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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in non-free drivers?
Another long rant worth reading in my opinion...  Explains how Google
helped the birth of our son.

On Fri, Jan 03, 2003 at 04:55:22PM -0800, Shane R. Stixrud wrote:
> I would argue that most of the problems you see in a 100% "Free
> Software" World come from a large Enterprise/corporate mind set, where large
> Sums of VC money is required to fund projects. I see a
> possible future where software development is seen much like getting your
> roof repaired, or adding a new room on to your house. It's
> labor+materials.

And therein lies the problem. You and RMS agree, in his world it is
like getting your roof repaired or a new washing machine installed.
That's not the world in which we currently live. Our world is much
more exciting than that. Every day there is a new thing, it's not
a roof, it's not a washing machine, it's Ebay. Nothing like it
existed ever before. It's those new things which change our lives
for the better that are cool. In the world that you are describing,
software becomes like a toaster, you just go get one and the only
difference is if it is white or black. In our current world, there
are new things every day. We don't understand them at first but in
time we learn their value and, after doing so, would never want to
be without them.

Here is an example. Google. I was the 4th person at Google, even though
I was only there for a few months, I got a feel for the people and the
place (very cool people, BTW). Anyway, I had left Google, a year or so
had passed, and they were out there and useful. My wife Beth and I were
having our first son, Travis. As it turned out, he showed up 5 weeks
early. We were unprepared, Beth's water broke, we didn't realize what
that meant but we went to the hospital to check it out and they wouldn't
let us go home. They wanted to induce her with drugs (stuff that would
force her to go into contractions and make the baby come out). You need
to realize that neither of us had a clue. I had some sensation that this
wasn't right, I got on the phone with my sister who had 4 kids, on the
phone with an instructor who was teaching us about the birth process.
Both of them told us "keep that baby in there as long as you can".
But neither could tell me why, they just "knew" it was right. I trusted
them but the doctor was screaming at Beth "if that baby doesn't come out
right now it could DIE! It's going to get an infection, that's what happens
when your water breaks". Beth is crying, she doesn't know what to think.
I don't trust the doctor, I think he's an asshole, but I have no data to
back up my feeling.

Being the geek that I am, I had not one but two laptops with me. I plug
one in and dial up. Hit Google and search on "infection premature baby"
or something like that. Within 30 seconds I'm reading a New England
Journal of Medicine article (one of the best if you don't know) about
infection rates in women who's water breaks early. It said that there
was basically no difference, less than one percent. I shove this in the
asshole docter's face and say "what about this?" He backed down a bit
and the baby stayed in there for another 30 hours or so. Then Beth was
induced and Travis (
came out and was a happy healthy baby.

Much later I dug into this and found out the coolness which is the
human body. It turns out that your lungs are one of the last things
to develop and if you pull a baby out early there is a very high
chance that the lungs will be all screwed up. "Screwed up" means that
the baby spends a month or two in neonatal care and you get to visit
him once in a while (you REALLY don't want this, it's bad). On the
other hand, it also turns out that if the water breaks the system
recognizes that and turns up the clock on the lung development. That
extra day inside made a huge difference in terms of lung development.
I'm completely convinced, based on what I've read, that that was the
difference between our baby going home with us and staying at the
hospital for a couple of months.

And we owe it all to Google. To my dieing day I will be grateful to the
Google team, I shudder to think what it would have been like without them.
And Google exists because Larry and Sergey want to be rich. It's as
simple as that. They are extremely talented and dedicated people, I
have nothing but respect for them. But it was clear that they were
shrewdly building something they knew was valuable and they wanted to
turn it into a business.

If they had known that if they built it and anyone could steal their
technology because it was all free software, there is ZERO chance that
they would have done it. They are bright people, they would have found
some other way to use their talents. For me, it's a damn good thing
that they live in our current world, not your world or RMS' world.
Those are gray, boring, dull worlds. No thanks.
Larry McVoy lm at
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