[FredLUG] A subject to discuss at SFD?
Paul W. Frields
stickster at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 08:51:26 EDT 2010
On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 01:32:46PM -0400, Peter Larsen wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-08-30 at 12:22 -0400, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> > On Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 10:56:30AM -0400, Peter Larsen wrote:
> > > http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE67Q55V20100827
> > >
> > > Synopsis: A company linked to Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen is suing
> > > 11 major corporations, including Apple, Google and Facebook, accusing them
> > > of infringing on technology patents.
> > This is probably not even on the scopes of most of the people
> > attending SFD, so worrying about an approach about this subject seems
> > premature. :-) Not to mention we might cloud the issue of freedom in
> > software -- we don't really want people to walk away thinking, "Will
> > someone sue me if I use this stuff?" (Yes, people can be naive about
> > these issues.)
> Ahhh, no that wasn't what I meant. Just the opposite. What I thought
> would be interesting to talk to people about is the notion of owning
> technology - and draw the parallel to owning scientific discoveries.
> Imagine Einstein suing anyone using his famous equation if they didn't
> pay him first? Or Hawkings? Open Source breaks this notion and uses a
> more pure approach that any improvement is shared and not restricted to
> a single entity/company first.
> I'm finishing up reading "Just for Fun" by Linus Torvalds - our mighty
> Linux inventor and he had a very good point when he described why he was
> giving away the initial version 0.01. He used science as a model, and
> also pointed out (correctly) that he wouldn't have been able to do what
> he did without existing free software like GCC so he used the same model
> (it was interesting to note it wasn't until version 0.12 that Linus went
> for GPL - I didn't know that).
> That was what I thought would be valid and interesting as a talking
> point. I agree that mentioning any of the suits or even the old SCO crap
> will just muddy the waters and scare some and even give the wrong
> impression to others.
See, this I definitely agree with -- as long as it's not given in the
context of being the opposite of something else. I was confused by
the link to information about a lawsuit. I definitely like the idea
of saying, "free software works the way that science works, through
exchange, criticism, and refinement of ideas and practice." I think
that's a better way to present it than simply as an alternative
(i.e. second fiddle), as in, "Companies try to own ideas and then sue
each other, but free software works like science." The latter almost
sets up the subtext that the first way is already accepted, and maybe
reinforces it a bit.
Paul W. Frields http://paul.frields.org/
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