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Re: What then must we do? -- public "commons" v. "communism"
On Fri, 2004-02-06 at 07:29, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> As one who came from OS/2 to linux I would say that:
> A. Yes, Microsoft is guilty of anti-trade practices.
> B. Big Blue could not stand up to them.
> Do I want the government involved? No, this makes me cringe.
Ditto. In capitalism, _only_ the consumer is the balance.
Heck, the problem sometimes is too much government. Even Ralph Nader
(who I don't care much for, but he was "on-the-money" here) stated the
way the government should "deal" with Microsoft is to do it with their
own acquitions! Right now MS gets mega-$$$ from the government. It is
the government that makes MS a "partial standard."**
[ **MS solutions cannot be even an "industry standard" as that would
require them to be compatible with themselves between versions. ]
> I am hopeful though because whereas almost nobody in my area knew what OS/2
I did. OS/2 is still used in ATMs, although most are going Windows
2000/XP. Not because of any technical reasoning, but because of
supposed "support costs." Doh! IBM cannot seem to convince most of the
financial industry that Linux is better for ATMs.
Such companies include Diebold, who uses "raw" Access-Jet for voter
ballot collection. Doh!
> linux is at least recognized by some, and used by a few. There is
> linux momentum growing which I think is for real (we on this list all know
> why that is).
Because it is the community, not another company.
It's just like the fact that at the turn of the 19th-20th century,
companies were working people in a near-slavery type setting, not
compensating people who had limbs cut off, etc... Did one company stand
up to the few others that started this practice? No.
Labor unions came about. A public "commons."
Now we have the same problem with software. It's not just Microsoft,
it's Oracle (very MS-like themselves), Adobe (although Adobe _does_
release some technologies as "open"), Sun (outside of StarOffice, like
Java), etc... So what happens?
Linux came about. Another public "commons."
The concept of a public "commons" is a great balancer in a capitalistic
(free) market. It tells commercial entites, "okay, you've gone too
far." The people themselves tell the commercial interests what is and
what is not tolerable. And they do it in a _legal_ and _ethical_ way.
They _respect_ the rights of commercial interests, but work together to
_compete_ with them at the same time, almost in a "watch dog" move, but
with actual product or service -- instead of a "watch dog" group that
has no power, then runs off to the government (which itself is an
In the case of labor unions, this was the people pooling their own
"human resources" into organizations that the company must deal with.
It worked brillantly for awhile! But like all good things, they end
because of one, big reason ...
People like Karl Marx had suggested the ideas of taking a public
"commons" which works well in small, independent groups, into a
widespread level for all. Commons becomes Communism.
A commons works in a free society people _choose_ to work in/on a public
project. Communism _forces_ everyone to do so. So no longer do you
have the dedicated, but the dedicated to hating it too having to work on
it. And it breaks down, becomes inefficient and, ultimately, defeats
the whole purpose.
We may have not had "communism" here in the US, but when some state
governments _forced_ labor unions upon people and companies, they lost
their purpose. The "balance" against companies became an advantage, and
people who do not want to work for unions found themselves with_out_
Which is why I'm _against_ the government _requiring_ standards to be
GPL, or projects to be GPL, as much as I'm _against_ Microsoft, SCO,
etc...'s intent on the government not using GPL or outlawing companies
from making GPL software with government dollars. I feel GPL, BSD and
non-free software to be an acquition made on the technical merits of
govermental department, based on standards required -- i.e., that any
software have 100% documented formats (e.g., although some non-free
software like that of Microsoft would not quality, some non-free like
Adobe or Sun software would). And the ultimate choice should be that
the contractor creating the software should be able to release the
software under a public license of their choosing, be it BSD, GPL or
Ultimately I'm a Libertarian, and don't believe in the government taking
the money in the first place (to fund such projects), but that's another
Also note that "communism" doesn't mean it has to be based on
"community" software either. Each time the government releases a
document that is written in MS Word or another non-free, non-open
format, that *IS* a form of "communism." More accurately, it is really
"facism," or "government forced used of specific private goods or
services." This is very much like our Healthcare industry -- government
penalties if you don't get your Healthcare insurance from your employer,
But that is another story as well. E.g., in JohnQ, was the _root_
problem that he could not get healthcare coverage for his son? Or was
it that his _employer_ changed his healthcare coverage _without_ his
consent? The fact that the government forces you to get your healthcare
from your employer, or penalizes you (tax-wise), instead of letting
people band together in largely, non-profit groups (like most
consultants do, at a substantial savings) to get their own healthcare
coverage is nothing sort of giving employers almost a blank check for
"extortion" in some cases.
Bryan J. Smith, E.I. -- Engineer, Technologist, School Teacher
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