Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <ben_tilly@operamail.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 13:16:25 +0500

chrismaeda@attbi.com wrote:
> Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood but
> I think government tilting the playing field
> against GPL is perfectly reasonable. So far, 
> free software has been an utter failure at 
> producing large profitable businesses that 
> generate tax revenue.  Government legislating
> in favor of GPL will push more of the software
> business into the non-profit sector and make
> us all poorer.

I did not say that the government should legislate for
the GPL.  Or any other license.  I said that when the
government's legitimate interests lead them that way,
they should give feedback in as cost-effective a way
as possible regardless of the license.  In other words
I want a level table.  That means freedom to contribute
to GPLed projects, not a mandate to do so.

As for the rest of your argument, I find it misguided
to the point of being wrong.  Would you say that the
government should stop building roads because having
the government build roads has prevented us from
developing large road-building companies which the
government can tax?  Would you say that IBM was wrong
in their large public free software investments when
they can't get money from selling what is already free?

My answer to those is that both actions are justifiable
for the same reason: the actions are revenue positive.
Sure, when the government pays for roads, you don't get
private highway systems.  But you do enable many other
businesses that pay taxes.  And IBM has publically said
that they made back their billion with interest from
lines of business which depended on that free software
as infrastructure.

Finally subsuming existing areas of software into free
software does not indicate that all software will
become free software.  New areas and kinds of software
are continually being created.  This happens because
of innovation, and the only major threat to it that I
have seen in software is fear of abusive monopolies.

Cheers,
Ben
-- 
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