Apparently, the uptake of Microsoft's "Windows Linux Subsystem" is miniscule despite it being blared from all MS PR speakers at full volume. Smart technologists realise that enclosing Linux within Windows is a stage in Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. Locking the magnificent eagle, symbol of freedom, into a dingy little cage... is not a compelling proposition. Just drop Windows and use Linux. Only a fool puts on the shackles voluntarily.


I partially disagree. My own theory, concocted about 12 years ago is that in 20–25 years would simply be a compatibility layer running on a kernel. We're about half way there now.

Plus, I got a drunken mate to agree with it once (don't believe anyone telling you he was just trying to change the subject).

@0 problem is that keeping Windows in the mix perpetuates the fundamental brokenness of proprietary software. Proprietary software, like censorship, is a fundamental bug the world should be routing around, not incorporating into the mix.


Not really. Windows already is a relic of a bygone era. Proprietary software has existed before and will continue to exist after it, in spite of increasing commoditisation. In some cases for perfectly legitimate competitive reasons.

The underlying principle hasn't changed though. Proprietary software was just one mechanism that got abused. Nowadays it's data silos that one has to worry about.

@0 I think proprietary software should be outlawed. My reasons: I think the argument is unassailable, but I'd like to hear an example of a "legitimate reason"...



> an example of a "legitimate reason"...

Software or firmware required for the provision of a service, or implementation of a product, in a highly vertical application, especially one where you might have only one or two other competitors.

Insofar as the software implements the results of your R&D efforts, you need to protect those from competitors if you are to recover the investment and eventually make a profit.

If you can think of a better way I'm all ears.


It'd be an unjustified simplification to say that the above leads to abuse. It can, but it doesn't have to.

It's the underlying causes that make proprietary undesirable that need to be addressed, not the symptoms.

@0 I don't think its a simplification. I strongly believe that incentives eventually lead to behaviours and then to culture. I think proprietary software culture is inherently broken and bad for the market it claims to serve. To me this is the cause, not the symptom.


Well, it is one point of view. That intellectual property law has been repeatedly abused over the years is something that not many people would dispute. That it could be largely improved to incentivise a move towards a situation where is the dominant option, that's also possible and IMO likely desirable, but you cannot stop closed software without infringing on fundamental liberties as has already been said. Beware of unintended consequences.


Briefly, comes as a result of either:

* a commoditisation effect, where it makes sense to share the costs of developing common tools that do not however provide a competitive advantage (operating systems and dev tools are the most obvious examples);

* a need for , such as in the public sector.

The second aspect is the one that initiatives such as public money public code fall into, which I personally I'm rather enthusiastic about.

@0 The way I'd implement it is this: Gov'ts would change procurement policy (e.g. in line with the Digital Nations Charter - - note points 2-5) to which many (including mine) are signatories saying: "we will only procure software which demonstrably complies with open standards and if we (i.e. the taxpayer) pay for development, it will be released under a Copyleft license. I believe that would fundamentally shift software development with few unintended consequences.

@0 I dunno - with this example, you're only thinking about the developer's perspective, not the perspective of the user of the tool. I'd say that if everyone was on a level playing field, e.g. where gov'ts around the world mandated that all software was open source with a copyleft license, there'd still be plenty of innovation. Companies would just need to get used to lower profit margins for software (and folks would have to search for some other field to rort the market).


What you are suggesting is possibly a breach of fundamental rights in many modern states, most notably the right to property.

Note that something like what you suggest has been tried and failed, for instance in the early days of the .


> you're only thinking about the developer's perspective

I'm thinking from the business owner perspective, as long as he gets paid the dev usually couldn't care less. When we do software (which is not our core business) we generally offer clients the option to open source for $$, to get a licence for $$$ or to get full economic rights for $$$$$. Everyone goes for $$$ (bar one $$$$$ ever).

We always share the source code, etc. with clients, unless they're direct competitors.

@0 We used to have a similar arrangement - I've been using these terms of engagement for the past 15ish years:

@0 Copyright and patents are totally fictitious rights invented by publishers and states. They're not natural rights.


Every right is “fictitious” insofar as it is a cultural construct so that's a non sequitur.

Intellectual property as we know it today is a byproduct of the transition to a Westphalian system and has been a significant factor in attaining both our current state of industrial and societal development. For instance, is a product of our system. No , no open source.

If it can be used it can be abused, but let's not throw the baby with the bathwater.

@0 well, to be fair, open source (or, more correctly, Free Software), was a hack of the broken copyright system designed to use the law to achieve the opposite effect. And no, I think it's possible to say that natural property rights are far less fictitious, because they involve real, tangible things like tools and land. And I would dispute that our IP system has been of significant benefit. In other societies which didn't have them, tremendous innovation has also taken place...

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