The wisdom of Bill Gates

“Speaking in Seattle”:, this statement on open source has to go down in history as one of Bill Gates’ dumbest statements ever:

bq. Open source, he said, creates a license “so that nobody can ever improve the software,”

The truth is that open source creates a license so that _anyone_ can _always_ improve the software. That’s the opposite of what he believes. Religion. On the bright side, he’s giving lots of money to scientists to cure diseases around the world. Then again, he won’t allow scientists that get grant money from his foundation to use open source software and requires that they purchase software from a certain software company.

He likes to claim that open source is anti-capitalist too. He may be a capitalist, but he’s no economist. If he were an economist, he would understand that Microsoft may not have made as much money if they sold open source software, but all the companies that spend millions on Microsoft software would have saved a lot of money. If they didn’t have to pay for software, they could employ more people or spend more on research and development. More R&D and more employed people drives the economy forward, which is very capitalist.

To put it in perspective, Microsoft makes $51 billion a year in revenue selling software to businesses. Instead of paying for software, their customers could employ 510,000 additional people with salaries of $100K every year. But Microsoft employs less than 80,000 people, so Microsoft alone causes a net loss of 430,000 high-paid ($100K/yr) jobs per year or 1,290,000 people of average-salaried ($33K/yr) jobs per year to the world’s economy.

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