Apple & FreeBSD relationship

Charlie Kester corky1951 at
Thu Mar 10 19:35:42 UTC 2011

On Thu 10 Mar 2011 at 10:48:05 PST Jerry wrote:
>On Thu, 10 Mar 2011 08:39:04 -0800
>Charlie Kester <corky1951 at> articulated:
>> On Thu 10 Mar 2011 at 05:51:06 PST Tom Worster wrote:
>> >and as far as investing in corporate stock is concerned, oss virtue
>> >(like environmental virtue or sweat shop virtue) is just so much
>> >marketing blather. a corporation's responsibility is to make money
>> >for its investors. business ethics is and always will be purely
>> >utilitarian. apple has good marketing but don't kid yourself.
>> Unless you're buying newly-minted stock, you aren't giving any money
>> to Apple when you buy shares of AAPL.  You're giving money to some
>> other person, who bought the shares a while ago and now wants to cash
>> in.  In turn, he might have bought them from another investor.  In
>> many cases, you have to go a long way back, sometimes all the way to
>> the IPO, before the money goes to the company.  They get money when
>> they issue stock, not when it's traded.
>> What you're doing when you buy stock -- especially stock that pays
>> little or no dividends -- is placing a bet that sometime in the future
>> you'll be able to find someone willing to buy it from you at a higher
>> price than you paid.  
>> Moreover, the price of most stocks is determined solely by what people
>> are willing to pay for them.  Forget all that noise about sales
>> forecasts, P/E, etc. There is no direct, causal connection between
>> those "fundamentals" and the stock price.  They're as pertinent as a
>> baseball player's batting average is to the price of the bubblegum
>> card with his picture on it.  You're trading collectibles, and
>> they're subject to the whims of fashion.
>> In summary, I agree with what has been said about contributing to the
>> FreeBSD Foundation if you really want to help the project.  It's a
>> much better use of your money.  But if you'd rather trade baseball
>> cards, no one's stopping you.
>Actually, if the individual buys stock, and there are different types,
>the purchaser has a possibility of making a profit on his investment.

I certainly wouldn't deny this.  I said as much, when I talked about
finding a buyer willing to pay more for the shares than you did.  

There are other ways to profit, as you've pointed out.  I don't deny
those either.

My main point was that buying stock is usually an ineffective way to
support a company that is doing something you like.  At best, by bidding
up the stock price, you increase the value of the portfolios held by the
company's executives and board members.  

But whether they will interpret that increase in their wealth as a
signal that they should do more of what you like is the big question.
In Apple's case, I think they would be more likely to see it as a reason
to do more of the proprietary and immensely profitable kind of things
they've been doing with the iPhone.

Giving the money to the FreeBSD Foundation sends a clearer signal about
how you want it spent.  Especially if you earmark it for a specific

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