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Eric S. Raymond: Microsoft's "Shared Source" plan -- such a deal!

May 18, 2001, 02:00 (65 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric S. Raymond)

If you're like most people, you have neither the time nor the patience to plough through the quagmire of corporate rhetoric at http://www.microsoft.com/Business/Licensing/SharedSource/. Fortunately, what Microsoft is actually saying, beneath all the obfuscatory verbiage, is very simple. Here's an executive summary:

Software users and programmers of the world, have we got an offer for you!

  1. First, we'll let you pay us for the privilege of seeing the source code to our software, bugs and all.
  2. Then, we'll use your work to raise the price of our next release. including anything you contributed. You won't get paid for your creative work, and you'll have no rights in it. If we're feeling nice, maybe we'll give you a discount on the next release. Then again, maybe not.
  3. Oh, and by the way...if you try to use any of what you learned from helping us fix our bugs for your own purposes, we'll sue your ass off and smother you in lawyers.

Such a deal!

We here at Microsoft call this "protecting intellectual property rights in order to create a sustainable business model". Um, that would be our intellectual property and our business model. You surely weren't thinking we cared about your business or your rights, were you?

What's ours is ours. And if you cooperate on "shared source", what's yours will be ours too!

Have a nice day -- and remember (eyes misting, hand held to heart) we're doing it all to support "innovation". --
<<a href="Eric S. Raymond>

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so. -- Hitler, April 11 1942, revealing the real agenda of "gun control"

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