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    SubjectOne more ZDNet article with BillG hammering Linux and Open Source.
    Date
    http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2777283,00.html

    (an excerpt)

    Linux and open source

    ZDNet -- Can you clarify Microsoft's position on Linux and open source? There
    has been a lot written about it in the last week. What's Microsoft's objection
    to open source and Linux?

    BillG -- I don't want to dwell on this. Craig Mundie (Microsoft's senior vice
    president of advanced strategies) is the expert. There is this whole history
    that free software is developed often in the academic environment, where
    basically government money funded that work. And then commercial work is done.
    TCP/IP came out of the university environment. Now, 90 percent of the
    implementations you buy are commercially tuned and supported. And then the
    companies that do that commercial work pay taxes, create jobs, so the
    government keeps funding more research, primarily in universities. So that
    ecosystem where you have free software and commercial software, and customers
    always get to decide which they use, that's a very important and healthy
    ecosystem.

    ZDNet -- How does the GPL (GNU General Public License) factor in?

    BillG -- There is a part of open source called GPL that breaks that
    cycle--that is, it makes it impossible for a commercial company to use any of
    that work or build on any of that work. So what you saw with TCP/IP or (e-mail
    technology) Sendmail or the browser could never happen. We believe there
    should be free software and commercial software; there should be a rich
    ecosystem that works around that. There are people who believe that commercial
    software should not exist at all--that there should be no jobs or taxes around
    commercial software at all. And that's a small group, but the GPL was created
    with that goal in mind.

    And so people should understand the GPL. When people say open source they
    often mean the GPL. When someone asks a question, "So what about open source?"
    do they mean open source or do they mean the GPL? We believe in that ecosystem
    and having the mix of free and commercial software.

    ZDNet -- What's your position on publishing source code?

    BillG -- We have no objection to people publishing source codes. We do that
    ourselves under certain terms. Some of our source codes are out there and very
    available, like Windows CE. Some generally require a license, like Windows
    itself. We have no objection to free software, which has been around forever.
    But we do think there are problems for commercial users relative to the GPL,
    and we are just making sure people understand the GPL.

    Unfortunately, that has been misconstrued in many ways. It's a topic that you
    can leap on and say, "Microsoft doesn't make free software." Hey, we have free
    software; the world will always have free software. I mean, if you
    characterize it that way, that's not right. But if you say to people, "Do you
    understand the GPL?" And they'll say, "Huh?" And they're pretty stunned when
    the Pac-Man-like nature of it is described to them.

    ZDNet -- Does Microsoft plan to make more of its source code available to
    customers? You already do that with Windows; do you plan to expand that in any
    way to the applications?

    BillG -- We keep making it easier and easier, and anything people want source
    code for, we'll figure out a way to get it to them. It's kind of a strange
    thing in a way because most commercial customers don't want to recompile
    kernels or things like that. But they want to be able to know that things can
    be supported.

    We have some very cool tools now where we don't have to ship you the source.
    You can debug online, through the Internet. So it means you don't have to get
    a bunch of CDs. If you really want it for debugging and patching things, we
    can do that through the Internet. That's a real breakthrough in terms of
    simple source access. I don't know that anyone has ever asked for the source
    code for Word. If they did, we would give it to them. But it's not a typical
    request.
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