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 money.
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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