Thursday, October 14, 2004

linux is sparkly

So my friend Doug wrote an article about viruses and the law. I know shite about computers and the internet, but in cite-checking parts of Doug's article I wound up reading lots of stuff about Linux and other open-source experiments.

I'm in love. I'm in complete and total mind-fogging tongue-dragging love with the whole shebang. Linux seems like everything that actually works about capitalism, but without the money. (There is actually quite a lot of money attached to bits of the whole open-source gig, but it's apparently an afterthought.)

How can something be "capitalist" and "free" at the same time?

Contrary to popular belief, a free market doesn't necessarily entail screwing your neighbor to make a buck. Really, capitalism is just about capital: convincing people that it's in their best interest to pool resources to get a good thing going. It doesn't matter what the resources are-- the idea is that if enough individual people have a selfish interest in an investment, they'll wind up working together to make it pay off. The investment/return doesn't have to be money; any currency that has value fits in the equation. Ego's a currency, curiosity-satisfaction is a currency (hell, salt was a currency at one point, but that's a totally different story.)

It's hilarious to me that Microsoft execs have compared Linux to socialism; this really brings home the extent to which corporate America is bloated beyond any semblance of actual "free market" or "capitalist" efficiency. The theory of capitalism is basically enlightened self-interest; the theory of corporatism is "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine." So-called capitalist champions literally no longer recognize the theory when it bites them in the pinstriped butt.

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