Having made many inventions (including the lightning rod, bifocals, Franklin stove, medical instruments, odometer, etc.), he actively refused to patent them, believing that they were best left to the good of his community.
"... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."Given both his actions and his words, I believe that, were he alive today, Franklin would be firmly on the side of the FLOSS community in the debate on so-called intelectual property.
Thus, if Bill Gates wishes to call the FLOSS community 'communists', he is free to do so but I think that he would be lumping one of the primary founding fathers of the United States in with us.
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Sat Feb 5 08:33:49 PST 2005