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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

FOSS and Communism

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A nice article exploring the relationships between Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and communism. Both these movements have a lot in common; thier ideology of a classless society, thier views on property and the distribution of wealth. Although communism is more of an theoretical concept rather than a movement. All the movements based on that ideology have failed horribly in practice. Given the history of cold war, its a very touchy issue for America.

The biggest difference between them is of course, the stress on freedom. Free Software is about more about free as in freedom rather than free as in beer. Anybody is allowed to sell GPL'ed software or charge for services around it. Even Open Source software is more concerned with the freedom to access the sources and modifying it as per requirements. Freedom is where the open source (eg. BSD) and the FSF (eg. GPL) ideals meet.

The communist ideology on the other vests the right of freedom with the state. Its goal is to create a classless society where the state is given all the powers, even the power to subdue your liberty. That inevitiably leads to misuse of the power since the ultimately its a human who discarges the duty of the state. And humans can easily corrupted. Land, power and wealth are the three basic reasons why wars are fought.

And maybe that is the reason why FOSS might become the most successful of the communist experiments. The crucial element, the all powerful state is removed from the equation. There are no boundaries of nationality, age, gender and identity. The creation of wealth (software) is now governed by by the the truly darwinian process, the Bazaar Methodology. Since the absolute authority is not vested in anybody in particular, the element of human failing is eliminated.

FOSS in that way is the most utopian of concepts. It even betters communism.

read more | digg story

Technorati Tags: Freedom, FOSS, Open Source, Communism, Bazaar Model.
posted by Rajiv, 1:38 PM

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