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
    Francis the Wonder Llama, 23 Apr 2008 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re:

    @PaulT@ You critisize Alexio for his statement that "You need to be a geek to apprciate it." Then go on to beg for: detailed feedback on app support, hardware support, look and feel, and then advise to check the project pages etc. Don't you get it? This is exactly what the complaint is about having to be a geek to appreciate it is about! A computer literate but casual user does not want to have to invest so much time and effort into what you ask for. I want my software to make me more productive, meaning I want to install it and get going with it to complete my goals. And my goals are not the software itself. Leave that to the geeks. And given the old adage that "Time is money" I have to question spending several hours = several hundred $$ in giving feedback in the hopes that someday someone who is not responsible to me will deem my wishes important enough to work on and bring me what I want; OR do I just take that couple hundred $$ and go get what is good enough to allow me to get to what I need to do in the first place and be on with it? IT's the geeks that choose the former and the people that have other things to do that choose the latter.

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