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Bill Gates talks about open source. He's doin' it wrong.

LolGates imageWe can't deny some of us here at Download Squad love open source software. But there's not a damn fool here that will disagree with the statement: "Bill Gates is an extremely intelligent man." We won't disagree that he's done amazing things for technology as a whole. And yes, we even wish heartily we had the faith in ourselves to say if we had that much moolah, we'd be even half as charitable with it.

But right now we're all kind of standing around scratching our heads and saying, "Wha?"

Today Techdirt points out a nice little quote by the venerable Mr. Gates in a Wired article. It seems as though Gates says that open source created a licensing situation "so that nobody can ever improve the software." All right, now, that would be a self-defeating license, wouldn't it? What have the brain-sucking aliens done with the Bill Gates we all know and love whose intellect we respect greatly?

Of course, we're willing to throw poor Bill a bone. The Wired quote is not a complete quote. It very well could be out of context. They then quote him saying that pharmaceutical companies who invent drugs should be able to charge for them. Well, yeah. Duh. And people who develop open source applications can also charge for them.

Open source doesn't necessarily mean it's free as in beer. Conversely, just because the local brewery is giving away free lager, it doesn't mean you'll get anywhere asking for the recipe.

We're wondering if Wired slipped up, or if Bill Gates is truly puzzled about the distinctions between free software and open software? Has he read the GPL? There are quick versions on their site... so even those of us who aren't as smart as Gates can get the general idea.

[via Techdirt and Wired]

Tags: Bill Gates, BillGates, commercial, GPL, huh, legal, license, Linux, Microsoft, news, opensource, pharmaceuticals, Techdirt, Wired