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  MS-funded think tank propagates open-source lies
Time: 10:53 EST/15:53 GMT | News Source: The Register | Posted By: Alex Harris

A Washington think tank called the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution has released its anticipated study of the dangers of open-source software. Much to our disappointment, the organization's press release, which last week promised that the study would explain in gory detail how open-source software will foster international terrorism, turns out to have been a tissue of headline-pimping lies. Indeed, the paper never mentions terrorism at all. Instead, it overflows with the usual half-truth drivel about the economic dangers of the GPL which one can find re-hashed daily on the Microsoft 'Press Pass' PR site and the editorial pages of ZD-Net News. More than half the paper is an enumeration of the Crimes against Commerce of Richard Stallman.

As for system security, the paper allows that having the source code to a well-secured OS or application is little help to an attacker, just as knowing the layout of Fort Knox isn't going to help you sneak in and empty the joint. But it tries to persuade us that not having the source code means we're all safe from hackers.

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#1 By 135 (208.50.201.48) at 6/11/2002 12:15:04 PM
Microsoft must have gotten to Tony Scott, CTO at General Motors as well!!!!!

In C|Net's Vision series this comes out in the interview:

"Open source--is that something that is viable for GM?
It has not been a big factor yet. We are keeping our eye on it, but so far it's not a big factor. I think it's a good trend in some senses, as long as it doesn't destroy the ability of companies to create and value intellectual property at some level. As willing as people are to contribute stuff for free, at some point they're going to (want to) be rewarded for it. We'll have to watch that one. "

My God! He's spreading that lie about people wanting to be paid for their work. How dare he!

#2 By 2459 (66.25.124.8) at 6/11/2002 12:22:04 PM
lol

#3 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/11/2002 1:17:09 PM
If you are going to post rebuttals from the reg to this lousy report, why did you use the Greene one and not the Skoll one? Oh, because the Skoll rebuttal is intelligent and hard to argue with.

For example, soda speaks for his company--but that isn't proof that commercial companies can't use OS and make a profit:

"[However, the use of the GPL has the potential to radically alter a very successful model for partnership, particularly when most large commercial entities do not readily embrace the GPL.]

Once again, the white paper is worried about "large commercial entities." Well, some large commercial entities like HP/Compaq, IBM, Dell and Sun are quite willing to use, produce and/or distribute GPL'd software. To those large commercial entities who wish to stop GPL'd software, I say:"Tough. Adapt or die.""

or even better...

"[The GPL requires that if its source code is used in any type of software product (commercial or non-commercial) for any reason, then the entire new product (also known as the derivative) becomes subject to terms of the GPL open source agreement.]
...
"But so what? Suppose you derive a product from Microsoft Windows or some other proprietary code. Then you are breaking all kinds of license agreements. Furthermore, proprietary vendors would demand and get the rights to your derived product, leaving you with nothing.

The GPL is no more restrictive than the most liberal of proprietary licenses, and a good deal less restrictive than most. So Microsoft's... excuse me, the AdTI's... complaints are groundless."

#4 By 20 (24.243.51.87) at 6/11/2002 2:07:36 PM
I didn't see where it was sufficiently established that MS funds this group. Register basically said, "They do, trust us".

Well, pardon me, but I won't trust the Register. The burden of proof is on the Register.

Whatever happened to "journalism"?

#5 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/11/2002 3:32:35 PM
daz, scepticism also requires proof. If you read the Skoll article, he is very familiar with ADTI and was even interviewed as part of their report. ADTI was 100% funded by Microsoft. For the rest of the community responding to this, asserting this point is no longer necessary. If you check around, it is easy to verify and understand. You don't have to spend 10% of your article trying to connect this report with Microsoft.

So by taking these accepted facts as falsehoods, you are just living in your own dream world.

#6 By 135 (208.50.201.48) at 6/11/2002 3:53:07 PM
I don't speak for my company, I only speak for myself. I just quoted Mr. Scott because he was interviewed by C|Net.

I guess the point was, whether or not the paper was funded by Microsoft doesn't necessarily make the information completely untruthful. Certainly it is biased, but as I point out in the Scott interview on C|Net, he has no bias and yet still has some of the very same questions.

#7 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/11/2002 4:03:58 PM
But it doesn't make it (MS and Scott's opinion) true either, right? In fact, it barely even supports it considering MS's view is so biased and GM doesn't produce much in the computer industry, they are mostly consumers. On the other hand, the four other large movers in the computer hardware, software, and services industry do support GPL which ,if not entirely proving the point false, at least makes it 80-90% false to say that large commercial enterprises in the technology field will not embrace or be able to survive or profit by supporting the GPL. Doesn't it, soda?

#8 By 2332 (165.247.7.45) at 6/11/2002 5:36:44 PM
Ah yes, more anecdotal evidence that The Register (and all open source advocates) expect us to take as the gospel.

I haven't read the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution report, but I've also never read a SINGLE study from open source advocates that relies on anything BUT token examples (which we are supposed to take as "solid" proof by single example) and anecdotal evidence often provided by the crowd over at Slashdot.

If I'm going to give up my intellectual property (much less suggest a corporation does so), I need a bit more than that to convince me that open source is the way to go.

Oh, and #7 - "The GPL is no more restrictive than the most liberal of proprietary licenses, and a good deal less restrictive than most."

Come on... most proprietary licenses don't require you to expose your IP to the entire planet. That's a red herring.

#9 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/11/2002 5:48:57 PM
RMD, seriously, let's take on this issue of "giving away your IP." This is a ridiculous claim because no, or hardly any, proprientary license allows you to look at the source and use parts of it. You only have to GPL your code if you use GPL code. This isn't the case with MS's licenses but I also can't take their code and use it in mine. If I did, they would sue my ass off and then takeover ownership. Right?

This is how ridiculous the MS argument is and this is why I can call people "softies"--they completely buy into the crap. You don't have to GPL your code if you don't want to. Plain and simple. If you do want to, you can use lots of other code that would otherwise be proprietary and unuseable IP. You only have to GPL your code when you are distributing code based on GPL code--this cannot "force" you or "require" you to release your individual IP rights because your code is using code that was already IP of someone else. This "force" or "require" argument doesn't make any sense until the day when I am legally able to copy pieces of any proprietary code I want and call it mine. Until then, you aren't making a valid argument--you are trying to impose a worldview on a completely different worldview.

#10 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/11/2002 7:37:36 PM
By the way, RMD, here's your report that supports Linux adoption that uses just about every form of evidence BUT anecdotal evidence:

http://www.mitre.org/support/papers/tech_papers_01/kenwood_software/index.shtml

#11 By 135 (208.50.201.48) at 6/12/2002 11:50:45 AM
Jerky boy - Uhh, that shows the business case for using it in the military.

RMD is correct, if you want to read some real tripe go pick up ESR's Cathedral and the Bizarre. Follow that up with a strong shot of whiskey.

#12 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/12/2002 1:35:06 PM
Yes, and RMD asked for a non-fluff piece not funded by Linux zealots themselves. The arguments are applicable to business whether or not it was undertaken with a particular application in mind.

#13 By 135 (208.50.201.48) at 6/12/2002 3:08:30 PM
Military has had and always will have different requirements than businesses. So while some of the discussion is interesting, it's not applicable.

#14 By 3339 (65.198.47.10) at 6/12/2002 3:20:54 PM
Well, the Toc report is geared at the gov't and terrorism so I think it's applicable, but dismiss it for whatever reason you can find, soda.

I notice neither you or RMD are willing to try to rebut my argument that it's specious to say you give up IP rights with the GPL because no proprietary software license allows you to reuse its own IP, and that using that code and distributing derivative work is the only way you would be required to GPL your work--and doing so would have to be an entirely voluntary and conscious judgement on the part of the programmer.

This post was edited by sodajerk on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 at 16:16.

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