free software

Adam Levenstein cleon42 at
Sun Mar 11 21:54:56 MST 2001

My personal experience has been that most IT
developers are either Libertarians or Republicans who
"wish the Libertarians would get their act together."

You bring up the anti-corporate side, which does pop
up in IT, especially on notoriously anti-Microsoft
sites like Slashdot. Some of this simply results from
hating Microsoft's inferior products, and it doesn't
go much beyond that. Some of it is simple
contrarianism; they hate Microsoft because it's the
Big Man on Campus.

For most, though, it's plain old economics.

Remember that IT developers are often very, very well
paid. As a friend of mine put it, "geek used to be a
four-letter word. Now it's a six-figure word." I won't
go into personal specifics, except to say that once
Dubya's tax cut goes through (assuming it hasn't been
amended to death), most of us around the office will
probably be getting an extra $200 or so in our

One of Levenstein's Laws is that "the richer you are,
the more conservative you are."** Most geeks find
their bosses kissing up to them, because right now
there are twice as many positions for IT developers as
there are people to fill them.

So in short, capitalism tends to be viewed by IT
developers as something that *works* for them. It is
Adam Smith's dream come true; the labor market works
for the laborers, the supply/demand concept raising IT
pay, etc.

Of course, this is a shortsighted view of capitalism,
and by no means do I share it. I also hasten to point
out, before I'm flamed out of my skull, that these are
my *personal* observations working in the IT industry
in Atlanta and Boston. By no means am I about to
stipulate that they represent objective facts in the
international IT industry, but I'd bet that the
situation is probably very, very similar for most IT
workers in the US.


** Of course, this is not an absolute rule, and by no
means is the converse true (that is, the poorest are
not necessarily the most left-wing). "Levenstein's
Laws" are stated with the tongue firmly implanted in
the cheek.

> What I've found in following the Linux crowd (on
> various sites, such as
> Slashdot) is that many of the users are
> anti-corporate, but usually far from
> anti-capitalist.  I think some of the elements of
> the free software movement
> are really worth building affiliations with, and
> educating.

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