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Microsoft Science

Gates Pledges $750M to Vaccinate Children 1251

chriskzoo5 writes "The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is pledging $750M to vaccinate children worldwide over the next 10 years. Much maligned for his business practices, is this proof that sometimes the ends justify the means? Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity."
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Gates Pledges $750M to Vaccinate Children

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  • viruses (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bolshoy Pimpovich ( 846605 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:02AM (#11466500)
    haha... against viruses... har-dee-har-har
  • by shreevatsa ( 845645 ) <shreevatsa.slash ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:03AM (#11466505)
    "Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity." There cannot be some charity contest between Linux and Windows! Anyway, most of the Linux community's displeasure is with Micro$oft and its activities, not Bill Gates the individual himself
    • Linux community gives 100% up front. Microsoft takes 100% and gives a little - a very little - back. Which is more generous?
      • My point exactly.
        The Linux community is all about charity, every line of code written, every time someone gets an OS for free, is generosity itself.
        On the other hand, this continuous generosity means that they do not have zillions of dollars to publicly give away from time to time.
        But you must admit that what Bill Gates gives to charity is indeed a good thing, and he has made many donations. Maybe a small thing for the richest man, but it's still a significant thing.
      • Here's what Jesus thinks [] about that.
        • by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:42AM (#11467316) Homepage Journal
          Well, I love Linux, but let's put things in perspective. A lot of people contributing to open source are students, or people who love programming. They are giving something (free time, programming talent) they have a lot of. So this quote from Jesus could be applied to us too.

          This topic ("Well, as a percentage of his total wealth this is nothing") always comes up when Gates charity is discussed. First of all, he can't give away everything he owns at once, much of it (I presume) is tied up in stocks, selling all at once would cause companies and whole markets plummeting.

          Besides, if you look at the total over time, as these people have done [], you will see that it does in fact add up to quite a lot over the years. (Assuming, like I have, that the source is reliable).

          * $1 billion over 20 years to establish the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, which will support promising minority students through college and some kinds of graduate school.
          * $750 million over five years to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, which includes the World Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation, Unicef, pharmaceutical companies and the World Bank.
          * $350 million over three years to teachers, administrators, school districts and schools to improve America's K-12 education, starting in Washington State.
          * $200 million to the Gates Library Program, which is wiring public libraries in America's poorest communities in an effort to close the "digital divide."
          * $100 million to the Gates Children's Vaccine Program, which will accelerate delivery of lifesaving vaccines to children in the poorest countries of the world.
          * $50 million to the Maternal Mortality Reduction Program, run by the Columbia University School of Public Health.
          * $50 million to the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, to conduct research on promising candidates for a malaria vaccine.
          * $50 million to an international group called the Alliance for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer.
          * $50 million to a fund for global polio eradication, led by the World Health Organization, Unicef, Rotary International and the U.N. Foundation.
          * $40 million to the International Vaccine Institute, a research program based in Seoul, South Korea.
          * $28 million to Unicef for the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus.
          * $25 million to the Sequella Global Tuberculosis Foundation.
          * $25 million to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which is creating coalitions of research scientists, pharmaceutical companies and governments in developing countries to look for a safe, effective, widely accessible vaccine against AIDS.

          Oops, that article was from year 2000. According to the BBC [], he has now given away $7.1 billion since 1994.
    • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:07AM (#11466529) Homepage Journal
      Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, and now Gates... The robber baron syndrome. It helps them psychologically deal with the things they've done to become super-wealthy.
  • This is great. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Regardless on weather you like Microsoft or not, you have to admit this is great. But about the Linux community matching, maybe the same percentage of thier profits would be possible. The truth is however, that these are two completely diffrent situations.
  • Flamebait (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:04AM (#11466510)
    The Linux community will match it when they have as much money as Gates. Not many people or companies have $750Mil to give.

    Is it possible to mod a news article as flamebait?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity.

    How can we? We don't sell anything.

    However, we can provide these children with a free open-source operating
    system that runs will on older machines, and comes with thousands of applications,
    tutorials and how-to's.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I can't wait to see the look on some fly-covered African's face when we give him an OS and he has to edit a config file in order to get flash animations of food working on his box... we provide.
    • by blastedtokyo ( 540215 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11466565)
      No you can't, the child's dead before they might possibly be productive (let alone afford) a computer.

      Because if the child's not vaccinated, there's a good chance they'll be one of the 10 million who die every year before the age of 5 (source: /TPStory/LAC/20050125/VACCINE25/TPInternational/Eu rope).

    • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:16AM (#11466638)
      "Mommy I'm starving... and thirsty. Also the malaria is really starting to kick in bad, where is all the kindness when we need it.?"

      "Well honey, we don't have any medicine, food or safe drinking water. But good news, you can now browse the internet without any risk of your personal information being stolen thanks to a great man named linus and his band of merry men!"

      "But mommy, we don't have a computer, or electricity."

      "Don't worry sweety. I'm sure as soon as we can safely browse the world wide web, all your troubles will go away."
    • by ( 782137 ) <joe AT joe-baldwin DOT net> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:23AM (#11466683) Homepage Journal
      However, we can provide these children with a free open-source operating

      system that runs will on older machines, and comes with thousands of applications,
      tutorials and how-to's.


      They need food water and vaccines, how fucking Stallman-compliant your operating system is way down the list of priorities.
      • Who says they don't need both? They need many, many things.

        They need medicine, food and shelter to keep them healthy.
        They need education to empower them, and help them lead productive lives.
        They need community and family support systems to keep them emotionally stable in the face of tragedy and poverty.
        They need economic aid to give them the boost needed to apply their skills and education.

        And, if all these things work the way we'd idealistically hope, they'll eventually be living lives of higher quality,
  • Bahh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rbarreira ( 836272 )
    Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity

    Someone mod this -1 Troll...
  • Well, about 1/7 of the worlds population would have to give a dollar. Only counting working people, that goes way up.

    Just think, to amass this much 'generosity' how much the world must have already paid to him (including developing countries).

    Money fades, Linux stays forever. Of course, if everyone who uses Linux were to donate the cost of a winXP home license to a needy cause, that would be sensational.

    Good pulicity for them though. In other news SCO donate free 'SCOnix' (?) licenses to hungry children.
  • The original poster says:

    "...Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity."

    But as there aren't quite as many Linux users as there are Windows users out there, it'd only be fair to expect us to raise an amount proportional to the $750M raised by the Windows users.
  • This is just the beginning of his campaign to create a more secure human being, which will eventually include various bug fixes, tracking chips, emotion inhibitors, and one bionic extendo-grab arm.
  • by The Fanta Menace ( 607612 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:07AM (#11466530) Homepage

    ...done by free software developers is charity, anyway. It might not be vaccinating kids, but at least they'll be able to afford a free OS when they don't die of whatever would have killed them before Mr Gates came along.

  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:08AM (#11466535) Homepage Journal
    Well, maybe the "Linux Community" can't match that kind of donation, but I'd like to point out the obvious:

    1. Mr Gates is the head of a company that sells software for a profit, while the 'Linux Community' often gives its software for free to all comers over the Internet. That's one big difference.
    2. I don't think Mr Gates will have any money problems if he ever gets sick. While Patrick Volkerding -- the maintainer of Slackware, the oldest surviving Linux distribution out there -- who has been sick for several months, is asking people to buy Slackware version 10.1 [] to help him pay his medical bills...

    The difference? One of them is someone who can afford to make such a generous donation, while the other is still making his software available for free over the Internet. That makes that last remark pretty insensitive and gratuitous, IMHO.

    I know which one I admire the most. But, heck, that's a personal view.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:53AM (#11467407) Homepage
      Let's see, expressed as a total of my reserve capital... minus outstanding debts... carry the one... I've donated twice as much as Bill, with my 20 dollar donation to the Tsunami relief fund.

      In general I find the kind of people likely to give their money away, are not the kind of people likely to have any money to give.

      (No offence meant to Mr. Gates, as he has given a lot more of his money to charitable causes than a lot of people, and even more importantly he seems to really care about them. No matter what you think about his business practices, the Bill and Melinda gates foundation has the largest endowment of any chairitible organization created in recent memory and will be doing positive things for the world long after the man has taken his blue screen of death to the black screen of death. Plus the B&M tend to be focused on practical things [], and are pretty good about how they deal out grants.)

  • My box (Score:4, Funny)

    by BladeMelbourne ( 518866 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:08AM (#11466542)
    I would like him to pay for my Windows installation at work to be vaccinated from virus infections.

    Will someone please think of the computers?
    Oh wait, that should beWill someone please think of the children?

  • by egyber ( 788117 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:09AM (#11466549)
    I am friends with the daughter of the head of the Gates Foundation... Bill has told her (my friend) that his goal is to give as much as possible of his money to charity. He actually really cares about the world and his foundation and its work is proof of his commitment.

    Many may disagree with Microsoft's practices but Bill Gates is extremely committed to the world.
    • Of course it is great that Bill set up the Gates Foundation to help some of the less fortunate in the world. This indicates that he has some heart. However, it does not necessarily indicate that he cares as much as some may think.

      Consider this:
      Bill's a smart guy and therefore knows that the US government is going to take half of his net worth when he dies. So if he is worth $50B at death, the government gets ~$25B. Realizing this, Bill decides that he'd rather give that money to someone else (ie: the le
      • I can't believe tripe like this gets modded informative. Fact of the matter is, Gates has so much money that he can't live any better lifestyle than he does now. Still, he doesn't have to do anything with his money -- he could keep until he dies, let the government take some -- if the death tax is even around then -- and leave a huge pile of cash for his family. (Assuming, of course, that MS is still as big as it is today in, say, ~35 years -- and there's no guarantee of that.)

        So he doesn't have to give any

      • >So if he is worth $50B at death, the government gets ~$25B.

        And that would leave ~25B for his family.

        > for example, that he ends up giving 80% of his net worth to charity. That's $40B given the assumption above, leaving $5B for the government and $5B for his family.

        So he does it one way his family gets ~25B, he does it the other way they get ~5B. How does this justify his foundation?

        > especially since he is dictating where his money goes, not the government.

        Thats called being smart, its calle
    • by Peldor ( 639336 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @11:00AM (#11468101)
      As the mega-rich go, Bill is easily the most charitable. Compare the Walton family (collectively worth more than Bill) and you'll find some real tight-fisted bastards (who've probably crushed 100 times the number of small businesses as Microsoft).
  • by suso ( 153703 )
    Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity.

    We did, we made an operating system that doesn't result in you taking an angle grinder to your computer.
  • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:09AM (#11466555) Journal

    Vaccinating children worldwide can only be a good thing. Indeed, Microsoft pumps a lot of money into various charitable causes --- again, only a good thing.

    But what does this have to do with the Linux community? Microsoft's raison d'etre is profit, and given the amount it makes, it has a social obligation. In this way, it fulfils it. The Linux community is driven by the product itself, not sales figures. "Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity" is not only irrelevant, it verges on being not very nice.

    • Indeed, Microsoft pumps a lot of money into various charitable causes --- again, only a good thing.

      Strictly speaking--in this case at least--the money is being donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, not by Microsoft. To be fair, Microsoft does make charitable contributions to buy goodwill and strategic advertising placement (oops, slipped into bitter cynicism there) but this isn't one of those occasions.

      The Gates Foundation exists to assuage any guilt Bill has about pillaging the marketplac

    • Microsoft doesn't have a social obligation to do *anything*. If Microsoft (the corporate entity) decides to donate to a charity, fine. There is a tax based reward system in place to make it more enticing to to that, but it doesn't make them obligated.

      Of course, this has nothing to do with Microsoft. This has to do with Bill Gates. RTFA.
  • When I'm worth 30 billion, I will also donate 750 million to my pet charity.

    Dammit I will donate 20 billion. I know I will only have 10 billion to keep me in food and shelter, but that is the kind of generous guy I would be...

    Also I won't even claim my tax perks from it...

  • Rubbish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:09AM (#11466557) Homepage
    Of course the ends don't justify the means in this case, yet nevertheless this is a good thing the Gates Foundation is doing. It's not an All or Nothing proposition. Gates can be a convicted monopolist who does awful things in the business world while simultaneously spending his money on humanitarian things. Doesn't justify his business crimes. Hey, look at Andrew Carnegie. Similar to Gates in the business world, but he spent his money on lots of good things such as libraries.

    If a gangster throws a block party for his neighbors, it doesn't justify all the people he killed in his work. It's still a nice party, and he's still a gangster.

  • So he's spending his monopoly money for the children. Thank God someone's finally thinking of the children.

    The ends justify the means only if you have a corrupt morality. If you commit a crime, but use the proceeds in some "altruistic" way, is the crime then excusable?

    The Robber Barons of old used charity to improve their image. Rockefeller, for instance, handing out shiny new dimes to children.

  • To say the end justifies the means is to assume that his business practices, many disagree with were done, with this end in mind. Have you seen any evidence of this?

    Bill Gates is a capitalist. He's also a philanthropist. They're not mutually exclusive; in fact, some claim it's the "rich man's burden" to help society when they can. But they're also not inextricably entertwined, either. Why do people persist in judging one by the other?

  • four guesses:

    1) he feels bad for ripping of so many people and forcing thousands of people out of work
    2) he wants tax breaks
    3) he wants people to like him, and he can spare 750m for that cause (like when mr burns does in the simpsons, except mr burns throws pennies off a bridge)
    4) he's a good man, except in business

    personally, i wouldn't go for 4
  • by femto ( 459605 )
    Mr Gates is handing out fish, while the Linux Community is teaching people to fish.

    Handing out fish is a commendable act.

  • " I've seen horrors...horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call
    me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that...But
    you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is
    necessary to those who do not know what horror means.
    Horror. Horror has a face...And you must make a friend of horror. Horror and
    moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces...Se
  • The Linux community has ALREADY "matched this generosity." Rather than charge money in exchange for software and then give some small fraction of that money back as charitable donations, the Linux community lets people keep all their money in the first place. That's more efficient, and I think a lot more generous, than charging for the software in the first place.

    Free software is also going to help the third world develop more quickly than it would under a purely proprietary model, so there's an extra ki
  • Go to your local GP (General Practitioner). Ask him or her... "Do you have your children vaccinated?".

    A bit of research on the subject of vaccination is pretty eye opening actually. Turns out, vaccination != immunisation. A lot of the 'scientific' evidence that supports the "vaccination == immunisation" myth gives wonderful stats that show disease rates dropping dramatically at approx the same time as vaccination was introduced, but completely ignores other data, like the general improvement of public hyge

  • by Anonymous Coward
    until I realized that the worst thing you could do is decrease child mortality without changing the conditions that require having large families, e.g. poverty mostly. If you don't do that then you end up with a huge populations of mostly young, poor, unemployed people. A recipe for social unrest.
  • Let's add all the open/free sofware value "donated" to hospital, schools and public libraries worldwide to see how is giving away more.

  • chriskzoo5 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:15AM (#11466621) Journal
    This story looks like both a troll and flamebait, and it gets me to wondering about the submitter. What a shocker. He's a known troll [].
  • by MC68000 ( 825546 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {eiksdorb}> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:16AM (#11466628)
    I am not exactly a fan of Microsoft, but come on. The knee-jerk anti Microsoft tilt of /. is amazing. I can see it now. There will be some post rated funny talking about how little Gates has spent to vaccinate Windows PCs against viruses, and it will completely trivialize what is being done here. I can't understand how anyone could come up with any negative aspect of this $750 million gift. Does an orphan in Guatemala care about how terrible Windows is? At least give the guy credit where credit is due.
  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:21AM (#11466667) Homepage Journal
    You make me ill.

    If you need a Free Software example to follow, turn to that of the author of Vim who has used his work to entreat users to donate to the needy in Uganda. But don't piss on a $750 million donation to some of the worst off on this planet; that's really low class and unless you've solved the problem already don't disparage the people who are taking a crack at it.

  • by PsiPsiStar ( 95676 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:44AM (#11466836)
    Al Capone was a wonder of the age. It should be pointed out that Capone was the 'generous' gangster. He actually helped build Cicero and Chicago projects, gave to the needy, helped the elderly, and was great with kids. While he may have consciously did this for improving his image, he did try to be an active member of the community. He liked sports, baseball, boxing, and horse racing. He gave away a lot of his ill-gotten gains, and it was part of the defence for his tax evasion trial. But Capone ultimately went to prison for tax evasion, and died in 1947 from complications arising from syphilis.

  • by data1 ( 23016 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:57AM (#11466952) Homepage
    The very airs the submitter adopts is obviously geared towards riling up a negative response against Gates. I think most slashdotters will realize this and see the donation for what it is - providing help to the less fortunate and not an avenue to decry Gates for not giving 99% of his net worth.
  • by Disc2 ( 720412 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:42AM (#11467317)
    some guy has donated a HUGE amount of money to charity, and all he get's is

    "it's only loose change to him, I'm not impressed" oh come on, how many of you have honestly donated %1.5 of your assets?
    "the linux community is providing free software for the people in deprived countries, I know which I prefer" yeah, and I'm sure they'll be greatful for the free sopftware when they have terminal illnesses.

    some people really need to grow up. Whatever your feelings on Bill Gates as head of the evil empire, I do not see how you can possibly castigate him for his acts of charity.
  • Bullshit Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @10:05AM (#11467509) Homepage Journal
    This entire article just blew up my bullshit detector.

    First, the Borg icon - this is the Gates Foundation, not Microsoft. As much as I despise Gates, his Foundation is doing a lot of good things.

    Second, the business practice hit. Again, this is not Microsoft donating anything to anyone, it's the Gates Foundation. While Bill's money is largely M$ stuff, the shot is just cheap and unwarranted.

    Three, the dig at the Open Source community. I'm sure if the community had as much money as Gates, we'd be matching his donation before the day is up, just to show it. But we don't. You can't compare the rich man's $1000 donation to the poor man's $100 donation. No matter how you compare it, in one way or the other it won't be fair.

    Finally, the article as a whole - what the f*ck has this to do with "news for nerds" ??? And if it's "stuff that matters", how come we don't read about any similar donations made by other people or foundations?

    Both the article author and the editor who let this through should be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure at least 20 more worthy articles were left out today.
  • Unbelievable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truesaer ( 135079 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @11:33AM (#11468507) Homepage
    The number of people who are acting like this is some kind of paltry donation just because Gates has a net worth of 50 billion is unbelievable. First, a lot of his assets are not liquid. You can just sell 30 billion of Microsoft stock by clicking a couple buttons in your eTrade account. But that isn't the real point...the real point is that

    1) You can only give so much to a single cause. Its not necessarily possible to even handle huge donations even if you spread them around to a bunch of groups because there just aren't enough people to use the funds.

    2) Gates has donated billions in the past and will donate many billions in the future. This is just one single donation. Whats the big fuss? Its like arguing that dropping a dollar in a Salvation Army kettle makes you cheap despite the fact that you donate to lots of other charities throughout the year.

  • by TANSTAAFL_Guy ( 847854 ) <> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @02:52PM (#11471264)
    OK, so maybe this is a little redundant. But it seems that only a few slashdotters can tell the difference between Bill, Microsoft, and the Gates Foundation ...

    Bill is the wealthiest man in the world. But what many people forget is that Bill comes from money, OLD MONEY. His family are the kind of people who sit on boards of directors and have dinner with US Senators kind of money. The kind who drop out of Harvard and not some state school. And they are also the kind of people who don't just phone it in to Jerry Lewis every year or give to the office United Way campaign to get that warm-and-fuzzy feeling, but who create friggin' foundations. Bill provided some serious seed money to create the foundation's endowment, which was then invested and grown and is gradually being given away to worthy causes. Its not like Bill's personal signature is at the bottom of each check the Gates Foundation hands out (at least, I wouldn't think that he is that hands on).

    Yes, Microsoft is the evil empire blah blah blah ...

    And the Gates Foundation does good things in the world. Only a drooling idiot would argue that providing funding to fight AIDS or vaccinate children against common (and some not so common) diseases is somehow bad. Go take your dumb ass and your tinfoil hat and crawl back inside your parent's basement. If only more of the truly wealthy people in this country felt a similar responsibility to give something back to their communities, the nation, and the world instead of just buying another Ferrari or vacation home...maybe the world would be just a slightly better place...maybe.

  • by Aron S-T ( 3012 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @04:33PM (#11472646) Homepage
    There are several points that need to be made here:

    1. The money Bill Gates is giving away are ill-gotten gains derived from monopolistic practices. if we had a government with balls, they would have confiscated most of Microsoft (and Bill Gates) money. Why should he have the right to decide how to spend stolen money? Maybe society as a whole has different priorities.

    2. Bill Gates recently called people who oppose his view of "intellectual property" communists! Well if it makes me a communist to believe that drugs should not be developed for corporate profit then so be it. [N.B. Please: before you start flaming me about how all "innovation" happens because of greed and how without copyright and patent monopilies life would be nasty, brutish and short, pick up a book on the history of science or the history of art or the history of music or the hostoty of philosophy or the history of any human artistic and/or intellectual endeavor].

    If Bill Gates would support the restraint of insanely restrictive copyright and patent laws, we could eradicate many diseases around the world without him having to give a $750 million donation. In terms of benefit to the world, it would be far preferable if he used his money and clout to fight ridiculous IP laws, than give this money away on vaccinations. Far more lives could and would be saved. But precisely because he uses his money and clout to oppose such modifications, he is partially responsible for many people dying, and his $750 million gift cannot compensate for that.

    3. The article is pure flame bait. But since it was posted as "news" it is our right and duty to respond to its huge BS factor.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller