Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Software United States News

Sun's McNealy Wants Obama to Push Open Source 176

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fighting-against-years-of-ingrained-ignorance dept.
CWmike writes to tell us that Sun's Scott McNealy is pushing for the Obama administration to adopt a much more open-source friendly policy similar to what has been done in Denmark, the UK, and other countries. "Although open-source platforms are widely used today in the federal government -- particularly Linux and Sun's own products, Solaris and Java -- McNealy believes many government officials don't understand it, fear it and even oppose it for ideological reasons. McNealy cited an open-source development project that Sun worked on with the US Department of Health and Human Services, during which a federal official said 'that open source was anti-capitalist.' That sentiment, McNealy fears, is not unusual or isolated."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sun's McNealy Wants Obama to Push Open Source

Comments Filter:
  • Anti-capitalist? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shark4126 (1391765) on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:54PM (#27018183)
    Remind me again how much money Firefox nets each year...
    • by Chabo (880571)

      A good chunk of that coming from Google for homepage use, too!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TopSpin (753) *

      This is McNealy quoting an unnamed "federal official" regarding an unnamed project at some arbitrary point in the past. Feel free to go all pretzel like over it if you wish, but it seems far more likely to me that any lack of progress "open source" (however McNealy defines that...) has made is more likely due to cozy relationships between politicians their favorite vendors than the ideological hang-ups of some bureaucrat.

      I've developed software as a DOD contractor. It's a very big government so I can't cl

    • Remind me again how much money the United States Army nets each year... The Red Cross... Meals on Wheels Association of America...?

      Hmm, I guess the goals of these organizations isn't simply greed and net profit. And amazingly there are many organizations that don't net a profit and yet they are not attacked for being Anti-capitalist. I suppose its just not that simple, is it.

      There is another way to look at it. I've given to the Mozilla Foundation, I use their Firefox product as do many others. For some the

    • by johannesg (664142)

      Remind me again how much money Firefox nets each year...

      It would be worth billions if only there wasn't a competitor that gave away a similar product for free!

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:56PM (#27018209) Homepage

    I've heard rumors on the internets that open source helps unclog the tubes.

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 27, 2009 @05:57PM (#27018225) Homepage Journal

    One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism. Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

    The problem is that humans are not perfect. Even the best of us attribute more value to our selves or our families than random strangers. Thus a system is required that meets the challenges of an imperfect society. The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism. While it may be a long way from an ideal solution, it is a solution that works.

    However, just having such a system does not prevent humans from striving for the benefits of cooperation and community strength. Co-ops, condominiums, small towns, and civic centers are just a few examples of ideas which obtain their strength from the community rather than the individual. Open Source is yet another example of such ideals. An opportunity where working together can strengthen the whole.

    If there was one way to sum it up, it would be "Together we stand. Divided we fall." Because at some point everyone, even enemies, have to work together if they want to move forward. Open Source just happens to be the technological way of working together. :-)

    • by Elektroschock (659467) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:08PM (#27018315)

      Just watch the 1960 Kennedy vs. Nixon debate on youtube: Freedom or slavery. It is exactly that superficial view. Everyone was shocked when Bush introduced the terms good and evil in foreign policy.

      The American public has been brainwashed with capitalism as a religion while vendors rob their governmental budget.

      All nations are today mixed societies, several tools and institutional instruments.

      They talk about free market but don't understand market theory. In a free market the license costs of software converge against zero because of non-rivalous consumption. This is why open source reflects a better allocation.

    • by evanbd (210358) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:29PM (#27018491)

      There's another problem with communism. Suppose everyone *was* completely altruistic. They all want to do what would be best for society. What should they do? The resource allocation problem is *immense*. The computational resources to solve it didn't *exist* until recently; now that they (probably) do, I don't think we have the mathematical understanding to solve it well even so.

      So, how would you decide what everyone should be doing? Enlightened self interest is one answer to the optimization problem. I'm quite willing to believe it's imperfect, but I'm also far from convinced we know how to do better, even starting from the rather fantastical assumption of rational but altruistic people.

      I note that this is a problem of scale -- within a family, tribe, co-op, or commune, it's relatively straightforward to solve the problem with reasonable efficiency in a purely manual fashion. When you scale it up to towns, cities, nations, or the world, though, it becomes intractable.

      • by Dolda2000 (759023)

        There's another problem with communism. Suppose everyone *was* completely altruistic. They all want to do what would be best for society. What should they do?

        I'd argue your post would have been better if you had stopped there, because that points out the core of the question: If everyone were completely altruistic, what should they do? If noone had any self-interest, there would be no useful work to do, since noone would benefit from it.

    • by Dolda2000 (759023) <fredrik@dold[ ]00.com ['a20' in gap]> on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:30PM (#27018501) Homepage

      One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism. Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

      Please tell me; why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves? Why should people do things that do not benefit themselves?

      Open Source just happens to be the technological way of working together. :-)

      I would argue against that. At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) *

        why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves?

        Who said it's an either/or? Communal work usually benefits everyone including the person doing the work. The problem is that the benefits are not always obvious or easy to internalize. Whereas, "I do X, I get back [money|food|power|etc.]" is a very simple concept that very few people struggle with.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dolda2000 (759023)

          Who said it's an either/or?

          To be fair, it is you who introduced the dichotomy; let me quote: "If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone". My problem with that statement is its implication that it is somehow bad when people are being selfish. However, as you yourself write;

          Communal work usually benefits everyone including the person doing the work. The problem is that the benefits are not always obvious or easy to internalize.

          Which is quite correct. However, when that happens, people work on it together because of their own, selfish interesting in getting done whatever it is that needed to get done. They do not do it for the purpose of "the betterment

          • Is the difference between theory and reality. Communism is the ideal system in theory. If we had an ideal world, where nobody was selfish, nobody was greedy, communism would be great and indeed we'd probably tend towards it automatically. I mean wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone just did what they were good at doing, to the best of their ability, and everyone just took what they needed, no more? What a wonderful idea...

            However like many wonderful ideas, it has no basis in reality. Humans ARE selfish and

            • by Dolda2000 (759023)

              You are quite right in your point that "communism cannot work, since it does not deal with humans", but that is about as far as I'd be willing to agree with you.

              To begin with, communism is not the ideal form of society either in practice nor in theory nor anywhere else. It is the product of a man who rejected all forms of rational thinking (you do know that Marx used Hegelian dialectics to derive communism, right?). You assert that in an ideal world, noone would be selfish, but as I have described elsewhere

        • The problem is that Jack does X and gets back money, food, power, etc.

          But Bob does 0.000X and gets back the same amount.

          That's why capitalism makes more sense.

          All men are not created equal.

          • Actually Jack got his degree in Business while Bob got his degree in Computer Science.

            Jack is a brown nosing back stabbing sneaky weasel who squirms his way up the ranks, he hob knobs and rubs elbows but doesn't really product much of anything.

            Bob not only has a degree in a technology field but is truly interested in the science and develops productivity improving solutions for the business and on his own time delves into open source projects to expand his knowledge and skills.

            Jack believes he is a mover an

      • by Chabo (880571) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:40PM (#27018595) Homepage Journal

        I would argue against that. At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

        Same. When I started FlacSquisher [sourceforge.net] (shameless plug, I know), it was because I wanted a mass-transcoding tool that was aware of what work had already been done. I had installed Rockbox on my Sansa a couple months earlier, and wanted to transcode my FLACs to Oggs easily so I could play them on the Sansa. If I had bought an 80GB player instead of a 2GB player, I would've just used the FLACs, cause I could've fit my entire music collection. Then I never would've written the program. As it was, I only just implemented MP3 tagging a couple weeks ago because I never encoded to MP3, so in my own usage model it just wasn't necessary.

        I suspect that most FOSS projects are the same -- driven by a personal need or desire by the original dev for some functionality not already provided by an existing piece of software, and just coding what they'd want to get out of it.

        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:08PM (#27019297) Homepage Journal

          But there's more to doing an open source project that just writing the code. You could have written your program, kept it to yourself, and never bothered with choosing a license, putting it up on Sourceforge, etc. Or you could have decided that it was useful enough that people would pay for it, and tried to sell it as proprietary software. If you say you have a selfish reason for doing it as OSS, I believe you, but it's not clear from your post what that reason is -- "a personal need or desire by the original dev for some functionality not already provided by an existing piece of software" doesn't cover it.

          • by Chabo (880571)

            Honestly? The biggest reason I made it open-source is as an ego boost. People are using software that I wrote, and I'm much more likely to get more than 5 downloads if it's on Sourceforge than if I made a no-name site and distributed it there. This is especially true among the target audience, as nerds (like me) who listen to Flacs are much more likely to trust OSS than plain-old freeware, and they're highly unlikely to pay for small utilities.

            In Linux, FlacSquisher can essentially be replaced by a small sh

          • by coryking (104614) *

            Or you could have decided that it was useful enough that people would pay for it, and tried to sell it as proprietary software.

            But in many cases, people wouldn't pay for it and I don't want to deal with the hassle. It is easier for me to just slap a BSD license on it and give the damn thing away. Somebody else gets to incorporate my little bit of code into their project, and I get to claim I contribute to open source projects. Win win.

            Most people, I suspect, open source their stuff for precisely these ki

          • by rdnetto (955205)

            It could simply be getting someone else to do the work for you. I've written a bunch of useful programs that I'm considering uploading to sourceforge. If I did that, others would be able to expand on my work, and it builds up my reputation, which could be beneficial when I'm looking for a job. Additionally, having others build on my work means I get some nice new features without having to do the work myself.

      • Please tell me; why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves?

        Because some of us have worked out that we can do better within the structure of a healthy and functioning society than we could without one. Doing things that benefits society directly benefits us.

        The only difference between selfishness and altruism in 90% of cases is how long term you are thinking.

        • by Dolda2000 (759023)

          Because some of us have worked out that we can do better within the structure of a healthy and functioning society than we could without one. Doing things that benefits society directly benefits us.

          It seems that some people, such as yourself, think that being "selfish" implicates the rejection of society. I would argue the opposite of what you do: Doing things that benefit oneself directly benefits society. (Only I won't, because I reject speaking in such terms as a "society which can benefit", as if it were anthropomorphizable)

          People benefit from being part of a society precisely because of the other people in that same society doing things that benefit themselves. It is the basis of trade; two parti

      • At least for my part, when I publish programs that I have written as open source, it is for perfectly selfish reasons.

        And those reasons are ... what, exactly?

        As I said elsewhere in this thread, creating an open source project involves more than writing the code. There's work involved, and you don't get paid for that work. So there must be some other reason for doing it. While I can understand abstractly how that reason might be selfish, I certainly don't see my own OSS work that way, and I'm curious to h

        • by Dolda2000 (759023)

          Well, it's quite simple, really. I have a need for a program, so I write it. That's obviously my selfish reason for writing the code, as you rightly point out.

          Then, when I decide to publish it as open source, it is for a number of reasons;

          • Partly, I tend to hope that someone will look at the code, and maybe comment on it or even improve it. That hasn't happened to any great extent, however (though I have gotten a few human language translations for a webmail that I wrote);
          • Partly, it is because of my persona
      • by dodobh (65811)

        That is exactly why you have global warming, pollution, the current financial mess, ...

        Capitalism would work if you could make people pay for externalities. Since there doesn't seem to be a way to do that (Kyoto, for example), we have to make do with worse alternatives.

      • by ignavus (213578)

        One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism. Regardless of anything else, communism and/or socialism in their many forms are the ideal forms of society. If humans were never selfish and always worked for the betterment of everyone, there would be no need for anything like money, wealth, or capitalism.

        Please tell me; why should people work for the betterment of the whole of human society rather than for themselves? Why should people do things that do not benefit themselves?

        Because they are nice people?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phunster (701222)

      I have to disagree with you. The examples you give are all commercial entities, except of course for small towns which are government entities. Much of America is already running Socialistic enterprises. Lets start with police departments, they are paid for with our tax money and they protect us. When you call the police, they don't ask for a credit card number. Further, all of these alarm companies profit from the existence of police departments, when the alarm goes off the police respond not the alar

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by davecb (6526) *

        Fire departments they don't bill you for responding to a fire at your home or business. Schools again socialized, yes you pay taxes, but the government provides the schools, the teachers, the school itself, athletic fields, etc. Not convinced, what about all the the rural electric companies owned by local and regional governments.

        These three services were actually privately provided at first: Benjamin Franklin started a commercial fire company, schools were restrictively private in the old British "public school" system copied by the American colonies, and power companies were often private enterprises in my father's day, even up here in Soviet Canuckistan (;-))

        None of them stayed private: the competition between fire companies caused widespread public revulsion, as did the restriction of schooling to only the upper class in egali

    • by psnyder (1326089) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:47PM (#27018653)

      ideal forms of society

      There would be a need for food, shelter, clothes, and, some may argue, medical care. So we need a source of those 4 things for our whole families.

      We've come such a long way with efficiency recently that many, many people are supported by the few people that farm, build homes, make clothes, and make and administer health care. Everything above that is superfluous and simply adds variety to our lives.

      The other things needed in a society I'd like to live in are a system that protects the personal freedoms of my family and friends, and also protects us from mentally deranged people that would physically harm us. Hence, something akin to police and basic laws.

      Finally, as with the medical care argument, I wouldn't mind some disaster relief from fires, earthquakes, etc.


      It would be nice to see a time when we become so efficient in these things that we'll only need a handful of volunteers (like a volunteer fire department) to run all of these. But that includes volunteers (or robots) to mine materials, repair & build machinery, transport things, make them accessible to everyone, etc. But there needs to be some way to ensure that these systems don't break down or stall due to some volunteer's whim.

      As of right now, we live in a society where every individual can achieve these basic things with relatively little effort. The effort is so minimal that many people spend a lot of time and money (the extra value of their work) on things like TVs, computers, fancy (rather than basic) clothes, exotic foods, jewelry, and other things not necessary to survival. In fact, quite often, half or more of people's paychecks goes to things that are not basic survival, or they buy 'nicer' versions of these needs.

      If you can easily provide those basic things for yourself and your family, you're living the utopian lifestyle now. However, commercials tell us how crappy our lives are, so we think we 'need' what they're selling. It's a bad part of capitalism, but if we simply don't pay attention and realize how much we really have, it's incredible! Almost all of you, looking at this from a computer, live the utopian life today.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        "...and other things not necessary to survival. "
        I disagree. I believe our survival depends on growth, and those allow for growth.

        Technology needs this to continue and improve.

        TO ahve a utopia we need a perfect polito-legal and social system.
        Sure, we got great stuff and easy access to food, but our political and legal system needs work.

        • And they always will but let's face it the legal and political systems in the developed world are superb compared to the totalitarian structures we used to have and which a lot of the world still suffers under. The political and legal systems will never be perfect while humans run them but they're a hell of a lot better than the "divine right of kings" we used to have.

      • Almost all of you, looking at this from a computer...

        I'm reading this from a punch-card printout, you insensitive clod!

    • by forgoil (104808)

      The Humane Society and ASPCA are two great examples of organizations, in the united states of America, that do not even remotely make money and only work for the benefit of those weaker than us. Reward doesn't have to be wads of cash. Wanting a reward is not evil after all. And socialism doesn't stop CEOs from being greedy bastards. Look at the board of directors for Volvo. Worse value for money can't be found on this earth.

      The big question with open source is how to fund it and how to deal with the total c

      • How about the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland:
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7911722.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        £650,000 a year pension after presiding over the ruination of a 200 year old bank and the biggest corporate loss in British history. He should spend the rest of his life in prison or at least in poverty, not in a mansion living the high life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      The most natural form of such a system is a risk/reward system where work is done with the expectation of a possible reward. This is, for better or for worse, capitalism. While it may be a long way from an ideal solution, it is a solution that works.

      Capitalism doesn't work.

      It briefly flourished in America during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries (and was the driving force behind industrialization) because the Federal Government gave corporations all the rope they needed. Then, very publicly, the Government hung the corporations, broke up their monopolies, and regulated the shit out of a formerly free marketplace. Minimum wages, unions, regulations of unions, child labor laws, etc etc etc.

      What exists in the USA is a mixed economy that leans towards

      • Er... I'm confused. Did you just say the US is essentially socialistic in comparison to the US of a century ago? Seems like you did. I agree. But you seem to imply that the US is an example of capitalism failing (modern day US) and then say that modern day US capitalism isn't capitalism at all, but only leans towards capitalism ...

        So, where is the argument for the blanket "capitalism doesn't work." statement?

        (my opinion - capitalism as an ideology isn't perfect, but appears to be the best idea so far, g

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Unfortunately for the US what they have is not democracy + capitalism.

      Democracy can only work well if the elected officials continued to work in the best interest of the public that they are supposedly representing. However politicians are the most important target of large corporations who want to control the government process.

      From point of view of capitalism, everything should be done that makes the capital growth better, more efficient, everything should be done that will make more money. This include

    • Well I wouldn't quite put it that way. I think it's true that pretty much any economic system works as long as the underlying assumptions work-- which they almost never do. Communism assumes all sorts of things about a person's personal motivation, problem-solving abilities, and ability to cooperate with others. So does capitalism, but capitalism tends to make slightly more realistic assumptions.

      But when you get down to it, not all the assumptions work out. People who are extremely in favor of capitali

      • People who are extremely in favor of capitalism tend to assume that people will spend their money well. Adam Smith implied that the system would only work well if people with money spent it wisely (it's been a long time, so I don't remember the context, but I remember him implying this though not saying it explicitly).

        I think Adam Smith said something like this in his book, which many people don't know or think about, " The Theory of Moral Sentiments [amazon.com]".

        Falcon

    • by leereyno (32197)

      Capitalism is a term whose literal meaning is at odds with its actual meaning.

      Capitalism isn't about capital, but about entrepreneurship. The capital, as in venture capital, is simply the catalyst and fuel that makes the entire process possible.

      Communism is also a term whose literal meaning is at odds with its actual meaning.

      Communism isn't about community, but tyranny. There will always be those who seek dominion over others, and communism is simply yet another excuse in a long line of bullshit that our

    • Full credit to Eric S. Raymond [jwherring.com].

      However, just having such a system does not prevent humans from striving for the benefits of cooperation and community strength. Co-ops, condominiums, small towns, and civic centers are just a few examples of ideas which obtain their strength from the community rather than the individual.

      Related to the quote above, you'll notice that all those things are examples of smallish groups of people acting together. Those ideas often work great on a local scale.

      The moment you step ou

    • One of the key issues here is a huge misunderstanding of why the US clings to capitalism.

      Key issues where, in the article or on Slashdot?

      Actually if there are any misunderstandings its that the market model used by some software companies is Capitalism. The use of lawyers, lobbiests, and fake grass roots community organizations to crush competition and guide governments, individuals, and businesses away from alternative software products have lead a few software vendors far from the realm of capitalism and

    • With about a million years of human history we've proven that the one social system that scales is tyranny. Good luck with your feeble "experiments," noble and otherwise. You'll find they devolve into tyranny no matter what you do.

      But if you're not interested in the social experiment the answer is simple: get yours and reproduce as fast as you can. Ultimately Darwin wins out even over tyranny.

      <sigh> I wish it were not so.

  • The old farts in washington are from another era and have no understanding of any of today's issues (if they can even identify them amongst the old and tired ones they stubbornly still debate) yet these are the people making the decisions that have an impact for years to come. To me.. this hurts a lot!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chuckymonkey (1059244)
      This was fine up until about 70 years ago. People felt better about having a stodgy old politician in office before then because the times really didn't change as much as they have in recent years. That's one unfortunate side effect of the tech explosion of the last few decades, people just cannot keep up, so you have politicians in office that are only vaguely aware that this thing made of tubes called the intarwebs even exists. Most of them do not realize just how much of a game changer it is. The Int
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This was fine up until about 70 years ago. People felt better about having a stodgy old politician in office before then because the times really didn't change as much as they have in recent years.

        70 years ago was 1939. Are you seriously going to argue that the world is changing more rapidly now than it was at the beginning of World War Two?

        People who shout about how fast modern technology is changing the world really ought to pay more attention to history. We've been going from one technological revoluti

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      I agree 100%, yet some other idiots want these people to be in charge of health care, finance institutions, and almost every other facet of our life.

  • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:02PM (#27018275)
    Open source makes for the best way to achieve President Obama's goals of transparency. Open source ensures a standards based method that will allow everyone to access government websites, information, and portals. No longer do you need to be tied into the M$ quagmire to conduct government business. If M$ won't open its software and standards, folks like Red Hat, Novell, Sun, and others will. You will have a choice of products to use.
    • The President is appointing the legal staff of the BSA [techdirt.com] and RIAA [cnet.com] to the top law enforcement positions in the land, and the MPAA [allbusiness.com] has initiated the revolving door maneuver with Assistant Attorney General John Malcolm [allbusiness.com]. It seems to me that the more things change the more they remain the same. What we've done is change who our government is sold out to.

      Apparently with the change of administrations imaginary property has become the new military industrial complex because of a focus shift from foreign to domesti

  • Scary idea... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:07PM (#27018311)

    Some good examples are IBM's JT400 toolkit (jt400.sourceforge.net), Java and Firefox of course, and some examples like the jtds driver that outperforms Microsoft's own. (jtds.sourceforge.net) Some may argue that OpenOffice is superior to program for as well.

    Lets not forget the Knoppix cds that are used specifically for tightening network security.

    If the government gets more on-board it will be a great contribution at least for motivation behind Linux. We'd also see some inevitable contributions as they assign their resources to projects like Wine for interoperability, Pidgin for communication, Nagios for enterprise monitoring and starts exploring Lotus or enterprise groupware apps for Linux.

    The scary thing would be the amount of potential leverage it could give FOSS for stuff like patent suits. It could actually make the government bias in the opposite direction!

    -Tres

  • Just ask Biden for the open source web site number.
    • But don't real hackers use IP addresses?
      • Nice save, not. He did a Palin maneuver. Give it up. It's OK. He's the vice president. It's an indoor job with no heavy lifting [commercialappeal.com] . At least he waited until after the election.

        The mission of VP is to appear so completely stupid or insane that noone in their right mind would seek your elevation to Commander in Chief. He's doing fine converting his image from platform bulwark to insurance policy.

        Should the unfortunate occur though, I would look first at the American business interests (MPAA, RIAA, BSA)

  • by the white plague (1436257) on Friday February 27, 2009 @06:19PM (#27018417)

    open-source development project ... during which a federal official said "that open source was anti-capitalist."

    OSS is anti-capitalist if when you say 'capitalist' you really mean 'Plutocracy'.

    • -isms have nothing to do with -cracies.

      And if we believe Wikipedia,

      Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned and controlled rather than commonly, publicly, or state-owned and controlled.

      free software is very anti-capitalist.

      What I don't get is - why is capitalist paradigm defended with such frenzy. Does it mean it is not natural for people to believe it?

  • "Anti-capitalist" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In 15 years' time, it will be "don't terrorists use open source?"

  • Let us see if the federal government can work on a 100% open source software solution using real open source operating systems and software applications.

    Open source is not Communism, Open Source is freedom and Democracy as our founding fathers saw it. One can be free to choose any OS or software they want and still get work done, and not be tied down to just one vendor.

    Push Open Source? It should read more like "Support Open Source" so we don't get confused with Microsoft pushing Windows on us all.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services?

    Who needs open source when you have MUMPS [wikipedia.org]?

  • by Jessta (666101) on Friday February 27, 2009 @08:03PM (#27019259) Homepage

    during which a federal official said "that open source was anti-capitalist."

    I always find it strange that people come to that conclusion, it's a very narrow view of capitalism.
    Open source and even free software is very capitalist. Capitalism is about an evolving market that is based on competition, open source software allows for a huge amount of competition because it's very easy to get in to the market.

    Building a modern operating system requires a lot of resources, thus only a select few large companies have the resources to build one.
    But there is a wide variety of things within the development and support of software where companies could compete.

    eg. support contracts, patch timeframes, deployment and custom configuration etc.

    Development of the software in the first place is a very small piece of that pie and without the source code and the ability to modify and distribute it only one company gets to compete in that huge market, which is very bad for the consumer.

    - Jesse McNelis

    • Open source and even free software is very capitalist.

      Also, if it weren't for second sourcing, a "possible" cousin of open source, the PC revolution would never have happened in the accelerated way that it did. It was the Federal government's defense requirement to have a "second source" for every defense supplier -- that made Intel share all its expertise and advances with AMD (not to mention a host of other companies). Requiring to have a second competing supplier, it really doesn't get more capitalistic

    • by mathfeel (937008)

      Development of the software in the first place is a very small piece of that pie and without the source code and the ability to modify and distribute it only one company gets to compete in that huge market, which is very bad for the consumer.

      Yes, where in capitalism does it say consumers necessarily benefit? It is usually a fortunate byproduct in the long run with competition, but in the short run (could be decades) with new technology, Capitalism makes damn sure that capitalists won first.

  • ... or idealists vs. realists... all these simple categories are already out-dated. The old scams are failing us left and right, whether they are from the Left or Right. Nobody has figured out the right FOSS business model yet. We need some fresh ideas or at least the Next Bubble.

    One thing's for sure, when all the cyber attacks are coming from countries shielded behind custom Unix/Linux variants, the Feds will have no choice but to recruit similar skills to protect the government and consumer systems in th

  • Already today there have been two [slashdot.org] other [slashdot.org] stories today about people wanting government or adminsitrators to override technical decisions about what software to use. Seems like I get modded troll every time, but I'll keep saying it. Let the techies choose technology, not the bureaucrats. It's like people want the government out of their way, unless the government is doing what they want. I'd love to see open source everywhere, but I'm not calling someone 500 people up the decision-making chain and telling

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "... a federal official said 'that open source was anti-capitalist."

    You should know that a certain vendor is actively, actively pushing this position as we speak. I recently witnessed a high-level official from this not-too-open-source-friendly vendor try to push that perspective in a private meeting with government officials, that they should not use open source because open source will crash our whole economy.

    You and I may call it FUD, but I've seen it in action (made me want to puke) and they call it "l

  • It's nice to see Scott McNealy going back to what he does best: obsess over Bill Gates and MS. I'm sure it will be as effective for the government as it was for Sun.

  • This won't be news to the slashdot crowd, but can be a useful thought to stick in someone's head when/if you hear them have that "anti-capitalist" attitude.

    "Open source isn't anti-capitalist, it is anti-monopolist, but I can understand how big companies marketing efforts have made it easy to confuse the two. I can show you hundreds upon hundreds of commerical companies from (1-2 person shops to hundreds of employees) making money with open source software, and I can show you conferences and training events

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

Working...