"Unfortunately, something happened recently that
demands I address the relationship between Microsoft and the
open-source community. It seems that Bill Gates sees Microsoft as
the chief benefactor of open source. A recent Seattle Times article
quotes Mr. Gates as saying, "Really, the reason you see open source
there at all is because we came in and said there should be a
platform that's identical with millions and millions of machines."
Really? Many of us older folks in this industry remember seeing
Bill Gates' name for the first time in the now infamous document,
"An Open Letter to Hobbyists," by William Henry Gates III dated
February 3, 1976. In it, Gates tells the users of Micro-Soft's
(that is the spelling in the letter) Altair BASIC to stop
distributing the software without paying for it. Mr. Gates accuses
the user community of believing that, "Hardware must be paid for,
but software is something to share."
How interesting. Before the birth of the PC, the roots of the
open-source community were already established. In fact, the notion
of paying for software was a largely new concept to the home
computer user community."