This is too stupid to blog, but I’m going to go ahead and expose my inability to exercise self restraint on my moron level intelligence.
The GPL purports to have freedom at its core, but it imposes on its users “a rather predatory obligation to disgorge all their IP back to the wealthiest nation in the world,” the United States, where the GPL originated, Schwartz said. “If you look at the difference between the license we elected to use and GPL, there are no obligations to economies or universities or manufacturers that take the source code and embed it in (their own) code.”
This has got to be one of the more wrongheaded statements by software executives about free software (though I haven’t followed SCO in a long time).
Should one choose to incorporate GPL’d code in their software, there is an obligation to release the derived software’s code under the GPL. Anyone in the world may use the code under the GPL’s terms. Only in the sense that the U.S. is part of the world is there a requirement to “disgorge” relevant IP (the derived software’s code) to the U.S.
This is predatory and imperialistic in approximately the same manner that trade between people in different nations is considered by some to be predatory and imperialistic — it isn’t, except in the clouded heads of Schwartz and economic neanderthals.
Oh, and the geographic origin of the GPL is completely irrelevant.
Reported in the same story, Schwartz makes another wrongheaded argument. At least this one isn’t a complete non sequitur:
“Economies and nations need intellectual property (IP) to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. I’ve talked to developing nations, representatives from academia and manufacturing companies that had begun to incorporate GPL software into their products, then…found they had an obligation to deliver their IP back into the world,” Schwartz said.
To the contrary, ignoring IP has proven a great way to develop quickly. The U.S. did not enforce European claims until the 1890s. More recently all of the Asian tigers have engaged in copycat development. Imitation is simply a great way to quickly close the technology gap with the most advanced economies. IP owners in the U.S. and other advanced economies want governments of developing economies to enforce strong IP — becuase that is in the IP owners’ interest, not because it is a reasonable development strategy.
By the way, ignoring IP can mean ignoring the requirements of the (copyright dependent) GPL as well.
Also today, read about Jonathan Schwartz, visionary.