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Open source and post-capitalistic society

(!) This articles has been revised - please read it here! (!)


There is a relation between technology and capitalism. And there is a relation between open source and free software movement and so to be called post-capitalism. What is post-capitalistic society and where are these relations?

Capitalism as the social structure was founded in order to support further evolution and development of human race, to support the innovation which was oppressed by the former system. It was brought up by the two industrial revolutions. The technology was obviously the main to blame for the outcoming capitalistic society. The new capitalism was more liberalistic promoting free trade and pushing globalization in order to support further development and growth of technology.

But, it seems like the technology has been pushed so far and so high that the now old capitalism formed to support it starts to act as it\'s oppressor. The world of software technology is the obvious example of it. The first signs of these events can be recognized far back into 70s and 80s when the software technology\'s started to emerge.
Now, the capitalism oppresses the further technology growth by oppressing the development of software. How? By making it proprietary, creating monopoly\'s. To capitalism, everything is property, including software. And that is where the problem is. The software cannot be considered as property, it is more like an information. It is simply too easy to copy it without ANY effort and that is what led to it becoming a commodity which is a reason more why it just cannot be proprietary. If it is considered proprietary and created and used in such manner, we are getting monopolies created, patents issued and other restrictions that do no good to the further development of software technology, but to oppress it.

Look at the capitalistic giant, Microsoft! Imagine that there were no free software movement and open source. Microsoft would be the ultimate monopolist, the whole world would be their empire. In such case, there would be no real progress and innovation because there is no force to drive it.
THAT is the very proof of capitalism being simply too old and incompetent to handle the new technology of today properly, in the information age run by computers and software.
The open source and free software movement are already taking steps further, outgrowing the limitations of the old and incompetent capitalistic system in order to create what may be called a post-capitalism, true liberalistic, society where the technology will be freely developed at the rates the open source software gets developed today.
More to this, open source and free software movement being the major sign is not the only sign of the sickness of capitalism and it\'s fall.
Simply look at the way things are going at this point in history regarding the major events. When there was a war in Iraq, masses of global and organized people, ordinary people like you and me, used internet to start the organized real time and worldwide demonstrations against the war in Iraq. The same happens with any other major event. There is a global network of people united in their fight for freedom and peace. It shows how the technology of today gives the power to the ordinary people instead of power being in hands of a few big shots. And those people, masses, globally networked masses, ask for one thing: FREEDOM!
Their (our) �enemies� are therefore everyone that anyhow try\'s to restrict the freedom and impose the control over them.
The entity\'s that fall into that category include:

the greatest corporations such as Microsoft and oil companies (imposing monopolies and restrictions in order to control as much as possible)
political entities such as USA and European Union (imposing wars such as the one in Iraq, pushing restrictions of freedoms to use and develop technology through software patents etc.)

And when we say �enemy�, we don\'t mean that the corporations, companies and governments as the organizations should be terminated in order for us to have the freedom we deserve nor we in any case mean to fight them with violence acting like terrorists. We should simply raise our voices using the internet and technology in order to change the way these entities function today so that they are no longer the oppressors of freedom, but it\'s supporters.

These global networked movements, such as open source and free software movement are actually forming a third industrial revolution which may crush capitalism as a social structure and finally bring the power to the majority and support the unrestricted growth of technology.

I am on the right side, are you?

NOTE: Everyone reading this should read Free software movement and post-capitalistic society instead as it is completely reworked, well researched revision of much better quality than this article which is more like a \"shouted out\" opinion. :-)

Thank you


Microsoft as world empire?


Microsoft only wields the power it does on account of different world governments.

Geez. People should be required to learn real economics ( and get a permit before writing an article as stupid as this one.

Re: Microsoft as world empire?


Mentioning the world being Microsoft empire was in the context of proving the point of monopoly being the brake of the technology development. The word "empire" vividly expresses the kind of a monopoly Microsoft would represent if it had no competition. And without competition, there would be no real force to drive the further evolution of technology.
Luckily, there is open source and free software movement yielding products such as Linux, Apache, Mozilla Firefox etc. that stand as the high strong competition to Microsoft.

You should understand that open source/free software movement is not anti-economic. It can very well be even commercial. The keyword in the movement is FREEDOM. And that is what proprietary software lacks. Without the freedoms that open source/free software movement promotes, the further technology evolution and innovation is oppressed. The kind of capitalism that's still in power for many is oppressing these freedoms.

Speaking of post-capitalistic society, we don't speak of pure and complete anti-capitalism, but a different kind of capitalism, or whatever you will call it. That is why i simply reffered to it as post-capitalism, the society where technology will be handled the way open source/free software movement handles it.

Thank you for expressing your opinion!

Learn to write english


Learn to spell and how to use an apostrophe. It's hard to take you seriously when you don't know basic english.

Dear undereducated author


Excuse me, but the author sounds a bit as willing to see the communism back. There is nothing common between capitalism and monopoly. If there was something a monoploy Microsoft ever had on, it's people's laziness. If someone needs to see software market as a place of competition I guess open source could be exactly treated as rival to MS. It's obvious that there wouldn't be much progress in Open Source without IBM, Novell, RedHat and so on. These copanies make money.

Additionaly, our dear author misunderstands freedom and peace. In 1933 Poland suggested France to make a military attack on Germany to calm down the political situation at that time. France declined. In September 1939 French people shouted "We won't die for Gdansk". Few months later they even did not want to die for Paris. Does any one remember who brought the news "I brought you peace" in the eve of WWII? There is nothing revisionistish about it. Widely accessible sources prove that. It only requires to look through them. Believe me, it was possible to avoid WWII in its extent. Due to that I don't know what's the author's point in moaning about "peace and freedom".

All in all, author should think twice what he writes about and chceck the proper meaning of words "freedom" and "peace"

Re: Dear undereducated author


He said that he was on "the right side" it sounds
like he's more on the "far left side" .

Re: Learn to write english = snobbery!!


I don't see any direct link between quality of information and adherence to gramatical rules. When I digest any well informed, well researched article, that is delivered in the authours non-native languague, the grammar is often incorrect, but that in no way dilutes the quality of the argument. To reject anothers opinion purely baesd upon grammar is simply snobbery.

Capitalism is necessary for a free society


I love Linux and I love the open source movement, but capitalism is essential for a free society and a strong economy. Much of what is great about the USA is the fact that anyone willing to put in the time and effort can improve their way of life. People have as much right to ask for money in exchange for their goods and services as they do to give them freely. Software companies and individual programmers have as much right to charge money for their software as they do to give it away freely. I think software patents in general are stupid, and that our legal system sometimes gives big corporations to much power. But to say that capitalism is wrong is stupid and basically evil. The writer of this article is my enemy because his ideas are a threat to my way of life and my well being. If we love liberty, we cannot abandon capitalism.

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism

Talking about post-capitalism i don't necceserily talk about a completely different social system in relation to capitalism. But the fact is that in the current state of capitalism we do have a serious problems. Without open source/free software movement, Microsoft would be a monopolist. And european union still pushes software patents which will do additional harm to it. So, it may be that the true capitalism has been founded on the pure and positive standpoints which open source/free software movement can even support, but according to what is happening today, then we have a "twisted capitalism", the capitalism which does not stands to it's original values. Either way, changes seem to be neccesery. My fault may be not emphasizing how commercial and economic (and therefore somewhat capitalistic) open source/free software can be, but the fact is that the way proprietary software owners tend to handle technology becomes the oppressing fact for the further growth and evolution of technology.

Here is a quote by Richard Stallman that may be of importance to this matter. It may somewhat prove my anti-capitalistic view wrong, but if you'll look it from the point of view i am looking, and that is the capitalism as it is today is not a good thing for the future, than you may understand better what i am talking about.


"Well, we are not against capitalism at all. We are against subjugating people who use computers, one particular business practice. There are businesses, both large and small that distribute free software, and contribute to free software, and they are welcome to use it, welcome to sell copies and we thank them for contributing. However, free software is a movement against domination, not necessarily against corporate domination, but against any domination. The users of software should not be dominated by the developers of the software, whether those developers be corporations or individuals or universities or what. The users shouldn't be kept divided and helpless. And that's what non-free software does; It keeps the users divided and helpless. Divided because you are forbidden to share copies with anyone else and helpless because you don't get the source code. So you can't even tell what the program does, let alone change it.
So there is definitely a relationship. We are working against domination by software developers, many of those software developers are corporations. And some large corporations exsert a form of domination through non free software.

It's the excerpt from the interview with Richard M. Stallman called Free Software - Free Society!

Thank you for expressing your opinions.
Daniel Orsolic

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism


Then perhaps instead of bashing capitalism and using phrases such as "crush capitalism", you can concentrate on the specific points where things have gone wrong like software patents. I believe it's ok for software companies to try to combat competition weather open source or commercial by producing quality products, but it is wrong for them to influence goverments to create legislation that circumvents the free market to attack competition. If Microsoft can maintain their status by using fair practises, then it is the fault of the consumers. I believe that open source software will be able to compete with commercial software so long as it has a fair chance. But their is no need for it to "crush capitalism".

If you can agree with that, then I would not consider you an enemy.

Opps, I almost for got about the comment about the US and the war on Iraq.

Re: Capitalism, or new capitalism

Well, i maybe overreacted by spicing up the article with the words such as "crush", but in some point, i'll still agree with myself if the word crush points to the wrong capitalistic handling of information technology..
Here is a furher clarification of that:

I described capitalism as a system to deveop human race because it opened the doors to the innovation through free trade and globalization. It worked fine for some time, but with the emergence of information technology (software) it's role as the supporter of further growth became exactly opposite. This is because new technology, information technology has been started to handle in the unappropriate way, by making it property.
So it actually "outplayed" it's role when it comes to information technology. And since information technology is dominant today, it becomes a problem a full scale society problem.
Actuall, this one is tricky. It may be that either capitalists strayed of it's way forming a corrupted or twisted kind of capitalism by supporting monopolies. Or the noble rules of capitalism are not so noble and "right" anymore when applied to information technology. The example of that are patents. They are good for hardware, but are opposite of that for software.
If however, capitalists preserved the original spirit of capitalism, they may have formed a "subcapitalistic" system of handling information technology.
That sub-capitalism, the kind of capitalism that is good for information technology (i.e. software), is what might be refered to as post-capitalism.
So, when speaking of the "old capitalism being incompetent to handle new technology" i speak exactly about this. Some of the "rules" of capitalism actually cannot be properly applied to new information technology. That is the field in which many people obviously including myself feel "anti-capitalistic" and that is also the very reason why are they feeling this way. It poses too much restrictions on individual freedoms and as Richard Stallman noted poses dominations which we must fight against.

Mentioning the war of iraq, i only scratched the surface of another debatable issue. It's the issue of even greater political scale involving the justification of USA's war on iraq, european unity and it's relation to the individual freedoms. I brought that up in order to showcase the powers that the masses of ordinary individuals have today, the masses that are willing to shout out in order to protect and establish their freedoms. They therefore reacted to the war on Iraq since they don't obvisouly approve USA's right to do that and they will and do react on the matter of which we are discussing here, such as through fighting the software patents through demonstrations and petitions.

Thanks for reply.
Daniel Orsolic

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