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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
"Crispen, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 28 Feb 2001 09:15:31 -0600
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"Crispen, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
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Robert C. Leif, Ph.D. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] sez:

>I totally agree with Allchin. In fact, the most interesting part of this to
>me as an exacademic, is that the GPL is a significant threat to the jobs of
>the university administrators who are in charge of commercializing
>intellectual property. If the faculty uses the GPL, the administrators can
>become redundant.

ROTFL!  Superb satire, Bob.  And if we made prostitution
unprofitable, our unemployment offices would be full of pimps.

At least somebody around here still remembers that the purpose
of a University is to increase human knowledge.  It's nice to know
that the concept of the public good has managed to survive in this
age of gimme, gimme, gimme.

Yes, the purpose of the GPL is to destroy intellectual property.
Considering the clarity with which Stallman, Raymond, and others
have enunciated their positions, the real "doh!" in this affair
is the amount of time it took Allchin to figure it out.

"Intellectual property" is a phrase you'll search for in vain in
the 18th and 19th centuries and indeed most of the 20th.

It represents a claim, made primarily by corporations, that the
work of their employees (a) exists as property and (b) falls under
the doctrine of work done for hire and therefore belongs to the
institution, not the individual.  It is simply a scam to take
from individuals (the creators and the licensees) and fatten up
corporate wallets.

The beauty of IP from the point of view of corporations and other
institutions is that they made up the concept out of whole cloth,
got people to buy into it, and are raking in the cash -- all this
from something that ought to be as obvious as the emporor's new
clothes is a figment of the imagination.

The GPL is a wonderful antidote to IP and other corporate fictions.
You can see its success in the explosion of creativity that's
taking place all over the world and the way the corporate IP model
is largely irrelevant to that explosion.

It isn't that the promoters of IP and other artifacts of rampant
corporatism are losing; they've already lost.

Mind you, as I observed last night from a show on the history
channel, once you mortally wound a whale, you can expect him to
want to do some nasty things to you as he dies.  Allchin's grab
for government sponsored software and the RIAA's continuing use
of the legal system to squash competition are examples of what
you can look forward to as these whales (dinosaurs, actually) go
through their final convulsions.

Is it worth fighting Allchin on government software?  Sure.  No
use in putting government sponsored software, which gets little
enough respect as it as, in a permanent do-not-touch-unless-you're-
a-big-corporation ghetto.

Incidentally, you'll sometimes have areas of technology where you
want to develop a business community as infrastructure around your
technology to ensure its continued existence.  I need only point to
what happened to VRML when Silicon Graphics decided to "focus on
core competencies" and PLATINUM had a bad quarter.  For those cases,
the LGPL is a perfectly adequate license.  And in the exceptional
cases, "Community Source" style licenses are reasonable substitutes.

To the babes in the woods who wonder why Microsoft doesn't object to
the BSD license,

        % strings ftp.exe

should clear things up for you.
Bob Crispen
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