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Re: US court says software is owned, not licensed

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: US court says software is owned, not licensed
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 10:39:00 -0400

"David Kastrup" <address@hidden> wrote in message news:address@hidden
"amicus_curious" <address@hidden> writes:

"David Kastrup" <address@hidden> wrote in message
Rjack <address@hidden> writes:

David Kastrup wrote:

He made the rather audacious and totally unsupported statement
that the "GPL software market is worth billions by now" and he
ducks and runs from the challenge that his notion is simply

Huh?  There was no challenge.  If there had been, it would have
been easy to counter.  RedHat's market capitalization is
5.29billion at the moment, their main product is RedHat Linux and
an estimated 80% (including the kernel) of any Linux distribution
is under the GPL.

Using the market cap of a producer to suggest the value to the market
is kind of a reach.

Hm?  It is the amount of money the investors find worth keeping in a
company.  If a single company focused on GPL products already has more
than 5 billions, it is certainly not unsubstantiated to talk about a
market worth billions.  Unless you are in complete denial mode.

Well, you seem to have a unique view of market value which most everyone else agees to be the amount of money spent by consumers to obtain products that comprise the market. I suppose that, if you need to find some way to justify your original comment, you could use that analysis to save face, but you would be exposing an alternate shortness of knowledge. Which is better for you? Your view is analogous to claiming that the title of biggest crap game in town goes to the table with the largest bank rather than to the one with the most money wagered. It is a wrong view.

Using the same logic, the market value of Windows and Windows software
is some 240 billion by contrast.

I haven't looked.  So what?  That was not under debate.  Is there a
particular reason you feel like changing the topic whenever you have
been proven wrong?

I have not been proven wrong at all. You have merely proven your lack of understanding of the meaning of market value. Even so, since you offer the market cap of Red Hat as substantiation of the "market value of GPL software" so to speak, you have to agree that the reason for the assertion in the first place was to claim that the GPL was of substance. Changing the metric for Red Hat, though, changes it for all non-GPL software as well and the GPL measure is still trivial and inconsequential relative to the measure of the non-GPL software. So your assertion remains unproven.

No other company dealing with open source software as a defining
charactersitic even comes close to Red Hat,

Last time I looked, Sun defined itself as an open source company, and it
is slated to become part of Oracle.  Both not exactly small companies.

That is indeed humorous! Sun, having made an effort to re-invent itself, at least in image, and failed is now offered as an "open source" company? I suppose that its attempt to proprietize MySQL will be branded as its becoming a "company centered on GPL software" as well. Then the offer by Oracle to purchase Sun makes Oracle a similar company? No wonder Steve Ballmer suggested that GPL was a "cancer"! You have shown that he is right.

so one could safely say that the combined market caps of proprietay
software companies focused on Windows, which would necessarily include
hunks of Oracle, Symantec, IBM, Intuit, and others, is a couple of
orders of magnitude greater than the GPL can muster, making it a
rather small potato.

Cough, cough.  Hunks of Oracle, IBM and others are focused on Open
Source (IBM has invested a few billions into Open Source by now
according to their own statements, so IBM alone would also likely
support my statement).  Is there a particular reason you only want to
count a single company for the GPL tally (and dismiss that this single
company would already suffice for my statement), yet list a number of
companies (who tend to also invest in the GPL market) on the side of
Windows, even though a comparison was never the topic?

A minute amount of IBM's business deals with open source software and in reality nothing about its business that differentiates it from its competition relies on open source. Further, the discussion was not about "open source" but rather about the GPL. Do you find the GPL hard to defend? BTW, I looked up TeX and such and it appears, among other things, to not be a GPL licensed software product. Why not?

Get a grip.  Try to remember what you tried accusing me of and try
arguing a bit more coherently.  You don't look particularly well if you
both lose sight of your argument _and_ employ conflicting standards
while arguing something else altogether.

My grip is fine. It is yours that has slipped. You are the one who seems confused as to how market value is calculated. Do you not believe in the standard definitions? You are also the one who seems confused by OSS vs FOSS and the GPL vs other sorts of open source licenses. I know that you are a devoted participant in the TeX world, whatever the situation there, but you can do that without worrying about What Microsoft does in its own sphere.

The statement concerned the "GPL software" market (i.e. proprietary
vs. non-proprietary) software. It is a category mistake to conflate
"software" market with "software services" market.

Huh?  Since when?  It would appear you are redefining "software
market" as "licensing fee collection market" in order to carry your
argument.  But that's just stupid.  Licensing fee collection is not
even part of a software engineer's job description.

But it is a very significant part of the value of software being sold
in commerce.

Not with GPL software.  And so it is simply disingenuous to define
"market" as something excluding the GPL market.  It is like saying that
the majority of beverages is carbonated, and then measuring the beverage
market in terms of carbon dioxide.  Of course you'll arrive at the
conclusion that there is no significant market value for orange juice.

GPL software, in your analogy, would be more akin to "mulberry juice" or something like it that needs to be made at home and not generally available in supermarkets. Linux itself could qualify as the analog of perhaps "prune juice" which appears on store shelves, but only barely.

As noted, the source of Red Hat's profits are the support activities
which are dependent on the existence of the GPL software in Linux, but
are distinctly separate and not particularly open at that.  You have
to pay to play with Red Hat.

Uh yes.  We were talking about _market_ value of GPL software business.
Now you want to exclude everything for which one has to pay.  How much
more stupid can you get?

Well I find it difficult to achieve your level, of course, but I would claim that, absent Linux per se, Red Hat could be in the same business doing the same things and be focused on freeBSD Unix. Or the GPL could be revoked and Red Hat would continue to be in the same business doing the same thing as before. Indeed, one could make a case that the failure of Red Hat to adopt the GPL v3 in its licensing is indicative of that very same thing.

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