Where Rob Enderle loses me
Referencing: 2004 SCO Keynote speech by Rob Enderle
I absolutely agree with a lot of what Rob Enderle has to say.
His comments on corporate power, Groklaw group-think and his
general view of SCO's lawsuits are, I think, right on the
I do have a problem when he starts complaining about free
software. First of all, he ignores the fact that free only refers
to freedom to copy and modify. There's no requirement that there be
no money involved for services or support or whatever else you can
provide, but Rob keeps talking as though there is no money to be
made. That's just not true.
Rob also worries about collaboration, citing GM giving away
trade secrets to Ford by way of Linux software. What he misses is
that there is no requirement for either GM or Ford to do so: either
can take Linux software, make whatever modifications they want, and
just use it. If they aren't passing out Ford Linux , they don't
have to share anything with anyone. But the advantage of choosing
collaboration is that they don't have to solve every problem
themselves and that their own code can benefit from other people's
contributions. But that's their choice, not a de facto requirement
of open source software.
But the rest of what he has to say is worth reading, and worth
thinking about. Groklaw will tell you it is not, but they are
wrong. Rob points out that there is nothing pure or noble about
IBM's involvement with Linux, which is something Groklaw et al.
seem to want to ignore. He also repeats the warning that SCO's case
is just the tip of the iceberg.
I of course remain in favor of open source, and opposed to
software patents, long copyright periods, and too much corporate
power. I disagree with his economic view of Linux, but agree that
SCO has a right to pursue its interests, while at the same time
protesting that in a better world they would NOT have any
possibility of copyrights or patents on this software. That protest
is, of course, a political opinion, not a fact. There is room for
argument here, room for openness. I think Linux and Open Source
could improve the world, Rob apparently is suggesting that it could
damage our economy. He could be right, but so could I. I get the
impression that he at least has an open mind and is willing to
discuss all sides of this. I certainly don't get that impression
from Groklaw or its supporters, do you?
To some who may read this, that last sentence will be
inflammatory. I hope that those people understand that, by and
large, I'm well aligned with Groklaw's positions - we agree on the
basics. What I do not like is the one sided approach that allows no
dissension - the group-think. I think Rob is quite accurate in his
assessment of that, and he may be right in seeing some Groklaw
supporters as victims.
But he's still dead wrong about free software.
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