Bill Gates Evidently Gets Open Access And Open Data: So What About Open Source?

from the baby-steps dept

One of most important ways of helping to promote open access is for major research organizations to make it a condition of their funding. Two of the pioneers in this respect were the Wellcome Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which made open access a requirement in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Here's another major funder joining the open access club:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to information sharing and transparency. We believe that published research resulting from our funding should be promptly and broadly disseminated. We have adopted an Open Access policy that enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.
Specifically, the CC-BY license, one of the most open, has been adopted:
All publications shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users of the publication to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.
Now, this is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation making this announcement, not Bill Gates, but it's hard to believe he doesn't know about and approve of the move. After all, it represents a very high-profile boost for the idea that making things freely available for anyone to "transform and build upon" is better than locking things up so that neither of those is possible. So the natural question is: when will Gates admit the same is true for software too?

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Filed Under: bill gates, education, knowledge, open access, open source, research
Companies: gates foundation


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 2:15am

    whats open source

    Short answer: No.
    Long answer: have to keep the money rolling into the foundation
    Even Longer Answer: Since multinationals like Microsoft pay almost Zero taxes in HQ Countries and Countries they sell Stuff, promoting open source will kill income so they couldn't pay any tax. If Microsoft Couldn't sell stuff the foundation couldn't get an income so it couldn't do any "good" works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:16am

      Re: whats open source

      Well now, I'm not saying they should open source the stuff they're still selling. That makes sense (at least from their perspective).
      But what about the stuff they're no longer selling, and have loudly and publicly declared they no longer support? If you're not getting money from it, why not open source it? That way new devs can take over and fix security vulnerabilities and such.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:38am

        Re: Re: whats open source

        But what about the stuff they're no longer selling, and have loudly and publicly declared they no longer support? If you're not getting money from it, why not open source it? That way new devs can take over and fix security vulnerabilities and such.

        That defeats the objective of removing support, getting people to buy the latest version.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tracyanne (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:30am

    Microsoft Loves Open Source

    so long as it ensures they sell more licenses for their proprietary stuff. Microsoft spends a lot of time contributing to Open Source projects to ensure they work well with Windows, they even contribute to the Linux kernel, to ensure it will work well in Azure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffry Houser (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:35am

    Microsoft makes use of Open Source

    Microsoft has open source aspects to parts of their business. Not everything they do is open source, but not everything they do is closed source. Here is a list of Microsoft Open Source projects:

    http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/directory.aspx

    One recent, prominent, example is the open sourcing of .NET.

    http://venturebeat.com/2014/11/12/microsoft-starts-to-open-source-net-and-take-it-cross-platform-to- mac-linux/

    I have no idea if Bill Gates was involved in the decision--I would doubt he was.

    As a software developer, I'm not sure if "open access" to research can be compared to "open source" software. They seem two very different concepts.

    Many people conflate "open source" with free, however that is not the case. Many common open source software licenses place explicit restrictions and limitations on the use of said source code.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Daniel (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 7:48am

      Re: Microsoft makes use of Open Source

      Really glad someone pointed out the .Net OSS efforts. For those in the .Net circle, this is a HUGE thing and much of their frameworks built on top of .Net have been open source for several years now. MS does open source just fine, they even gave a bunch of money to Novell and Xamarin to help further the OSS Mono framework project over the years.

      It's too obvious that this article could have used a bit more research and maybe wouldn't have been written at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re: Microsoft makes use of Open Source

        It's too obvious that this article could have used a bit more research and maybe wouldn't have been written at all.

        That's a bit harsh. I don't know Glyn's background, but if he hasn't spent the last couple of decades immersed in this stuff as a developer, I wouldn't blame him for not seeing all the minutia related to this stuff.

        Open Access for scientific research is long overdue. The journals have been holding this stuff for ransom way long after it should have, and the prices they ask for it is ridiculous.

        Free Software/OSS is a different issue. I don't resent Microsoft having a market for proprietary software as long as there are willing customers out there who want to buy it. Choice is good, and some choices are better than others from different points of view.

        Proprietary software producers have come around quite a ways over the years. That's good.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 6:42am

    It's great that the Foundation is embracing Open Access research, but the author doesn't even praise them for their stance. Then, the author takes the un-natural leap to conflate Open Access research with Open Source software, apparently because they share the word Open. This is supposed to be a jab at Microsoft but it just backfires because it is off point and impertinent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BentFranklin (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      The more I think about it, the more absurd I find this article. Open Access for research is appropriate because public funds paid for it. Open Source is the developer's choice because private funds paid for it (generally). The author seems to think that all software should be open source.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 7:46am

    I'm sure Bill owns patents or copyrights on anything being "openly" researched. I remember reading a CEO state, "I love open source software, who doesn't like free labor?".

    Bill's probably thinking the same thing. "I love open access research on technologies I already own patents on. Who wouldn't?".

    Last I heard, the Gates Foundation was trying to push GMO crops in Africa. If I remember correctly, Warren Buffet was also involved in the endeavor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 8:40am

    Huh?

    So the natural question is: when will Gates admit the same is true for software too?
    Da fuq you talkin' about? Bill Gates sold Micro$##t years back, everyone knows that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:06am

    Keep up dude. Msft has been supporting Open Source more and more for years. They are one of the largest funding providers for Suse Linux, and recently announced that they were open-sourcing .Net so it will run under Linux and MacOS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Karl (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 9:23am

    When pigs fly

    So the natural question is: when will Gates admit the same is true for software too?

    I'm sure he is simply waiting for the temperature in Hell to dip below the freezing point, for the Pope to renounce Catholicism, and for bears to start using indoor toilets.

    Yes, Microsoft supports some open source projects... when it helps to lock people into their proprietary software. But let's not forget that the term "FUD" was popularized by Microsoft's behavior, expecially towards open-source software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2014 @ 4:03pm

    So the natural question is: when will Gates admit the same is true for software too?

    When he is drooling near death crying about people copying his basic program.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 10:54pm

    Open source doesn't mean it's free software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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