[Long] Why Microsoft is a Dinosaur, Tony Stanco
Michael S Czeiszperger
czei at webperformanceinc.com
Wed Apr 25 16:26:12 EDT 2001
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
On Wednesday 25 April 2001 14:42, you wrote:
> I don't get it....
> I thought I was already free to write any kind of software that I choose
> to write. I can write code for the Apache Software Foundation, IBM, or
> Microsoft, or for some hardware device I hack together in my garage...
> what's to stop me?
It depends if you wrote the software from scratch, or are modifying a program
with an existing license. If you write a program from scratch you can license
it any way you like. If you modify an existing program you have to follow the
rules of the license for that software.
> The Free Software Foundation sounds more restrictive of my freedom than
> anything Microsoft has ever done to me. Although there are plenty of
> things Microsoft does that I *don't* like, at least they don't
> completely dictate my business model if I choose to make my living as a
> 'Commercial Software' provider. For instance, if I develop some fancy
> XSL Transform using Microsoft tools, I have the choice of giving my code
> away, or licensing it as shareware or as a proprietary product. I can
> also choose to sell support contracts, or not.
There's always confusion over how the GNU licenses affect a programmer's use
of other software that is licenced from GNU. My understanding is that the GPL
only affects programmers who modify code, not use the programs. For example,
if you wrote a program using Emacs and compiled it with gcc, the resulting
work is entirely your own. The GPL is only triggered if you take the source
code for gcc or Emacs and modify it, and then don't make the source code
available for the changes.
> Forgive me for being politically incorrect, but the Free Software
> Foundation sounds like Animal Farm in the making (some software is more
> free than others!). Call me a capitalist, but I'd like to remain a
> professional, paid, software developer, and want to retain the choice of
> licensing my work when I want to and however I want to.
GPL'd software doesn't change your business model much if you compare it to
using commercial software. If you are creating a commercial program, and want
to use software other than what you wrote personally, you have to license
that code to use it. If you decide to license commercial software you have to
follow the restrictions of that license, as well as pay for the use of it,
and if you decide to use GPL'd software you also have to follow the
restrictions of the license, which may or may not involve making your source
My personal opinion on the viability of the GPL and other free software
licensing schemes is that they invariably favor the business models of large
corporations over startups. For example, at IBM, they make a lot of money
from services and hardware, and the less they have to spend on software
development and maintenance the higher their profit margins. Why would they
want to keep 20,000 employees around to develop AIX when it takes a
fraction of that amount to maintain Linux, and they can sell just as much
hardware and services on Linux as AIX?
Michael S Czeiszperger | czei at webperformanceinc.com
Web Performance Inc. | Office: 919-845-7601
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: PGP 6.5.8
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
More information about the InterNetWorkers