Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 16:27:28 -0700

On 9/27/02 12:30 PM, "Rich Morin" <> wrote:

> At 11:57 AM -0700 9/27/02, Tim O'Reilly wrote:
>> As organizations, I consider Microsoft and the FSF to be
>> equally unethical, since they both have a strategy of coercion.
> Ahem.  Both the FSF and Microsoft restrict the manner in which their
> IP gets used.  So, for that matter, does ORA.  As long as you accept
> the premise of IP, restrictions on use are part of the picture.

But that's not the coercion I'm talking about.  RMS has on more than one
occasion (alas, I don't have the references) given tacit or explicit
approval to situations in which people have essentially tricked an employer
who didn't understand the terms into releasing under the GPL, or seemed to
say it was OK if people were caught by the GPL because they didn't
understand it.  That's what I'm referring to as unethical, not restrictions
on use.  I've always said that I'm happy for people to license software
under any terms that a user will accept, absent coercion.  I've bashed
Microsoft because of egregious cases of coercion, and I've bashed RMS
proportionally for cases where he seems to approve coercion.

I've omitted Rich's comments about GCC competing on its merits.  It's
completely irrelevant to my point.  I applaud GCC for this, just like I
applaud Microsoft for the areas in which they have contributed to the
greater good, and places where they have competed fairly to improve the
state of the art. 

> So, I don't really accept Tim's assertion.  The FSF's coercion is
> pretty tame by comparison to the well-documented predations of M$.
> -r

I didn't say that they were equal in the scope of their coercion, just that
both seem to accept coercion as a valid tool.  And in my book, that's

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472