Wednesday, August 06, 2003


What do you call a company whose product is built by hundreds, even thousands of unpaid workers who get no paid vacation, no health care, no retirement certainly no stock options - none of the compensation that most workers in the civilized world take for granted? You call the company Red Hat, or SuSE.

Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik told the LinuxWorld throng " We will prevail," and they cheered, thinking it was about them. But its not. Its about Szulik and the other execs at Red Hat who get the big salaries, the perks, the stock options, the health insurance - all the trappings of corporate America - while the people writing the code get nothing.

The so-called war between proprietary systems and so-called "open source" systems is a phony war. Its not David vs. Goliath, the "lone coder" vs. big business. The big business interests are riding all of the horses in this race including some of the biggest, such as Sun Microsystems and IBM. They're all trying to make a buck off the sweat of the unpaid code warriors. Tell us, Mr. Szulik, how many lines of Linux code have you written? And how much have you made for distributing it? He actually told this crowd,it's "because of people like you that made voluntary contributions, that allowed us to build an organization that is publicly traded." And they cheered him! PT Barnum was, in deed, right.

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