[OT] Free software versus software idea patents

harrismh777 harrismh777 at charter.net
Sun Apr 10 20:04:24 EDT 2011

Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> >  What do you mean 'just like"....?    They are nothing alike.
> All three of Python, Apache and Linux have accepted donations from
> Microsoft. Microsoft is a corporate sponsor of the PSF. Microsoft is not
> in the business of donating money and time to competitors out of the
> goodness of their heart. If Microsoft is giving them money or code, they
> must be getting something out of it.

     Not so fast there, Steve. If they [Microsoft] are paying anything 
(unsubstantiated, unknowable) to Python, Apache, or (Linux, whatever you 
mean by that term...) there are only two motives:
1) Embrace, Extend, Kill...
2) They are paying for interoperability (revealing their underlying 
proprietary frameworks) in exchange for not being left out in the cold 
when the rest of the world dumps their system and moves to a free society.
Microsoft is between the proverbial rock and that hard place you always 
hear about.
The problem with motive number (1) is that nobody cares for (nor needs) 
their extensions, and its very hard to kill *anything* that is GPLd or 
licensed under a GPL compatible license. There really isn't a lot they 
can do... except threaten litigation or to use a front to threaten 
The deal with motive number (2) is that there are fewer and fewer teams 
who are concerned with interoperability. For instance (my team), we 
moved our stuff to gnulinux based systems and dumped Microsoft 
completely... we have no need for them at all (they're dead). The Linux 
Foundation president made a splash the other day by saying that bashing 
Microsoft was like kicking a puppy (the server cloud war is over, and 
Microsoft lost... big). The desktop is all that is left... and that is 
dying... rapidly. Their lockin is well entrenched (like Borg implants ) 
but the number of mom & pops ( like my entire extended family, for 
instance) who are moving to Ubuntu (themselves) is astounding! It will 
not be long and Microsoft will die... and none too soon.

> All three projects actively collaborate with Microsoft from time to time,

     Again, this is not true. There is a huge difference between active 
collaboration, and accepting donations from Greeks bearing gifts...   :)

> some more than others. .NET's IronPython is one of the "big four" Python
> implementations (the others being CPython, PyPy, and Jython), and
> actively supported by Microsoft. What's good for Python is good for
> IronPython and Microsoft.

     I'm not interested in any of those mentioned above, except Python 
(PSF). I don't support the others.... in any way. Period.

> Perhaps I should also have included Firefox and Thunderbird, which
> actively court Windows users and developers, sometimes at the expense of
> Linux users (e.g. the use of SQLite),

     Again, not true. What is happening with Firefox and Thunderbird is 
to provide the most common interfaces mom & pops use (freely, actively, 
functionally, easily) so that they are "freed" from the Borg implant of 
IE. Then, when mom & pop try the live cd from Ubuntu, or Gentoo, or 
BLAG, or gNewSense, whatever... they have interfaces that they are 
comfortable using. Clever,huh?  None of this is at the expense of the 
gnulinux community... on the contrary, these tactics are for our benefit 
and must be supported; with time, attention, education, and yes, even 
our money.
     IE is dead. It is flat dead... almost nobody is using it... not 
even die-hard Windows gaming fanboys... we're on our way to freedom.

> Or Samba, which doesn't merely compete with Microsoft's SMB, but spreads
> it into the Unix world and legitimizes Microsoft's protocol among FOSS
> users.

     Samba is almost (almost) not necessary any longer either. Most 
shops today are supporting CUPS and the shops who provide Windows print 
servers are supporting the SMB interface so that all the Linux and Macs 
can still print... I'm thinking here mostly of the university setting 
(where I'm @ these days) where 9 out of 10 computers is a Mac Book and 
half of all remaining notebooks are running Ubuntu...  again, this is 
not to legitimize Windows as a platform, but merely *in place* to 
expedite the rapid migration of users to *nix platforms. When finished, 
we turn off Samba and everyone is running CUPS... end of a sad sad story 
for Microsoft, and the dawning of a bright new day for freedom.

> You paint a very attractive picture of Good versus Evil, but real life is
> not as black and white as you make out.

     Real life is all I'm interested in... that is why I'm an activist, 
as well as a computer scientist; I care. Free software - Free society. 
The time is now, and the timing is critical. Microsoft and the 
representative oligarchy must die. We don't need them any longer and 
they have crippled the entire world for far too long....

> Mono fails to live up to your extremely high standards of FOSS purity

     This is one of the few things you have said that I can agree with, 
sort-of; kind-of. Mono is deliberately acting against the best interests 
of the FOSS community... which is why the general FOSS community hammers 
on them... not just me. Ben Finney's response to you (I hope you saw it, 
it was his response to your straw man argument against his viewpoint) 
was right on the mark, so I will not reiterate that here. But, almost 
needless to say, there is a fundamental distinction that is being made 
in the community regarding patronizing of .NET and C#. There is simply 
no reason for it, and 'it' must be resisted with vigor. Freedom in the 
21st century demands that the software oligarchy of the 20th century 
die. This must happen at all cost. It is imperative. The time is now.

kind regards,
m harris

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