Linked by David Adams on Thu 1st Oct 2009 01:39 UTC
In the News As much as we like to stay away from letting real-world politics bleed over into our ongoing discussion of tech politics, I found an interesting essay over at The Economist's "Democracy in America" blog that draws a parallel between Apple's Mac/iPhone user-friendly ecosystem and the Microsoft Windows freer-but-more-chaotic ecosystem and how that lines up along the authoritarian/libertarian spectrum of real-world political division. They don't mention Open Source in this essay, but I'm sure it could make an interesting addition to the discussion. The essay's main point is that, in governance, attempts to make life more user-friendly for citizens usually ends up giving them less freedom of choice, and a certain segment of the political establishment will reliably oppose such moves. The idea that the tradeoff between choice and usability persists into the world of governance really set me to thinking. What kind of country would you rather live in? An Apple one, a Microsoft one, or an Open Source one?
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The arguement doesn't stand.
by nickelbackro on Fri 2nd Oct 2009 03:58 UTC
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The thought of making analogies to governance and operating systems is flawed in the ways it's being presented here by most people.

The answer is even though the way applications are handled can be shown in this way (apple app store control, Windows installation and hardware freedom, Linux hardware, code, and installation freedom); the OS systems themselves are either ruled by a corporation (MicroSoft or Apple) or a BDFL such as Linus Torvalds in Linux or by autocratic committee in systems such BSD or Haiku. The only argument to true freedom i can see in the scenarios of the later entries is in that the source code can be forked and ruled by another BDFL or committee if you get frustrated by a WILLNOTFIX answer.

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