GPL not encouraging new technology

MJ Ray markj at
Tue Dec 3 23:58:01 UTC 2002

Niall Douglas <s_fsfeurope at> wrote:
> Right, we're finally making progress! Why didn't you just say my 
> assumptions are wrong?
> [...] I had 
> thought the notion that free software attracts less money than 
> proprietary to be self-evident, but if you don't think so then I 
> suggest you look at all software created world-wide and look at where 
> the money goes.

Now, divide the profit by your favourite metric of market size, please.

> Why isn't RedHat in the position of Microsoft? Or are 
> we claiming that in not much more time, it will be?

Because RedHat are not in the monopoly position?

> Copious historical evidence would show that if you have money, you 
> can buy the best and the brightest of any speciality and get them to 
> do what you want. That means rich people tend to stay rich and indeed 
> get richer.

Erm, I think you'll find copious historical evidence will point to frequent
structural changes and disturbances.  If you are attempting to say that we
much never try to bring about such things, then you hold a strange opinion.

> That is what I mean. I am holding them to different standards because 
> they are two totally different beasts. One is all about primarily 
> generating profit whereas the other is primarily about generating 
> software. It's in the nature of proprietary to subsidise new works 
> whereas it's not in the nature of "free" software - there it's a case 
> of enough enthusiasm pointing the same direction.

I think I found the absurdity: do I win a prize?  You seem to be using tests
whose outcome depends on your beliefs in order to back up your beliefs. 
This is a feedback loop, surely?

> Well I wasn't wanting to be filling the list with my replies, so I 
> was keeping them all in the one reply.

No.  It breaks threading and makes the discussion difficult to follow.  I am
sorry, but this conversation is not about who can write the most in the
fewest messages.  Please stop this thread-mangling, else it will look like
you are trying to deliberately confuse people and some will not strain to
read your replies.

> I fully understand the free 
> software business model (it's a service), it's just (a) I don't 
> believe it makes much money (b) it isn't good long-term for software.

1. There is no *the* free software business model;

2. I believe your beliefs are forming your beliefs again.

> I think it does. Capital goes where it can make the most profit, and 
> free software does not make much profit therefore it's a bad 
> investment.

Once again, I suspect you have no basis in fact for this?  Ethical
investment (and I believe that free software is more ethical) has
outperformed profit-chasing investment in the last ten years (based on a
comparison of managed investment funds).

> The best long-term option is to maintain ourselves as an innovation-
> based entrepreneurial manufacturing industry.

Nothing in that statement requires proprietary software.


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