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Sun's McNealy Wants Obama to Push Open Source

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the fighting-against-years-of-ingrained-ignorance dept.

Government 176

CWmike writes to tell us that Sun's Scott McNealy is pushing for the Obama administration to adopt a much more open-source friendly policy similar to what has been done in Denmark, the UK, and other countries. "Although open-source platforms are widely used today in the federal government -- particularly Linux and Sun's own products, Solaris and Java -- McNealy believes many government officials don't understand it, fear it and even oppose it for ideological reasons. McNealy cited an open-source development project that Sun worked on with the US Department of Health and Human Services, during which a federal official said 'that open source was anti-capitalist.' That sentiment, McNealy fears, is not unusual or isolated."

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Oh, terrific (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018149)

Now Open Source software will tank like the Stock Market with B. Hussein Obama fucking it up.


Hey America: Let's all Teabag Obama. Send 2 tea bags to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on April 15th.

Re:Oh, terrific (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018235)

Lord Tebbit once said this to me:

You can judge a man by his enemies. I'm very proud of all of my enemies, and I wouldn't want to lose a single one.

Comments like yours remind me of this. To collect detractors like you, he must be doing something right.

Re:Oh, terrific (3, Funny)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018251)

Then Bush must be our all-time best president!

Re:Oh, terrific (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019193)

The meaning of the quote has to do not with the number of enemies, but the type of people who are enemies. The troll is, well, a troll. I'd be glad to count him as an enemy too.

Re:Oh, terrific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018383)

Funny, Lord Tebbit once said to me:

Who're you?

Re:Oh, terrific (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019351)

Whats funny is that you completely misunderstand what the quote means.

ROFL!

Personally? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019421)

Lord Tebbit once said this to me:

Right, "Lord Tebbit" came and spoke to you personally.

Just as you judge your "enemies" by cherry-picked badly worded commentary you disagree with, I choose to judge Obama by supporters who live about as many planes away from reality away as the buttons in the Magic Moving Room will take them.

I don't consider you an "enemy" by the way, just sadly delusional and not really noticing the cold water of reality swirling around your ankles. Once you wake up we can start the true bailing, rather than opening all the faucets and hoping the water goes the other way.

Anti-capitalist? (4, Interesting)

Shark4126 (1391765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018183)

Remind me again how much money Firefox nets each year...

Re:Anti-capitalist? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018197)

A good chunk of that coming from Google for homepage use, too!

Re:Anti-capitalist? (2, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018663)

This is McNealy quoting an unnamed "federal official" regarding an unnamed project at some arbitrary point in the past. Feel free to go all pretzel like over it if you wish, but it seems far more likely to me that any lack of progress "open source" (however McNealy defines that...) has made is more likely due to cozy relationships between politicians their favorite vendors than the ideological hang-ups of some bureaucrat.

I've developed software as a DOD contractor. It's a very big government so I can't claim to speak for every case, but my experience was that the DOD doesn't give a flying **** what licenses are involved in their systems. They want it Tuesday. Right, wrong, whatever... Tuesday.

But hey, it's Friday and beating up on fictional government merchantilists is fun.

Re:Anti-capitalist? (1)

rocker_wannabe (673157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019377)

You are so "crack-a-lackin" correct! It would be nice if companies like RedHat and Novell made more headway into supplying government. I know the Navy has the "completely screwed-up" NMCI contract but I'm not sure what the hold up is in some of the other government agencies.

I also blame laziness and inertia. Non-technical government employees don't want to change from Windows because it's all they know and it took them a long time to learn how to setup their favorite screensaver and check email.

(no) Re:Anti-capitalist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019655)

The most cost effective solution should win.

Perhaps you could compare Firefox, MSIE and others:

How much money/resources does Firefox cost to maintain and enhance? What is the result?
How much money/resources does MSIE cost to maintain and enhance? What is the result?

The result of Firefox is a browser that is freely available. The browser itself is the most significant capital here.

Claiming that Firefox is anti-capitalist is similar to saying "iced-tea" is anti-capitalist, where "Pepsi" is capitalist.

MS choices to compete with Firefox would be:
  - add more development resources to compete with the worldwide development resources of Firefox.
  - give up, adopt Firefox or similar. Try to invent something new.
  - try to get the government to ban open source and the internet.

Tag: selfserving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018189)

I can see it now:

REDMOND, WA - Microsoft Corp today announced that proprietary software is the only way to keep this country's
data safe from info-terrorists. Also, Sun is a bunch of flag-burning, anti-American scumbags.

That doesn't mean the idea is wrong, only that no one has any reason to take their word over their competitors'.

Washington DC: masters of technology (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018209)

I've heard rumors on the internets that open source helps unclog the tubes.

Re:Washington DC: masters of technology (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018303)

i read that too. I don't remember the website number, though.

Re:Washington DC: masters of technology (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019549)

4. I'm pretty sure it was 4-something.org.

Sun who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018211)

In other news, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NasdaqGS: JAVA) closed trade today at $4.68. Down 50 folds from their high of about $250 in August 2000.

Re:Sun who? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018883)

Nice, quoting some un-natural high to dis their stock. Name me one tech company that has a market cap higher today than they did in 2000. This is companies that were public then.

McNealy is a Communist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018217)

And for that reason I am sure the FOSS lovers here on slashdot would love to give him a big wet blowjob while dreaming about Obama making love to Linus.

Capitalism vs. Communism (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018225)

One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism. Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

The problem is that humans are not perfect. Even the best of us attribute more value to our selves or our families than random strangers. Thus a system is required that meets the challenges of an imperfect society. The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism. While it may be a long way from an ideal solution, it is a solution that works.

However, just having such a system does not prevent humans from striving for the benefits of cooperation and community strength. Co-ops, condominiums, small towns, and civic centers are just a few examples of ideas which obtain their strength from the community rather than the individual. Open Source is yet another example of such ideals. An opportunity where working together can strengthen the whole.

If there was one way to sum it up, it would be "Together we stand. Divided we fall." Because at some point everyone, even enemies, have to work together if they want to move forward. Open Source just happens to be the technological way of working together. :-)

Stupid Karma Whores, Stupider Mods (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018295)

Juvenile self masturbation.

This site five years ago used to be a very good discussion board for computing technology.

Now we get crap like this:

"If there was one way to sum it up, it would be "Together we stand. Divided we fall." Because at some point everyone, even enemies, have to work together if they want to move forward. Open Source just happens to be the technological way of working together. :-)"

Go grab a miniskirt and some pom-poms if you want to do cheer leading and stop filling the site with your rah-rah karma whoring blather.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (5, Insightful)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018315)

Just watch the 1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon debate on youtube: Freedom or slavery. It is exactly that superficial view. Everyone was shocked when Bush introduced the terms good and evil in foreign policy.

The American public has been brainwashed with capitalism as a religion while vendors rob their governmental budget.

All nations are today mixed societies, several tools and institutional instruments.

They talk about free market but don't understand market theory. In a free market the license costs of software converge against zero because of non-rivalous consumption. This is why open source reflects a better allocation.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018379)

Even if humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, communism/socialism doesn't adequately handle scarce resources.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018465)

Even if humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, communism/socialism doesn't adequately handle scarce resources.

Thank you! The Tragedy of the Commons is a perfect example of what happens when everyone or no one owns a resource. Also, there hasn't been any economic system that has been as successful as Capitalism. And there hasn't been any country that has had a successful Communist political system.

But, the OP posted a brilliant hedge: he italicized "ideal"; which means, all of our posts disputing his claims are for naught.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018693)

The Tragedy of the Commons is a perfect example of what happens when everyone or no one owns a resource.

The Tragedy of the Commons happens because of human self-interest and imperfection. Which was the exact point I made. Communal living falls flat on its face because of human self-interest. Capitalism works because it plays to the self-interest of mankind, not because it is a superior way to live.

And yet, how much effort do we humans put into creating "communities"? Perhaps because community is a very good thing, even if we must balance our need for a community against our own self-interests. ;-)

But, the OP posted a brilliant hedge: he italicized "ideal"; which means, all of our posts disputing his claims are for naught.

Or more to the point, because the "ideal" I refer to is simply unrealistic. It would be nice if the universe always worked the way we wanted it to. Unfortunately, it doesn't. So we have to accept that the ivory tower ideal is not the same as the real-world practical. Which isn't to say that there isn't quite a bit of middle ground...

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018867)

My god are you a you fucking imbecile.

Please just shut the fuck up. It's like having to listen to some high school kid who looked a few things up on Wikipedia running his mouth off about economics and political systems.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019005)

The Tragedy of the Commons happens because of human self-interest and imperfection.

I think it's also worth noting that there's no clear way that the "tragedy of the commons" applies to open source software. It can't really be over-used or used-up by any of the owners. Your use doesn't hamper my use.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Insightful)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019745)

Perhaps because community is a very good thing, even if we must balance our need for a community against our own self-interests. ;-)

You don't have to balance community against your own self-interest, community is one of those things in your self-interest. So you balance your efforts at obtaining one thing that is in your interest with the other things that are in your interest. It is in my best interest to have workable relationships with neighbors etc.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

byuu (1455609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018829)

Thank you! The Tragedy of the Commons is a perfect example of what happens when everyone or no one owns a resource.

The Tragedy of the Commons was about self-serving interests over the common good. I don't see how that parallels socialism.

The alternative to evenly dividing a scarce resource is to unevenly distribute it. So for example, with 100 gallons of milk, and 200 people -- where each person 'requires' exactly one gallon of milk a day -- would it be better to give 100 people a gallon, and let the others starve? Or find a way to make a half-gallon work for everyone?

Unless more harm will come by it (eg more than 100 people would die from having only a half-gallon of milk), I can't see the former being the correct choice. The solution to limited resources is not to create a privileged hierarchy, but to:
a) find a way to increase resource production
b) find an alternative resource
c) work toward reducing over-population
d) do all of the above

FWIW, I also don't believe socialism is a workable system with the way humanity is -- at least at our current level of evolution.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

TCPhotography (1245814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018919)

So for example, with 100 gallons of milk, and 200 people -- where each person 'requires' exactly one gallon of milk a day -- would it be better to give 100 people a gallon, and let the others starve? Or find a way to make a half-gallon work for everyone?

If you are China, you take the milk, water it down so you have 400 gallons, add Melamine to make the protein count look good, and sell half to the rest of the world.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019077)

Intruigingly, capitalism is an excellent way of increasing resource producing (assuming increased production is possible). Because people see a need and feel they can reward themselves by filling it, everyone benefits. There is nothing inherently wrong with enlightened self-interest, and there are many "greedy" actions, which while they benefit one disproportionately, are better for everyone in general.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020009)

There is nothing inherently wrong with enlightened self-interest

The unfortunate problem of modern capatalist societies lies in the enlightenment part of that sentence. Most people really don't give a crap about long term sustainability. They think only about the sustainability of revenue streams, and shifting the sources of those when one dries up. So resources invariably get used up. Fisheries are fished out, agricultural lands are overfarmed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides until the local ecology is destroyed, oil fields are plundered for quick cheap energy that could be just as easily reaped from slightly more expensive renewable sources leaving future generations needing new sources for advanced materials production. People are not educated as well as they could be, because in the short term, it would cost too much, and in the long term it would inevitably mean a drop in RELATIVE income for people in professions that are currently kept at quasi-artificial proportions of the populace. All this will bite us in the arse, because we are going to end up in a world with collapsed fisheries, wasted farmland, cheap energy resources squandered before we have put in place a permanent global renewable energy generation infrastructure, and a hungry world population wondering why the generation before them was so smug about having escaped our Malthusian past.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019389)

Yeah, but neither does capitalism. Hear of spillover costs and benefits?

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (3, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019597)

Code is an abundant resource.

Furthermore, in economic terms, code is non-subtractable. My use of code does not diminish your use of it. It is an ideal thing to put in a communal pot.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (3, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018491)

There's another problem with communism. Suppose everyone *was* completely altruistic. They all want to do what would be best for society. What should they do? The resource allocation problem is *immense*. The computational resources to solve it didn't *exist* until recently; now that they (probably) do, I don't think we have the mathematical understanding to solve it well even so.

So, how would you decide what everyone should be doing? Enlightened self interest is one answer to the optimization problem. I'm quite willing to believe it's imperfect, but I'm also far from convinced we know how to do better, even starting from the rather fantastical assumption of rational but altruistic people.

I note that this is a problem of scale -- within a family, tribe, co-op, or commune, it's relatively straightforward to solve the problem with reasonable efficiency in a purely manual fashion. When you scale it up to towns, cities, nations, or the world, though, it becomes intractable.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018525)

There's another problem with communism. Suppose everyone *was* completely altruistic. They all want to do what would be best for society. What should they do?

I'd argue your post would have been better if you had stopped there, because that points out the core of the question: If everyone were completely altruistic, what should they do? If noone had any self-interest, there would be no useful work to do, since noone would benefit from it.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019119)

Suppose everyone *was* completely altruistic. They all want to do what would be best for society. What should they do?

Kill themselves to make room for everyone else. Unfortunately, only non-altruistic people would be left, and if everyone was completely altruistic, it would be the end of the human race.

What? You mean, "what if everyone was completely altruistic and somewhat intelligent? They'd suffer, many would choose to die and make room (maybe through the drawing of lots, or a lottery), and people wouldn't have hardly any children, so that the next generation wouldn't have that problem. It's a shame that this is such an unrealistic expectation.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019209)

If everyone was completely altruistic, would everyone be dead unless there were sufficient resources for all?

Let's say there's a water shortage. Every single person would take the most equal amount of water or refuse water to give the whole a larger portion of water. Thus eventually the population will quell itself by denying necessities until the population is small enough for everyone to get the necessary amount of water.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019433)

It seems a silly exercise, as the premise is obviously impossible, but... Clearly, if there aren't enough resources for everyone, the optimal solution is to decide who should get them early on, so that the greatest number can stay as healthy as required to do the other things that need doing. Inequality can be part of an optimal solution.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

dangets (1488755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018499)

I wholeheartedly agree. While open source software still requires work to be created, it benefits greatly by not being restricted (much) by hard materials. Cars, food, computers, etc, and other hard goods is where supply/demand and capitalism really take hold. This is one thing that the politicians need to understand. Until we make a machine that can rearrange particles and change one element to another, I believe there is nothing as easy and pure to the cause of advancing mankind as open source software. On a ramble: I am sure there will always be the want for people to have power over others, but with software (especially open-source), it is very hard to have elitist software, when the masses set the standards.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (4, Interesting)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018501)

One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism. Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

Please tell me; why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves? Why should people do things that do not benefit themselves?

Open Source just happens to be the technological way of working together. :-)

I would argue against that. At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018587)

why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves?

Who said it's an either/or? Communal work usually benefits everyone including the person doing the work. The problem is that the benefits are not always obvious or easy to internalize. Whereas, "I do X, I get back [money|food|power|etc.]" is a very simple concept that very few people struggle with.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Interesting)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018719)

Who said it's an either/or?

To be fair, it is you who introduced the dichotomy; let me quote: "If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone". My problem with that statement is its implication that it is somehow bad when people are being selfish. However, as you yourself write;

Communal work usually benefits everyone including the person doing the work. The problem is that the benefits are not always obvious or easy to internalize.

Which is quite correct. However, when that happens, people work on it together because of their own, selfish interesting in getting done whatever it is that needed to get done. They do not do it for the purpose of "the betterment of everyone"; they do it because they, themselves and individually, benefit from it. To go on:

The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism.

You misunderstand capitalism, it seems. Capitalism is not a "system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward". It is not a pre-planned system at all, to begin with. It is simply the natural consequence of a society where people are free to trade services with each other for whatever purpose and value they individually get to decide. This is the ideal form of society.

You claim that communism and/or socialism is the ideal form of society, and I would like to meet that statement somehow, but unfortunately I cannot, because typically when I ask 10 people what communism or socialism is, I get 15 different answers. I can however assert that people should definitely be selfish, because only then can they move forward.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019483)

The problem is that Jack does X and gets back money, food, power, etc.

But Bob does 0.000X and gets back the same amount.

That's why capitalism makes more sense.

All men are not created equal.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (4, Interesting)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018595)

I would argue against that. At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

Same. When I started FlacSquisher [sourceforge.net] (shameless plug, I know), it was because I wanted a mass-transcoding tool that was aware of what work had already been done. I had installed Rockbox on my Sansa a couple months earlier, and wanted to transcode my FLACs to Oggs easily so I could play them on the Sansa. If I had bought an 80GB player instead of a 2GB player, I would've just used the FLACs, cause I could've fit my entire music collection. Then I never would've written the program. As it was, I only just implemented MP3 tagging a couple weeks ago because I never encoded to MP3, so in my own usage model it just wasn't necessary.

I suspect that most FOSS projects are the same -- driven by a personal need or desire by the original dev for some functionality not already provided by an existing piece of software, and just coding what they'd want to get out of it.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019297)

But there's more to doing an open source project that just writing the code. You could have written your program, kept it to yourself, and never bothered with choosing a license, putting it up on Sourceforge, etc. Or you could have decided that it was useful enough that people would pay for it, and tried to sell it as proprietary software. If you say you have a selfish reason for doing it as OSS, I believe you, but it's not clear from your post what that reason is -- "a personal need or desire by the original dev for some functionality not already provided by an existing piece of software" doesn't cover it.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019481)

Honestly? The biggest reason I made it open-source is as an ego boost. People are using software that I wrote, and I'm much more likely to get more than 5 downloads if it's on Sourceforge than if I made a no-name site and distributed it there. This is especially true among the target audience, as nerds (like me) who listen to Flacs are much more likely to trust OSS than plain-old freeware, and they're highly unlikely to pay for small utilities.

In Linux, FlacSquisher can essentially be replaced by a small shell script. Here's the pseudocode:

foreach flacfile in flacfolder
        if !Exists(destfile)
                encode(flacfile, destfile)

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019797)

Or you could have decided that it was useful enough that people would pay for it, and tried to sell it as proprietary software.

But in many cases, people wouldn't pay for it and I don't want to deal with the hassle. It is easier for me to just slap a BSD license on it and give the damn thing away. Somebody else gets to incorporate my little bit of code into their project, and I get to claim I contribute to open source projects. Win win.

Most people, I suspect, open source their stuff for precisely these kinds of reasons. They don't sell it because the software isn't worth polishing up to the state that somebody would ever pay for it.

That is why most open source projects that have nobody drawing a paycheck (i.e. not firefox, redhat, etc...) lack polish. If they had polish, the original authors would be selling it. Firefox has lots of polish because people are being payed money to work on it. If nobody got paid, nobody would invest what it took to make a good installer, good docs, and an overall polished appearance.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018681)

Please tell me; why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves?

Because some of us have worked out that we can do better within the structure of a healthy and functioning society than we could without one. Doing things that benefits society directly benefits us.

The only difference between selfishness and altruism in 90% of cases is how long term you are thinking.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018827)

Because some of us have worked out that we can do better within the structure of a healthy and functioning society than we could without one. Doing things that benefits society directly benefits us.

It seems that some people, such as yourself, think that being "selfish" implicates the rejection of society. I would argue the opposite of what you do: Doing things that benefit oneself directly benefits society. (Only I won't, because I reject speaking in such terms as a "society which can benefit", as if it were anthropomorphizable)

People benefit from being part of a society precisely because of the other people in that same society doing things that benefit themselves. It is the basis of trade; two parties exchanging goods and/or services because the things being exchanged are worth more to the other. Note, however, that none of the parties trade for the benefit of the other, but for the benefit of the self, and even despite that, both benefit.

The only difference between selfishness and altruism in 90% of cases is how long term you are thinking.

Only if you use some very odd definition of "altruism" which would be unknown. Normally, when one speaks of "altruism", one speaks of doing things with a complete lack of self-interest in the things one does, only for the benefit of others. Which is exactly why there can be no society where everyone is altruistic, because without any self-interest, there would be no benefit in any action, and everything would be pointless.

What is short-sighted is thinking that selfish action can only benefit oneself. Rather the opposite, if it did indeed not benefit the others involved in the action, it would not be agreed to in the first place. And that is why we have courts.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019345)

At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

And those reasons are ... what, exactly?

As I said elsewhere in this thread, creating an open source project involves more than writing the code. There's work involved, and you don't get paid for that work. So there must be some other reason for doing it. While I can understand abstractly how that reason might be selfish, I certainly don't see my own OSS work that way, and I'm curious to hear an explanation from people who do, in fact, consider their OSS work to be selfish.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019455)

Well, it's quite simple, really. I have a need for a program, so I write it. That's obviously my selfish reason for writing the code, as you rightly point out.

Then, when I decide to publish it as open source, it is for a number of reasons;

  • Partly, I tend to hope that someone will look at the code, and maybe comment on it or even improve it. That hasn't happened to any great extent, however (though I have gotten a few human language translations for a webmail that I wrote);
  • Partly, it is because of my personal joy in seeing people use what I've done. This is one of the reasons that I'd like to emphasize, though, because it may seem selfless or altruistic at first glance, which in fact it isn't;
  • Partly, when people use it, I do tend to get a variety of bug reports and comments, not on the code, but at least on the features of the program, which is often quite useful to me;
  • Partly, it lets me speak from personal experience in threads like these, rather than just speaking of principles without having partaken practically in them myself. :-)

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018531)

Co-ops, condominiums, small towns, and civic centers are just a few examples of ideas which obtain their strength from the community rather than the individual.

You mean where everyone is in your business, if you deviate one bit from the rules (use a different color paint), do something the others do not approve of, ostracise you if you're in anyway a little too "different", or otherwise not conform, you're fucked.

People are cruel, shallow, and small minded.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Insightful)

phunster (701222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018641)

I have to disagree with you. The examples you give are all commercial entities, except of course for small towns which are government entities. Much of America is already running Socialistic enterprises. Lets start with police departments, they are paid for with our tax money and they protect us. When you call the police, they don't ask for a credit card number. Further, all of these alarm companies profit from the existence of police departments, when the alarm goes off the police respond not the alarm company, yet the alarm company profits. Fire departments they don't bill you for responding to a fire at your home or business. Schools again socialized, yes you pay taxes, but the government provides the schools, the teachers, the school itself, athletic fields, etc. Not convinced, what about all the the rural electric companies owned by local and regional governments. I could go on and on.

The point is that much of what we do in America would be called Socialism if it didn't exist and was proposed today. I think the real problem is that so many people are stuck giving "ism" names to things they don't even understand, and then favoring one "ism" over another regardless of its utility to the problem at hand.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (4, Interesting)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018653)

ideal forms of society

There would be a need for food, shelter, clothes, and, some may argue, medical care. So we need a source of those 4 things for our whole families.

We've come such a long way with efficiency recently that many, many people are supported by the few people that farm, build homes, make clothes, and make and administer health care. Everything above that is superfluous and simply adds variety to our lives.

The other things needed in a society I'd like to live in are a system that protects the personal freedoms of my family and friends, and also protects us from mentally deranged people that would physically harm us. Hence, something akin to police and basic laws.

Finally, as with the medical care argument, I wouldn't mind some disaster relief from fires, earthquakes, etc.


It would be nice to see a time when we become so efficient in these things that we'll only need a handful of volunteers (like a volunteer fire department) to run all of these. But that includes volunteers (or robots) to mine materials, repair & build machinery, transport things, make them accessible to everyone, etc. But there needs to be some way to ensure that these systems don't break down or stall due to some volunteer's whim.

As of right now, we live in a society where every individual can achieve these basic things with relatively little effort. The effort is so minimal that many people spend a lot of time and money (the extra value of their work) on things like TVs, computers, fancy (rather than basic) clothes, exotic foods, jewelry, and other things not necessary to survival. In fact, quite often, half or more of people's paychecks goes to things that are not basic survival, or they buy 'nicer' versions of these needs.

If you can easily provide those basic things for yourself and your family, you're living the utopian lifestyle now. However, commercials tell us how crappy our lives are, so we think we 'need' what they're selling. It's a bad part of capitalism, but if we simply don't pay attention and realize how much we really have, it's incredible! Almost all of you, looking at this from a computer, live the utopian life today.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018787)

"...and other things not necessary to survival. "
I disagree. I believe our survival depends on growth, and those allow for growth.

Technology needs this to continue and improve.

TO ahve a utopia we need a perfect polito-legal and social system.
Sure, we got great stuff and easy access to food, but our political and legal system needs work.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019585)

Almost all of you, looking at this from a computer...

I'm reading this from a punch-card printout, you insensitive clod!

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018655)

You don't have A CLUE of what socialism/comunism is. Hey, you don't have A CLUE what capitalism is. Go get your uncle Sam poster and shut up.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018815)

The Humane Society and ASPCA are two great examples of organizations, in the united states of America, that do not even remotely make money and only work for the benefit of those weaker than us. Reward doesn't have to be wads of cash. Wanting a reward is not evil after all. And socialism doesn't stop CEOs from being greedy bastards. Look at the board of directors for Volvo. Worse value for money can't be found on this earth.

The big question with open source is how to fund it and how to deal with the total cost of ownership and responsibility.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018833)

The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism. While it may be a long way from an ideal solution, it is a solution that works.

Capitalism doesn't work.

It briefly flourished in America during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries (and was the driving force behind industrialization) because the Federal Government gave corporations all the rope they needed. Then, very publicly, the Government hung the corporations, broke up their monopolies, and regulated the shit out of a formerly free marketplace. Minimum wages, unions, regulations of unions, child labor laws, etc etc etc.

What exists in the USA is a mixed economy that leans towards Capitalism.
If you go back a hundred years and explain to 1909 what the future looks like, they'd say we were all socialists.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019323)

Er... I'm confused. Did you just say the US is essentially socialistic in comparison to the US of a century ago? Seems like you did. I agree. But you seem to imply that the US is an example of capitalism failing (modern day US) and then say that modern day US capitalism isn't capitalism at all, but only leans towards capitalism ...

So, where is the argument for the blanket "capitalism doesn't work." statement?

(my opinion - capitalism as an ideology isn't perfect, but appears to be the best idea so far, given human nature... socialism, communism, fascism, monarchy, anarchy, oligarchy, etc., all have appeared to completely crumble and fall apart - and incidentally, capitalistic-US is becoming more and more socialistic AS it deteriorates ... so why is it that we blame capitalism again?)

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018851)

Well said. I can't be bothered to create an account, but I had to say kudos. I wish there was more people like you. Not just for your ideas, but succeeding in not belittling others while making an excellent statement.

Jay

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018885)

Unfortunately for the US what they have is not democracy + capitalism.

Democracy can only work well if the elected officials continued to work in the best interest of the public that they are supposedly representing. However politicians are the most important target of large corporations who want to control the government process.

From point of view of capitalism, everything should be done that makes the capital growth better, more efficient, everything should be done that will make more money. This includes attempting to control the political process. In a democracy that does not implement safeguards against subversion of itself by these corporate interests rise of fascism is inevitable.

The problem is that the current democratic process is insufficient to prevent corporate control of the government. While in a dictatorship there would be no problem, the dictator does not wish to share power (One Ring to Rule Them All), in a democracy without proper safeguards the power will be shared with corporations in the worst ways possible, as long as the politicians can get away with it.

I am a firm believer in democracy and capitalism, a libertarian actually, but I believe that the democracy of today is insufficient to fight onset of fascism through corporate control, which buys its way into the political system and cannot be stopped without a revolt.

The current economic crisis is firmly connected to this problem of corporate power over democratic politics. The creation of the US Federal Reserve itself is the problem, but it was profitable for large oil companies and banks to allow cheap money to be borrowed, money to be printed, money to be disconnected from any standard (such as the gold standard). Government fixing 'interest rates', having preferential treatment of corporations, buying/selling bonds, setting taxes and distributing wealth (to corporations as now or as before through contracts), 'insuring' credit (removing moral hazard), starting wars... all of the above and much much more than that - this is where the economic crisis originates.

This is not a failure of capitalism, this is not the failure of government regulation, this is too much government that is too controlled by its real owners - corporations, not working for the people but really working for a very select group of people with real money.

I believe that it is fascism now, not democracy + capitalism. Is the hold of fascism too strong now? Maybe it is, maybe it can only be removed by force. On the other hand we'll see. The balance is no longer there, it is too shifted to one side and probably a total economic collapse is not really a bad thing anymore. Given that people are not really interested in taking the power away by force (people are too comfortable, to scared for their lives/lifestyles, are not desperate enough) maybe the economic crisis will have a similar effect that a revolt could have? I wonder.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018959)

Well I wouldn't quite put it that way. I think it's true that pretty much any economic system works as long as the underlying assumptions work-- which they almost never do. Communism assumes all sorts of things about a person's personal motivation, problem-solving abilities, and ability to cooperate with others. So does capitalism, but capitalism tends to make slightly more realistic assumptions.

But when you get down to it, not all the assumptions work out. People who are extremely in favor of capitalism tend to assume that people will spend their money well. Adam Smith implied that the system would only work well if people with money spent it wisely (it's been a long time, so I don't remember the context, but I remember him implying this though not saying it explicitly). When Greenspan admitted his mistakes in not regulating certain aspects of the financial industry, he said that he didn't think the heads of banks would be so foolish as to jeopardize their banks the way they did. There's an assumption that having money is proof that you're wise enough to have earned that money, and therefore are wise enough to know what the best thing to do with that money. Unfortunately, that's not always borne out.

There's also an assumption that "free markets" and "governmental regulation" are the opposite of each other. However, that's not always the case-- the most obvious example being monopolies. Power has a nasty habit of accruing more power, even in capitalism. The rich and powerful are in a position to influence the system, and therefore become more rich and powerful. After a certain point, pooling power gains enough influence to sway and even overturn market forces. Sometimes the government must intercede to open a market back up, allowing consumer choice, and therefore allowing market forces to correct the situation again.

But really those are just a couple practical considerations that someone in favor of capitalism should keep in view. The bigger problem is when people start believing that capitalism is an ethical/moral system instead of an economic system. For some, capitalism has become a religion, and for them, cut-throat competition towards making money is the only real virtue, and selfless cooperation is a deadly sin. Any human activity where the chief immediate goal is not to make money is "communist", which may as well be called "satanic". Even if the goal is to make money, if the means to do that involve cooperation with others, it's potentially communist.

This is where FOSS comes into the picture. Some people may be developing FOSS for fun, for the good of mankind, for educational purposes, or for some other reason. However, *lots* of developers are employed by companies like IBM, Novell, Google, Apple, Red Hat, and Canonical. These are companies who are investing money in building software so that they can sell products and services. It's a money making venture. Still, Capitalists (with a capital "C" to indicate those who believe in capitalism as a moral system) believe that the venture is "communist" because it involves open/public cooperation.

I really wish I could convince people that capitalism isn't a form of government and isn't a moral code. It's just an economic system. We don't engage in a capitalistic economic system because it's right, moral, or holy. We do it because it's effective and efficient. We should be willing to stray from it in cases when it's not effective or efficient.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

leereyno (32197) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019271)

Capitalism is a term whose literal meaning is at odds with its actual meaning.

Capitalism isn't about capital, but about entrepreneurship. The capital, as in venture capital, is simply the catalyst and fuel that makes the entire process possible.

Communism is also a term whose literal meaning is at odds with its actual meaning.

Communism isn't about community, but tyranny. There will always be those who seek dominion over others, and communism is simply yet another excuse in a long line of bullshit that our would-be rulers use to justify their crimes against their fellow man. Divine right of kings just doesn't quite have the same ring to it that it once did after all.

Communism is an attempt to enslave people. The excuse that is given for this enslavement is that in a free society some individuals will achieve more than others, with the result being a society that is not equal. Everyone wants equality right? The problem is that no one stops to think exactly what equality means as the term is used by the communists. It doesn't mean a free society in which everyone has equal rights, but a slave state where everyone is equally miserable.

Capitalism is the natural and virtuous economic result of a society where men and women live in freedom and where their fundamental rights are acknowledged and respected.

Freely shared intellectual property is the natural and virtuous result of a society where men and women live in freedom and where their fundamental rights are acknowledged and respected.

Far from being anti-capitalist, open source IS capitalism at its best.

Better summation: Love doesn't scale (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019349)

Full credit to Eric S. Raymond [jwherring.com] .

However, just having such a system does not prevent humans from striving for the benefits of cooperation and community strength. Co-ops, condominiums, small towns, and civic centers are just a few examples of ideas which obtain their strength from the community rather than the individual.

Related to the quote above, you'll notice that all those things are examples of smallish groups of people acting together. Those ideas often work great on a local scale.

The moment you step outside the scope where you can easily remember the names of everyone involved, inherently we start to care less about those than the ones we know, and prefer. Which is why socialism simply doesn't work for governments, even if intentions are good.

But Open Source is Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019503)

This is the same nonsense that always gets repeated on slashdot, and moderated "Insightful" for God only knows what reason (and He isn't telling us).

If someone decides to become a murderer, you lock them up or kill them. Communists do it. Capitalists do it. Everyone does it. If there really were a system that assumed everyone was good, it would have no way of dealing with murderers. Such a system could not exist.

Capitalists fear open source because it's Communist. It has Communist ideals and seeks to undermine Capitalist systems. But there is nothing wrong with being Communist. Sometimes Communism really works, as in Open Source. Why do people assume that Capitalism and Communism must exist in exclusion of one another? Let's take the best that both ideas have to offer and work from there.

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019575)

How is the way you are framing different from "If people weren't people, communism would work"?

What I mean is, doesn't an 'ideal' system have to account for actual human nature?

I guess there is some value in contemplating societies composed of perfect beings, but it is a damn shame anyone tried to make use of them.

(Note that, long ago, I had a sig that read: "Capitalism -- A form of socialism that bothers to account for human nature.")

Re:Capitalism vs. Communism (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019607)

Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

The problem is that humans are not perfect. Even the best of us attribute more value to our selves or our families than random strangers. Thus a system is required that meets the challenges of an imperfect society. The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism.

So to paraphrase: In a non-existent fantasy world, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. In reality, capitalism is the best system.

It's not just open source that is suffering (1, Insightful)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018239)

The old farts in washington are from another era and have no understanding of any of today's issues (if they can even identify them amongst the old and tired ones they stubbornly still debate) yet these are the people making the decisions that have an impact for years to come. To me.. this hurts a lot!

Re:It's not just open source that is suffering (2, Insightful)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018351)

This was fine up until about 70 years ago. People felt better about having a stodgy old politician in office before then because the times really didn't change as much as they have in recent years. That's one unfortunate side effect of the tech explosion of the last few decades, people just cannot keep up, so you have politicians in office that are only vaguely aware that this thing made of tubes called the intarwebs even exists. Most of them do not realize just how much of a game changer it is. The Internet is just one example, look at things like stem cell research, nuclear energy, or other forms of energy and you see a trend.

Re:It's not just open source that is suffering (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019431)

This was fine up until about 70 years ago. People felt better about having a stodgy old politician in office before then because the times really didn't change as much as they have in recent years.

70 years ago was 1939. Are you seriously going to argue that the world is changing more rapidly now than it was at the beginning of World War Two?

People who shout about how fast modern technology is changing the world really ought to pay more attention to history. We've been going from one technological revolution to another for a couple of centuries. Pretty much anyone born since 1800 or so has seen a completely different world, technologically and in many other ways, in their adulthood than the one they saw in their youth. And existing power structures have really never been able to keep up.

Re:It's not just open source that is suffering (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018437)

I agree 100%, yet some other idiots want these people to be in charge of health care, finance institutions, and almost every other facet of our life.

Re:It's not just open source that is suffering (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018483)

What do you mean "understanding"? They have no idea of the existence of F/OSS, let alone understand it.

Great Headline (0, Offtopic)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018269)

What's next, 'Lonely Midwest teenager would like to be next winner of American Idol'?

I agree (5, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018275)

Open source makes for the best way to achieve President Obama's goals of transparency. Open source ensures a standards based method that will allow everyone to access government websites, information, and portals. No longer do you need to be tied into the M$ quagmire to conduct government business. If M$ won't open its software and standards, folks like Red Hat, Novell, Sun, and others will. You will have a choice of products to use.

Re:I agree (1)

DevStar (943486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019679)

Open source doesn't do what you suggest. First open source doesn't imply standards compliant. Open source doesn't imply access to government websites (that has more to do with permissions and open networks than it does anything about the source).

The _only_ thing open source ensures is that everyone has access to the source code. No guarantee it is well written, understandable, useful, or correct. With that said I'm not sure that everyone having access to the source code is all that important for government. No more so than the recipe for all foods we eat be available to everyone. It would be nice, but an audit trail (ie., the government has access to all source code, but not every guy on the stret) can probably gets you 99% of the value and doesn't bias against any vendors.

Scary idea... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018311)

Some good examples are IBM's JT400 toolkit (jt400.sourceforge.net), Java and Firefox of course, and some examples like the jtds driver that outperforms Microsoft's own. (jtds.sourceforge.net) Some may argue that OpenOffice is superior to program for as well.

Lets not forget the Knoppix cds that are used specifically for tightening network security.

If the government gets more on-board it will be a great contribution at least for motivation behind Linux. We'd also see some inevitable contributions as they assign their resources to projects like Wine for interoperability, Pidgin for communication, Nagios for enterprise monitoring and starts exploring Lotus or enterprise groupware apps for Linux.

The scary thing would be the amount of potential leverage it could give FOSS for stuff like patent suits. It could actually make the government bias in the opposite direction!

-Tres

In today's world... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018313)

...calling something "anti capitalist" is an example of extreme praise and insight. There is absolutely nothing good from those bastard billionaires and their corrupt and rotting greed based "screw everyone" socioeconomic policies they have infected the planet with. They think nothing of ripping off entire nations, forcing millions to literally live and slave away in sweatshops or huge plantations or risk their lives for pennies in unsafe mines. They'll let people die for lack of a few of their bankers debt notes by with holding medicines. they profit from famine by driving up the price of foodstuffs with their 'commodity trading". They think nothing of profiting from pushing war and pain and bloodshed as a growth industry, something to be rewarded. And so on.

Fuck those assholes. If it wears a black suit to work, beware, you are staring at a demon walking the planet disguised as a human being.

The "theory" of capitalism has a few small points in its favor, the practice of it today...it's just wrong, we need a better way to do things and evolve as a species beyond basing everything on greed and creating artificial scarcity.

Closed source software makes their profits on a dubious claim to functionality then demanding big sums for artificial scarcity. Open source makes profit by actually getting things done cheaply and efficiently, allowing functionality to be custom developed to suit everyone's needs, and and eliminating scarcity.

Open source doesn't label you a criminal if you use it and customize it to suit your purposes, closed source sends lawyers and the bought off bully boy pigs of government after you for doing that same exact thing.

Open source encourages sharing and collaboration, closed source encourages keeping things hidden and making collaboration in any practical numbers across the planet difficult or impossible, meaning the force multiplier effect of many new ideas and brains looking at a problem impossible.

Different ways of looking at things there, choose one

Re:In today's world... (3, Insightful)

AmericanGladiator (848223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018479)

I agree with you in part. Lawyers and software should almost never cross paths. The tag Imaginary Property on Slashdot always makes me smile.

You should read "The Millionaire Next Door". It is a study of high net-worth Americans. One of the shockers is that a majority of them were self-made. I have to prefer a system that is dynamic and allows people to rise and fall based on their own work ethic and risk-taking.

The current economic problems all stem from risk being pushed into the banking system. If banks had to service the loans they originated (this is one major cause of today's problems), we wouldn't be in this mess. They were more than happy to originate "liar loans" because they weren't the ones having to collect the monthly payments. It all became collateralized and the whole system then bore the risks.

Capitalism and risk-taking are good, as long as you are the one bearing the consequence and potentially reaping the rewards for the risk.

and all will be revealed (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018339)

Just ask Biden for the open source web site number.

Re:and all will be revealed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018765)

But don't real hackers use IP addresses?

Well, it's not PRO-capitalism, that's for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018355)

"Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned and controlled rather than commonly, publicly, or state-owned and controlled." -- Wikipedia, and of course you might not trust that. But capitalism is about private ownership of property. Open source is about collective ownership.

Re:Well, it's not PRO-capitalism, that's for sure (5, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018471)

Or it's at least counter-intuitively capitalist...

The conventional, straight-forward capitalist thinking is to tightly control access to the resource (software) to create scarcity, and thus control the price. He does this for his own profit, as well as to cover his costs (capitalist programmers, overhead, etc).

The open source capitalist realizes that economic theory dictates that prices of software will trend towards zero, as there are very few barriers to entering the market. Any reasonably trained goon can write software (not necessarily good software, but something that gets the job done). The open source thinkers are searching elsewhere for markets with higher barriers to entry, such as support, customization, integration, etc. - things where the cost of entry is a fair amount of background knowledge and experience.

Re:Well, it's not PRO-capitalism, that's for sure (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018661)

I'm not sure intellectual property fits in that definition. However, giving away stuff that could be sold doesn't seem capitalist to me. Which is far from scary.

Re:Well, it's not PRO-capitalism, that's for sure (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018713)

In that case, corporations with shareholders are anti-capitalist too.

Re:Well, it's not PRO-capitalism, that's for sure (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019871)

But capitalism is about private ownership of property. Open source is about collective ownership.

Not the way I see it. Open source is about the end-users control of their software. I can modify it, redistribute it, whatever I want really, just like any other product in a capitalist economy. What I can't do is prevent other people from modifying and redistributing their copy, preventing them from enjoying capitalism. Proprietary software is capitalism for a few, FOSS is capitalism for many. In a capitalist economy where price is determined by supply and demand, infinitely copyable goods such as software approach zero in price, which is exactly what we see with Free software now. It is a restoration of capitalism, not it's destruction.

That said, I don't really see FOSS as capitalist idea vs communist idea. When you have some pretty hard right leaning individuals and hard left leaning individuals proclaiming the benefits of FOSS, maybe we need to accept that FOSS is workable regardless of your ideology. It's not inherently left or right, but good and effective. I remember reading about Israelis and Arabs working together on fonts or character sets or something. It's worth thinking about.

NO!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018381)

We don't need any more shitty java apps.

Anti-capitalist? Sure, why not. (4, Insightful)

the white plague (1436257) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018417)

open-source development project ... during which a federal official said "that open source was anti-capitalist."

OSS is anti-capitalist if when you say 'capitalist' you really mean 'Plutocracy'.

"Anti-capitalist" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018443)

In 15 years' time, it will be "don't terrorists use open source?"

FP HOM=O (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018523)

obseeseD - give

Yeah let's put HaikuOS and AROS in the White House (4, Insightful)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#27018545)

Let us see if the federal government can work on a 100% open source software solution using real open source operating systems and software applications.

Open source is not Communism, Open Source is freedom and Democracy as our founding fathers saw it. One can be free to choose any OS or software they want and still get work done, and not be tied down to just one vendor.

Push Open Source? It should read more like "Support Open Source" so we don't get confused with Microsoft pushing Windows on us all.

Open-Source as the savior of public interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27018775)

Really I can't see why someone working in politics would refuse open-source. It's like made for that kind of employment. It's free and easy to modify. Goverments, schools, public libraries, etc. would have a single one time development of the software needed, WORLDWIDE and could share their development costs and have an end product that is totally free for use and fits every need they have for decades!
It's simply madness not to use this potential, as a politician one should have the good of all in mind and oss cuts back costs and delievers a safe environments for decades if not forever.

Man... Scott McNeally (1, Troll)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019233)

Okay, the guy deserves respect, so here it is: R E S P E C T for Scott, a true father of the net, a civil libertarian.

THere, now onto the matter at hand: why the fuck would McNeally get Obama's ear on open source if he isnt really a guy behind the community or that wants ANYTHING ELSE than a better-doing Sun Microsystems?

My point is that I would be happyest if some LINUX company would lead that kind of lobby effort and not some guy that only wants his company to come back from the dead.

I smell treachery.

Who needs open source? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019239)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services?

Who needs open source when you have MUMPS [wikipedia.org] ?

Open source and even free software is very capital (3, Insightful)

Jessta (666101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019259)

during which a federal official said "that open source was anti-capitalist."

I always find it strange that people come to that conclusion, it's a very narrow view of capitalism.
Open source and even free software is very capitalist. Capitalism is about an evolving market that is based on competition, open source software allows for a huge amount of competition because it's very easy to get in to the market.

Building a modern operating system requires a lot of resources, thus only a select few large companies have the resources to build one.
But there is a wide variety of things within the development and support of software where companies could compete.

eg. support contracts, patch timeframes, deployment and custom configuration etc.

Development of the software in the first place is a very small piece of that pie and without the source code and the ability to modify and distribute it only one company gets to compete in that huge market, which is very bad for the consumer.

- Jesse McNelis

It's not a matter of capitalism vs. communism (2, Interesting)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019311)

... or idealists vs. realists... all these simple categories are already out-dated. The old scams are failing us left and right, whether they are from the Left or Right. Nobody has figured out the right FOSS business model yet. We need some fresh ideas or at least the Next Bubble.

One thing's for sure, when all the cyber attacks are coming from countries shielded behind custom Unix/Linux variants, the Feds will have no choice but to recruit similar skills to protect the government and consumer systems in the West.

Coming from a public servant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019387)

Wouldn't working for the government, ergo a public servant serving those without profiting, be anti-capitalist?

Yet another case of government getting in the way (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019501)

Already today there have been two [slashdot.org] other [slashdot.org] stories today about people wanting government or adminsitrators to override technical decisions about what software to use. Seems like I get modded troll every time, but I'll keep saying it. Let the techies choose technology, not the bureaucrats. It's like people want the government out of their way, unless the government is doing what they want. I'd love to see open source everywhere, but I'm not calling someone 500 people up the decision-making chain and telling them to make the decision. I'll advocate open source by writing it, using it, and recommending it to my boss. That's where it should stay. Keep the geeks out of politics.

This is a vendor's current strategy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019795)

"... a federal official said 'that open source was anti-capitalist."

You should know that a certain vendor is actively, actively pushing this position as we speak. I recently witnessed a high-level official from this not-too-open-source-friendly vendor try to push that perspective in a private meeting with government officials, that they should not use open source because open source will crash our whole economy.

You and I may call it FUD, but I've seen it in action (made me want to puke) and they call it "lobbying." The media says this vendor is "cozying up to open source"? Yeah, riiiighhhttt.

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