Re: capitalist religion (was: NANO: _Forbes_ cover story)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 14:17:00 MDT

Mike Lorrey wrote:
> The problem is that the open source movement is heavily populated by
> anti-property anarchists who think its a cool thing to steal other
> people's work, that it is a moral imperative that people give their work
> away, or have it stolen from them in retribution for being selfish
> enough to want to own one's own labor. I don't see open source as
> 'improving' on capitalisms alleged failings. OSM has plenty enough
> failings of its own.

No. This is an utter cannard. It is populated by people who
see that the concept of "owning" software that excludes
understanding it or extending it or most uses of it by others
actually seriously devalues the software and makes us all
poorer. The assumption that everything must be owned and
controlled is seriously quesxtioned. This is very good news.

But OS people go out of their way to respect other's rights to
impose whatever license on software they right they wish.
Including their right to declare that this software shall be
open in its source under conditions that as much as possible
guarantee its future openness.

The entire concept of being able to "steal" becomes very
questionable when what is "stolen" is not diminished by making
copies and distributing them. Some day we will see the concept
of owning a software algorithm and restricting who can see it to
be as backwards as owning mathematical theorems.

Owning one's own labor and extended that to what one produces
are quite different things. My ability to write good software
is a scarce commodity in the world today. The actual software
produced can be copied and redistributed indefinitely. The
former needs conventional compensation, but tying that
compensation to restricting the latter in ways that makes what I
produce less valuable is not in my or anyone else's interest.

- samantha

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