Re: [OT] Re: Troll Tech [was Re: Sco vs. IBM]

From: Richard B. Johnson (
Date: Fri Jun 20 2003 - 12:31:26 EST

On Fri, 20 Jun 2003, Stephan von Krawczynski wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Jun 2003 07:24:36 -0700
> Larry McVoy <> wrote:

[Sorry about snipping a lot.... ]

> Think about the real important things first, then come back to the discussion
> about the _tool_ and see how narrow and short-sighted people react.
> Regards,
> Stephan

Well the 'tool' is just some political hackery that
some persons have created to make themselves seem
important. These are the same persons who fail to
recognize that most everybody needs to work for a
living somehow and, if they "contribute" to free-
source code, it's usually something they've done
while being paid by some company to do something

Any technical business person who's worth their
salt can look through the various Web Pages of
the various so-called open-source advocates and
see major portions of their company resources being
given away when, in fact, it wasn't the right or
privilege of the employees to give the property
the company paid to develop away at all.

As usual, there are several sides to this whole
story. Many open-source advocates adopt their
special ideas of "open-source" as a kind of a
religion. They claim that the big bad companies
are withholding the knowledge to which everybody
is entitled.

The fact is that nobody is entitled to knowledge.
Those who have paid their own way through universities
may understand this. Others won't and never will.
The knowledge that companies pay to acquire is
called intellectual property. That's the stuff
that makes things work.

Without it, the only companies that can exists are
distributors. Distributors make their money by moving
value from one location to another. In so doing,
they don't increase the value. They just take their cut.

Technology companies make new money where none existed
before. This is because they create value instead of
just moving it around. Once you give away that technology,
you no longer create value. If you survive, you survive
only as a distributor. The economy can handle only so many
distributors. To keep growing and make jobs for the new
workers that are being born every day, one needs to make
new value. Enough Economics 101.

Many technology companies understand that their employees
may want more recognition than just a paycheck. Therefore,
many turn their heads as they become aware that employees
are sometimes giving away work performed on "company-time".
After all, a dedicated employee can't just turn off his or
her innovation when they go home from work. They end up
doing lots of company work on their "own-time".

However, once the Lawyers smell blood, the day of reckoning
is not far behind. Because of their aggressive pursuit of
other people's money, the lawyers will not be satisfied
until there is a sharp demarcation between a private person's
intellectual property and a company's intellectual property.

If you've ever read the fine-print on employee "agreements",
forced upon engineers as a condition of employment, you will
note that everything of value that the poor slob thinks about
while being employed is, in principle, the property of that
employer. So, if you submit a bug-fix while employed, watch
for lawyers in the shadows.

Now that a little company is trying to extort money (I call it
like I see it) from a big company, we have a wake-up call.
If this trend continues, an employee will not be allowed to
communicate ideas to potential employees of potential competitors.
It is no longer a situation involving "open source", but a
situation involving speech itself.

The United States Constitution doesn't help here. It has long been
established that a company has a right to prevent an employee from
divulging the nature of his or her work.

If fact, when I worked in the "high country", I wasn't allowed
to even travel to certain places in the state or to go to certain
night-clubs or bars. If I didn't like those restrictions, I could
quit. Otherwise, I just planned my life around the requirements
of the company. FYI, we were given a list of places that we could
not go. That's like an open invitation to go there and see what
they were hiding from us!

I can foresee the time where employees won't even be allowed to
communicate on the Internet because of the potential of leaking
company secrets. This is what the SCO/IBM lawsuit is all about.
This is why it's damned important for IBM to accept the challenge
and nip this kind of stuff in the bud.

Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version 2.4.20 on an i686 machine (797.90 BogoMips).
Why is the government concerned about the lunatic fringe? Think about it.

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