[ox-en] Re: press release critique

Stefan Merten smerten at oekonux.de
Tue May 8 19:12:37 UTC 2001


Hi Jox, Xavier, all!

Shamelessly continuing cross-posting ;-) .

Interesting points in this thread. My penny...

6 days ago josX wrote:
> This money-thing is a trojan horse. Don't let it in, or it will make
> Linux just another bisnis-model with exploitation and everything that
> entails, or it will make suits out of the old hackers....

I wonder, whether this is possible. In Oekonux I'm saying, that
developers don't develop for money and exactly therefore are able to
create the quality which is the basis of the success of Gnu/Linux.
This means when they are making a business from it, they are getting
into capitalist competition which seems to prevent the quality of
software visible in Free Software. So the outcome of an inclusion in
the capitalist market would be the destruction of the basis of the
success of Free Software. Since Free Software as such IMHO can't be
destroyed any more, such capitalist Free Software will simply loose
the competition.

Disclaimer: Of course there is good software which has been written by
people payed for it. There is even a growing share of such software
under the GPL (an interesting aspect which needs further thinking
IMHO). However, I think the main direction of this thought is correct

> remember
> what happened to the hippies of the sixties? Now they ride BMW with
> a boring tie and try to make as much money as possible.

The difference to the hippies is, that the Free Software developers
unknowingly created a new way of production which in the end
outperforms capitalist production. The hippies, however, have been
"only" an idealist movement with next to no link to production and
where they had links they have been to pre-capitalist models such as
peasant and artisan societies.

5 days ago Xavier Drudis Ferran wrote:
> You can't stop anyone from getting a GPLed program gratis as long 
> as the programmer or whoever pays him/her want. So, yes, I think there is 
> a possibility for free software not to be available to anyone (please, 
> correct me if I'm wrong). And that possibility is either when the software
> is not distributed to anyone (only the developer that made or modified it)
> or it is distributed to N people (maybe for a fee) and all those N plus the 
> developer do not want to distribute it further. 
> But if you try to rule out this option 
> you are forcing people to distribute against their will and that is
> lost freedom, no?. Privacy in free software may sound odd, but it is
> just privacy.  
> Maybe what you are against is cases in which propietary and free 
> software are mixed together in a distribution or something. I think this
> is a similar case to pure propietary distributions. We may not want to 
> buy something that restricts our freedoms, but it is very difficult 
> to stop them selling their own work in their own terms unless we abolish
> copyright, which I don't think it is yet time to do. Copyright will 
> possibly become obsolete in due time, but maybe it still has some use, 
> maybe the right thing to do would be restrict it a little.

Very interesting and valid points IMHO.

> I really would like linux (or any free software) to become 
> a sucessful bussiness model. And I would like to avoid explotation, 
> marketing lies, and generally all the consequences of wrongly taking 
> money as an end when it can only be a mean, not only in software but in any 
> bussiness. I don't think I'll see it, but it'd be great.

The problem is, that as soon as there is money involved, there is some
sort of alienation (i.e. people don't do what they want and find right
for themselves but do things they need to do to stand the competition)
involved, too. Free Software, however, overcomes this alienation and
people are able to do what they find right and what is useful.

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