Home > Open Source > GNU: The New World Order GNU: The New World Order Eugenia Loli 2004-05-21 Open Source 45 Comments An article on GNU/OSS, and how it integrates with the current IT situation. GNU: The New World Order. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 45 Comments 2004-05-21 8:50 pm This article is very flawed in that it equates the two. 2004-05-21 8:57 pm “This article is very flawed” I mean, shouldn’t that be “The GNU World Order.” 2004-05-21 9:09 pm This article did a good job of articulating many of the concerns I have with GPL. I see BSD as being a nice competitor for GPL in the free software realm and a check and balance for GPL in the software world, keeping GPL at bay. BSD is usually better documented and usually is a better learning tool because there are no strings attached. 2004-05-21 9:09 pm The title is scary, especially since the GNU’s “gnu” looks more like Baal than an actual “gnu” (ever seen the Discovery Channel?). 2004-05-21 9:10 pm Remember, Gnu’s not unix! Indeed, the GNU tools run (or ran) on some non-unix operating systems. GNU isn’t the “new world order.” That’s silly. It’s a GPL world order….ir at least one where freeIP is accepted on a mass scale. How much more commodity can it get? When vendors pay you to run their OS 2004-05-21 9:16 pm Eh it has some technical flaws, and its an opinion piece, since this guy doesn’t like where software is going. Basically anything that touches the GPL becomes GPL and software becoming a commodity is a bad thing to him, I dont know why if he’s not a developer than he doesnt have to worry about getting paid, in fact since hes the consumer it would benefit him more, since the GPL makes things free as in both beer and speech (sure you could throw red hat making money off enterprise software, but theyre not charging you for the os, they’re charging you for the service since one could compile the source easily enough example White Box Linux.) 2004-05-21 10:04 pm Eh it has some technical flaws Which ones exactly? I think it sounded okay? and its an opinion piece Is there anything wrong with that? It seems to advertise itself as such in the beginning. I dont know why if he’s not a developer than he doesnt have to worry about getting paid He signed with ‘A concerned developer’. 2004-05-21 10:11 pm The author writes: I find that GPL limits my freedom as a developer. The freedom to make a living from what I was educated to do. He also favours the BSD license. Isn’t it a little bit odd? If a proprietary company can use BSD code without worrying about “strings attached”, isn’t this reducing the author’s possibilities to make money from coding? Microsoft used to use a BSD licensed TCP/IP stack, so it needed some time before Microsoft hired developers for a new stack. Apple uses BSD code so it also didn’t need to hire developers to get the same functionality. But I did like some arguments, for example the one that incompatible file formats are introduced because their superiority offers a competitive advantage. This is a cool argument because it’s hard to prove wrong. 2004-05-21 10:17 pm The true is that GPL is not well suited to most pure software companies, that means compainies whose only source of income is selling software. But what about the rest of us, like: – companies developing custom software on demand – companies developing software for their own needs – ordinary users, with developers skills – companies selling services For us GPL is perfect. Why should I care if Microsoft, or someone alike, loose market and cease to exist ? That’s their problem, not mine. Yes, GPL is perfect for my business, and I don’t care what happens if software industry goes to hell. 2004-05-21 10:38 pm That is fine as long as you have no real competitors that can use your work against you BSD or GPL isn’t going to save you from that, oh yes I forgot, you have that all important support agreement… that is definately going to keep you going for, what a few months…the source code is freely available to one and all, GPL is definately very important, so is BSD, but so is proprietary code … all of them have their place and if any one of them dies out it will change the balance of the software industry for the worse. You can’t compete with GPL, everything you do is immediately available to your competitors. Unless your support staff is just *that much* nicer to people who call in for support. BSD, same thing, but at least they can improve upon the code and release something proprietary, your answer will have to be a new feature (not just another “me too” response.) Plus BSD allows you to use BSD intertwined with proprietary, they work together. Also, BSD allows you to learn from source code as long as you acknowledge that work. You absolutely can’t use GPL code anywhere but in GPL. Proprietary is nice because the code actually has value for the person or company that creates it. Each model definately has its place. Public Domain – Belongs to everyone, no restrictions. GPL – By GPL for GPL. BSD – Belongs to everyone, must reference code creator. Proprietary – Belongs to person or company, can be licensed. This is just my misquided opinion though…. 2004-05-21 10:44 pm Isn’t the point made in the article pretty much that it is in most cases impossible to have commercial software without keeping it proprietary? 2004-05-21 10:50 pm He also favours the BSD license. Isn’t it a little bit odd? If a proprietary company can use BSD code without worrying about “strings attached”, isn’t this reducing the author’s possibilities to make money from coding? Perhaps he means that he can use BSD code himself, without having to make his own code opensource. So you are looking at it from the wrong perspective, I think. He wants to be able to do what Microsoft and Apple did. 2004-05-21 11:04 pm Yes, GPL is perfect for my business, and I don’t care what happens if software industry goes to hell. You will when the people who used to make their money at it are no longer able to purchase your services, or the services of your local grocers, auto repair shops, and the tax bills for the roads and the schools. Don’t misunderstand me! I am still undecided, but it seems that OSS kicks ass as a development model while falling flat as a marketable product. I like the idea of operating systems being free and Free. OS’s are the base tool all people need to be able to create and have access to digital information. As long as we are playing at being Utopians; my perfect world would be one with Free OS’s, Free access to governance, and Free access to information. The software developers would follow the craftsman model first, working to hone their skills and release quality creations. Skilled developers could make a living, unskilled developers would find themselves looking for a new trade. In my world developers would release their software to be distributed far and wide. Users could be trusted to, once they found that “perfect editor,” to send the creator $5 in the post. If a user wanted to add a plugin he thought was crucial – he could. If the developer folded his code into the product the user could trust the developer to send him $.10 for each $5 he received. Patronage would be common, cats would play with dogs, global warming would reverse itself, and people would stop using religion as an excuse to kill eachother. Sadly – all fantasy. 2004-05-21 11:12 pm He obviously does not like the Brave Gnu World. If he doesn’t like the GPL he doesn’t have to use it. But of course if he wants to reuse GPL code he will have to – but the choice is his if you don’t like the GPL don’t use GPL code in your projects. He is free to choose. Since the author starts waffling on about Marxism in his article it may be worth while pointing out what the politics is of those Free Software/Open Source Software luminaries that do seem to have some. RMS and Eben Moglen are left libertarians, i.e. anarchists – see Moglen’s essay the “Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright” http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue4_8/moglen/ While ESR is a right libertarian i.e. extreme pro-capitalist . 2004-05-21 11:14 pm A lot of his history contains errors, like for instance his charaterization of the AT&T lawsuit. (Apparantly he doesn’t know the difference between Net/2 and 44lite BSD and System V Unix.) I had to stop reading it because his constant mistakes were too annoying. 2004-05-21 11:33 pm it counters outsourcing overseas (if you think about it, hard, you will understand this) 2004-05-21 11:58 pm I thought the history part seemed like a pretty good review of it, I got bored and stopped reading though. 2004-05-22 1:37 am it counters outsourcing overseas (if you think about it, hard, you will understand this) Some food for thought there. 2004-05-22 2:19 am Here are my cent’s and pennie’s worth….. In generally I thought this guy writes well and has a pretty detached perspective on things which was nice to hear. He has some good points. However, like most people, he is thinking inside the box because he is thinking of this whole phenomenon in terms of a movement in the software world rather than part of a larger movement in the general consciousness of mankind. I don’t see these changes as just a movement within the software world, but part of a bigger picture of changes in the world. I think that the GPL licence and the moral and ethical ground held by the FSF people (and some OSS people), is opening our consciousness to a different kind of society, perhaps eventually one in which monetary gain is not preferred and the world doesn’t operate on competition. While that kind of a world is far off, these changes are a step in that direction. And I think that is where this author falls short – he fails to see the influence of GPL on the much bigger picture, its social impact and the way it will take steps toward changing and lifting our consciousness. While this author argues in some clear manner that the GPL is not very financial viable, it is merely opinion and traditional that dictates that this is bad. I was hoping he would stick his neck out and arrive at a vision of a more open and loving future for mankind, but alas he is confined to the perspective of a specialist in traditional software thinking. I think GPL will go far to undo a lot of our dependence on traditional models and is but a small part of a much bigger revolution in our lives, a spiritual revolution. When people like this author `dont get` what the FSF-like people are striving for, or why they hold so strongly to their convictions, it’s because they aren’t yet ready to open their minds to the spiritual ramifications of these developments. There is more afoot here than just a foot and a leg. 😉 2004-05-22 3:05 am That’s not necessarily true. There is a lot of high-end software that nobody sane would use without a support contract. For airplane design courses, we use CATIA. Do you think they have 0-day warez versions of CATIA? That 12-year olds download hacked-versions to do aerodynamic analysis of wing shapes? Distributing the source to CATIA would probably have little to no effect on their business (even if it did mean that anybody could download it for free), because if you need it, you’ll buy it. The source would probably need to be under a restricted license (cannot use the code to compete with us, for example), but it could still be very useful to the community (need a good constraint solver for your unrelated project, steal it from there). In the end, open source often ends up helping companies (remember, 90% of software is not the shrink-wrapped stuff you buy at CompUSA!) You can use open-source solutions for the general-purpose parts of your code, and focus your efforts on the new, innovative parts that really matter. If you development effort ends up contributing to that open-source portions, who cares? Its due payment for helping you in *your* business, and in the end, you’re not selling, say, a constraint solver, but a product that just happens to use one. 2004-05-22 3:15 am RMS and Eben Moglen are left libertarians, i.e. anarchists Is that even possible? How can someone be left leaning and an anarchist at the same time? Leftwing beliefs generally revolve around the good of the society as a whole as opposed to the individual. Anarchy doesn’t fit into that belief system very well. 2004-05-22 3:43 am This guy does a good job here. Lays out the differences in both and raises his concerns with the licenses. 2004-05-22 4:12 am You did not understand what I wrote. I am writing custom software, on demand, for specific customers. Customers have no interest in releasing code, because it would be available to THEIR competition. GPL is not suitable for compainies that sell software to mass market, like Microsoft, but it is good for the rest of the cathegories mentioned. Once again, with explanation: – companies developing custom software on demand Explained above. Even if source beccomes available to other developers it is not easy to find and keep a customer. Generaly speaking you have to have a name and/or get recommended by someone. – companies developing software for their own needs They could lower the development costs if they share the burden with others that have similar needs. They can still compete with them on other fields. It is not uncommon. – ordinary users, with developers skills They already do that. – companies selling services Companies in outsourcing business are good example. IBM for example. People often make mistake thinking that software development is about writing and selling new mail client or media player. It is just one fraction of that business. IT journalist are putting to much emphasise on it. 2004-05-22 4:48 am The author did a not too bad job, but there are too many errors (saying that linus took the minix code for example, etc.)… His constant references to marxism == GPL are annoying as well, and I don’t exactly see his point with its demonstration of GPL == no interest for users. Of COURSE users have an interest : GPL software are more likely to stay available, as the data you created with theses softwares (and I don’t know for you, but I think knowing that it won’t be a problem to 1) get the same software in 10 years 2) read my files in 10 years, are pretty important things that are guaranteed with free software (even if not automatically, there will be solutions, at least). And obviously, the low-cost (if any) of free software is another plus for users, and if anything it brings competition. On the developer’s side, yes, free software could be seen as a less profitable way than proprietary software, and he explains that (although it could be argued too that the margin in software are something completely incredible, and perhaps an insight that something isn’t “right”). Forget his comment about GPL forcing you, that’s pure FUD — if that’s the case, it’s because you reuse GPL components. That something many people seems to miss with the GPL: the viral aspect is 1) voluntary 2) it IS the price that GPL developers want you to pay. That’s why I could accept to use the GPL as a developer — it guarantees me that I will be payed back in sourcecode by others developers, and not ripped by them. Money isn’t the only option for being paid. He basically forgets one little thing: something that is possible with free software and not really with proprietary software is a possible HUGE reuse of components. So, yes, doing a proprietary software could earn you more money; but if in reusing GPL components you could do the same job in 1/20th of the time, you could end up choosing the GPL’s way, because it’s more efficient. In the end, I personally don’t really see the GPL as a treat for developers. First, I don’t think that every areas will be covered by GPL software — most of them will just turn the most used kind of software in a commodity (eg, operating system, word processor, databases, etc.). Second, GPL is a very good thing for developers as it improves reusability. It’s not perfect, but it works better than usual. And of course, GPL softwares also provides some competition in the software marker, which is an excellent thing. Oh, and its comments about open formats are a bit strange. Sure, having stone-engraved formats could be a bad thing, but there is a middle-ground. He just justify closed formats by saying that’s better for companies. Guess what ? not everything that’s better for companies is sensible. And anyway, saying that open formats *prevents* competition is really far-fetched. To the contrary, open formats will improves competition, that’s exactly why companies prefers closed formats, as he is saying : because that gives them an advantage. But for the user, that’s a very bad thing. Personally, much more than forcing the installation of real player and quicktime on windows, a sensible thing would have been to force companies to open the file formats. It should be mandatory by law, as it is the only way as a customer to not be artificially tied to a company. Of course, it would be difficult to force companies to do that all the time, but something like “after six months availability of your product, if a customer ask for file formats, give them” could be a good rule. Well.. I was a bit long on this one. Anyway, yes, developers should carefully choose their licence. Nobody forces you to use GPL or LGPL or BSD or anything, and you should read the licences and understand them, obviously. 2004-05-22 4:58 am This opinion piece seems to make some decent points and has a good historical perspective of PCs, Unix, MS, etc. However, it is way off base in terms of what OSS is all about. The article’s conclusion that OSS = Marxism and is a threat to the author’s job security is ludicrous. I offer such profitable, free enterprise corporations as IBM, HP, Novell, Red Hat, JBoss, Trolltech, and MySQL as great examples of OSS being highly profitable. For instance, IBM generated $2 Billion in revenue from it’s Linux business in 2003, from services and hardware. Red Hat is highly profitable, because corporations want to pay for Red Hat’s integration and support. JBoss, Trolltech and MySql offer dual licensing, and generate ever-increasing profits in the process. It also must be noted that OSS easily and seamlessly blends with proprietary software. The two are definetely not mutally exclusive (as the author suggests). I offer as an example Oracle, whose CEO (Larry Ellison) is the ultimate competitive, shark-like, greedy cut-throat capatalist, as an example of a fully proprietary software company (the second largest in the world) that offers is products as fully compatible with OSS (certified to run on Red Hat Linux, and be distributed through Mozilla). Another great example is Trolltech, who offers dual licensing on it’s QT C++ GUI tookit. They have both a GPL (which is totally free, but resulting software must be GPL and free as well) and a “for pay” license, which can be used for fully proprietary software. The KDE desktop environment is an example of the QT GPL license, and Adobe, JDEdwards and the Opera browser are examples of proprietary software products that pay for the proprietary license of QT. Trolltech has increased it’s revenue and profit every year of it’s existence. This, inspite of (actually, because of)the totally free KDE. Obviously, OSS and proprietary software can peacefully co-exist. And as for getting paid for developing OSS – there are thousands of developers who are paid by corporations to program OSS in areas that benefit the corporations. And, of course, most programming jobs are in the area of customized, dynamic applications for individual businesses. And the good thing is that OSS is great for this arena because it frees up more money for the customized apps. Finally, proprietary software companies will always be around, regardless of how widespread OSS becomes. There will always be a need for the cutting edge technology, commercial polish, and specialized nature of many proprietary software products. There is a lot of idealism in OSS, in terms of sharing and a sense of community, and stopping the limiting factors of monopolistic proprietary software. However, OSS promotes free enterprise as much as anything. In encourages the players to compete on price, service, implementation, support, and packaging. It also encourages the pooling of resources (to the benefit of all). And finally it encourages freedom of expression, community, and volunteerism. 2004-05-22 6:55 am He seems to be stuck in the assumption that linux users all want everything to be free. Absolutly ridiculous! Few people in his fictional “GNU camp” actually beleieve there could ever be a 100% GPL software industry. He seems to think that his pointing this out is somthing new, like we’re all simpletons and couldn’t see past our own ideals. He also sufferes from the same juvinile view of the world that President Bush seems to, one of extreams, where its all black and white, or as Bush puts it, good and evil. Where there is a battle between two sides and its all or nothing. Maybe when he grows up he’ll see that OSS and proprietary software can coesxist just fine (they already do actually), and that a balance between them is really the best approch. Just like his example of Capitolism and Marxism, they are not two different all or nothing extreams, but instead two ends of a sliding scale. Somewhere on that scale is the right balance to get the benefits of both and still minimize the disadvantages. OSS software, including GPL software, is never going away, and will only become more popular… to a point. For some software, usually when it has huge development costs like with major games and apps like photoshop, it just makes sense that they remain proprietary. For other software though, like the OS itself, the better option is the OSS one, for many reasons. This was never a competition, or a battle, or a revolution. Its just the ususal evolution, and like ususal, only scares those who relied to heavily on the old paradigms and took them to unnatural extremes, like Microsoft for instance. 2004-05-22 9:24 am > but the choice is his if you don’t like the GPL don’t > use GPL code in your projects. He is free to choose. Well, but then I wonder about problems with Microsoft. No one has to use “MS-XML”, “IE-HTML”, propritary file formats or something else, right? Free to choose, right? No, it’s not right. Exactly this is the problem with a monopoly. And exactly this becomes a big problem with the GPL. 2004-05-22 9:54 am Forgetting some minor errors (first compilers *were* performant, as thay had to convince asm ppl, eg) imho saying that GPL is a revolution is not wrong. GPL was expressely created to free software from commercial threats, so it is to some extent subversive for the current status quo. This does not mean that the GPL ideology is always desirable. That’s why there are plenty of other licences being used, not least the LGPL that the author seems to have forgot. The problem existed, but LGPL is one good way to solve it. 2004-05-22 10:38 am A “GPL monopoly” would be very different from that of one company. First, one can assume that many developers of free software are not only interested in free code, but also striving for use of open data formats / protocols. Whereas commercial, “closed-source” companies tend to favor proprietary formats, because it generates lock in. Second, the GPL is not a company. Thus the analogue of a GPL monopoly is a “closed-source” monopoly. Exactly which we have today (de facto), in addition to a company monopoly, which we have also. If most of the software would be GPL licensed, there could still be many individual software products, and therefor power which could be exercised by one individual (company) would still be adequately limited. Third, a monopoly of one individual GPL licensed product would do less harm than that of a proprietary one, even if it would use a proprietary format. This is because competitors could rip of the code that deals with the data format and incorporate it in their product. This would even be possible if the competitor distributed the product as “closed-source”, because he can develop a stand-alone GPL licensed converter which utilizes the other ones code, which converts the data into his own proprietary format. And if the source code is available, a competitor does not have to reverse engineer a data format, but can (sort of) learn from the source code. 2004-05-22 10:48 am (first compilers *were* performant, as thay had to convince asm ppl, eg) I don’t think so. You are right in saying they had to convince asm people. But you are wrong in assuming they did. Just look at the leaps that compiler technology has made in the last 10-15 years. And still a human can beat it (still not all asm ppl are convinced). Also, that is with modern CPUs, with RISC-like architectures, which are more ‘tuned-in’ to the needs of a compiler. Early CPUs were designed completely for human hand-optimization. So I think it’s quite right to say that early compilers weren’t doing as good a job as humans. But the point was only to demonstrate ideology (asm code is ‘perfect’) vs practice (compiled code is cheap). 2004-05-22 12:41 pm GPL/Linux/GNU use will continue to grow for everyday users because it is free. Free is the only factor to many poor but inteligent and well educated people in this world. And low cost is important to almost everybody in this world. Microsoft sees this coming and is making an effort thru software patents to ham-string opensource. I don’t see MS being sucessful but I do see them slowing down the spread and use of OSS. There will be many court battles. IBM-SCO is the first. Other proprietary software companies are regularly fighting MS in the courts and winning. Even should MS win in all of the courts I don’t think this would be enough as there will be countries that don’t allow software patents. I think MS can see the writing on the wall and is just fighting a rear guard action in order to make as much money as they can while they can. In the long run the only way to stop the GPL is for the world court to decide it is illegal. If this ever does get to a world court it will be turned down because by that time most of the world will be using GPL/Linux/GNU. 2004-05-22 1:00 pm First of there were a lot of small and bigger mistakes in the article, a lot are already discussed by others, I’m not even gonna touch on those issues. Software developers should create reusable components and libraries and LGPL them. That way, companies can create there own products and there would be open standards and open file formats (because libraries would be used for that). It may not be completely what the FSF wants, but it gives us all a lot of the freedoms that they are promoting (which are good for users and developers). Yes, maybe this means Windows will be replaced with Linux for example, the OS is after all such an important commodity, it should be free. Yes, you would have less vendor lockin, so ? This may be something companies would like to have, but for the world as a whole it’s definitly better. 2004-05-22 1:09 pm First of there were a lot of small and bigger mistakes in the article, a lot are already discussed by others, I’m not even gonna touch on those issues. Like many others, you just say there are mistakes, but fail to point them out. Software developers should create reusable components and libraries and LGPL them. They create reusable components. Why must they be LGPLed? Many libraries for eg Windows are freely available, yet not under LGPL (no sourcecode). That doesn’t change anything about them being reusable and being open, standard components. the OS is after all such an important commodity, it should be free. I don’t think this is a valid criterion. Can you not say the same thing about many other products? Radio, television, washing machines, refrigerators, electricity, automobiles, food? The world doesn’t work that way, I’m afraid. Which is the problem. If you develop free software, but living is not free, where will you get money? 2004-05-22 1:22 pm [i]RMS and Eben Moglen are left libertarians, i.e. anarchists Is that even possible? How can someone be left leaning and an anarchist at the same time? Leftwing beliefs generally revolve around the good of the society as a whole as opposed to the individual. Anarchy doesn’t fit into that belief system very well.[i] Chomsky argues precisely the reverse that right wing libertarianism is a self contradiction. Virtually all of the great anarchist thinkers Kropotkin, Bakunin, Malatesta etc have been libertarian communists. My take on it is that left libertarians believe in the freedom of people while right libertarians believe in the freedom of capital. Anyway read Moglen’s essay 2004-05-22 2:59 pm In general, I like the article and it has some important insights. Unfortunately, in the long run, both it and the Open Source advocates it mentions don’t talk about how software development environment has changed and is changing. The progression basically goes like this; * Software has always been a utility, like electricity. * Software has in the past couple years become a commodity, like sand or sugar. * Software infrastructure is currently a common good, like air. * Software specializing in specific tasks is rapidly becomming a common good, though it depends on the specific tasks; word processing (already there) to 3D ( http://www.blender3d.com ) through to not-quite-there large-scale business tools ( http://www.gnuenterprise.org and others ). * Software taylored to a specific task, where there are only a few users, will not likely become either a commodity or a common good — though it will likely be based on both. The parts may be propriatory or open source, though increasingly there is little reason to keep them entirely propriatory as they can so easily be replaced or an open version can be found. Keeping them under a BSD-like licence means that they can be closed off…good for some, not for others. Keeping them under a GPL-like licence ensures that all competitors can trust that the others won’t double cross them! Licences are an important topic, and not one is ideal in all or probably most situations. Customization is the only thing left…though the tools to do it make the customization job that much easier. After all, how many people want to write an app in assembly from scratch? How many can…on time? 2004-05-22 11:28 pm check out this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism “(…)Anarchists and minarchists All libertarians agree that government should be limited to what is strictly necessary, no more, no less. But there is no consensus among them about how much government is necessary. Hence, libertarians are further divided between the minarchists and the anarcho-capitalists, which are discussed at length in specific articles. Both minarchists and anarcho-capitalists differ in their beliefs from the anarcho-syndicalists or anarcho-socialists, who are usually considered not to be libertarians at all. The Vosem Chart places anarcho-syndicalists in a separate slot from libertarians. The minarchists believe that a “minimal” or a “night-watchman” state is necessary to guarantee property rights and civil liberties, and is to be used for that purpose only. For them, the proper functions of government might include the maintenance of the courts, the police, the military, and perhaps a few other vital functions (e.g., roads). While they are technically statists since they support the existence of a government, they would resent the connotations usually attached to this term, such as trust in the government to solve any problem. The anarcho-capitalists, believe that even in matters of justice and protection and particularly in such matters, action by competing private responsible individuals (freely organized in businesses, cooperatives, or organizations of their choice) is much better than action by monopolist governments. While they are technically anarchists, they insist in rejecting the connotations often attached to this term regarding support of a socialist utopia. Minarchists consider that they are realists, while anarcho-capitalists are utopian to believe that governments can be wholly done without. Anarcho-capitalists consider that they are realists, and that minarchists are utopian to believe that a state monopoly of violence can be contained within any reasonable limits.(…)” 2004-05-23 1:16 am I generally agree with author’s opinions — I’m concerned about the affects of GPL on software developer’s livelihoods, particularly as it grows in commercial use. However, keep in mind that the GPL was specifically crafted to ensure certain freedoms to those of the “community”. Software academics and hobbiests seem to be the main constituents of this community, neither of which are specifically concerned with making money from their software. In fact, the desire to ensure the community is able to build upon itself requires that (if distributed at all) each contributor return their improvements to the community. Only original GPL works can demand payment from the community by the contributor. This system leaves much to be desired. However, it’s much better than the copyrighting of binary software works which was used extensively (until software patents came along). The copyright system was originally a short-term sacrifice by society to a creator for long-term gains of the work going into the public domain. Exactly what value will a Windows 95 binary have to society in 120 years or so? At least patents force the details to be sufficiently documented and only last for 20 years. Only problem is that the patents are not easily accessible. When was the last time anyone searched the patent database in search of a public domain idea? So, from a social contract perspective, I’d have to say that GPL and open source in general do much more good than copyrights or patents, but at great sacrifice to the author/originator. The authors may get some fame or recognition, and if working in an academic setting, may attract similar attention for their institution, but very little direct compensation. I guess as long as you understand the consequences of contributing to GPL, it’s fine. The problem (as the author of the article mentioned) is that many don’t understand it. 2004-05-23 11:34 am He talks about the “old” and “new” world. Besides the obvious error in that open source is how the everybody worked in the beginning, he also states that the two worlds are incomptatible. He argues that GPL code cannot be used in closed source applications, and uses that as an argument of incompatibility!! But closed source code can’t be used directly in other closed source projects either (in both “worlds” an extra license is requiered). In other words, in his argument the “old world” is incompatible with the “old world” and will have to replace itself(?). This along with the maxism references makes the piece a clear example of basic GPL FUD. 2004-05-23 2:09 pm “Is that even possible? How can someone be left leaning and an anarchist at the same time? Leftwing beliefs generally revolve around the good of the society as a whole as opposed to the individual. Anarchy doesn’t fit into that belief system very well.” My answer is: because left leaning doesn’t say anything about authorian vs liberal. For an explanation see http://www.politicalcompass.org though i have to say that’s also dogmatic — but less than “left” vs “right”. Basically when you conclude “left” to “authorian left” (ie. state communism or in lesser extend to state socialism) you leave other possibilities out. The very same is true when you conclude “right” to “authorian right” (ie. fascism, national socialism, or dictatorship) since then you leave other possibilities ot. However the latter is not common, it is rather common to conclude a form of capitalism to “right”. The problem is simply that people have a view of “left” and “right” which they apply when one uses either of these terms. To counter this, i chose to ignore either of these terms since they’re far too broad to say much in most discussions. Because of the above, i also laught and ignore when people use that term left or right. I turn left and right every day! 2004-05-23 2:15 pm One good source of information on Anarchism is the Anarchist FAQ, hosted here: http://www.infoshop.org/faq — it tries to explain a broad number of common misconceptions, and it tries to explain the reasons of Anarchism. It also makes extensive use of quotes from Anarchists. “The problem (as the author of the article mentioned) is that many don’t understand it.” How many? 2004-05-23 5:05 pm How many? Best guess, nearly six billion (as in six thousand million) people. 2004-05-23 7:59 pm Besides the obvious error in that open source is how the everybody worked in the beginning Actually, he mentions that in the old days software was not seen as profitable, and that companies such as Microsoft changed that. So he does acknowledge your point, and I don’t think it is an error. But closed source code can’t be used directly in other closed source projects either (in both “worlds” an extra license is requiered). In other words, in his argument the “old world” is incompatible with the “old world” and will have to replace itself(?). I think there is a difference. GPL’s demands can not be unified with closed source in any way. So it can NEVER work together (an ‘extra license’ would mean that the GPL no longer applies fully, so that doesn’t count as GPL anymore). Whereas closed source works fine together with other closed source or many open source type licenses. I don’t see how this is FUD, the article covers the situations pretty well, I think. I would rather call your post FUD, because it actually contains misleading information. 2004-05-23 8:20 pm “Best guess, nearly six billion (as in six thousand million) people.” Which is afaik based on the following: air. Newsflash: this ain’t Ricky Lake talkshow… 2004-05-24 3:00 am http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_3/soderberg/ 2004-05-27 6:26 pm Osnews.com, you’re communists… Why the heck did you moderate Dan down? Because he’s a right-winger? He didn’t say anything wrong!