> As usual, there are several sides to this whole
> story. Many open-source advocates adopt their
> special ideas of "open-source" as a kind of a
> religion. They claim that the big bad companies
> are withholding the knowledge to which everybody
> is entitled.
> The fact is that nobody is entitled to knowledge.
> Those who have paid their own way through universities
> may understand this. Others won't and never will.
> The knowledge that companies pay to acquire is
> called intellectual property. That's the stuff
> that makes things work.
I think I have to disagree here. I think that people are entitled to
knowledge, the whole idea of "IP" is a rather unique concept where someone
got the idea some day that people should be paid to make innovations and
thus further innovations.
We saw an astonishing development over the past 100 years in the world,
technology really really only picked up steam in the past 60 years or so.
Some might argue that the reason for this is IP but I am not so sure about
it, I just think that we achieved "critical mass".
> Technology companies make new money where none existed
> before. This is because they create value instead of
> just moving it around. Once you give away that technology,
> you no longer create value. If you survive, you survive
> only as a distributor. The economy can handle only so many
> distributors. To keep growing and make jobs for the new
> workers that are being born every day, one needs to make new
> value. Enough Economics 101.
"make new money where none existed before"? Okay maybe I am wrong here, but
the money has to come from somewhere. There isn't just a magic money machine
around here, and companies who develop new technologies (and bring them to
market) do so in order to make money, but that money is coming from
somewhere. You don't really need the companies to bring on the innovations
though. TV wasn't developed by a company but rather by the German government
after they saw what kind of benefit it would bring to them, same goes for a
lot of other inventions that were made not with money in mind but because
people "could". Only later did the money thing come up and companies turned
it into a profit.
The Internet itself was invented the same way as TV, sure it didn't really
take off until the companies came in, but if you look back 13 or so years is
the Web really more innovative today than it was then?
> However, once the Lawyers smell blood, the day of reckoning
> is not far behind. Because of their aggressive pursuit of
> other people's money, the lawyers will not be satisfied
> until there is a sharp demarcation between a private person's
> intellectual property and a company's intellectual property.
Which then brings up the question: Would this kill OSS? I don't really think
so, a lot of people get into OSS during school and I wouldn't be too
surprised if (at least the "good" (that's up to you to define) ones) are
continuing that way. Yes they do need to eat, but I think people don't
necessarily need to make millions or billions to be happy. Maybe my European
upbringing is interfering here, but I think if there is innovation going to
come it'll come out of Universities, not large corporations.
> If you've ever read the fine-print on employee "agreements",
> forced upon engineers as a condition of employment, you will
> note that everything of value that the poor slob thinks about
> while being employed is, in principle, the property of that
> employer. So, if you submit a bug-fix while employed, watch
> for lawyers in the shadows.
True, but that I have only seen in North America, nothing like that was ever
offered to me while working in Europe, different attitude? I wonder if Linus
would have started working on Linux if he would have studied in the US
instead of Europe?
> The United States Constitution doesn't help here. It has long
> been established that a company has a right to prevent an
> employee from divulging the nature of his or her work.
The world is big and so far there are still places in this world who aren't
that money focused (yet).
> I can foresee the time where employees won't even be allowed
> to communicate on the Internet because of the potential of
> leaking company secrets. This is what the SCO/IBM lawsuit is
> all about. This is why it's damned important for IBM to
> accept the challenge and nip this kind of stuff in the bud.
But are they really interrested in it? I think the more interresting thing
is if the GPL is now going to be tested or not. For IBM it might be very
interresting to get to the point and see the GPL fail, if that happens they
might have a very good chance to just keep their development for themselves.
I mean after all if they are interrested in IP (as they are a development
company) then this is what they are most likely going to do, no?
Interrestingly enough though, I am wondering if the attitude of the big
companies (e.g. Sun, IBM, HP etc.) isn't slowly changing, that they come to
see themselves more as a service and less as a software company? If that's
the case than they might actually not stop OSS or their people from working
on OSS projects.
Just my 2 cents.
Michael <back to lurking>
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