[Marxism] Cyber-libertarianism and the digital deletion of the left

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Wed Jan 1 02:47:59 MST 2014

This article reads like a hatchet job on Tim O'reilly and not much more.
"Tim O'Reilly is the most dangerous man in Silicon Valley."  Please! Did
Bill Gates leave? Steve Balmer? The Oracle guy?

I remember RMS said it was wrong for Tim O'reilly to sell books on Free
Software. I told him that he was full of crap at the time. Paper books cost
money to make. If you want wide distribution for what's in them
, you need to sell them, and at a profit. Later RMS sold his own books. Tim
O'Reilly had a very marginal publishing company that mainly did books on
esoteric Unix subjects and you could only find them only in technical book
stores. He started publishing Linux books and when Linux took off, so did
his business.

Then, when the suits took over Linux World and most of the other national
Linux conferences became high corporate and commercial, he started the Open
Source conference, which was the last one to focus on the developers
[workers] and bring them together to promote free software.

But he is given far to much credit, or blame, for the open source or free
software movements in this essay.

I guess RMS has become the darling of people on the Left that don't know
what they are talking about, because neither this article [so far, I'm only
half way through this long piece or the one recommended by h0ost address
the question of the form of property which I see as critical [public vs
private ownership, or to put it another way social production for private
appropriation vs. social production for social appropriation ] which is
precisely the same whether you call it "free software" or "open source."

This article claims a "coup" was staged. RMS talks about a split in the
free software movement. Well it was a split between RMS and virtually
everybody else or if you like, a coup of the overwhelming majority.

Sadly, very few on the Left even knew about this struggle/debate or the
truly revolutionary things going on in the OSS movement [ going head to
head against private property with social property ] at the time and now
belatedly they take RMS side in a struggle he lost for good reason.

The fact is "free software" did not convey the "deep meaning" RMS claims
for it. Open Source is much better and much more precise because nothing in
the term "free software" as it was understood by most people that haven't
been lecture to by RMS says that the source code must be available and
modifiable and that is in fact what makes it free software, "Open source
software" speaks to that directly without confusion either about the price
or whether or not the source will be open.

A lot of people give software away and they have every right to call it
"free software" but that not "open source." In fact there was "free
software" long before RMS.

Statements like "Debian, yet another operating system" show that this
writer really doesn't know what he is talking about. So according to him
Debian Linux is yet another operating system. Does that mean Red Hat Linux
is still another OS, and Ubuntu Linux, still another, and Mandrake Linux,
and so on and so on? Silly me, I thought they were all different
distributions of the same OS because they all share the same kernel, the
same software base and the same license. But hell, what do I know, I was
only president of Linux Users, Los Angeles for 8 years and worked with
developers of all these "different OS's" so I should read crap like this
article to find out the truth.

All the stuff about Web 2.0 is another matter entirely except this author
is out to convince us that OSS is just another marketing term.

The fact is that RMS had every opportunity to write his own kernel,
complete his OS and get it widely used, but his model didn't work in the
real world. In the real world it has been the open source crowd that has
succeeded in putting free software on more phones than the priority iPhone,
it was the open source crowd that build Google into a multi-billion dollar
business with a very different business model than MS or IBM, a business
model that included direct support for the Arab Spring and the Libyan
Revolution, a business model that is now offering left websites threatened
with DOS attacks the protection of their extensive networks, a business
model that has ploughed billions into developing software they don't own
and a business model that put in low cost housing in Mountain View which
forced all the other landlords to hold down rents.

Yes Google is far from perfect. Yes Google is a large corporation but if
you want to build the world's best search engine based on free software in
this capitalist economy, you're going to need to form a corporation. A lot
of successful Linux companies have formed corporations. RMS might object
but his model has not had the social effect or mounted the clear challenge
to the private property model that the open source crowd has.

Maybe we should discuss instead whether we call it communism or Marxism?

Clay Claiborne, Director
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://VietnamAmericanHolocaust.com>
Linux Beach Productions
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 581-1536

Read my blogs at the Linux Beach <http://claysbeach.blogspot.com/>

On Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 9:06 PM, Tristan Sloughter <
tristan.sloughter at gmail.com> wrote:

> ======================================================================
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> ======================================================================
> A good article on the creation of "open source"
> http://thebaffler.com/past/the_meme_hustler
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