Isn't it obvious who is going to die?

Posted 23 Jul 2003 at 12:28 UTC by exa Share This

The corporate scum fights back, with all its might, with trusted lawyers. They wish to preserve the tradition of oppression. The tradition of obedience. The tradition which was passed on to them by their elders. Alas, their time has come. It is a battle to death and it has been determined who shall emerge victorious.

[To add a little bit of fun to an extremely boring situation]

"We will fight on the server. We will fight on the desktop. We will fight on the Internet" -- Anonymous

There is a company called SCO, and they are making such unsubstantiated claims confusing all IP terminology, making outlandish claims and amazing us with both lack of intellect in their arguments and the vicious greed with which they took their actions, we are but left to wonder "What is the meaning of all this?".

If you haven't realized yet, it is the manifest glory of information socialism successfully purported by RMS. Richard, not being a stupid person, knew that political socialism was a fantasy in a world of animalistic tendencies. Persons could favor social conscience only when not dominated by their other desires 99% of the time. However, the nature of computation provided an ingredient that made dissemination of digital information convenient and therefore facilitated folk to share objects without worrying about fairness or depletion of resources. One could even be anonymous and still contribute to the commons. Code would find itself in every calculational device on earth because it was an insignificant cost to copy huge source codes.

On the other hand, the corporate world had figured long ago that the combination of copyright law and the ability to enforce private law by shrink-wrap licenses made every software product a potentially infinite source of revenue, and an infinite sink of money for everybody else. They were in fact the lords of digital age. While the priests (computer scientists, etc.) worked on bringing them the power from the Almighty and the common men revered their titles, they ruled from their iron castles. Every word they said became certainty. It was the purest form of capitalism: information capitalism. A notion soon to be challenged by hackers who did not wish their philosophy to be commoditized and undermined.

Then, from their point of view, from out of nowhere, came an abundance of software. Software so pervasive and made in such a selfless way that it began replacing their products. Absolute power as such is not easily taken away, resistence is to be expected. Thus they fought back. The problem is that they have not yet realized that they can fight back only with better products and consumer-friendly pricing. Which is quite impossible with their way of life, by the way.

Surely it must be seen as an irony that the strongest and most successful form of socialism ever has emerged from USA. The world has not yet witnessed the impact of RMS's wisdom. Only now we see a dramatic climax in the history of things to come. A history to be told for generations from now on. A perfect example of information capitalism versus information socialism. SCO vs. Linux. Let them come with all their power and let them once again try to take what is not theirs. Let them claim god-given rights on human intellect. And let them fail miserably.

So be it. Let us see the demise of SCO. And when it is buried deep and everybody has determined that it has given its last breath, let us take down the next target. For it is a battle to death, and such battles can only be won with extermination of the opponent.

I hope it's been a fun reading for you all.

Eray Ozkural (exa) <>

CS Dept., Bilkent Univ., Ankara

About the author: exa is an independent thinker untainted by the conventions of our primitive society.

Socialism?, posted 23 Jul 2003 at 19:33 UTC by Omnifarious » (Journeyer)

I guess you can apply whatever label you like. It's not socialism until the state starts forcibly taking things from me and giving it to people who don't have things of their own. Free Software is voluntary, and a better, more efficient way of writing software. It took a marvelous zealot (and I don't mean that term to be derogatory in this case) like Richard Stallman to push the idea in the first place, but it would never have taken wide hold if it wasn't actually better.

Communism and socialism are industrial age creeds that are about things, not bits. They still don't work for things, and they never will.

social organization, posted 23 Jul 2003 at 20:47 UTC by mslicker » (Journeyer)

Capitalism, socialism, communism are different systems of social organization. Capitalism is social organization based on private property, exclusive ownership of the means of production, land, capital, ect. These property rights are granted and enforced by the state. Proprietary software may be seen as capitalistic, since the state gives exclusive rights to produce copies of particular strings of bits.

Socialism is the abolishment of private property and everything that implies. There would be no proprietary software in socialist or communist system. In response of Omnifarious, I don't understand why the state would take things from you and give them to someone else. That presumes a state even exists, which is completely abolished in the case of communism.

The fact that free software and more generally free exchange of information makes an increasing ammount of sense to a majority of people tells me we are begining to make the trasition to a socialist form of organization.

Re:social organization, posted 23 Jul 2003 at 21:38 UTC by nymia » (Master)

Socialism is pretty close to what may be described above, but the term is only superficial. For the most part, some of it are more than likely altruistic, synonymous to volunteerism.

I've seen this phenomenon many times. Volunteerism is alive and well in this country. There a lot of people who are ready to give more than they could even receive. I don't know, I can't explain it. It maybe part of the culture, though.

Maybe it is tied with the "trailblazing" attitude of having to figure out something good and rewarding.

'In this country'?, posted 23 Jul 2003 at 22:38 UTC by graham » (Journeyer)

One of the more communist parts of free software is the lack of borders. It doesn't matter where people are, they can work together regardless of nationality. There must be people of 30 or 40 different nationalities on advogato. If the world was entirely made up of free software developers there'd never be a war again!

<sarcasm> One side effect is that when Nymia writes Volunteerism is alive and well in this country I have no idea what he/she is saying. I guess you don't mean the UK, where I am now? Or Turkey where exa is? </sarcasm>

OK so I can guess where you are really (Canada?) but it does get a bit annoying sometimes when it seems all USians are talking to themselves..

@graham, posted 23 Jul 2003 at 22:54 UTC by nymia » (Master)

Take it easy, don't get too worked up on that though. What is being referred to is not the whole world but an area within it. This is a very specific observation to which is not applicable to the whole.

Take it easy..., posted 24 Jul 2003 at 01:06 UTC by tk » (Observer)

[graham] If the world was entirely made up of free software developers there'd never be a war again!

Amen! All hail the free software movement! For the free software movement shall create a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights and where Man is free to rise to greater heights!

And the day will come when we will break all the chains of the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved, and our home will become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake! For the coming of that day shall we fight, we and our sons and our chosen friends! For the freedom of Man! For his rights! For his life! For his honor!

Oops, that was from Elron, the leader of a supposedly evil cult, and Randy, a staunch supporter of capitalism. But that doesn't matter, what matters is that everything sounds nice together, right?

I didn't say it'd save the world, posted 24 Jul 2003 at 01:38 UTC by exa » (Master)

I didn't imply that. But I think it's destined to be one of those brilliant moments in history. Like moments when things re-aligned themselves, and the relations among them revealed a new order.

I don't think they can take it away from us. It seems so inevitable now.

By the way, that Churchill quote belongs to me. I was ashamed to attribute such an absurd pun to myself.

Please enjoy my articles, posted 24 Jul 2003 at 08:02 UTC by MichaelCrawford » (Master)

You may find it worthwhile to read the following:

If you do enjoy reading my articles, perhaps you would find it worthwhile to tell other people about them, for example by emailing the links to your friends or linking to them from your own websites.

Anarchy..., posted 24 Jul 2003 at 09:47 UTC by salmoni » (Master)

I am no political scientist, but free software seems to take elements from lots of different political approaches:

Capitalism - the licensing is based, very clearly, upon intellectual property. I release my code under the GPL, but it remains that: it is MY code, and nobody elses unless I explicitly transfer it to another body. Without this protection, it becomes public domain and can be used by anyone however they want, and even relicensed by someone who can't even switch a computer on.

Socialism - I'm not so sure about this one except that the socialist approach would be free software available as "commons". Except that it isn't - no free software licenses allow the user to do whatever they want. The GPL prevents anyone from restricting anyone elses rights, and the BSD license demands credit for the authors. However, all users are treated as equal - none have more rights than any other (though it could be argued that the author has more rights as they can relicense their code under a license of their choice, though a program released under the GPL cannot be withdrawn so maybe they do?)

But also:

Altruistic anarchy (is there such a thing?) - this seems to describe free software better than anything, at least from a developers point of view. People just fill in bits whereever they can or want to (there's little aspect of state control of software in free software - see Microsoft for that). It is about freedom: people can use the software with no obligation to contribute (whether code or bug reports) if they do not wish to. But many do help out with the only possible gain often being slightly better software in the future. However, this seems to work and work well, despite all the jargon-filled management textbooks.

Information anarchy, posted 24 Jul 2003 at 12:34 UTC by exa » (Master)

There is such a thing in philosophy of science. And yes, we can view free software like that and we have witnessed that it works.

Anything goes.

Take it easy, posted 24 Jul 2003 at 14:20 UTC by graham » (Journeyer)

nymia: all I meant was that describing somewhere as here doesn't make much sense on the net. I guess you could say advogato is hosted in the US, and saying 'here' means 'in the country the website I'm writing on is hosted', but it doesn't seem very natural to me. I should have said that the first time - I was in a grumpy mood when I posted before!

tk: If the world was entirely made up of free software developers there'd never be a war again!
I think there might be a few disadvantages to a world made up only of software developers, free or not. No food, for one. Yes, it was meant to be silly...

classification, posted 25 Jul 2003 at 08:23 UTC by mslicker » (Journeyer)

If you take free software at face value, it perhaps defies socio-economic classification. Programs are simply mathematical expression yielding mechanical interpretations. The general idea, algorithms, has survived many forms of social organization.

When you come to the present day, and software plays a substantial role in the econonomy, perhaps you can comment on the stance of different software licences and more generally the free software movement.

Looking at the stance of FSF, it is clear they think software should be socialised (See Why Software Should Not Have Owners). However, in an interview Richard Stallman denies being a socialist or communist. It may be that he is indeed a liberal (as he says), and just thinks socialization is approriate for one specific aspect of society (software). I do think he purposely distances himself from the labels of socialism and communism, perhaps so he more successfully sell the idea of free software.

Looking at the broader free software movement, I would not characterize it as socialist. It has pretty much has the same narrow focus as Stallman himself.

I personally feel the lessons learned from free software can be applied throughout society. Why should only one form of design/engineering benefit from open development?

re: classification, posted 26 Jul 2003 at 06:49 UTC by exa » (Master)

Well I think the philosophy of the movement deserves a name and that is what I'm talking about! It's not just information anarchy it seems! There is a very strong sense of equality that can work in the domain of information. The domain of the mental.

I wonder if "information socialism" sounded right to people, because I never heard it before!

Socialism has nothing to do with it., posted 27 Jul 2003 at 02:56 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

If socialism had anything to do with Open Source; if it was advanced in any way by Open Source; then I would be an enemy of Open Source. Socialism is predicated on forcing people to share and the existance of an organization with the ability to force people to share. Without such an organization, people will reinvent private property. Open Source is based on people voluntarily sharing. Socialism has killed hundreds of millions of people; Open Source not a one. -russ

philosophy, posted 27 Jul 2003 at 06:35 UTC by mslicker » (Journeyer)

exa, There may be a broader philosophy lurking beneath the surface waiting to be expressed, but it has not been expressed to my knowledge. The FSF is limited to advocacy of software socialization. This adovocacy is based on what RMS percieves as a common set of ethics. As nelsonrn demonstrates, RMS would not be as successful if he formulated a coherent philosophy for which free software was one aspect.

Information socialism isn't identical to political socialism, posted 27 Jul 2003 at 13:55 UTC by exa » (Master)

nelsonrn and other anti-socialist geeks on advogato:

Information socialism isn't identical to political socialism whose implementation can have drastic effects on the society as demonstrated in our history.

Information socialism carries no such disadvantages, it is something else. Please be careful with your reasoning.

mslicker: I don't think RMS has to formulate it. The philosophy is manifest IMO. We just need a good philosopher to really take on the phenomenon.

Socialism, posted 29 Jul 2003 at 01:06 UTC by neil » (Master)

While "Information socialism" and economic socialism may not be identical, they do share the fundamental idea that collective rights are more important than individual rights.

Example: It is socialist thought that causes supporters to say that a "copyleft" license (like the GNU GPL) is more free than a non-"copyleft one. The intent of the authors of "Copyleft" licenses is to increase collective liberty by reducing the liberty of the individual to do things that the authors believe will harm the collective. However those of use who reject the idea of collective rights only look at "copyleft" and see that it is less free, because we only recognize the reduction of the individual liberties.

neil makes a point, posted 30 Jul 2003 at 02:44 UTC by exa » (Master)


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