Subject: Re: Releasing under OS, what License?
From: Michael Tiemann <>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 00:50:22 -0400

I think these points are interesting given IBM's recent commitment to spend >= 
$1B on Linux, and noises of other really large companies committing other 
mind-bending (multi-hundred $million) ammounts.  I will also say that it will 
be interesting to see how open source holds up when two behemoths both invest 
$millions to assumedly improve the technologies to meet a particular customer's 

Not naming any companies, I would say that the early returns look positive for 
open source: large investments in bad code seem to be rejected by maintainers 
who'd rather live comfortably with good code than lavishly with bad.  However, 
not all customers trust open source maintainers, and many customers can be 
bought by vendors (as proprietary software has shown).  So the jury is still out.


Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> Note that mere size confers an advantage under GPL.  I know two
> non-Red Hat glibc package maintainers.  I don't buy their argument
> that "Red Hat is a despicable monopolist" because they can't keep up
> with the Red Hat patch kits.  If that's their goal, then their
> employers should hire more glibc people.  After all, Red Hat pays a
> lot of people to generate those patch kits in the first place, and
> publishes them under GPL to boot.  It's a straightforward exercise to
> catch up.
> But it is a losing business plan (to try to catch up).  Fending off
> entrants is a similarly straightforward exercise, requiring only the
> ability to merge sources, for the large incumbent.  Is it really good
> for society (and the industry and especially the movement) to
> encourage bigness for its own sake?  (Real question.  Obviously, I
> don't think so.  But I don't know.)