My alternative busines model

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope at
Thu Dec 5 21:33:44 UTC 2002

On 5 Dec 2002 at 9:55, Rui Miguel Seabra wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 05, 2002 at 12:30:00AM +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > I'd like to think this thread has at least made us think more deeply
> > about our own beliefs on the matter. I'm sure it's not usual for
> > some asshole like me to come barging into a free software list
> > saying free software is all the things I've said? :)
> This is not a religion, although many *joke* about it, no one takes it
> seriously. Maybe we should stop joking, if it causes so much confusion
> and gives others arguments agains us.

It takes on quasi-religious characteristics, as evidenced in the 
flame wars between GNOME and KDE. Modern politics don't even remotely 
evoke that kind of passion.

> Free Software is not a belief, but the result of deep, carefull and
> conscious thinking: a ground solid conclusion.

I don't agree. Like any encompassing set of beliefs, it swallows many 
people who choose to believe without ever considering what the 
implications are. Many choose to be communist, fascist, christian, 
buddist, proprietary, free software - all because there's a body of 
people with strong personalities who say it should be so. If you ever 
read about the psychology of cults, it speaks volumes about human 
psychology in this regard.

The most common characteristic of a cult is violent intolerance of 
heresy ie; slight differences of opinion over the orthodox. If you 
look in google groups at the flame wars, you see plenty of that - 
you're either 100% with us, or 100% against us.

> I can't see any other kind of people who wouldn't reach the same
> conclusion but people whose only motivation is profit at all expenses,
> even if it means unbalanced exploitation of others.

There is such a thing as socialist capitalism (despite some who say 
they are mutually incompatible opposites). Fritjof Capra outlines a 
number of future possibilities for capitalism, and it could be argued 
Europe is already on the way there (the US most certainly is not).

> See Microsoft... they are all about free software, as long as they are
> free to embrace and extend it in ways that improve their
> monopoly^Wprofit. The GNU GPL, and others like it, have special
> properties that do not permit the maintenance of a monopoly, so they
> attack it, and say "Open Source" is okay, trying to drive people away
> from the notion of the four freedoms, but "intellectual property" must
> not be undermined. Why? Because as people become aware those freedoms,
> and think about them, they reach the same conclusion we did, and that
> is bad for Microsoft's business model. Because they intend to maintain
> the notion that ideas can only derive from one single entity and its
> sweat, so they must be "protected" by laws which "are the same"
> (patent, copyright, trademark, etc...).

And I agree with all that.

> Those ideas are false. People are learning about what Free Software
> is, and more and more embrace it every day. People are learning that
> patents and copyright are not only two quite different things, but
> also that they are being utterly currupted in favor of big interests,
> doing more harm to society than the promised benefit (the so called
> radical innovation: if you invented music which is so radically
> different that it was not based on anything else people know so far,
> would you be listened to? I pretty much doubpt the big labels would
> publish you, mister ;)).

I am and always have been among the first to point out the evils of 
capitalism. What I don't understand is why I can't occupy a third 
opinion without immediately being told I'm a Microsoftie?

Capitalism is the dominant influence currently. You can pretend it 
doesn't exist, but that's a very negative and unproductive way of 
dealing with it. My opinion is that the best approach is to *reform* 
capitalism into something better than it currently is and after 
enough reforms, it won't be capitalism any more.

Now I have repeated many times here why I think free software is not 
viable in the long term. I think in the other threads we're making 
progress in determining why people disagree with me on that point and 
I'm greatly looking forward to finding out why. After all, united we 
stand, divided we fall.


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