Free Culture

Collateral Damage

Ken Brown’s efforts on behalf of Microsoft have shifted to creating new terminology for proprietary software vendors to use and trying to change the meanings of words. Ken wants to change “Open Source” to mean asset-stripping (BSD) licenses, which for him means that value-creation licenses (GPL) become -shudder- “Hybrid Source”.

It’s Newspeak, and for a good example of a “Hybrid Source” project of mixed Open Source (BSD) and proprietary code, look no further than Windows. Its networking code was shown to have come from BSD. Yes, the world’s most successful proprietary software is “Hybrid Source”. Which Ken Brown says destroys the value of intellectual property and should be shunned by government.

On the plus side, obviously Microsoft’s new best friend Sun can’t use an evil, hybrid-source license like the GPL for Solaris and Java. They’ll have to use an asset-stripping license, which will allow other proprietary software vendors (such as Microsoft) to cherry-pick their code. But at least they won’t see the reduction in value of their intellectual property that they would if they went GPL. Um…