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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation investments

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  • Tim Churches
    Quite often, when promoting Linux, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox and other FOSS products as viable alternatives to Microsoft products, some of my public
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 7, 2007
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      Quite often, when promoting Linux, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox and
      other FOSS products as viable alternatives to Microsoft products, some
      of my public health colleagues counter with the argument: "But the Bill
      and Melinda gates Foundation is giving so much money to the fight
      against AIDS and neglected diseases." I usually mutter in reply about
      Microsoft's business practices, trying to extract the same "software
      tax" from poor countries that it (and many other large closed-source
      software companies) manages to levy very successfully from businesses
      and governments in rich countries.

      However, this LA Times article, which has been widely cited in the last
      day or so, provides many more direct counter-arguments to the
      (tortorous) argument that the purchase and use Microsoft software
      products are somehow good for the advancement of public health in poor
      countries due to the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-gatesx07jan07,0,4205044,full.story

      Tim C
    • Sydney Weidman
      ... It s an interesting article, but I think your muttered arguments about business practices deserve greater emphasis. Socially and environmentally
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 7, 2007
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        On Mon, 2007-01-08 at 07:30 +1100, Tim Churches wrote:
        > Quite often, when promoting Linux, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox
        > and
        > other FOSS products as viable alternatives to Microsoft products, some
        > of my public health colleagues counter with the argument: "But the
        > Bill
        > and Melinda gates Foundation is giving so much money to the fight
        > against AIDS and neglected diseases." I usually mutter in reply about
        > Microsoft's business practices, trying to extract the same "software
        > tax" from poor countries that it (and many other large closed-source
        > software companies) manages to levy very successfully from businesses
        > and governments in rich countries.
        >

        It's an interesting article, but I think your muttered arguments about
        business practices deserve greater emphasis. Socially and
        environmentally destructive investments are not at all peculiar to the
        BMGF. Therefore, the reply to this article will be something like "well
        everyone does that -- so what?". That Gates made his fortune in what
        amounts to illegal activities -- essentially breaking the legs of his
        rivals -- should be the main factor in our valuation of his company's
        merit. What I say to people -- only slightly tongue-in-cheek -- is this:
        "Would you admire a company that broke into your house, stole your
        furniture and donated the proceeds to charity?". The reaction is almost
        invariably "I guess I wouldn't admire a company that did that". The
        argument then becomes: were their business practices harmful and illegal
        or not? Since courts around the world have decided that Microsoft's
        practices were indeed harmful and illegal, we should therefore not
        admire what they do with the proceeds of those criminal and/or harmful
        activities.

        Once that argument is out of the way, it makes sense to say: and
        additionally they have made the following really terrible
        investments ...

        Sorry if this is off topic.

        - syd

        >
      • Will Ross
        ... Continuing the off topic thread apropos of nothing in particular, I am reminded me of the Bob Dylan lyrics: Patriotism is the last refuge To which a
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 8, 2007
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          On Jan 7, 2007, at 1:00 PM, Sydney Weidman wrote:

          > On Mon, 2007-01-08 at 07:30 +1100, Tim Churches wrote:
          >> Quite often, when promoting Linux, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox
          >> and
          >> other FOSS products as viable alternatives to Microsoft products,
          >> some
          >> of my public health colleagues counter with the argument: "But the
          >> Bill
          >> and Melinda gates Foundation is giving so much money to the fight
          >> against AIDS and neglected diseases." I usually mutter in reply about
          >> Microsoft's business practices, trying to extract the same "software
          >> tax" from poor countries that it (and many other large closed-source
          >> software companies) manages to levy very successfully from businesses
          >> and governments in rich countries.
          >>
          >
          > It's an interesting article, but I think your muttered arguments about
          > business practices deserve greater emphasis. Socially and
          > environmentally destructive investments are not at all peculiar to the
          > BMGF. Therefore, the reply to this article will be something like
          > "well
          > everyone does that -- so what?". That Gates made his fortune in what
          > amounts to illegal activities -- essentially breaking the legs of his
          > rivals -- should be the main factor in our valuation of his company's
          > merit.

          Continuing the off topic thread apropos of nothing in particular, I
          am reminded me of the Bob Dylan lyrics:

          "Patriotism is the last refuge
          To which a scoundrel clings,
          Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
          Steal a lot and they make you king."

          http://bobdylan.com/moderntimes/songs/sweetheart.html

          Our little corner of the rock and roll universe appears to abound
          with interesting processes by which energy (aka "eternal delight") is
          infinitely transformed.

          [wr]

          - - - - - - - -

          will ross
          project manager
          mendocino informatics
          216 west perkins street, suite 206
          ukiah, california 95482 usa
          707.462.6369 [office]
          707.462.5015 [fax]
          www.minformatics.com

          - - - - - - - -

          "Getting people to adopt common standards is impeded by patents."
          Sir Tim Berners-Lee, BCS, 2006

          - - - - - - - -
        • Nandalal Gunaratne
          Hi Will, The whole song from Bob Dylan is great, and appropriate. The article makes me proud to be a FOSS advocate, and I am proud of all the great people who
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 8, 2007
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            Hi Will,

            The whole song from Bob Dylan is great, and
            appropriate.

            The article makes me proud to be a FOSS advocate, and
            I am proud of all the great people who gave and give
            and will give to concepts of software freedom.

            Let them who became rich and powerful, prevail for
            now, but let us work to spread a better way, a much
            better way, step by step.

            "Give the world the best you have, and it may never be
            enough - Give the world the best you have anyway!"

            - Kent M Keith
            http://www.mcfeth.com/poetry/teresa.htm

            Nandalal

            --- Will Ross <wross@...> wrote:

            > On Jan 7, 2007, at 1:00 PM, Sydney Weidman wrote:
            >
            > > On Mon, 2007-01-08 at 07:30 +1100, Tim Churches
            > wrote:
            > >> Quite often, when promoting Linux, OpenOffice,
            > Thunderbird, Firefox
            > >> and
            > >> other FOSS products as viable alternatives to
            > Microsoft products,
            > >> some
            > >> of my public health colleagues counter with the
            > argument: "But the
            > >> Bill
            > >> and Melinda gates Foundation is giving so much
            > money to the fight
            > >> against AIDS and neglected diseases." I usually
            > mutter in reply about
            > >> Microsoft's business practices, trying to extract
            > the same "software
            > >> tax" from poor countries that it (and many other
            > large closed-source
            > >> software companies) manages to levy very
            > successfully from businesses
            > >> and governments in rich countries.
            > >>
            > >
            > > It's an interesting article, but I think your
            > muttered arguments about
            > > business practices deserve greater emphasis.
            > Socially and
            > > environmentally destructive investments are not at
            > all peculiar to the
            > > BMGF. Therefore, the reply to this article will be
            > something like
            > > "well
            > > everyone does that -- so what?". That Gates made
            > his fortune in what
            > > amounts to illegal activities -- essentially
            > breaking the legs of his
            > > rivals -- should be the main factor in our
            > valuation of his company's
            > > merit.
            >
            > Continuing the off topic thread apropos of nothing
            > in particular, I
            > am reminded me of the Bob Dylan lyrics:
            >
            > "Patriotism is the last refuge
            > To which a scoundrel clings,
            > Steal a little and they throw you in jail,
            > Steal a lot and they make you king."
            >
            >
            >
            http://bobdylan.com/moderntimes/songs/sweetheart.html
            >
            > Our little corner of the rock and roll universe
            > appears to abound
            > with interesting processes by which energy (aka
            > "eternal delight") is
            > infinitely transformed.
            >
            > [wr]
            >
            > - - - - - - - -
            >
            > will ross
            > project manager
            > mendocino informatics
            > 216 west perkins street, suite 206
            > ukiah, california 95482 usa
            > 707.462.6369 [office]
            > 707.462.5015 [fax]
            > www.minformatics.com
            >
            > - - - - - - - -
            >
            > "Getting people to adopt common standards is impeded
            > by patents."
            > Sir Tim Berners-Lee, BCS, 2006
            >
            > - - - - - - - -
            >
            >
            >
            >


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