Microsofts new way of bashing Linux

Andrew Zajac arzajac at
Fri Jun 16 04:26:40 BST 2006

On 6/15/06, Michael T. Richter <ttmrichter at> wrote:
> How exactly has software development with the GPL made sound support leap
> forward again?

How many manufacturers release  drivers under the GPL?

> You've heard of patents, right?  And seen the number of patents issued for
> medical devices and drugs and the sort, right?

Yes.  And for an actual device, a patent is a good thing.  We are talking
about a medical procedure.  Software more resembles an idea or a technique
rather than a thermometer.

> They "share" it because they're protected by patent law for the tangible
> side of things.  So they can rake in cash while being so "generous".

Actually, they share it for a number of reasons.  We are talking about new
discoveries and developments.  It is prestigious to get published in The
Lancet or the American Journal of Cardiology.  Sure that can lead to a
higher salary, but not by charging for rights to said procedure.

> True.  Surgical technique can't be patented.  (Yet.)  But drugs?  Tools?
> Equipment?  All patentable and all enforced as patents.  Quite rigorously.
> You need to pick a better field if you want to talk about ethics and
> freedom....

Actually, it makes my point.  If drug companies worked un the same
principles, the cost of healt care would decrease dramatically, and not a
lot of people in the third world would die from AIDS.  And people would
still innovate and make new and funky pharmaceuticals, building on each
others work and not trying to avoid existing patents.  Now I'm not going to
tell you that will or should happen, just that it would rock if it was that

Now, (back to reality) if people obtained software for free and only paid
> someone when they needed it to do something it doesn't do and those
> improvements were given back to the community, the software would improve at
> a considerably faster rate than it does presently for proprietary software.
> Just like sound support for Linux.  Or Bluetooth support.

Probably not a lot has been invested when the drivers are

If people ended up spending an equal amount of money as they do today on
> software, but each dollar went into genuine development (paying at the point
> of value), instead of some company collecting the same royaly for the same
> software over and over, I think we would really see some intersting
> software, developed at a staggering rate.
> I see nothing which supports this assertion yet.  Well, except for a few
> programming environments.  Ruby kicks ass, for example.  But in general, at
> the end-user level?  You get what you pay for with free software.

Just a few years ago, you had to load mostly all the kernel modules by hand
during the install, with no real hope of anything like wireless working.
Today, I am able to install Ubuntu on a whole lot of different computers
with everything working out-of-the-box.  And that's with relatively little
investment into the desktop by linux distributers.

Sure there are a lot of little issues, but in the big picture, I can really
see the advantage of the FLOSS development model.

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