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TEAM-ADA  March 2001

TEAM-ADA March 2001

Subject:

Re: GPL vs. proprietary - winners and losers

From:

"Robert C. Leif, Ph.D." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.

Date:

Wed, 7 Mar 2001 08:54:22 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (110 lines)

From: Bob Leif
To: Mike Feldman et al.

Mike wrote on a subject with which I have professional knowledge.

"Actually, I think most of that outrageous price is paying for
the endless TV ads we are seeing for expensive prescription drugs."

On this subject, we are in agreement. Unfortunately, I suspect that the
companies have a First Amendment right to place these advertisements.
However, FDA should require a more comprehensive summary of the product
insert. About 20 minutes of time, would be sufficient for an adequate
summary including a graphic summary of the side-effects.


"BTW - I would support a similarly evenhanded balance in
funding R&D in other industries too, especially in pharmaceuticals.
In the drug industry, I opine that the scales are tipped too heavily
toward the proprietary model - the taxpayers fund a lot of the R&D,
the drug industry patents and commercializes the result and then claims
their outrageous U.S. prices are necessary to fund their own R&D."

The outrageous prices are NOT the result of R&D costs. They are the result
of the huge costs involved in the premarket testing of the drugs to obtain
FDA approval. FDA approval adds great value to a patent. As soon as a
compound is made public domain, it becomes an orphan drug. In order for
these compounds to be tested, the FDA quite properly provides monopoly
status.

I should note, if a medical device or software package that will require FDA
approval is made public domain, there is a high probability that it will
either not be commercialized or its commercialization will be greatly
delayed.

I totally agree that the system needs fixing. However, the fix is to
increase competition by changing the legislation concerning FDA approval.
This will require significant improvements in medical informatics. These
improvements can best be made by using the combination of Ada with XML.
--------------------------------------------------------------
-----Original Message-----
From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Michael Feldman
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 7:36 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: GPL vs. proprietary - winners and losers


Hi everyone,

For what it's worth, let me throw a few comments into this mix.

Allchin's argument is, essentially, that the government should stop
funding any work that would be released under GPL-type restrictions.

Effectively, if it were to do so, the government would be preferring
the proprietary model to the GPL-type open-source one. I'm not going
to add to the heated debate of the merits of one model over the other.

I think most of us would agree that _both_ models have their strengths
and their weaknesses. This debate has been useful in clarifying that
issue. I hope you would agree that it would be foolish for Uncle Sam
to choose a winner between the two.

Specifically on Ada 95 (after all, this _is_ Team-Ada!), Uncle Sam
has invested roughly equally in both models. Thanks to AJPO, we
have both GNAT and ObjectAda. As we know, GNAT is GPL-ed and
OA is proprietary.

Undoubtedly you all know that Uncle Sam funded the original NYU-based
work on GNAT.

Perhaps you're not all aware that the original ObjectAda front end was
developed by Intermetrics in the guise of the AJPO-sponsored "Academic
Ada" project; Thomson (later Aonix) became the commercializer thereof.

If memory serves, the U.S. taxpayers' investment was in the
neighborhood of a few million dollars in each system; this teeny bit
of seed money has given rise to successful projects under both models.

(Well, successful as Ada goes, anyway. :-))

In the interest of full disclosure: one of the competitors for the
Academic Ada contract was a team that I was putting together, with
work at GW and participation from the then-new ACT and a couple of
other small companies. GNAT would have been the compiler in the
middle of an integrated development environment. The whole would
have been GPL-ed, of course.

As angry as I was at losing the award, with benefit of hindsight,
I can see that AJPO may have done the right thing by balancing
its investment between the two models; their doing so gave Ada 95 a
kick start that neither model, by itself, could have done.

Bottom line: Uncle Sam shouldn't pick winners and losers. Let them
fund GPL-ish software, public-domain software, and maybe even
proprietary software with a reasonably evenhanded balance, on
the merits of each proposal they get.

BTW - I would support a similarly evenhanded balance in
funding R&D in other industries too, especially in pharmaceuticals.
In the drug industry, I opine that the scales are tipped too heavily
toward the proprietary model - the taxpayers fund a lot of the R&D,
the drug industry patents and commercializes the result and then claims
their outrageous U.S. prices are necessary to fund their own R&D.

Actually, I think most of that outrageous price is paying for
the endless TV ads we are seeing for expensive prescription drugs.

Mike Feldman

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