Responsible Leadership: Tony Stanco and the EGOVOS Problem
People often have asked why NYFairUse discriminates against Microsoft. The truth is that NYFairUse has no such bias. Our approach to Microsoft is the same as it is toward any company that warns businesses to avoid the GPL (as if a standard Microsoft EULA would withstand legal scrutiny). After all, they publish detrimental lies, such as this one from the current Microsoft web site:
The GPL is designed to prevent commercial development of software distributed under the license. It does this largely by requiring licensees to make available, at little or no cost, the entire source code for any program that incorporates any amount of GPL code. Given that requirement, commercial developers cannot recover their research and development investments by charging reasonable and appropriate fees for their original software if it uses any GPL code. Free-software developers have every right to pursue this anti-commercial objective.
Microsoft's concern is the resulting degradation of the software ecosystem that would be triggered by widespread acceptance of the GPL, particularly within the governmental and academic research sectors. This ecosystem has sustained unparalleled innovation throughout the industry for the past quarter-century. The principal role of government and universities in the ecosystem is to undertake basic research and to dispense the findings both into the societal base of technical knowledge and to private enterprises and individuals capable of developing these innovations commercially. Commercial enterprises, in turn, engage in applied research to develop products that advance the state of technology, generating jobs, profits and tax revenues that boost the economy (funding additional basic research in the process). Commercial enterprises also disseminate innovations directly into the larger technical-knowledge base.
Microsoft uses its monopoly to thwart free software projects, such as SAMBA when it bans companies from releasing CIFS tools under the GPL, and when it participates in the Digital Rights Management scam that will end the practical use of free software through the Palladium "trusted computing" platform. But it wasn't Microsoft that we were upset with on this occasion. We are mad at people such as Tony Stanco, who discriminate against free software developers and distributors for their own personal advancement. And we let them know about it.
As a footnote, after our trip to George Washington University, NYFairUse made a trip to Capitol Hill while still dressed in our costumes. We got big smiles all along the halls of Congress, especially at Congressman Weiner's office. He's a member of the the sub-committee on Intellectual Property and the Internet. We have a handshake deal to install a GNU/Linux system in his office, so stay tuned.
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