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[Fsfe-france] (CNET) Gates wades into open-source debate

From: Loic Dachary
Subject: [Fsfe-france] (CNET) Gates wades into open-source debate
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 23:51:20 +0200

URL: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1003-200-6322264.html?tag=tp_pr
   Gates wades into open-source debate 
   By Mike Ricciuti
   Staff Writer, CNET News.com
   June 19, 2001, 1:20 p.m. PT
    update ATLANTA--While he has no objection to open-source development
       efforts, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is concerned about the
   "Pac-Man-like nature" of the license that governs the distribution of
                               such software.
       In an interview Tuesday with CNET News.com at the TechEd 2001
   conference, Gates observed that Microsoft routinely shares the source
   code for its Windows operating system with its partners. In addition,
      the company uses some open-source software in its Hotmail e-mail
   However, Gates said, "there are problems for commercial users relative
      to the (GNU General Public License), and we are just making sure
                        people understand the GPL."
    The GPL governs changes to the software core, or kernel, of Linux as
       well as other software, and is used to govern many open-source
      projects as well. Under the license, a company must publish any
             changes to the kernel if it distributes the code.
     Open-source supporters point out that the GPL allows companies to
   write and sell proprietary programs that work with GPL-licensed code,
             as long as the software doesn't contain GPL code.
    Linux is one of the most visible examples of software that has been
      developed and improved under an open-source effort. An operating
    system created by Linus Torvalds that is used primarily in servers,
   Linux is governed by the GPL and competes with Microsoft's own server
   According to research firm IDC, Linux accounted for 27 percent of new
    worldwide operating-system licenses in 2000, and Microsoft's Windows
                    captured 41 percent of new licenses.
   Gates said Microsoft's stance on open source "has been misconstrued in
      many ways. It's a topic that you can leap on and say, 'Microsoft
     doesn't make free software.' Hey, we have free software, the world
    will always have free software. I mean, if you characterize it that
    way, that's not right. But if you say to people, 'Do you understand
    the GPL?' (then) they're pretty stunned when the Pac-Man-like nature
                        of it is described to them.
         "The ecosystem where you have free software and commercial
   software--and customers always get to decide which they use--that's a
             very important and healthy ecosystem," Gates said.
      The GPL, he continued, "breaks that cycle--that is, it makes it
    impossible for a commercial company to use any of that work or build
    on any of that work. So what you saw with TCP/IP or Sendmail or the
    browser could never happen. We believe there should be free software
    and commercial software; there should be a rich ecosystem that works
                               around that."
     Open-source advocates naturally disagree. For one, they argue that
   proprietary code such as Oracle's database software can run atop Linux
   with no legal or technical problems. Moreover, modules of proprietary
       code, such as a graphics card driver, may be plugged into the
                            open-source kernel.
    CNET's Linux Center In addition, open-source licenses such as those
    that cover the BSD variants of Unix, such as FreeBSD and the Apache
             Web server, allow software to become proprietary.
       VA Linux Systems Chief Executive Larry Augustin said that the
   "contamination" issues of GPL pale in comparison to those that people
                 face when working with Microsoft software.
   "Microsoft's shared-source (program) has many of the same issues, and
     they're often worse" because the person must make sure none of the
    Microsoft ideas creeps into other software, he said. "A person who's
   seen shared source is probably very contaminated and is going to have
                  a hard time working on other projects."
       Gates' comments amplify recent public statements by Microsoft
     executives that have cast Linux and the open-source philosophy as
          being everything from bad for competition to a "cancer."
     Analysts also have interpreted Microsoft's criticism of Linux, in
     particular, as evidence of the company's growing concern over the
    popularity of the operating system. The success of Microsoft's .Net
       Web services plan relies on the company controlling the server
                   operating-system market, analysts say.
     "There are people who believe that commercial software should not
   exist at all--that there should be no jobs or taxes around commercial
   software at all," Gates said. While that's a small group, "the GPL was
    created with that goal in mind. And so people should understand the
        GPL. When people say open source, they often mean the GPL."
          News.com's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.
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Loic   Dachary         http://www.dachary.org/  address@hidden
24 av Secretan         http://www.senga.org/      address@hidden
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