Linux opportunists? (received from a friend)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 12 13:34:08 MST 1999


i was just reading a set of articles on slashdot regarding the latest
round of overpriced IPO's in the opensource/linux arena, and how a few
people in the open source community have become filthy rich.

this whole thing has bothered me for a long while, and today it
finally hit me, if people really believed in the linux/open route as
"better" in some sense, then instead of these IPO's earmarking a
specific few individuals for fabulous wealth, it would create an open
source /linux slush fund of similar huge proportions from which coders
of all stripes and places could be funded to do open coding.

the fact that so far the money is circulating to the few in a similar
vein and spirit to the iconization of Gate's and Trump's in the
business sections of the newspaper adds to my thinking that the open
coding community is going in the wrong direction.

one of the things i hate listening to now is these new
multi-millionare's writing articles saying they dont do open coding
for the money. the facts are these: the open community is now serving
as an unfunded training ground for creating a new class of mandarins,
err, the new free coders. the "cream of the crop" is selected in some
fashion for fabulous wealth, creating a goldrush frenzy. it is
characteristic of this frenzy that people continue to espouse the fact
that they are not doing it for the money, in spite of the fact that
all the recognition right now is directed towards the fabulously
wealthy (see for example, discussion around Eric Raymond's new
millions via VA Linux IPO -- he wrote an article for slashdot several
days ago).

meanwhile, people still discuss rms like he is the next coming of
stalin (whatever THAT means).

it'd be nice to do some rabble rousing in the linux/open community. i
think there are lots of people out there that dont like whats going
on, but they dont have an "organized" voice yet to counter the IPO
frenzy.  rms has sort of stayed out of this feeding frenzy, but i dont
see him making principled statements about the
economic/political/social mechanisms at work shaping the evolution of
the "free" open source movement.

any thoughts on this yourself? the above is rather sloppily thrown
together, but i'm the kind of bozo that doesnt get his thinking
straight till i vent a rich smelly aroma of half-baked thoughts.

Louis Proyect
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