View Full Version : Proprietary is like Coke, Open Source is Cookies!

May 11th, 2010, 06:17 PM

Seriously, opensource.com (http://opensource.com) has some excerpts from the Red Hat & Novell vs IPI patent infringement lawsuit and Michael Tiemann, Red Hat's vice president of open source affairs, has some great answers and analogies to answer the lawyers questions.
Standing up to a patent bully (http://opensource.com/law/10/5/standing-up-patent-bully#comment-1508)
Q. Okay. And so -- and I think you said it's like a recipe, and that's because this tells a programmer --

A. Right. Going back to what is the function of software, the goal of the software is to basically give instruction to the computer what the computer should be doing. And it is like a recipe. A recipe will tell you here are the ingredients; here are the ways that you combine these ingredients to get something. And depending on how much flour, how much sugar, or how much egg you put in, you might get a cake or you might get a cookie or you might get a biscuit. And so a computer software program is saying take this data, combine it these ways, and out comes your result. So that is how software is like a recipe for a computer. And open source is like a recipe that you can share with your friends, and they can say, you know, I know how to make this better. Let's use butter instead of oil, and now we have a new kind of biscuit.

Q. And an analogy that was used earlier -- I don't remember by whom -- what we all think of when we think of something secretive is the formula to Coke. And so is the idea that we can all drink a Coke and enjoy a Coke and we can buy a Coke, but we don't know how a Coke is made.

A. No, no. And that's the example of proprietary software. People who write proprietary software will often say you don't need to see the source; you don't need this; all you need is the product. But those of us in the open-source community believe that we can make a better product every day by always having the freedom to make improvements and get ideas from our neighbors or share ideas with our neighbors.

There was even an attempt to color him as a communist, which backfired when Mr. Tiemann didn't recognize the Karl Marx quote but did bring up Thomas Jefferson. You can tell when the cross-examination didn't go as planned.. the lawyer quickly changed direction!

May 11th, 2010, 06:21 PM
Hahahaha golden :)

May 11th, 2010, 06:21 PM
Absolutely brilliant analogy! Even a lawyer could understand that description.

May 11th, 2010, 06:34 PM
There are also links at the bottom of the article for the morning and afternoon transcripts.

Q. And to enhance your business model, you want to see less property in this world so that you can profit off of selling services surrounding what used to be others' private property; isn't that correct?

A. It's a balance and a trade-off. It's a balance and a trade-off that some models work better than others; some models work better at a given time than others. And we have seen how much good can be done when people work together, and we believe that that is the best way to build technology, which is why we've chosen that as opposed to the proprietary model of what Microsoft practices or opposed to the practices of IPI. We've chosen our best guess about how to make money and hire more people to do more work.

Q. So it's a given to your ability, taken to your need-type paradigm you're pursuing?

A. No. I think it's more the American way.

Q. Because you know who said given to your ability, taken to your need, don't you?

A. That was Jefferson?

Q. That was Karl Marx.

A. Oh, okay.

Q. Let's talk about something else.

A. All right.

May 11th, 2010, 06:59 PM
Page 54 ftw...hilarious