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Author Topic: Would/Should Robert sell VL for $50M?  (Read 5204 times)
nubcnubdo
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« on: October 19, 2007, 06:57:02 am »

Ballmer: MS will buy 20 companies a year for 5 years
http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/10/ballmer-microso.html

Microsoft’s open source shopping spree?
http://blogs.the451group.com/opensource/2007/10/19/microsofts-open-source-shopping-spree/

Question: Would/Should Robert sell VL for $50M USD?

Okay, maybe not. How bout $100M USD?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 07:03:57 am by nubcnubdo » Logged
The Headacher
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2007, 07:15:38 am »

I can't speak for Vector, but if I had a distro and was offered THAT much money I would accept it, and just start something new with a different name... I might even settle for just $25,000,000 Grin.

Or maybe start nothing else and do nothing but play video games all day long, I don't know Smiley.
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exeterdad
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2007, 07:22:57 am »

That much cash?  Who could blame him?  He'd sure have a whole bunch of "new best friends".  Cheesy
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nubcnubdo
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2007, 07:24:20 am »

Quote
I might even settle for just $25,000,000
At the rate of $50M to $100M, MS could buy only the top 100 distros (20x5). But at the measly price you cite, $25M, MS could buy all 400 Linux distros. Keep it in the ballpark, will ya.

Quote
just start something new with a different name
Can you say "contract clause"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Contract_clauses

« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 08:08:12 am by nubcnubdo » Logged
BlueMage
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2007, 02:12:55 pm »

50 Mil ... uh, yeah, I'd be tempted.  I'd be able to start a family, and ensure my kids would be provided for.  Would I sell out for that?  Yes I would.  And I wouldn't hold such against anyone either.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2007, 03:35:27 pm »

That would be up to Robert, but I certainly would without a moment's hesitation. The first two million would make sure my husband and I would not be a burden to anyone as we age, would put our grandchildren through college, and would provide decent cars and houses for our children. The rest I could put to very good use supporting charities, the arts, public radio and television, and other worthy causes such as open source projects like Scribus, Inkscape, and Gimp.
--GrannyGeek
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incognu
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 06:01:57 pm »

Does he have the legal right to sell VectorLinux to Microsoft?  Yes, assuming no legal impediments.

Would it be ethical to do so? No.

Since it would effectively destroy an outstanding GNU/Linux distro, it would certainly be unethical.

Since it would aid Microsoft's attempts to squash GNU/Linux and Free software, it would certainly be unethical.

Would it be easy to say no to that much money?  No, of course not.  I'm not sure what I'd do in such a situation.   Personal factors, varying from individual to individual, could make the decision even more difficult. But I know I'd find it hard to live with myself, if I'd betrayed my values -- and all those who use Free software -- by making such a deal.  Sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy or profitable.

I really hope this is just purely hypothetical speculation.  I love VectorLinux;  I don't like distro-hopping;  and I'd hate to lose a distro I've become so comfortable with.

Of course, as far as I'm concerned, using a distro which belongs to MS, or has made "patent deals" with MS (as have Novell, Xandros, Linspire) is simply out of the question.
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Joe1962
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 07:38:33 pm »

I agree with Incognu. However, looking at the "big picture", what can a distro owner actually sell to MS beyond the name? Perhaps some util he also owned? Only if it wasn't open source, right? Any open source distro could continue after a name change (if that was actually registered that is). Or fork away, if it came to that. That's assuming the whole developer base didn't sell out too, I guess, though interested users could assume development at that point.

Am I being too naive or uninformed here, or what?
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2007, 08:26:11 pm »

Does he have the legal right to sell VectorLinux to Microsoft?  Yes, assuming no legal impediments.

Would it be ethical to do so? No.

Since it would effectively destroy an outstanding GNU/Linux distro, it would certainly be unethical.

Oh pu-leeze! Linux would still exist. There are other outstanding distros. How many hundreds are there on DistroWatch? "Destroying an outstanding GNU/Linux distro" isn't like destroying a person or even a work of art.

Quote
Since it would aid Microsoft's attempts to squash GNU/Linux and Free software, it would certainly be unethical.

Microsoft can't squash Linux and free software, however much they may want to. There are the GPL and also monopoly issues. Having healthy alternative OSes (Mac, Linux) gives Microsoft cover from charges of being a monopolist. Anyway, whether squashing an operating system could be considered "unethical" or immoral is problematic.

Quote
But I know I'd find it hard to live with myself, if I'd betrayed my values -- and all those who use Free software -- by making such a deal.  Sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy or profitable.

Again, "the right thing" elevates this beyond where I think it belongs. Of course, I don't have the same (fanatical?) dedication to FLOSS as some people here. It's just a computer, just an operating system. I'd hate to see Linux (not just VL) disappear, but life would go on and I'd still get done what I use a computer for.

Quote
I love VectorLinux;  I don't like distro-hopping;  and I'd hate to lose a distro I've become so comfortable with.

I love it, too. If it disappeared I'm sure I'd shed literal tears. But I'd move on to another distro.
--GrannyGeek
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incognu
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2007, 08:46:19 pm »

Does he have the legal right to sell VectorLinux to Microsoft?  Yes, assuming no legal impediments.

Would it be ethical to do so? No.

Since it would effectively destroy an outstanding GNU/Linux distro, it would certainly be unethical.

Oh pu-leeze! Linux would still exist. There are other outstanding distros. How many hundreds are there on DistroWatch? "Destroying an outstanding GNU/Linux distro" isn't like destroying a person or even a work of art.

Quote
Since it would aid Microsoft's attempts to squash GNU/Linux and Free software, it would certainly be unethical.

Microsoft can't squash Linux and free software, however much they may want to. There are the GPL and also monopoly issues. Having healthy alternative OSes (Mac, Linux) gives Microsoft cover from charges of being a monopolist. Anyway, whether squashing an operating system could be considered "unethical" or immoral is problematic.

Quote
But I know I'd find it hard to live with myself, if I'd betrayed my values -- and all those who use Free software -- by making such a deal.  Sometimes doing the right thing isn't easy or profitable.

Again, "the right thing" elevates this beyond where I think it belongs. Of course, I don't have the same (fanatical?) dedication to FLOSS as some people here. It's just a computer, just an operating system. I'd hate to see Linux (not just VL) disappear, but life would go on and I'd still get done what I use a computer for.

Quote
I love VectorLinux;  I don't like distro-hopping;  and I'd hate to lose a distro I've become so comfortable with.

I love it, too. If it disappeared I'm sure I'd shed literal tears. But I'd move on to another distro.
--GrannyGeek

Too bad: I care about software Freedom, and I won't apologise for that, nor for not being complacent about it.  I believe it is an ethical question.  Making the comparison between selling out to MS and murdering a person, in order to justify the sellout as ethically neutral, is imo absurd.  Of course it is not the same; that doesn't mean the sell-out lacks an ethical dimension.  If it weren't for people who care (fanatically???) about Freedom, we wouldn't be enjoying GNU/Linux.  The same can be said for many things: those too complacent -- or lazy -- to care, nonetheless enjoy the fruits of the labours of those who do care, and have cared, enough to make a difference.

Beyond that, we will just have to agree to disagree (rather strongly).

I agree with Incognu. However, looking at the "big picture", what can a distro owner actually sell to MS beyond the name? Perhaps some util he also owned? Only if it wasn't open source, right? Any open source distro could continue after a name change (if that was actually registered that is). Or fork away, if it came to that. That's assuming the whole developer base didn't sell out too, I guess, though interested users could assume development at that point.

Am I being too naive or uninformed here, or what?


I was thinking along the same lines, hoping (in the unlikely event of VL being lost) that enough developers would be interested in creating a new distro with all of VL's strengths.  The Slackware base is Free, and I'm sure the tweaks are as well.
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Vector Linux 6.0 Light
BlueMage
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2007, 08:56:33 pm »

There's also the notion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and even MS is savvy enough to trust to that little gem.  VL works (in my experience) so it wouldn't be "fixed", just the artwork would be redone.

Besides, the best way to alter a system or process is from the inside.  Imagine, an MS OS folks were proud to use (beyond chest-beating and the like).
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Old 500MHz media box:  Vector 5.8 SOHO Final (dead)
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SuSE-Refugee
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2007, 11:48:51 pm »

Let's put it this way:
I have less moral issues with becoming a hitman than with selling out to a criminal organisation like MicroSoft.
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The Headacher
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2007, 01:35:11 am »

Quote
I have less moral issues with becoming a hitman than with selling out to a criminal organisation like MicroSoft.
There is no way VL is worth the amount of cash we're speaking of here. How much moral issues do you have ripping off Micro$oft Grin?
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SuSE-Refugee
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Dude In The Snappy Hat


« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2007, 05:52:17 am »

Quote
I have less moral issues with becoming a hitman than with selling out to a criminal organisation like MicroSoft.
There is no way VL is worth the amount of cash we're speaking of here. How much moral issues do you have ripping off Micro$oft Grin?
Uhmmmm....
Not willing to stoop to their level, maybe?
I dohave my dignity.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2007, 12:04:29 pm »

Basically, what we're seeing in these responses is the void between those for whom Linux is a religion and those for whom it's just a great operating system. You get the same thing in the Church of Mac. For some Mac users, it's a religion. For others, not.

At this point, desktop Linux is just a pesky gnat to Microsoft. It's the server market that scares them.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
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