Re: polarization

From: Havoc Pennington <hp redhat com>
> Then how would any community people work on the software?  They would
> have to start doing all the work themselves. They would basically
> demonstrate to the world that open source doesn't work, shut down the
> open source nature of the project, make Microsoft's claim that open
> source is fragmented become true, and ensure our loss to
> Microsoft. Companies are not stupid. This would be a really stupid
> idea.

Consider a large corporation faced with the choice of a big lawsuit from
Microsoft or IBM, or losing the support of the GNOME developers and having
to maintain the software themselves from then on - but that's OK, most of the
work has already been done. They also get the benefit of an end to "free"
competition. I certainly know of some Linux distributions that would embrace
this solution, and many workstation companies would find it an acceptable
compromise - they'd apologize and tell us how they hate to do it. But like I
said, they are not going to take a bullet for us.

> And in Red Hat's specific case, of course the GPL is the only reason
> proprietary companies can't take Linux and eat our lunch, so we aren't
> going to be undermining it and in fact require it to continue to be
> enforced.

Red Hat stock is at 5% of its high and their pockets are not of infinite
depth. Unfortunately, they are a small player and we can't bank on them being
able to back a multi-million dollar legal effort indefinitely. VA is fighting
for its market against the likes of Dell, and its stock price isn't so great
either. All of the other Free Software companies together are not as big as
either of those two.

> I think this is a scare scenario, not a real scenario.

Gosh, I hope so. Leaders have to consider all the scenarios of what could go
wrong. This one still doesn't seem so far-fetched to me. Considering what has
gone on so far with DMCA, UCITA, moves to legalize software patents in Europe,
etc., there is a continuing trend to tighten up on IP that we will run awry
of. When it's our turn, I want to be able to do better than EFF has done with



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