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Slashdot: Censorship != Innovation

May 12, 2000, 20:19 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by emmett)

"I've written a lot of stories for Slashdot, but until yesterday's Microsoft news, I've never been inspired to write an editorial. I wrote this for people who are coming to Slashdot for the first time from media outlets, but regular Slashdot readers and comment posters may enjoy it, as well. Let me know what you think in the comments."

"Every time I see Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer on television, spouting the Microsoft party line about the 'freedom to innovate,' I can't help but think of Inigo Montoya in the movie the Princess Bride, saying "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means." It would be extremely easy to write an article on how most of Microsoft's innovation in the software industry is actually based on licensing issues and business models instead of technology. I won't be doing that this time.

"...Linux users are painted as the 'enemy' of Microsoft, although that's not necessarily the case. In my own experience, Linux users value freedom over bandwidth. For many people, Linux is an alternative to Microsoft's products not because of any vast performance difference, but because using Linux enables them to work in a world where their common system environment isn't controlled by a proprietary interest. While many Linux users take a vitriolic stance on Microsoft's monopolistic machinations in the industry, the argument really isn't a Microsoft vs. Linux issue. It's an issue of being able to choose a free and available development and operating platform over a closed-source, proprietary platform, and that means that Microsoft isn't the enemy. The biggest problem that Free Software enthusiasts need to overcome is the ideology and the processes behind the proprietary business model. Despite motions in the direction of the Open Source model, Sun Microsystems and Apple Computer are just as guilty as Microsoft in establishing a closed proprietary environment. Microsoft is just the most widespread 800-pound gorilla."

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