Clever strategy

I think that if Ballmer wants to buy “companies that are built around open-source products”, it is not so much as wanting to play fair with the FOSS community and products, but to be able to take out and fork products.

Let’s look at some scenarios:
a) m$ buys out a GPLed-product company. The developers get handsome payouts and assuming that these developers are true FOSS chaps, they could keep the code going as both GPL and m$ proprietary.
b) m$ buys out a GPLed-product company, keeps the developers and stop work on the GPL version. It then forks the code for it’s own purposes. The GPL version continues in the community and if it is of any use to anyone, will see a community form and thrive.

So, in two possible scenarios, the our friends in Redmond would have spent a tonne of money, made some open source developers wealthy (hopefully they are smart about asking for a lot) and the community still benefits because the code is GPLed.

Hence, it is not too bad that m$ spreads around the moolah they accumulated with thieving business practises and if nothing else, it would bring some good Karma to them in the end – sorta like how billg is now trying to do the “right thing” by spending money from the Foundation on medical research and related issues.

In the grand scheme of things, it can only point to good in how the ill-gotten gains of m$ can be made useful.


  1. Linux Losing Market Share to Windows Server
    More spins from M$, do they expect people to believe this?
    2.,1895,2132581,00.asp – not worred about Red Hat (!). which makes a product—or rather gets free development groups to make a product—that they sell for about the same amount of money as Windows Server. It’s not the biggest worry area for us.
    Blah!. Keep em coming at your risk – Is is not obivious who is winning?

    • Re: Linux Losing Market Share to Windows Server
      THanks for those two links. In the grand scheme of things and noting the principle of inertia, the fact that Redmond’s talking heads would dismiss Red Hat and the entire Linux and free software movement is not unexpected. They have to been seen and heard doing it. It helps keep the likes of those reporters with something to write on slow news days. It is a sorta damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. It is a pity though. As I have written and spoken before about the malaise that is the IT industry, none of the proprietary vendors have taken any step back to see how badly they are impacting on the social mores of society. Under the pretext of business, they have taken the approach as you see today with no qualms of crushing any prospective new player with untenable FUD only for it to be lapped up by unthinking and uncritical reporters.
      There are many things wrong with the world today – global warming, religious strife (tell me which war was not started because of religion) – and I am sad to see that these proprietary vendors are only happy to continue to push their thieving ways.
      We gotta put our collective heads together to solve the global issues. Burma, Tibet, global warming, religious strife (in parallel though). Would you help me with it?

Leave a Reply