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Re: [News] Linux is Capitalism

In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Roy Schestowitz
on Fri, 19 May 2006 17:48:55 +0100
> Published yesterday.
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | In 2000, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer made a questionable remark: he referred
> | to Linux (and the open source/free software community) and its development
> | process as "communist." He said that "Linux is a tough competitor. There's
> | no company called Linux, there's barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort
> | of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the
> | characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about
> | it. That is, it's free." Ballmer's statements show his ignorance of
> | economics and the nature of human action.
> `----
>                         Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lora/m.lora22.html

Maybe, maybe not.  Communism, after all, *is* an economic
system; its main problem is that socialism, the political
system that usually implements it, is so terrible that most
reasonable countries have now switched to capitalism and
varying amounts of representative democracy, with China
and Iran being notable exceptions.

However, Linux (more precisely, code implemented on Linux)
is piggybacking on cheap bandwidth and donated skilled
labor (software developers).  One might call it the
"starving artists" model (presumably, a fair number of
contributors are in college).  I'm not quite sure *how*
to characterize it, though the model is working reasonably
well in producing quality code.  (Part of it might very
well be those sins of humanity: vanity, ego, and pride.
Sloppy freeware code isn't all that popular. :-) )

However, software is a funny animal, since once created and
published, a piece of software can be almost instantly
duplicated on any destination system, if it's done
sufficiently well, for nearly free ($40/month @ 150KB/s =
about 1.25 nanocents per bit, or $0.10/GB).  In a way,
that's communist: take what one needs, give what one can.
(Admittedly, software as a "need" is a bit hard to swallow,
but that's bordering on obscure philosophy anyway.)

I'm not sure if Steve Ballmer has a clue, or not, but there
is a Code War here, and Microsoft is on the wrong side. :-)

(The Code War is a bit like the Cold War, only with more propaganda
and fewer nuclear-tipped ICBMs. :-) )

#191, ewill3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx -- insert random Strategic Defense here
Windows Vista.  Because it's time to refresh your hardware.  Trust us.

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