Open Source and Capitalism

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thespaceinvader
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by thespaceinvader »

I had an inkling that that was the case, but I wasn't sure, so I didn't want to state it as an example.
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

Ok, before reading this you should know that I'm feeling really sick, I think I have a fever. What I say may make even less sense than usual.

I want to expand on the other post I made when tired.
Firstly, respect to Gambit, won't flame, not that there is anything worthy of my wrath in anycase, but, won't (probalby wouldn't anyway, but the said artist seems annoyed with me)

Secondly: I still don't see what capitalism and open source have to do with one another.

How does os function in a capitalist society? -does it function any different than it would in say a commie, fascits or ultra-religious society? -doubt it.

How does capitalism influence os? drop the "how" and you have a good question.

Does capitalism threaten os? -no.

Does os threaten capitalism?

... Ok, I get a lot of "threatening our freedom" which usually includes economic freedom in contrast to economic slavery, but I maintain that the only way capitalism can be threatened is from top-down changes. Will the Ubuntu guys invade the "free world" - hey, I'd be supporting them, but I doubt it.

Intelectual property rights are in my opinion stupid, decadent and childish. I support all artists who release their stuff freely and accept any donations people make out of apreciation. I feel that if you want to keep an idea to yourself, don't tell anyone, that simple! However, unless every single character in every single alphabet, gets copyrighted, you can't stop open source. Get a machine to generate every single possible name with "speed" in and register it in your name and you will find a racing game called "binky an the flying cows". If some government legislated in favor of os, then perhaps things would be different, otherwise why should the two effect one another?
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Gwynnedrion »

Joram wrote:
We all know, more or less, what capitalism and open source are.
Don't be to sure of that. I'm predicting that there's going to be some people who think that the United States is an example of capitalism. :whistle:
They are. If you follow the pure capitalistic idea by Adam Smith (who first mentioned capitalisme) then they follow it very close to the book. Europe and Japan aren't that capitalistic. We (Europe) are more of a blend meaning that we do have capitalisme in some degree but that the goverment follows and limits our corporations while in the US this isn't. Maybe because your politicians make deals with companies in exchange for the money they put into election campaigns...
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Pentarctagon »

There are plenty of restrictions and regulations in the US...the corporations just write them for us :whistle:
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Sgt. Groovy »

Propriety software is in contradict with a free market economy. By free market rules, once you have bought a program, it's yours, you can sell or give away copies of it. Propriety software model can only exist in a system where the reselling and copying are banned and software manufacturers have government thugs enforcing the ban for them by violent means (dragging people to prison against their will).

A compulsory car analogy: A corporation builds a car. You buy it and start a taxicab business, driving people around for charge, or a car pool, driving people around free of charge. In both cases, what you do with your car makes it unnecessary for bunch of other people to buy a car, cutting into car manufacturer's profits. If the car manufacturer gets it into the law books that there should be no more than one person in each car, and people who share cars should be thrown to jail, is it a free market?
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by pauxlo »

Sgt. Groovy wrote:Propriety software is in contradict with a free market economy. By free market rules, once you have bought a program, it's yours, you can sell or give away copies of it. Propriety software model can only exist in a system where the reselling and copying are banned and software manufacturers have government thugs enforcing the ban for them by violent means (dragging people to prison against their will).
Yes. But in a "free market" model, there would be a fair competition - and the competition between the original software producer and the "cheap copiers" is not really fair.

This is the difference of the information markets (copying is cheap, while original production is quite expensive) and the markets for all the other types of goods/services (there may be some initial costs, but there still is a cost for producing more copies - and often competitors would have to pay a similar initial cost, too).
A compulsory car analogy: A corporation builds a car. You buy it and start a taxicab business, driving people around for charge, or a car pool, driving people around free of charge. In both cases, what you do with your car makes it unnecessary for bunch of other people to buy a car, cutting into car manufacturer's profits. If the car manufacturer gets it into the law books that there should be no more than one person in each car, and people who share cars should be thrown to jail, is it a free market?
Cars designed to used by only one person simply would have only one seat :-)

I think you are disallowed to make a copy of your car and sell it. (At least without paying some license fees to the original designer/producer.)

The copyright laws do not forbid people to do anything that cuts into the profit of the manufacturer, but give some control over who is allowed to simply copy the software (or other information).

If I create software, I have to live from something. So, my choices in your "free market" (and with open source software in the current market) are limited:
  • I do something else for getting income, and create the software in my free time. (This is the case for Wesnoth, I think.)
  • I produce special purpose software, and sell it for a price such high that the payment by one client is enough to pay the production. (I usually would do this only if this client did order the software from me, not on suspect.)
  • I produce general purpose software, give it away for free (or a minimal copy fee) and encourage sharing, put up a donation jar, and hope that enough people donate for the software being useful.
  • I produce general purpose software, sell it for a low price and can only hope that enough people buy it from me and not simply copy it from others.
In the current market model, where the "producer" of the information has the right to decide who is allowed to copy my software, there is one additional choice:
  • I produce general purpose software and sell it for a medium price and hope enough people want it enough to buy it.

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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Herduk »

pauxlo wrote:
The copyright laws do not forbid people to do anything that cuts into the profit of the manufacturer, but give some control over who is allowed to simply copy the software (or other information).
Ehm you buy a copy of Starcraft II but you don't own it. Same question for MS EULA.
You don't own a single bit. You simply can use it.
Uhm... You pay for something that you cannot fully use.
You know that you cannot even borrow a copy of your Starcraft II to a friend?
If I create software, I have to live from something. So, my choices in your "free market" (and with open source software in the current market) are limited:
  • I do something else for getting income, and create the software in my free time. (This is the case for Wesnoth, I think.)
  • I produce special purpose software, and sell it for a price such high that the payment by one client is enough to pay the production. (I usually would do this only if this client did order the software from me, not on suspect.)
  • I produce general purpose software, give it away for free (or a minimal copy fee) and encourage sharing, put up a donation jar, and hope that enough people donate for the software being useful.
  • I produce general purpose software, sell it for a low price and can only hope that enough people buy it from me and not simply copy it from others.
In the current market model, where the "producer" of the information has the right to decide who is allowed to copy my software, there is one additional choice:
  • I produce general purpose software and sell it for a medium price and hope enough people want it enough to buy it.
Tell this to Red Hat.
Their model (as for Mandriva) is different and it's more moral right (regardin my moral :) ): they give open source software and charge you for the assistance.
But the software it's your! So if tomorrow you want to take and modify and resell it, you can do it.
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Sgt. Groovy »

But in a "free market" model, there would be a fair competition - and the competition between the original software producer and the "cheap copiers" is not really fair.
Not really. Even with producing physical objects, there are lot of "unfair" advantages -- having access to cheaper labour or raw materials, for example. The only "fairness" free market guarantees is that you are not prevented by force from doing business as you please. The software business would also be as fair as any other, because you are free to choose between writing your own software and copying that of others, just like everyone else. If you don't want others to copy your software, then make it too difficult by technical means for it to be economically profitable. That doesn't contradict free market as long as circumventing the copy prevention systems wouldn't be illegal.
I think you are disallowed to make a copy of your car and sell it. (At least without paying some license fees to the original designer/producer.)
Yes, by patent laws that are enforced by the government. In a truly free market you wouldn't.
If I create software, I have to live from something.
We could have government hiring coders to write useful software and releasing it as public goods, just like it produces highways, railroads and such.
I produce general purpose software and sell it for a medium price and hope enough people want it enough to buy it
So you want to work once, and charge for it over and over again? :P
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by thespaceinvader »

Or, indeed, we could have software companies simply paying people for the time it takes to make the software, and thereafter it going out for minimal payment, and few-to-no copying restrictions...
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Yoyobuae »

Excesive use of legal means to make the software industry ever more profitable will just hurt us all in the long run. It's simply crazy that big companies accumulate patents as legal ammo to shoot their competition down. They are basically abusing the flaws in the system.

I wish these laws actually made it easier for an independent developer or team of developers to make a living out of software. But those are probably used more frequently by big corporations to crush these smaller competitors before they can become a threat to them.

It's counter productive. It works against innovation, against healthy competition. The main effect of all those laws is to further the current semi-monopolies that exist pretty much world-wide. The rest of us are left to make applications for those smaller niche markets the big ones are not interested in.

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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by pauxlo »

Herduk wrote:
pauxlo wrote: If I create software, I have to live from something. So, my choices in your "free market" (and with open source software in the current market) are limited:
  • I do something else for getting income, and create the software in my free time. (This is the case for Wesnoth, I think.)
  • I produce special purpose software, and sell it for a price such high that the payment by one client is enough to pay the production. (I usually would do this only if this client did order the software from me, not on suspect.)
  • I produce general purpose software, give it away for free (or a minimal copy fee) and encourage sharing, put up a donation jar, and hope that enough people donate for the software being useful.
  • I produce general purpose software, sell it for a low price and can only hope that enough people buy it from me and not simply copy it from others.
In the current market model, where the "producer" of the information has the right to decide who is allowed to copy my software, there is one additional choice:
  • I produce general purpose software and sell it for a medium price and hope enough people want it enough to buy it.
Tell this to Red Hat.
Their model (as for Mandriva) is different and it's more moral right (regardin my moral :) ): they give open source software and charge you for the assistance.
I see this as a combination of the first point (from the view of the company) and the second one (from the view of the individual programmer).

One could sell assistance without being the entity who did produce the software (and in RedHat's case, most parts are not originally programmed by RedHat (or RedHat-payed programmers)).

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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by e7th04sh »

Sgt. Groovy i respect your positions, but i can;t agree with them. Say for example, how am i prohibited from hiring at a lower wage? I'd say any given person does not make difference between working for small or big business, as long as they receive their share of cash and privileges that they seek. So the problem is that small business often can't organise their employees efficiently. This actually means corporations are productive and so benefit the society. Now, i believe they have many hacks in the system, free services of the state in imposing intelectual property rights on society included.

My point is not that we should favor small businesses over large, but rather that current copyright laws favor the latter, which is unjustified really. Small step would be to take a small amount of cash from every sold software (or other) license and limit the funds used for preventing piracy to that money. However, (not without doubts) i think the copyright laws themself are both harming innovation, not helping it, and are a burden for society. Even if we put that burden on businesses, it will still mean some people are employed in preventing piracy rather than something more demanded. If we abolish the law without enterpreneurs finding a new way to keep their profits at current level, this will cause a shrinkage in software industry, but also a minimal increase in capital & workforce in all other branches of economy.

Now the point is not to harm the software industry (tough it IS overgrown with all the privileges it receives now, so a correct is in order), but rather to find a solution to make ALL kind of software that market demands still profittable for the companies to produce.

As was said above, several categories of software can and will be produced without much change in business style after abolishment. But what about those, that many of us are willing to pay a medium price for, but that's it, no one client or support & services? How about a small cosmetic change to the donation system - the donation pool of creators must be filled to a certain amount prior the release of code to general public? Would that do the job to some amount? Not at all, tight fit or somewhere in between?

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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Herduk »

Gwynnedrion wrote:
Joram wrote: Don't be to sure of that. I'm predicting that there's going to be some people who think that the United States is an example of capitalism. :whistle:
They are. If you follow the pure capitalistic idea by Adam Smith (who first mentioned capitalisme) then they follow it very close to the book.
So close that The Great Crisis in 1929 was solved by a guy called Keynes who stated a simple thing: The State CAN and MUST operate into economy if it's needed. And this is something against the capitalism precepts.
Even in the actual crisis the USA gov is pumping statal aids to companis in danger and this is, again, against capitalism precepts.
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e7th04sh
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by e7th04sh »

Herduk wrote:So close that The Great Crisis in 1929 was solved by a guy called Keynes who stated a simple thing: The State CAN and MUST operate into economy if it's needed. And this is something against the capitalism precepts.
Even in the actual crisis the USA gov is pumping statal aids to companis in danger and this is, again, against capitalism precepts.
It's worth mentioning that this policy is subject to great and various controversies. It is basedsolely on epirical observations, which on numerous occasions led to inadequate decision on the side of government. This later on led to corrections in theoretical basis. However by no means this assures us, that no mistake remains in theory. You should also at all times emember that interpretation of such milestone events in history varies greatly among even reputable economists. Significant proportion of them accuse the interventionism itself of being the ultimate cause of system mess ups.

But one thing i agree totally - USA is nowehere close to laissez-faire.

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Herduk
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Re: Open Source and Capitalism

Post by Herduk »

e7th04sh wrote:
Herduk wrote:So close that The Great Crisis in 1929 was solved by a guy called Keynes who stated a simple thing: The State CAN and MUST operate into economy if it's needed. And this is something against the capitalism precepts.
Even in the actual crisis the USA gov is pumping statal aids to companis in danger and this is, again, against capitalism precepts.
It's worth mentioning that this policy is subject to great and various controversies. It is basedsolely on epirical observations, which on numerous occasions led to inadequate decision on the side of government. This later on led to corrections in theoretical basis. However by no means this assures us, that no mistake remains in theory. You should also at all times emember that interpretation of such milestone events in history varies greatly among even reputable economists. Significant proportion of them accuse the interventionism itself of being the ultimate cause of system mess ups.

But one thing i agree totally - USA is nowehere close to laissez-faire.
I'm not arguing if intervents from the State is bad or good, simply i would like to show why capitalism all around doesn't exist in the real world.
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