Improving copyright

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Thu May 13 20:54:03 UTC 2004

On 13 May 2004 at 19:27, João Miguel Neves wrote:

> And what's the advantage of using an operation system over another
> that is just a look-alike? -- 

If this were true, why use Linux when FreeBSD looks almost identical 
and can run Linux binaries?

A free software clone of Windows would be immensely useful. For one 
thing it brings all the driver & application support Windows gets. 
It's also open source with all the advantages that brings like 
ability to modify, enhance & study. It would likely cost no money 
though that's not so important.

Most importantly of all, if this Windows clone were sufficient for 
most people's needs there'd be no reason whatsoever to continue to 
buy MS Windows. A demand would arise for PC's to come prebundled with 
the free Windows rather than MS's especially with razor thin PC 
margins. That would cut MS's income drastically, forcing it to reduce 
its margin from the 80% currently to something more reasonable and to 
play much nicer in the wider community.

Such a thing would also preclude software patents as you can't 
realistically ban something so fundamental as running on most of the 
politician's & SME's IT infrastructure. Right now the decision makers 
don't see Apache powering the internet every day and so don't realise 
how destructive anti-free software legislation is, but it would be 
much more apparent to them if such laws directly affected the 
software running on their own desktops every day.

There are oodles of good arguments for this. The best argument is the 
historic one - Linux would have still emerged as the leading Unix 
from all those competing Unices even if Windows had never existed - 
it is inevitable that all commonly used software will eventually get 
a free implementation. The arguments you made against mine equally 
apply to the commercial Unix vendors during the 1980's and 1990's yet 
they all were vanquished.

I agree that if Microsoft ratcheted up their innovativeness crank 
threefold they could survive but in a much reduced form. Remember 
their two only profitable departments are Windows and Office - 
everything else makes a loss.


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