[linux-elitists] Linux/Linus/Alan sniping and the freedom to scratch

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Sat Nov 3 11:46:34 PST 2001

On Sat, Nov 03, 2001 at 11:00:51AM -0800, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Sat, Nov 03, 2001 at 01:53:46AM -0800, Derek Vadala (derek@cynicism.com) wrote:

> > Linux has been available to the highest
> > bidder for several years now. It's just that everyone has conned you
> > into thinking it's still free, so that you continue to producing code
> > free of charge. 

First, what does "available to the highest bidder" mean when it's free?

Does it mean that someone with money can monopolize the time of some
key folks? Sure, I can see that. Linus spends time on Transmeta's hardware
because they write him a check. Now, let's consider the time when no
one was paying Linus. Was everyone happy with his priorities? Nope.
That's the thing. In open source development, you get what you get
unless you contribute. Linus contributes... do you?

Do we benefit from Linux? Yes. Do we make money because of it? Yes. Can
IBM spend a billion dollars and get HP to stop working on their
own distribution for PA/RISC? Nope. Can MS buy out Linux and drive
it into the ground, as per their standard tactic? Nope.

Second, think itch. ESR was on the money when he described OSS as
scratching an itch. I don't write code to "produce code free of
charge". I spend my valuable time in ways that directly benefit
me. I give the code away so that others will help me solve my
problem because it's their problem too. I win. They win. This is
not a zero-sum-game!

> Gee, Derek, that's just so...*insightful*.  Where exactly is this money
> trail pointing to Alan then?

Alan, according to the above, flawed logic, is working for the evil
Red empire (no the other, other one) and is making -- shock -- money!

Clearly, if he's making money, then he cannot be contributing
meaningfully to what we all need and want. Hence, he's "available
to the highest bidder". :-\

Aaron Sherman
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