Linked by David Adams on Fri 17th Dec 2004 18:20 UTC, submitted by jeanmarc
Editorial The real heart of open source lies in its potential to be greater than the sum of its parts, the capacity to leverage the talent and abilities of an entire community of developers and users who are striving towards a common goal, according to an editorial at Linux Insider.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
by Lumbergh on Mon 20th Dec 2004 20:02 UTC

My first post was a response to the article, "It's the community, stupid". I was criticizing the naive understanding of "free markets" being used by the author of the article and the attempt to romanticize the FOSS community as some kind of expression of Adam Smiths ideas.

It's interesting you wrote that because romanticizing FOSS to fit with your ideology is exactly what you are trying to do.

I am fully convinced that the FOSS community in the future will be a paid community-ie. will consist of individuals who draw their livelihood from their work.

You can make money off of FOSS. We do it. We've also sponsored a developer who worked on LLC in the kernel. I've never claimed otherwise.

Any society which makes the transitition to using FOSS in the public sector will end up creating many, many thousands of new jobs.

The private sector, which is invariably more efficient than the public sector, has created millions of new jobs through proprietary, closed-source software.

Societies which do so start empowering their own citizens-instead of funneling a large percentage of their GDP to foreign software corporations. The skills involved in programming become marketable valuable skills in the local economy-the local economy of every city and town in the societies which make the transition. The money which is saved in this process can be reinvested in other areas-everyone knows that public institutions are hard pressed financially in virtually all parts of the world.

If governments want to give the best service to their citizens then they will use the best tool for the job. And they will not exclude "foreign company" software if that gives the best bang for the buck. Governments do a disservice to their constituents when they base purchasing decisions hatred of America and/or Microsoft. Your assumption that FOSS always means a savings in money has been proven wrong time after time again. Software purchase is usually the least expensive cost in IT. Deployment, training, staff, as well as a myriad of other issues usually have more cost.

The wages which these programmers/sys. admins/technicians etc. will be paid, is going to be taxed which increases the revenue available to the governement to allocate for public services. Moreover the software in use in the public sector will be far better suited to the local specific needs of those contributing to it-and remeber custom tailored software is far more valuable than "pre-packaged".

Once again, you make assumptions on needs that you are incapable of knowing.

If you are, as you state, a libertarian then you must surely know that the talk about "free markets" is pure ideological b.s. You know damned well that there is virtually nothing "free" about our(american) "free markets". The american government subsidizes specific industries continuously-which is totally contradictory to the notion of a "free market". If the government via a program like the 401k redirects %10 of the income of the majority of its workers directly into the stockmarket by excepting it from taxation status-well how exactly do you understand "government underwriting of corporations". There is no such thing as "free markets" or "pure" capitalism. And when we the people have no say in where the wealth of this nation is directed -how "free" are we. Surely as a libertarian you must see such.

I don't believe I ever stated that I was a libertarian. I rejected your defintion of libertarian as "conservative reactionary". Libertarians are more liberal (in a classical sense) than republicans, democrats, socialists, and communists combined. And I do want more free markets, less government subsidies, less government intervention in general. I want to empower the individual to make decisions for themselves. The statist-socialism in western Europe and Canada does just the opposite.

And one of the most important services of the State is to be found in the laws which codify what property means. It is the very particular interpretation of property codified today in our laws which makes the kinds of corporations viable which today exist. If the societal definitions of property change, ie. the laws which codify these definitions, then everything founded in these laws change-the forms of corporatism, the functioning of the market, and the ascription of value to those things deamed "goods" in the market.

Ooohh, evil corporations. Let me explain something to you people on the left. A corporation can't force you to do anything. Only the state can.

Once again you fail to explain or are afraid to explain what you mean by "societal defintions of property change". I know what you're getting at it, coming from your leftist ideology, but I wait to see if you have the courage to come out and really say it, instead of dancing around the issue.

When I say that FOSS is a challenge to the definition of property I mean: a) there is no legal or jurisprudence tradition which can adequately cope with copyleft. b) because there is no pre-existing tradition precedence cases must be established c) in the attempt to codify such precedence cases the established definitions surround intellectual property will become problematic d) this will result in changes to the societal understanding of property-ie. the codification in the forms of laws thereof e) this will have ramifications for all facets of society which have their legal foothold in these laws.

It's just a software license. Either it's legitamite or not. Your attempt to use the GPL as a vehicle for a grander cause in challenging the notion of private property will be a failure because the vast majority of people believe that private property is a cornerstone of individual freedom.

Now I am not saying that this will be unequivocally "good". I am also not saying that this will "utterly" change society. I am also not saying that there will be universal employment, an end to market exploitation or a "revolution". I am distinctly not saying that everyone will be "happy" and "free" as a result of such. I am just pointing out that as the numbers of those who embrace FOSS increase that there is a gradual change in the societal consensus about what constitutes property. And this will necessitate that the State codify this new emergent consensus.

Those that embrace FOSS as leftist ideology, as you do, will always be an almost infinitesimal small number compared to those that use FOSS for cost-savings or to get out of Microsoft lockin. One of these days I might submit an essay on how you're locked into the software you use, no matter where it comes from. But that's for another day.

I do not believe that the purpose of human labor is monentary economic self-survival. I believe that human labor is not about making money. I believe that economy is something fundamental to human interaction. The monetary economy is but one kind of economy and arguably one of the less important forms of economy. The monetary economy is but a means to an end-an end which itself has no monetary value. Economy metes out and apportions the interaction of indidivudals within larger societal "communities". Economy is the medium of social interaction.

Let's hope that you can both enjoy your job(labor) and also use it for economic benefit. Human labor is about an exchange of services for capital in order to fulfill a need. Nothng more and nothing less. I don't consider it labor when I'm programming something at home for no other purpose except for the enjoyment of programming.