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Open Source kills companies

© September 2003 Tony Lawrence

Fri Sep 12 11:33:59 GMT 2003 Open Source kills companies

Links: Q&A: SCO's McBride on his open letter to the Linux community

Darl McBride:

What we're trying to say is, No.1, intellectual property is very important in establishing this [Linux] platform and to just take this "don't ask, don't tell" methodology [toward IP], we don't think that works. If we're going into a new business environment around Linux, well, let's ask the question right upfront: Does the free business model work? Everything we've looked at, whether it's free Internet, free telecom, free music, all of these things tend to, for one reason or another, not work over an extended period of time. Clearly, the free model just about killed our company, and I would argue that it's going to kill a lot of other software companies if the GPL [General Public License] is able to gain a foothold and run rampant throughout the industry.

OK. And trains killed steamboats, and automobiles almost killed trains. Yet, without paddle boats running up and down the Mississippi river, life goes on.

By the way, Darl, companies like SCO did awful damage to the industry my maternal grandfather worked in: business forms. Gosh, the ledger systems they used to sell, the complicated (and really quite clever) multipart forms he designed and sold made him a pretty good living. The damn computers wreaked havoc in his company, Daryl. Oh, there's still business there, but it's nothing like it was.

Computers took my paternal grandfather's work, too. He was an engineer who made a good living designing bridges and the like. I mean a GOOD living, Daryl: somewhere we have a tax return from the thirties showing him reporting something around $30,000 in income, which was rather good money for the times. My father told me of watching his dad do calculations for the launching of a ship from drydock; he said it was a project that took many days. Wiped away by computers, Daryl: nobody does those kinds of manual calculations now.

Yes, Daryl, free software can destroy businesses like yours. That's especially so when a company has been greedy, has ignored the needs of its customer base, has refused to adopt new technology, has alienated and ignored its own dealers and has generally seemingly done everything possible to drive its business away, even long before Linux had any foothold at all. Recognize anyone in that picture, Daryl?

Times change, boopy. Get used to it.

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