 Mon, 13 Sep 2004 23:46:50 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23840 I work for a county government, thus I have a different point of view. I think the problem with Ms. Boland (irrespective to Mr. Tobin�s rants) is that she has forgotten that above all else, she is a servant of the people of the country. This does not mean only �rich� constituants, it means everyone irrespective of money. It�s about time people around the world started holding the public servants to that principal. In the US, the government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is not subject to interpretation, it is a blanket statement, it means that the people who make up our government should never forget that their power is given to them by the people of the country. Don�t forget, there are a lot more of us, than there are of you!

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By: Mario Miller http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23839 Thu, 15 Jul 2004 13:20:15 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23839 In particular, I put a fair amount of work (a few years back) into a piece of software that was (then) freely distributed and available. I fixed bugs and added capabilities. A bit later on, the software suddenly became proprietary and was sold for quite a bit of money. Of course, I was not offered any money for it (would not have expected that) but a note of thanks to the many developers such as myself (with their names) who had put time and energy into the project would have been appreciated. (The source code was even stripped of all change notes with identification.) While my contribution to the project was fairly small, I did contribute work to it and felt a bit like that work had been stolen. Certainly I resolved to never again contribute my energy to something like that again.

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By: johnny http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23838 Tue, 06 Jul 2004 09:12:56 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23838 Steven
Power

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By: Anonymous http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23837 Wed, 01 Oct 2003 18:24:28 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23837 According to a story in the Financial Times, the Dep Director of WIPO say they are still looking at the possibility of a meeting on “various options for protecting intellectual property and their impact on innovation.”

Does anyone any further information on this?

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By: Charles Maguire http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23836 Sat, 27 Sep 2003 14:44:09 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23836 First, I would like to thank Mr. Lessig for his tireless work in protecting the Commons.

Second, I would like to thank Richard Stallman for his vision and leadership with the GNU Project.

Third, I would like to thank all the artists who release their IP to the Commons so we can all benefit!

I concur with Mr. Lessig’s statement:

“open-source software is based in intellectual-property rights. It can�t exist (and free software can�t have its effect) without it.”

It is my understanding that, and please correct me if I am mistaken, the author through an open-access license like the GNU GPL or Creative Commons is, first and foremost, copyrighting his or her IP. The author, second and subsequently, gives permission to others to copy, distribute, and/or modify their work as long as they are given credit for the original work. Finally, in the case of the GNU GPL any extensions to the original work must be released under the same license.

The second issue brought up by Mr. Lessig is an important one, the issue of balance in intellectual-property rights. The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act and Digital Millenium Copyright Act to today’s proposed CBDTA legislation are tipping the scales in favor of corporations at the expense of the public.

Policies like these are aimed at limiting the rights of private citizens and their ability to access information freely. The recent decision by the EU Parliment this week on Software Patents further illustrates the imbalanced corporate dominance in government policy making and the need for legislative review both here and abroad.

I think voter initiatives are for the public what lobbyists are for corporations, a way to enact policy that protects your assets. The Commons is the public’s greatest asset, protecting it is vital to limiting the barriers to entry into any industry.

If we only saw the world through a cooperation paradign instead of the current competition one we would all be living happily ever after. Remember TIT FOR TAT!!! It pays to cooperate when dealing with this strategy. See Axelrod (1984) The Evolution of Cooperation.

Together, we will win this fight for our digital rights!

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By: Tjahjokartiko Gondokusumo http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23835 Tue, 23 Sep 2003 07:44:54 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23835 Warm regards from Indonesia: Ir. Tjahjokartiko Gondokusumo

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By: Anonymous http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23834 Tue, 23 Sep 2003 07:40:29 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23834 Dear STAKEHOLDERS
I am a civil engineer becoming cooperative planner for power sector. Simply I wish to know what will HE and/ or SHE want. We all had had such a typical experience that scientist and government were very difficult to be interactive at macro level issues. The fact, if we look down, many consumers and producers in the world need help to cooperate. If so serious, I will be ready to open up the market for the parallel development in Indonesia. A reverse engineering to public electricity and private industries can hopefully produce new infrastructure such as cooperative CHP and multipurpose dam as the distributed system we are looking for.
Warm regards rom Indonesia.

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By: Eric Brunner-Williams http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23833 Sun, 07 Sep 2003 09:44:08 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23833 Catching up after vacation. Jamie Love is an idiot.

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By: Ryan Watson http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23832 Tue, 26 Aug 2003 11:54:20 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23832 I work for a county government, thus I have a different point of view. I think the problem with Ms. Boland (irrespective to Mr. Tobin’s rants) is that she has forgotten that above all else, she is a servant of the people of the country. This does not mean only “rich” constituants, it means everyone irrespective of money. It’s about time people around the world started holding the public servants to that principal. In the US, the government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is not subject to interpretation, it is a blanket statement, it means that the people who make up our government should never forget that their power is given to them by the people of the country. Don’t forget, there are a lot more of us, than there are of you!

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By: Anonymous http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23831 Mon, 25 Aug 2003 17:59:35 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23831 Just so everyone’s clear: attacks on Boland are not partisan attacks in the usual sense. Boland held the same position under Clinton as she does under Bush, and thus no partisan animus, in the usual sense, attaches to criticisms of her.

ben has things right, but backward. As Tobin has demonstrated, WIPO does take “partisan” positions on these issues. And as another post makes clear, the letter to WIPO is specifically anti-MSFT. The whole point of the requested proceeding is thus contrary to the current WIPO position, and hostile to MSFT. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

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By: Jean Camp http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23830 Mon, 25 Aug 2003 07:25:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23830 Let me boldly return the discussion to WIPO.

First, any WIPO open source and free software meeting would not “materialize from nothing”. There is a significant working group on technology transfer to LDCs. The working group argues for innovation in management of IPR to create opportunity,and not simple incentives, as the optimal path for WIPO. In fact, either a report has been issued on Tech Tansfer to LDCs by the Becker Consulting group or soon will be. Although open code did not apparently enter the author’s mind, the clear recommendations seem to me clearly applicable to open code. So Ms. Boland as quoted above is ignorant of the activities of her own organization.

The purpose of WIPO, according to its web site, is as follows:
“The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works – intellectual property – are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. Through its work, WIPO plays an important role in enhancing the quality and enjoyment of life, as well as creating real wealth for nations.” So Ms. Boland appears to be unaware of the stated purpose of the organization.

Yet even this level of ignorance is a treatable condition and calls for education, not unemployment.

WIPO has the theoretical goal of developing optimal intellectual property arrangements, not forcing the strongest possible IPR on member nations.

As part of the global role of WIPO, the organization does put forth some effort to create a market where LDCs can advance and thrive. Particularly in health care, distribution issues have been signifcant in WIPO.

However, it is true that no member nation requested the meeting. Therefor it seems there is a single true barrier – lack of a request from a member nation is the problem. Certainly there can be a meeting without all WIPO employees being sent back to graduate school or even forced to read their employee handbooks.

Perhaps Iceland or France will make such a request. Sweden has been active in tech transfer to LDCs as well.

Anyone from Iceland in this discussion?

-Jean Camp
(Not related to Strongly Entrenched Camp)

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By: Ben http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23829 Mon, 25 Aug 2003 02:42:55 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23829 Mr Tobin,

Regardless of her reasoning, Ms. Boland has allowed herself to become a lightning rod for the very partisan bickering she seeks to prevent. Her ignorance of the true meaning of the term “open source” serves only to substantiate the fact that her own position is really couched in partisanism.

OSS has been around long enough… she should know better.

Furthermore, it is not clear that any points that might be discussed regarding the economic IP potentials of OSS would become an opportunity for the so-called Naderite, anti-Microsoft or other “special interests” with a political platform to voice their displeasure with the IP paradigms being discussed. Such disingenuity would be all-to-obvious.

That is, of course, unless the discussions, academic or otherwise, proved to be less-than-balanced to begin with.

–ben

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By: George Tobin http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23828 Sun, 24 Aug 2003 13:32:28 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23828 Some Replies:

–The quote from the director general of WIPO can be found (surprise!) at the WIPO web site.

–I agree with almost every ringing defense of the importance of ‘open source’ in this thread. I do not regard the existence of ‘open source’ development as antithetical to capitalism. I do think that for many people (including, perhaps, some in this thread) that ‘open source’ has taken on a broad political nuance quite different from its technical definition. I think that “open source” is often misused as a term that includes free, public domain, non-proprietary and as a generic antonym for “Microsoft.” The fact that people use the term ‘open source movement’ to imply a broader agenda means that for some it is has a context other than its precise legal meaning.

-I think open source collaborative development and innovation is a wonderful thing. I also think the availability of legal protection for proprietary IP is a wonderful thing. I think that Dr. James Love and Ralph Nader agree with only on the first proposition. That’s why I think any effort driven by Dr. Love is inappropriate for an organization devoted to preserving and promoting IP, not constricting its scope or creating legal pretexts for expanding government ownership. And I think that Ms. Boland agrees with me on that point. And that that was the clear meaning of her remarks.

-I also think Prof Lessing has misused Ms. Boland’s remarks. As I understand it, she said “To have a meeting whose primary objective is to waive or remove those protections seems to go against the mission” and that her remarks about “open-source” were clearly meant to state opposition to such a meeting shaped by persons hostile to the existing legal order with respect to IP of all kinds. I think it unlikely that she is unaware of the IP status and nature of open-source software and the distinctions that are being repeated (sometimes very well) in this thread. She is alleged to have used �open source� in the (incorrect) common political context in an informal telephone interview in which the politics of the issue was the subject. To make a grand academic j’accuse for verbal impropriety over this statement was thus way over the top.

-More importantly, I think it is blatantly disingenuous to pretend that this conference was intended as an opportunity to dispassionately extol the importance of collaborative means of innovation. The very fact that this idea did not arise from a response to any innovative proposal, new paper, new event, legal change, new invention or new development is an indication that this was more political than it should have been.

I am willing to concede that Prof. Lessig is much smarter than Ms. Boland or myself (or the rest of you). However, I think that she and I have been considerably more honest about the politics in this issue This was never about the real status of ‘open source’ within the larger context of IP law or about the correct use of technical terminology. This was about blog-bashing an official in the Bush Administration for not agreeing to let a Naderite use the WIPO for staging a rather generic anti-drug company, anti-Microsoft forum under the pretense of serious academic discussion. The fact that ‘open source’ is not (by correct definition rather than increasingly common error) contrary to ‘intellectual property’ was never the real issue.

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By: Bradley Rhodes http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23827 Sun, 24 Aug 2003 05:05:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23827 Perhaps I’m just a cynic, but I don’t think Boland is speaking from ignorance but is simply showing unusual candor in her statements. Her position is that WIPO should promote international IP laws that support the current content industry, regardless of how that affects new upstart industries, national productivity, the economy or other important concerns. In the words of The Economist, she is being pro-business, but not pro-market. I agree with Lessig that this is abhorrent, but given how the U.S. continues to force brand-new IP protections down the world’s collective throat it seems to be a fair description of current U.S. policy.

The sad part is many of the issues brought up by the proposal, especially fair use, shrink-wrap licenses, rights to hypertext linking and sui generis protection for databases really do need to be discussed by the international community of governments. WIPO would seem to be the obvious forum.

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By: john http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23826 Sat, 23 Aug 2003 21:33:05 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23826 Bawjaws — I apologize…you’re totally correct, of course. What I have always wondered, and probably confused about, is if there is any sort of mandate in the US govt about being required to release the source to unclassified and non-sensitive software.

At my stint at the Volpe Center doing crashworthiness research, the source code that was written to filter the sensory signals (data coming from dummy accelerometers during a crash) was released to the public….and looks like it still is:

http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/software/nhtsa-tools-fortran/downloads.html

Whether or not the contractor who wrote it was required to show the source or not, (does anyone know?) you’re right about the GPL….and Russell gives a good explanation. Thanks for the correction.

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By: bawjaws http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23825 Sat, 23 Aug 2003 20:24:15 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23825 John, You are spreading a common misconception about the GPL in your otherwise heroically patient replies to the hilariously trollish System Control.

If you do not intend to redistribute the GPL’d software i.e. use it only within your organization then you are not required by the license to release your code changes. This means your only reason to contribute is the same as for BSD code, namely to prevent your in-house code becoming a difficult to manage branch of the main codebase.

For (slightly) more info read:
http://www.infoworld.com/article/02/08/23/020826opsource_1.html

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By: Kyle Hamilton http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23824 Sat, 23 Aug 2003 19:55:31 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23824 Oh… one more thing. The fact that we’ve now got world governments collaborating on something so important as Intellectual Property, without letting experts on the issues in to speak from both sides of the camp, scares the living bejeesus out of me. I’m already aghast at the “economic barrier to entry” that is promulgated by the International Telecommunications Union (the recommendations are very expensive, and the company that built most of the equipment to implement them (Bellcore, now Taligent [at http://www.taligent.com) wants over $250,000 for the full suite of specifications that cover central-office protocols.), as well as the IEEE. This barrier to entry only increases the economic impact and economic chaos that is going on — 46% of the wealth in the world is in the hands of less than 1% of the people, not counting that which is held by corporations. There’s an oligarchy here, and it limits what’s allowed, as well as what’s possible.

If I wanted to be all conspiracy-theoristic, I’d wonder if this is just another ploy by the financial elite (government and business) to close a loophole that allowed some people to amass some measure of power without going through the status quo. Enh.

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By: Kyle Hamilton http://www.lessig.org/2003/08/the-extremists-in-power/#comment-23823 Sat, 23 Aug 2003 19:44:38 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/08/the_extremists_in_power.html#comment-23823 Much of the disconnect appears because typical economics and accounting express ‘value’ as ‘money’ (the setting of value in an easily-transformed manner). The IT industry of Silicon Valley (and other places — notably Lotus/IBM and Novell, as well as currently SCO and Microsoft) abused this model so radically that it’s falling apart — I mean, who pays $250,000 for a piece of software to copy your data to a bunch of tapes for storage? (Answer: Anyone who purchases Veritas Backup Exec for a medium-sized corporate network.)

Because of this disconnect (and the fact that the executives of the aforementioned IT organizations of Silicon Valley usually didn’t have honest economics education), much of the programming world created things that could be bartered in their own version of an ‘exchange’… specifically, the open-source market. Essentially, it amounted to: “I don’t like the rules here, so I’m going to create a new set of workable rules and apply them somewhere else.”

The rules of this new market were simple:
1) Give credit where credit is due.
2) Anyone can use anything they want, subject to the rules that the person who wrote it put it under.
3) If you improve it, we’d like to get it back, to increase the value of the market. (This wasn’t codified in the original market, though it eventually was after people started seeing things based on their code when the first two rules weren’t codified, either.)

Essentially, it created a barter system where the participants didn’t even ‘exchange value’… they just ‘gave their value away’. It’s this preconception that dogs Open Source today, and is why people like Lois Boland and George Tobin feel that it will destroy the ‘intellectual property’ concept.

In the meantime, though, a few interesting things have happened:
1) The Open Source Initiative was formed, after Eric Raymond explained the true state of affairs, and why it really was an exchange of value, even though no money changed hands. (See “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”.)
2) Netscape released their core product — Navigator — as open-source. (This lent credence to the “all bugs are shallow to many eyes”, and “peer review is the best way to ensure that a piece of software isn’t poorly designed” concepts… though it was only one example.)
3) IBM embraced Linux as a means of lowering their outlay and increasing their revenues — even in their previously-core mainframe businesses. (This lends credence to the fact that Open Source can, in the ‘support’ model, increase the capabilities of an organization’s economic machine.) The fact that they played by the rules isn’t really surprising — it’s just that someone actually got the idea.
4) Linux, in all its flavors (including Red Hat, Debian, Mandrake, etc) became Microsoft’s number 1 long-term strategic threat. (There’s question, here, about whether it was because of an inherent superiority [which is doubtful], or because Microsoft’s monopolistic and extortionistic business model had generated so much resentment that people were casting about for any alternative that offered.)
5) Many companies got a hell of a lot of economic benefit from open source — even without money changing hands. This scares economists because their model of the universe includes ‘exchange of value’, and it scares accountants because they can’t put the numbers in their ledger — and only the impact of those numbers can be seen by their absence.

There’s many more things that have gone on, but I’ll stop there.

Now, what people don’t understand in this particular discussion is that people who write open-source software understand the idea of intellectual property… and they don’t begrudge it. (Remember the codification of the rules of the market, above? ‘give credit where credit is due’. That fits into the definition of intellectual property, because it imposes a restriction on what you’re allowed to do with the code in question. Even if no overt ‘economic benefit’ comes in, under the old model of ‘everything has a monetary value associated with it’.)

Even the MasterCard commercials got it right. “There are some things that money can’t buy. [...]” Money can’t buy you respect, and it can’t buy you credits to put on your resume. Thus, even the writers of the software get an economic benefit, under the ‘old system’. They just end up getting there in a different way.

Now, onto the debate about ‘development models’. I am impelled to point something out here: When the Open Group (http://www.opengroup.org/) considers changing its business and development model, there’s something really rotten in the state of Denmark. The WIPO is designed to make it possible for companies to hold absolute control over their works… whereas the Open Group is designed to prevent the deterioration of the advancements that have been made in the past 20 years. (Has everyone forgotten the lessons of a closed, vendor-locked architecture for their business-critical applications?) Even the Internet is based on an open development model — new IETF standards are built on a strong commitment to quality in the specification. This quality is tested by at least two independent, interoperable implementations of the core specification, and makes it easier to comprehend errors in the specification before things progress so far that millions of lines of code must be discarded. And that’s why businesses chose TCP/IP as their network standard in the first place. It’s fast, it’s flexible, it has relatively low overhead, and it can even be put into a device the size of your hand.

And, most devices that implement it use the BSD TCP/IP stack implementation… thus reducing their own time-to-market, by reducing the amount of code they have to write, and reducing their overhead, by making it so they don’t have to write the code, and ensuring interoperability, by using a codebase that is standardized and complete.

Perhaps the cries of “they’re stifiling innovation!” come from the fact that people use what works, instead of untried and untested technologies — and the open-source software that’s out there just works. While reducing the economic burdens associated with a single vendor’s scheme.

Oh, wait, people didn’t read this entire thing. They were too angered by my suggestion that end-users had had the temerity to get angry at Microsoft’s taxation of the use of their computers.

Even if Microsoft is trying to force people to compete against them on their turf — closed operating systems that are distributed for a fee.

Were you aware that Microsoft has limited some of their technologies so that their methods of use can’t be taught in the form of open source?…thus reducing the number of developers who are competent in the use of their technologies, thus artificially raising the value of anyone who does know (as well as products made by companies that actually get their products to market, as buggy as they may be since there’s no apparent legal way to gain expertise in an enjoyable manner for all the people out there who would normally enjoy working with it)?

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