Monday, October 27, 2003

Indemnification Nazis' At It Again

CNET News: IBM Should Indemnify Open-Source Customers by Forester shill Julie Giera Sheesh! Makes me sick. The indemnification Nazis are at it again. All part of a days work i suppose. Work no doubt done on behalf of their sponsors in Redmond. This Cnet article is just the latest attempt to smear open source with the slime of unfounded fear, uncertainty and doubt. That the enemies of open source try to cloak their deceit in the smarmy posturing of supposedly “independent” technology experts fools no one. We know who's footing the bill here. We know where the money's coming from. We know these shameless shills are all competing for an even bigger pay day. What price does one sell their professional credibility for you ask? Without so much as a blink, these shills go charging up the hill of open source, yelling obscene half truths and unfounded accusations. Waving their sabers. Beating their chests. Defending the status quo with false bravado as their palms are quietly greased behind closed doors. And to the one who slays the GPL dragon go the keys to the monopolist kingdom. Here's the thing. Microsoft can't compete against GPL protected open source efforts unless they can add a “cost” factor. Indemnification “corporatizes” GPL'd code, adding significant “big corporations only” costs while greatly diminishing the core value of the GPL. The truth is that the GPL provides all the protection anyone using community created open source code would ever need. But when would the truth ever be allowed to stand in the way of a great business plan? The indemnification Nazis' are of course going to try to say the GPL isn't enough. If Microsoft can bring a legal “cost” to GPL'd efforts, they could then leverage their enormous advantages in distribution, marketing, and court room rodeo shows. Competing against zero cost solutions that can then be wrapped in many high end service oriented packages is more than a challenge. It's end game if Chairman Bill can't put some kind of cost on highly effective GPL'd OSS. What happens when users start focusing more on the “services”, and less on the underlying infrastructure code? Corporations like HP and Sun go along with the indemnification ruse because it enables them to wrap GPL'd code in a corporate layer that significantly narrows competition, while protecting the high cost proprietary solutions that have long served to fill their corporate coffers. Red Hat and IBM have chosen to stand up for the GPL. But the phony indemnification ruse is just the first shot across the bow. Armies of boot licking lackies and shameless shills are lining up everywhere to take their shot at the open source community organization model. For sure there are big pay days ahead for any boot licker who can make their argument stick. To me, the fundamental issue comes down to whether GPL protected open source community efforts will be embraced by corporations, or crushed. Those corporations who have embraced GPL OSC efforts are under attack from those corporations who see the threat. And not without reason. Open standards groups have replaced the traditional dictates of corporate consortium's where a small group of collaborators could use patents and royalty sharing agreements to crush opposition, and carve up markets at price levels they controlled. The GPL is so effective at protecting the IP of open source community efforts that it near guarantees that any effort gaining traction in the marketplace is likely to become an “open standard” in and of itself. Open interfaces, open standards, and open connectivity protocols are surging forward, more often than not within the protective wrappers of GPL packaging. If they can't stop the GPL with the costly indemnification ruse, with costly patent based legal assaults, with costly royalty extracting “access” licenses, or with phony copyright and contractual claims, then perhaps the final bell for the halcyon days of corporate racketeering and extortion has been rung. Oh how enronic! With many companies rushing to embrace GPL'd efforts as a means of harnessing massive resources at little cost, and achieving critical mass without having to live in fear of some gilded privileged consortium plot to loot the marketplace, the advantages of being a recidivist monopolist are diminished in value. Imagine that your Chairman Bill, and you've spent your entire life scheming, plotting, conniving, and deceiving to put the entire information systems industry under your boot heel. Imagine you even survived a federal court finding that you used illegal means to crush your competitors to attain and maintain your monopoly. Imagine having survived the conviction in a Federal court of the most reprehensible business practices known, including your secret exclusionary contract provisions, extortion efforts, and conspiratorial market splitting agreements. Imagine having survived all this and being in position to finally grind everyone into the dirt, extorting user and developer taxes as far into the future as anyone can see. Imagine, and the only thing that stands in your way is that insidiously pesky GPL. With a court order sanctioning the decree that Microsoft owns the Windows platform, and any and all opportunities within reach of that platform, things look good for the recidivist reprobate. Having decimated any semblance of corporate competition, for sure Chairman Bill can almost taste final triumph. Time to send in the armies of boot licking lackies and shameless shills. Whatever the cost. This is war on the GPL. ~ge~

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