Open source ideology and politics
An intriguing post has appeared on the blog of Sirius Corporation, one of the UK’s foremost open source suppliers.
Entitled ‘Open Source: The Capitalists’ Choice‘, Ben Bell, the author, first deals with the typical assumptions made about open source:
I often hear people referring to Open Source and Free Software advocates jokingly, or not so jokingly, as “communists” or “hippies”. After all, giving away your “intellectual property” for the greater good may be a nice theory in some ideal world, but it rather flies in the face of capitalism, doesn’t it?
Well, let’s see. That sounds fairly standard fare, as is borne out by this post, courtesy of Shelley the Republican (“freedom-hating red-communist Linux freetards”; now I do feel insulted. I’m an anarchist. Ed. 😉 )
Anyway, back to the Sirius blog post…The author then goes on to argue how it is closed, proprietary software that has got it all wrong, likening it to Britain’s bodged, Byzantine railway privatisation.
Proprietary software is akin to the privatisation of the railways. It pays lip-service to the perceived efficiency benefits but if you look at it closely, you realise that the fundamental motivation of competition is absent.
It ends by positing that open source has business right…
Open Source is good capitalism. It encourages competition, it allows small players easy entry to the market and it rewards genuine delivery of value to customers.
…and proprietary software is the real authoritarian, freedom-hating villain.
I recommend reading the original post.
As I finish writing, the post has now also appeared on ComputerworldUK.
Hat tip: Mark Turner