Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 18th Aug 2007 20:13 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source The OSI License-Discuss mailing list has been ablaze for the past few days since Microsoft submitted its Permissive License to the OSI for official open source license approval. Jon Rosenberg, source program director for Microsoft, posted, "Microsoft believes that this license provides unique value to the open source community by delivering simplicity, brevity, and permissive terms combined with intellectual property protection."
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RE[5]: To be honest...
by MollyC on Sun 19th Aug 2007 16:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: To be honest..."
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

"The "informal" definition (New Oxford) of the adjective criminal:
"informal (of an action or situation) deplorable and shocking : he may never fulfill his potential, and that would be a criminal waste."

He's plenty close enough, regardless of the legalese."


I wouldn't call bundling a browser with an OS "deplorable" or "shocking".

Anyway, he's not anywhere near close. He wasn't speaking "informally". He talked of "criminal conviction".
Here's one huge difference:
In order to be convicted of a criminal matter, one must be found unanimously guilty by a jury "beyond a reasonable doubt".
In order to be found liable of civil infraction, one must only be found liable based on "preponderance of evidence" (i.e. 50% of the evidence plus one), a much lower burden of proof than "beyond reasonable doubt". And such can be declared by a single judge, rather than a jury, who may or may not be a moron.

Here's another difference. Microsoft was found liable for actions taken *before* it was ruled that they had a monopoly in a particular market. And then they were punished for those actions in a retroactive fashion. Such is not possible under criminal law. (This is one of the flaws I find in antitrust law; due to its retroactive nature, you have to second-guess every action you take at a given time for fear that some judge *might* declare at some point in the future that you had a monopoly at some time in the past. It's BS.)

And no, this isn't simply an academic debate.
The reason that antitrust law is civil law and not criminal law is that antitrust law has nothing to do with good or evil. It's not inherently evil to do anything that Microsoft did. It was only that since they had a dominant position in a particular market, that those actions were deemed harmful for the marketplace. Not "evil", just harmful. Using words like "criminal" carries the "evil/deplorable" baggage, which is inappropriate for this case.

Anyway, it's not relevant to the OSI submission process, despite DiBona's wishes to the contrary.

Edited 2007-08-19 16:10

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: To be honest...
by segedunum on Mon 20th Aug 2007 21:26 in reply to "RE[5]: To be honest..."
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Anyway, it's not relevant to the OSI submission process, despite DiBona's wishes to the contrary.

I'm afraid it is. A track record with an open style organisation such as the OSI is pretty much a given. Microsoft has done nothing to help the OSI, has done everything to deride it's cause and that of the concept of open source software and the licenses they are submitting do nothing to help open source software, nor do they further it in any way. The OSI has also stated it wants to cut down on the variety of different licenses.

I'm afraid Microsoft cannot just submit a license to the OSI and expect it to be accepted. The licenses many vendors have come under quite a bit of scrutiny as well, and arguably, they shouldn't have been approved by the OSI.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: To be honest...
by MollyC on Tue 21st Aug 2007 06:30 in reply to "RE[6]: To be honest..."
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

Anyway, it's not relevant to the OSI submission process, despite DiBona's wishes to the contrary.

I'm afraid it is. [snipped trite Microsoft bashing]


If you bothered to read the OSI discussion list, you'll see that DiBona isn't getting much, if any, support. So while you believe this is relevant, I don't think OSI on the whole does.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: To be honest...
by ma_d on Tue 21st Aug 2007 02:44 in reply to "RE[5]: To be honest..."
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm sorry you believe criminal law has to do with good and evil. It doesn't. Personally, I consider greed and monopoly action to be immoral (evil for me), but that wouldn't make it criminal even if everyone agreed with me.


That said, he was speaking informally; welcome to an Internet bulletin board. I suppose there was some formal context in the point, and in order to consider it as a real reason for the OSI to do something it would need to be formal. But I don't think he was trying to be formal, and neither way I (not about that at least).

We were simply trying to show just how dangerous this situation may be. But you're right, this is hardly an academic discussion. It's really an argument between those who respect Microsoft as a dangerous entity (fear) and those who value objectivity above that. It's unlikely to reach a compromise the parties can agree on as well, but then again what bulletin board argument ever has ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: To be honest...
by MollyC on Tue 21st Aug 2007 06:28 in reply to "RE[6]: To be honest..."
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"I'm sorry you believe criminal law has to do with good and evil. It doesn't. Personally, I consider greed and monopoly action to be immoral (evil for me), but that wouldn't make it criminal even if everyone agreed with me. "

Maybe my comment was too general. I don't believe that criminal violations are the only evil acts. But nor do I believe that all illegalities are immoral.

In particular, antitrust law is not about morality, it's about trying to maintain a vibrant marketplace, for the purpose of benefiting consumers (not competitors), period. That's it. Nobody is going to "hell" for bundling a browser with an OS. (Nobody is going to jail for it either, for that matter.) I can't think of any of the 10 Commandments that such an action violates (and I can list them, unlike those that want them taught in schools and displayed in court houses ;) ). It *might* harm the marketplace, but it's not a "sin".

Now, I don't know what you mean by "monopoly action", but "greed" is indeed one of the seven deadly sins. But name me a corporation that isn't greedy. I hate to quote Gorden Gecko, but "greed is good". ;) The entire economy is based on it. It's why capitalism succeeds and communism fails. Charity and philanthropy are clearly virtues worth having, but greed is required to survive. Everyone has both greed and charity in him. And Microsoft is no more "greedy" than any of its competitors are (though they may be more charitable).

When I think of an "evil" corporation, I think of the likes of Enron, IG Farben, WorldCom, polluters, child labor exploiters, etc. Those are examples of truly "evil" corporations, not Microsoft.

Now, I could raise questions as to whether a company making billions on the backs of a free labor force is "evil" or not, but I won't go there (right now, anyway). ;)

Edited 2007-08-21 06:42

Reply Parent Score: 1