Re: NEWS: Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 08:36:44 MDT

torsdagen den 3 maj 2001 15:08 Michael Wiik wrote:
> "Emlyn" <> writes:
> > Probably no-one here has an opinion about this...
> >
> > Microsoft Is Set to Be Top Foe of Free Code
> >
> Well, I've been trying in my own incoherent way to spark discussion
> about such issues and how they fit into a pattern of increasing ULE.
> Imho replacing the gov't with luddites as extropian enemy number 1 is
> such a brilliant move it's hard to believe it wasn't planted by some
> intelligence service. I didn't like em much when I started on this list,
> but in many ways I wish the cypherpunks would come back.

I think looking for an enemy number one is itself a dangerous meme - enemy
number two can be nearly as dangerous and enemy number three will gladly team
up with four, five and six...

Today I think the big threat against personal freedom is not coming from a
single traditional direction, but rather from two synergetic forces. The
first is the apparently unlikely but actually quite coherent alliance between
governments and various NGOs based in what Virginia Postrel called stasism:
the idea that unregulated change is bad, and either should be prevented or
regulated. This is why we are opposed by both conservatives and liberals (in
the American sense). The second force is the ease many corporations and
special interests groups can get laws enacted to safeguard their
profitability or allow politicians to appear to do something about the latest
moral panic, while the political system does not fully comprehend or study
the implication of these laws. Hence abominations like the DMCA which seems
to be spreading worldwide.

The luddites in themselves are fairly harmless in this mess, they simply
represent the reactionary green wing of the stasists and happily ally with
technocratic stasists. The irony is of course that plenty of luddites hate
large corporations (it is hard to love them) but they are really on the same,
broad ideological side: change is bad, don't let people develop technology
without supervision - but for different reasons, of course. That Microsoft
doesn't like open source software is not really because they are evil, but
simply because it doesn't fit their business model and it makes pragmatic
sense to try to inhibit it.

Being a cryptoanarchist *and* transparent society fan, I think what we need
is both to safeguard the freedom of writing and implementing code (and other
technology) and to push for a more open society. We need to present a
credible alternative to stasism, demonstrate why stasism doesn't work and
develop new political tools to make the passing of stupid/dangerous laws less

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