Subject: Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GPL-like hardware design license?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 1999 08:04:39 +0900 (JST)

I'm out of this thread.  Nobody else is participating (thanks, Russ,
I'm glad you care :), so I will assume there's no interest.  John's
mind is closed, so I'll stop wasting bandwidth.  I will correct the
clearly false statements (ignoring the mere FUD), and then I'm done.

>>>>> "John" == John Metzger <> writes:

    >> There is an opportunity cost to the public of not releasing the
    >> designs to educational users for free; the loss of the
    >> students' chance to study them.

    John> Sorry socialism doesn't work.

This is not "socialism," this is Accounting 101, economics-style.

    John> You haven't answered my one fundamental question. If I pay
    John> for improvements to the hardware design, how to I get that
    John> back with interest, IF my competitors can just freely use
    John> the design improvements?

Of course I did.  I told you up front that I don't have a sure answer;
this is still in the development stage.  If you want a tried and true
business model, study Bill Gates.

    John> My interest in the OpenPPC project is to see the widest
    John> possible adoption of PowerPC processors, in as many product
    John> as possible.

This one is my bad; that is a reasonable motivation for advocating a
free license which I didn't include.

    >> But conversely, if the new products are proprietary, the use of
    >> those products to create new products is limited more than it
    >> needs to be.  In fact, it's a monopoly.  Ugh.

    John> And technically it's not a monopoly product.

Flat, dead wrong.  The idea, the knowledge is monopolized[1]; it may be
redeveloped elsewhere, but in principle nobody knows or cares that it
is the same implementation, and often it won't be.  To make it not a
monopoly, you must transfer it, and the right to transfer it to third

And if the idea is patented, then it is additionally a monopoly by law.

[1]  The distinction is the same as that between monopolizing mineral
water and monopolizing the spring.

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."