Bill Gates Claims Open Source Means Nobody Can Improve Software

from the say-what-now? dept

Wired is running an interesting article about Bill Gates' thoughts on the pharmaceutical industry, which he's increasingly focused on as he transitions out of Microsoft and into his foundation. He clearly understands the basic problem, though I think he has the wrong solution in brushing off the idea that "open sourcing" medicine is a huge opportunity. As for why... well, I'll be discussing that in a future post. Instead, for this post, I wanted to focus on a rather bizarre statement out of Gates (all the way at the end of the article) in discussing why he dislikes open source software. His complaint is that open source creates a license "so that nobody can ever improve the software." It's hard to figure out how to respond to that statement since it's the exact opposite of how open source software works. The exact point is that anyone can improve the software. It's proprietary software like Microsoft's that's limited such that only Microsoft is allowed to improve it. It's no secret that Gates isn't a fan of open source software, but it still seems odd that he would make a statement that is so obviously false, both in theory and in practice. Perhaps old FUD habits die hard, but one would hope that as he enters "retirement" he'll have a more open mind on such things.

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  1. identicon
    Jess, 27 Sep 2016 @ 12:11am

    Meh

    Because philanthropy serves a greater purpose, it serves a closed source society. The complete opposite of freedoms of open collaboration. Its like claiming your kids lemonade stand can cure cancer but your not allowed to source it because it's closed licensing.

    Sounds like he's desperately edging to prove something that doesn't exist in nature. How many people do you think who use Linux on a day to day basis will tell you open source was bad because it was open and constantly fixed?

    The open source nature is nothing but collaboration you need to be a complete idiot if you never bothered to look at the changes under the hood. The thing that separates open from closed source is the "keep it simple stupid" nature generally in open circles we follow this ideology "if it ain't broke why fix it" something only monopoly like M$ would abuse.

    It's like tending a garden and constantly over feeding the plants, that's basically how closed source works. Then folks complain about bugs, issue, broken crap and waiting on the desktop to install several hundred updates before needing another reboot.

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