Bill G warns the 3rd World hoards of the dangers if free SW

Zak McGregor zak at
Wed Apr 24 22:13:30 MDT 2002

On Wed, 24 Apr 2002 23:35:58 -0400
Stewart Sinclair <stewsinc at> wrote:


> "We say there should be an eco-system so something like VSB [BSD],
> which is a free form of UNIX, but it's not - -doesn't have this GPL
> with it, versus Linux which does -- there's a big contrast. A
> government can fund research work on BFP [BSD], UNIX, and still have
> commercial companies in their country start off around that type of
> work. You know, technology policies like biotech -- you only -- if
> your universities are doing work that can be commercialized, you will
> have IT jobs in your country. And if they are not, then fine, just say
> that farming is your thing, or whatever it is. All the taxes will be
> paid by those guys or something -- I don't know. And the farmers will
> go home at night and work on the source code. (Laughter.)"
> Not exactly a ringing endorsement of BSD (ESB?), we accept, but Bill
> is kind of saying it's perfectly reasonable for governments and
> universities to work it and Unix. But we expect he'll be singing a
> different tune if they take him at his word. ®

WEll, Billy-boy couldn't really take too hard a stance against the *BSDs
- after all, Microsoft just took that TCP/IP stack and used it in
Windows 95, 98, ME and NT/2000/XP. That is of course why he likes the
*BSD licences so much - they are lax enough to allow the corps to simply
incorporate the code into their products without being obliged to feed
back any improvements into the system - unlike the GPL, which enforces
any distributed improvements to be made available to anyone who wants
them (pretty much).

Quite interesting is the extent to which he simply doesn't get it. He
has never got it, not in '96, not now. For a company with such a
clueless (technology-wise) guy running it, Microsoft has done well. I
shudder to think how powerful they would be today had Gates actually
been the visionary everyone (on Wall St) thinks he is.

One thing is for sure - Microsoft are in uncertain waters. As you said
so well Stewart, this would be funny if he didn't have all that power,
money and influence. 


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