Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bill Gates for President, good for Open Source?

I know some will be surprised, but I have always been a Bill Gates fan. It might sound bizarre, since I am an open source guy at heart, but if you look at the business Mr. Gates founded, it is hard not to admire his creation. A bit evil, for sure, but grandiose. Mostly late on innovation, but always using his unfair advantage at its best.

At the same time, I do not think there has ever been a moment in my life when I disliked Microsoft as now. Today, I would never buy anything Microsoft, not a game console, not an MP3 player, not software. I would avoid them with all my forces, from using Firefox to push the entire Funambol people to use OpenOffice. It was not like this in the past, although I never cheered for Microsoft in my life.

I asked myself why. Maybe because Apple looks so cool, maybe because the Zune sucks, maybe because of the Novell-Microsoft pact, maybe because of ActiveSync. I think I found the answer: Bill Gates is not there anymore. He is doing other stuff. Microsoft looks stale without him, including today the depressing launch of Vista (an Italian name BTW ;-)

What is Bill Gates doing these days? My younger brother works for the World Bank. His life, including his work at Unicef and WHO in Africa, has been dedicated to helping people in need. He told me once that what Bill Gates is doing for Africa with his foundation is incredible.
He has a real admiration for Bill Gates, which is hard to believe since I would not consider my brother a capitalist. So, Bill Gates is using his money (a lot) to help people (a lot). He even got a load more cash from Warren Buffett recently... I trust my brother: Bill Gates is clearly doing a great job there.

A few weeks ago, reading the Scott Adams blog (I know, I am a geek, but I met him once when I was at the HP Labs and I got hooked), he proposed Bill Gates for President. Today, he did it again. I always find it hard to disagree with Dilbert.

What benefit would open source get from President Bill Gates? I have no idea, but he will definitely be forced to balance between his evil past and his current job. Somehow, I feel Open Source will benefit since it is good for the people. Because of it, he will have to push it. Cut him loose from Microsoft and he will come to the light side.

I know it sounds bizarre, but it is an interesting idea. Too bad I can't vote in this country yet...