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Re: [Fsfe-uk] The threat of a good example continued

From: Ramin Nakisa
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] The threat of a good example continued
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 22:12:03 +0100

On Friday 10 May 2002 00:03, you wrote:
> Ramin Nakisa wrote:
> > I would use something more tangible.  For example, imagine that a
> > company build rail track networks.  The government could pay to have
> > them build a British rail system, but after they stopped paying
> > license fees for the track they tracks would belong to the company
> > that created them.  Software should be thought of as infrastructure,
> > not a commodity.
> Hmm a terrible analogy to use in the UK, even Microsoft aren't
> as bad as Railtrack were.

I wrote this late at night and just realized that I didn't make clear that 
this scenario, which is what the govt is doing at the moment with companies 
like Torex, would be a Bad Thing.  Roads would be a better analogy.  It would 
be unthinkable for the companies who build roads to retain ownership to those 
roads.  Once built they can be used by anyone.  And yet the government is 
happy for software companies like Torex to own IP rights and source code for 
software that they write, when in fact it would be better if the source was 
released under the GPL.

> I think people can understand the software buying process
> without getting distracted by the politics of railways.

I disagree.  Analogies are useful.  You have to speak to people in terms they 
understand in order to get your message across.

> If you think trains are more tangible, you haven't understood
> the contract issued to one train operating company, that made it
> more profitable for it not to operate a full service and to take
> the resulting fines - guess what they did - yes protect
> shareholder interests by not running trains.

If private companies are paid to develop Free Software, then they are being 
paid for developer time, which would give a reasonable return on investment.  
They can keep their shareholders happy, and we'll be happy too.

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