Free software economics

Here are four quotes. Quotes 1, 3, and 4 all make sense together, if you are sufficiently cynical, but quote #2 is remarkably odd when taken with the others.

1For ten years now, free software developers have tried various methods of finding funds, with some success. There’s no need to make anyone rich; the median US family income, around $35k, proves to be enough incentive for many jobs that are less satisfying than programming. – Richard Stallman

and

2We, the creators of the free information society, mean to wrest from the bourgeoisie, by degrees, the shared patrimony of humankind. We intend the resumption of the cultural inheritance stolen from us under the guise of “intellectual property,” as well as the medium of electromagnetic transportation. We are committed to the struggle for free speech, free knowledge, and free technology. The measures by which we advance that struggle will of course be different in different countries, but the following will be pretty generally applicable:

1. Abolition of all forms of private property in ideas.

2. Withdrawal of all exclusive licenses, privileges and rights to use of electromagnetic spectrum. Nullification of all conveyances of permanent title to electromagnetic frequencies.

[…]

By these and other means, we commit ourselves to the revolution that liberates the human mind. In overthrowing the system of private property in ideas, we bring into existence a truly just society, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. – Eben Moglen

and

3We all do it together, the software’s a public utility; “Write once, run everywhere”; we’re done. This is a noticeable proposition, not just to us-though we understand why it is socially and politically desirable that the world work this way. It is a noticeable proposition for the International Business Machines Corporation, too. You now have, after a mere twenty years of work on our part, the largest, best-funded technology company on earth fundamentally on our side with respect to how the information technology system will work in the twenty-first century. San Palmisano, Irving Wladawski-Berger, you read them all the time, there’s a simple proposition: software’s a public utility, computing is an on-demand service provided by service providers who handle the internalized cost of making computing possible, and so on – Eben Moglen

and

4State-of-the art patent portfolio

For each of the past 13 years (1993-2005), IBM has been granted more U.S. patents than any other company. During that period IBM has received 31,995 US patents. In 2005, IBM received 2,974 U.S. patents.

Since 1996, IBM has invested approximately $5 billion per year in research, development and engineering. IBM’s current active portfolio of about 26,000 patents in the United States and over 40,000 patents worldwide for inventions in areas of primary technology focus for all IBM customers, is a direct result of that investment.For each of the past 13 years (1993-2005), IBM has been granted more U.S. patents than any other company. During that period IBM has received 31,995 US patents. In 2005, IBM received 2,974 U.S. patents.

Since 1996, IBM has invested approximately $5 billion per year in research, development and engineering. IBM’s current active portfolio of about 26,000 patents in the United States and over 40,000 patents worldwide for inventions in areas of primary technology focus for all IBM customers, is a direct result of that investment. IBM