Month: June 2004
I was reading a little more about the drug dealer argument, and I found something at least interesting:
“Although about three million computers get sold every year in China, people don’t pay for the software. Someday they will, though. And as long as they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
It was said by Bill Gates, in a 1998 talk to university students (and printed in Fortune Magazine) according to P2PNet. It surely turned on a big neon sign that says “Drug-Dealer Argument” in my head in the exact moment I read it…
A lot of people got organized behind the issue, and a supporting campaign was mounted around it. This is its “official” logo:
In that logo one can read: “Brazil have the right to choose”.
Sergio Amadeu, himself, have posted a short note about Microsoft’s move. It’s in portuguese, of course, but here is the translation into english:
“In special response to national and international enquiries from the press, that have been supportive with the brazilian government in this unprecedented moment in which the president of an important public institution in this country suffers personally the action of those interested in keeping an hegemonic model, I come forward, after listening to my lawyers and federal solicitors, to say that the judicial provocation imposed against me is, by its own, so unusual and improper that it does not deserve any answer.
“In the other hand, I’d like to register that the purchase of software that preserves the values of openness and freedom is, for the brazilian government, a subject unavoidably connected to the democratic principle. And for it have been a long and painful path to reach our current democratic developmental stage in this country, we will not walk out our fight.
“If democracy is a value full of ideology, it will never be an insignificant value. If democracy is a dream, it’s the one dream this country will never wake up from.
“The future is free.”
Thanks you all for the support.
That is right!. As MJ Ray have already reported, Sergio Amadeu, one of the most important free software advocate in Brazil (who is also National Institute for Information Technology‘s president) is about to be sued by Microsoft for using the drug dealer argument already used so many times before (see A. P. Lawrence, A. P. Lawrence (again), Geek News, NewsFactor (in the comments), Silk M-L, ZDNet (in the comments), MacNet, MacObserver (in the comments), MS Joke, AustralianIT (in the comments), Amy Whol’s Opinions Newsletter (letters section), Slashdot (in the comments), Neowin (in the comments), DevHood (in the comments), MacOpinion, WorthlessFacts (in the comments) – and I could go on forever… is Microsoft going to sue them all?).
Apparently, this drug dealer argument was first publicly used by a Judge Jackson back in 1999. I have no idea what was the outcome of this trial (anyone?). Sun’s Scott McNealy have used it sometimes around the same time. It appeared again, AFAIK, as a cigarette-firm comparison in 2002, by FSF. Someone may say “But a cigarette-firm is different from a drug-dealer”. Well… for purposes of comparison, and knowing that nicotine is also addictive, I think the two arguments points to the same direction (leaving the cigarette-firm X drug-dealer similarities out of the discussion). In the analysis of Microsoft’s antitrust case, Prof. McKenzie also uses that argument [PDF].
So, the real question is Why have Microsoft chosen Sergio Amadeu to atone for this argument?. My guess is that, after everything that is going on in Brazil specially for Free Software, and considering that Sergio Amadeu is one of the central faces on all those…
Anyways, there’s a petition [pt_BR] running to support Sergio Amadeu (already with over 1-thousand signatures). I think it’s going to be translated RSN, but, meanwhile, automatic translators such as BabelFish or Google may help.
The only piece of hardware from DebConf4 that was left behind was the internet server. It’s still in SESC as I write.
Interesting to see how things go. It were almost 9 months of planning and preparations. Place Research Report alone took almost 5 months!. Then the profiling meeting was, indeed, a cornerstone (full logs). We had to divide the team in the “local party”, taking care of the local arrangements, computers, internet connection, etc; and in the “sponsorship party”, taking care, of course, the sponsorship.
Then HP came in. (Thanks again, Bdale). From that moment on we all knew: DebConf4 had turned itself into an individual being. It would happen, even if we end up not wanting it.
Papers, contracts, agreements and lots (maybe capital: LOTS) of meetings. So much that made us invent a new acronym: AMAD = Another Meeting About Debconf.
Then the Murphy’s Law came into being: 10 days from the first DebConf4 attendee arrival my internet connection went down due to the most unlikely thing: my cable was puled off the pole by a truck! It took 3 days to plug that back on!
Jason DeRose was the “first man on site”. He arrived for DebConf4 on May 10th, and is just leaving back today, a month after.
Hm… I am making myself long on purpose! I feel I don’t want to turn that last server off. Or don’t want to say “good bye” to the last of DebConf4’s attendees (who was also the first one)….
I cannot end this blog post without thanking DebConf4 team. You were the best! Specially Andreas, Michelle and Marlon. Without you, DebConf4 would not be possible: Thank You.
5FISL just ended yesterday. I know! I haven’t been blogging as much as I should… but things were insane! Guess what: Not even emails I’ve been replying anymore (right now there’s 6 thousands of emails waiting in my inbox).
Today is the “barbecue day”… everybody that have stayed til the end of FISL is in my place, eating all the meat they can! I’ll have some pictures RSN (they’ll probably be at Marlon’s website, since I have no digital camera…).
Anyways, this were a hell of a good time! I am just so tired I feel I can sleep a whole week…. and I will, for my vacations at the hospital will not not finish until 15th…. Wow! Shit! I just remembered that I have a lot of other stuff to take care of before coming back to work! Hm… maybe I just sleep two days in a row instead of a whole week… (BTW, I’ll be on official Debian vacation for at least a month.)
I’ve editted it a little since the original download were about 400 MiB big, and had the whole show. The version I uploaded have only DebConf4 related stuff.