Slashdot feed...

Stuart Jansen sjansen at buscaluz.org
Thu Apr 7 09:49:06 MDT 2005


On Wed, 2005-04-06 at 20:14 -0600, Josh Coates wrote:
> i think there are some parallels to the OSS/proprietary software debate and
> political/economic systems, but i'm not sure you have them matched up
> correctly.  you'd have to expand on your reasons to convince me that OSS is
> more like capitalism and closed source is more like communism.

Communist Russia was a centralized command economy with some token
"competition". That's how I feel about proprietary software. I give the
company (govt.) my money, then sit back and hope like crazy that they
care about the same things I do. If it turns out instead that a
manager's son-in-law's uncle would get richer by using my money to add a
feature I don't need or want, hey what are customers (citizens) for if
not to be taken advantage of? Found a bug? Best of luck convincing some
low-level phone jockey (local party representative) that it actually
matters to the company. If I'd been using OSS (capitalism), I could have
just solved the problem myself, calling on the help of other users
(investors) if I needed it.

Don't point at my argument and say "you're wrong because proprietary
software is still subject to competition". You know as well as I do that
its often cheaper to live with problems than experience the disruption
and delays of switching to a competing solution. You might have had the
chioce of moving to communist russia or not, but good luck getting out. 

F/OSS expands and intensifies competition significantly with less
wastefull duplication of effort. Look at a X.org. XFree86 was
unresponsive and moving in the wrong direction, so X.org was created.
Instead of starting from scratch, they could just build on XFree's
previous work. Disruption to users? Almost non-existent. Bad for
XFree86? Obviously, but they're the one's that mis-stepped. Good for
users? Undeniably.

> i mean, in a very simple way, if you just take the private property rights
> argument, then closed source is much more like capitalism, and open source
> is much more like socialism - though i think this view may be over
> simplified.

Very much over simplified. That's why I don't like the old "OSS is
communism" declarations. The issues are too complex. Just wanted to
point out that the argument goes the other way too.

-- 
Stuart Jansen                   e-mail/jabber: sjansen at buscaluz.org

"XML is like violence: if it doesn't solve your problem, you aren't
using enough of it." - Chris Maden


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
Url : http://plug.org/pipermail/plug/attachments/20050407/3a2d10db/attachment.bin 


More information about the PLUG mailing list