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Communism == linux

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Open-source has often been compared to communism as it was supposed to be. The comparison is pretty good, open-source is just people working together to replace capitalist computer companies like Microsoft where the only good they receive in return is other people also helping to create open-source software. What I want to know is why do people think open-source will be any more successful than communism? Currently, everyone is working hard on linux and other open-source software. It's the in thing. But what will happen when people realise that they personally don't gain anything from open-source. Will linux follow the path that the USSR did and simply fall apart? What can we learn from history and how do we "do it right" this time? Edit: Typo and better Subject [edited by - clum on October 13, 2003 12:26:08 PM]

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From what I know about communism in the USSR, the problem wasn''t that people thought they weren''t gaining anything, but that the system was corrupt and the politicians were trying to inforce communistic type ideas on the general population while attempting to gain as much power and possessions as they could and not treating the population as equal members of society.

In other words, it didn''t really become communism.

Open source is a bit different situation. People involved are more or less treated equally and there isn''t really a small political structure stealing power and possesions from all the others involved. In opensource the "power and possesions" (the sourcecode) is (for the most part) given to anyone and everyone equally.

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Personally I think that if open source does catch up, you''ll end up having the pc markets controlled by a couple of hardware manufacturers - then again, I am a bit paranoid.

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If you think that the concept of open source is communist, you are, quite frankly, closed-minded. Yes, it is true that SOME people who promote open source software are in fact communists. Yes, it is true that SOME of these people promote open source software because of their political ideology.

But that is not true of everyone.

I, for one, am an example of a capitalist that loves open source. Note that I do not say free software, but open source. As far as I''m concerned, if you make a product, you deserve to make money off of that if you choose to do so. If you''d rather bestow it as a gift to everyone, then that is also good.

At the very least, I believe that SOME software should be open source, namely drivers. Other things don''t have to be, though I think in the end, open source leads to a better product because of competition (note, competition is a key to capitalism, not communism). Why? Because if, say, every piece of software were developed open source (which will never and should never happen), then anyone could use that source to develop a better product that is COMPATIBLE with the first one. Thus, competition results, and we have capitalism at its best.

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I think alot of people are still afraid of code theft.

What more companies should do is release the source but not the data that goes along with the source.. ie you build it but it doesn''t do anything without the data.

I think that in itself would be enough to stop people from just grabbing your code and compiling it and never buying a copy because they don''t really have to.

Besides.. even then, the data files may get distributed, but that will happen regardless of whether or not you released the source.


Open source teaches this generation of programmers and also future generations. I have yet to see a real downside (besides code theft) to Open Source

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you obviously don''t believe that there are any benefits to open-source software, or open-source OSes. Your post implies that the entire movement was created in order to compete with microsoft or other competitors, depending on the market. That would be free enterprise at its most basic, but taht just isnt why most people use it. The people who are all about the ''M$ blows'' bumber stickers might just be doing it because its hip in some way shape or form, but i for one am not.

open-source OSes like linux open up the hardware and protocols of your computer several levels and allow you to understand and learn about how they along with your software work together to create whatever is happening on your computer. This is why hackers love Unix flavors, you can really get in deep into the inner workings of it, not like microsoft or macintosh which dont want your average user being confused or screwing with the inner workings.

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quote:
Original post by clum
Open-source has often been compared to communism as it was supposed to be.
It''s a faulty comparison, fundamentally. Open Source is not completely self-sustaining, nor is it applicable to all software products. Neither in the short- nor in the long-term, IMO. Open Source developers need sustenance, which means they need jobs or other means of income to support themselves and procure goods and services for their families. This is why Eric Raymond says in The Cathedral and the Bazaar that Open Source is a post-scarcity economy; it could only have developed where the raw materials needed - computing power/time and bandwidth - were plentiful and cheap.

But even Eric, who coined the term Open Source and is the president of the Open Source Initiative, doesn''t believe that all software should be Open Sourced. It has to make economic sense.

The great flaw of communism/socialism is that it fails to consider the worst of human nature. Economists will tell you that capitalism is based on a free market, but that''s just polite-speak for greed. Capitalism succeeds because it pits the greed of several rapid market participants against each other, who eventually come to the understanding that a certain level of civility and sharing is in their collective best interests, otherwise they all lose. The outcome of this state of affairs is a fairly reasonable distribution of wealth - some of the most equitable in human history.

quote:
The comparison is pretty good, open-source is just people working together to replace capitalist computer companies like Microsoft where the only good they receive in return is other people also helping to create open-source software.
No, the motivation to create Open Source Software is not to replace capitalist companies, nor is the reward for doing so the help of others. Open Source software is primarily created to serve a personal need, and then grows into something that may be useful to others and therefore is released to the community. Members of the community rally around and offer suggestions or make their own enhancements, eventually resulting in the products that rival those from companies like Microsoft and Symantec. The reward is an ego compensation - the respect of peers (consider how Linus Torvalds is revered for his authoring and management of the Linux kernel, or how some worship the ground Richard Stallman walks upon) - which can be an extremely powerful force for people with different social ideology than the norm. Open Source is a gift culture, and your social status is directly proportional to how much stuff you give away.

Since Open Source can now be seen to be nothing like communism, I think the question of its success can not be framed in terms of the failure of communism. Completely different forces are driving it, not least the actual capitalist profit that corporations are deriving from Open Source. By enlisting the help of Open Source developers in the creation and maintainance of high quality utility software, companies avoid the cost burden of doing so themselves. Instead they can focus on operations that actually add value to their offerings and bring in profits. For example, a hardware manufacturer doesn''t have to write driver software provided it is comfortable with releasing device specifications to the Open Source community.

Also consider the fact that Open Source is showing computer software to be what it really is: a commodity, unworthy of premium in most instances. Where the money really is is in support, services and training, which is what companies like Red Hat, Linux International and SuSE Linux GmbH are focused on and succeeding with. Linux has allowed Dell, for example, to offer more high-end IT offerings at competitive costs because it neither had to develop nor license the utility software to drive such operations.

Hope that helped.

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Open Source is not inherently communist, it is more along the lines of the "starving artist" in a capitalist society.
GNU/Free Software Foundation is communist (Stalinist perhaps).

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quote:
Original post by Michalson
Open Source is not inherently communist, it is more along the lines of the "starving artist" in a capitalist society.
GNU/Free Software Foundation is communist (Stalinist perhaps).


Here here... I totally agree with you on that!


[Cyberdrek | the last true sorcerer | Spirit Mage - mutedfaith.com][ Administrator & WebMaster GuLSE]

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There is also the point that while politically communist countries have a limited set of resources to distribute (and get corrupt and fight over), open-source software is knowledge that can be easily copied . You don''t need to fight over something that you can copy simply by typing a command or pressing a button, thus one major cause of corruption in the system (if it were communist) is eliminated.

However, thispoint will be moot once we invent matter replicators. Dreaming...

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ahh, good old fear mongering at its finest. Just what we need, a red scare in the computing world.

The free software foundation is the maintainer and champion of the Gnu Public License (GPL for short) and the suite of programs that make up the GNU project.

The GPL license is a contract between programmers that ensures that any code that one gifts to the foundation stays as a gift that is not exploitable by companies who dishonestly wish to appropriate the source without giving due credit to the original authors. The GPL is mainly a license that prohibits the un-noble theft and dishonest sale of publicly available source code without giving credit where it is due. Notice that it doesn't prohibit the sale of GPL code, just that it prohibits the sale of the binary without the accompanying source.


Additionally, any additions/changes to the code require that these be GPL as well. This encourages the technology to stay free and open. The viral nature of the license simply serves as an impetus to discourage software companies from exploiting the source code and keeping their usage hidden. For the most part, most GPL code writers would prefer that all GPL code be freely given by the writers in the first place. Case in point, look at the recent legal problems with Linux. The Linux community doesn't want the offending code in the kernel, period.

The GPL is a great capitalist tool. A company can release their technologies and IP under the GPL, providing the patents, etc for free use in GPL products while still protecting their royalty collection from other companies. Additionally this company retains the rights to distribute and sell this code in any way they wish. They can also license the technology and intellectual property in any additional way they chose since they own the original copyrights, and patents. Basically this protects the bottom line of a company while providing and open development model that encourages community effort and provides the community with the tools they need to provide fixes/changes for themselves should the need arise.

RandomTask

[edited by - RandomTask on October 14, 2003 6:39:05 PM]

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