[Marxism] Linux and Open Source: Fighting Monopoly with Communist Software

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Wed Jan 1 02:51:54 MST 2014


This is another piece I wrote about a decade ago:

> You probably know that I came to Washington University as an
> electrical engineering student. I've always had a passion for
> technology and well as politics. A few years ago I found something
> that allowed me to combine the two: A truly revolutionary computer
> operating system.
>
>
> What is Linux?
>
>
> A very powerful unix like O/S that is the fastest growing both in
> terms of user base and quality in the world. In many respects it is
> equal to or better than the very best that Microsoft has to offer. In
> the other areas in is gaining ground very quickly.
>
>
> It is a free O/S, meaning that you can actually down load it for free,
> or purchase CD's for very little cost.
>
>
> It is free software, meaning the source code (the scheme of the
> software inter-working and the thing that traditional software
> companies consider their darkest secret.) is freely available.
>
>
> It is a free O/S, meaning that their are no copyright restrictions.
> The software is generally copyrighted under the GNU 'copy left'
> General Public License (GPL). To wit you may make as many copies as
> you like, you are guaranteed full access of the source code, so you
> can modify and improve the software as you like. But all your
> modifications and improvements must also fall under the GPL. The GPL
> does allow you to sell the software, but you must provide the same
> license to the buyer.
>
>
> It is free in the sense -- and this is its biggest selling point --
> that it is relatively free of bugs. There is a saying in the Linux
> community "Given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow". The paradox is
> that Linux is so bullet proof, so robust, so extendible and so
> extended precisely because it is "free software".
>
>
> It is not produced by any single company. It is produced by a freely
> associated community of thousands of programmers world wide that
> collaborate mainly over the Internet. It has been a labor of love, not
> a labor of profit by its producers. Open Source applies the principle
> of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
>
>
> It is the first major O/S that didn't originate in the USA. It is
> perfect for 3^rd World conditions because it will run well on old
> computers and has great language support. China is building the
> backbone of their IT infrastructure around Linux. Red Flag Linux is no
> joke.
>
>
>
>
> Clay Claiborne, the president and founder of Cosmos Engineering
> Company first cut his teeth on computers while an electrical
> engineering student at Washington University, St. Louis in the late
> '60's. In 1984 he started Cosmos Engineering Company as a
> microcomputer sales and service organization in Los Angeles. As a
> Novell Netware reseller since 1988 and a Microsoft OEM Provider, the
> main stay of the business was building and servicing computer systems
> and networks for small business and corporate clients in southern
> California. At the same time Mr. Claiborne developed and marketed a
> number of innovative products including the Cub Reporter, a computer
> interface for electric typewriters, and Fax-On-File one of the very
> earliest fax back systems.
>
>
> In 1995, Mr. Claiborne started to work with Linux and immediately saw
> it's potential. In early 1996 he made the bold decision to focus his
> company's efforts on the emerging Linux market. By the end of 1996 he
> had invented, produced and was selling 'Linux On A Disk' a first of it
> kind product that InfoWorld called "the most phenomenal Linux offering
> on the market" (p78, 12/30/96). He established close relationships
> with Red Hat Software when that company had less than twenty
> employees. That same year became a Caldera Business Partner and
> founded Linux Users Los Angeles (LULA). Today, Mr. Claiborne continues
> to service as the president of LULA while its membership has
> mushroomed to 165 members. In 1997 Mr. Claiborne was a member of the
> working group that Red Hat assemble to develop partnership and
> certification program. That same year Cosmos Engineering became one of
> the founding members of The Red Hat Hardware Partners Program, long
> before Dell Computers and other better known names joined this
> exclusive group. Today Cosmos Engineering Company remains the only
> RHHP within 200 miles of Los Angeles.
>
>
>
> Just one story from the world of Linux: Red Hat is located in North
> Carolina. Last year they went public in a spectaluar fashion and
> Donnie Barnes was suddenly worth over $2 billion. Next week they will
> begin shipping copies of their newest version 7.1 with the Linux 2.4
> kernel. This software will be implemented on everything from PDAs to
> mainframes. It will be used by IBM and Intel, Sun and HP, Compaq and
> Dell. It will directly challenge the best that Microsoft has to offer
> and it will beat it in the marketplace. They have already made this
> software available for free download even before it is shipping.
>
>
> In '97 they released version 5.1, the first version to provide
> multi-language support. Seven languages were supported. A week before
> it was release they announced that they were adding an 8^th language,
> but left everyone guessing. So Red Hat Linux 5.1 not only came with
> the Apache webserver but also with a bonus language support, as
> explained in the following footnote:
>
>
>
> The ``Redneck'' language entry represents a dialect of American
> English spoken by Red Hat Software's Donnie Barnes, and was used as a
> test case during the
>
> addition of internationalization support to the installation program.
> It is included solely for entertainment value (and to illustrate how
> difficult it is actually talking to
>
> Donnie).
>
>
>
>
>
> > GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
>
> > Version 2, June 1991
>
> >
>
> > Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
>
> > 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
>
> > Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
>
> > of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
>
> >
>
> > Preamble
>
> >
>
> > The licenses for most software are designed to take away your
>
> > freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public
>
> > License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free
>
> > software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This
>
> > General Public License applies to most of the Free Software
>
> > Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to
>
> > using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by
>
> > the GNU Library General Public License instead.) You can apply it to
>
> > your programs, too.
>
> >
>
> > When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
>
> > price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
>
> > have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
>
> > this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it
>
> > if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it
>
> > in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
>
> >
>
> > To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid
>
> > anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights.
>
> > These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you
>
> > distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.
>
> >
>
> > For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
>
> > gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that
>
> > you have. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the
>
> > source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their
>
> > rights.
>
> >
>
> > We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and
>
> > (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy,
>
> > distribute and/or modify the software.
>
> >
>




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