Is Linux a tool for greed?

I read this article with interest. I'll over-simplify the argument and summarize it as "America is greedy, Linux is not result of greed". I'll simply agree that America is greedy (hey, that's capitalism). Of course, every other country is also greedy. Greed - and other countries - have been around long before America ...

My question is around this statement Mr. Koennig makes: "I prefer to take hold of Linux and stand once and for all for something, some tangible thing, that is overtly good and beneficial and not based on greed. Linux is no longer simply an operating system, it has become the instrument of light to uncover a deeply rooted greed that drives much in America. Let us hope that Linux will prevail."

Disclaimer: I am asking questions here, not making a statement. I am posting this blog entry from a Linux desktop. I am not against Linux. I have been running Linux for 3 of the past 5 years on my laptop (with two years of Solaris X86).

Initially, Linux was not based on greed. Is this true ... today? Aren't corporations both inside and outside of the US trying to make money off of Linux? Aren't many of the important contributors now corporations? Corporations are not doing this for the goodness of humanity. They are doing it to make money using various business models. Where would Linux be today without greedy corporations? Has Linux become a tool of greed both inside and outside America? Is Linux really an "instrument of light?" In practice, can Linux and greed be separated?

Comments:

A parable comes to mind. An old man is walking down the road with the devil. Up ahead, a young man stares down at a wondrous glowing object. The old man asks the devil "What has he found?" to which the devil replies "The Truth!". "If that is the case," asks the old man, "why are you smiling?" "Ah," says the devil, "here's where it gets interesting. Now that he has found the Truth, he'll need an organization to help spread it, and that's where I come in." ----- I believe the linux movement is well advanced in the corporate phase and is steadily losing its innocent aspects. For instance, Red Hat discontinued its support for Red Hat Linux version 9 as of April 30th which is designed to push customers toward their Enterprise Linux. "Business customers, who usually expect to get at least three years of work out of an operating system, were as mad as wet hens to find their support disappearing from underneath them." ----- http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1592544,00.asp ---- In order to spread, Linux is becoming corporatized and with that corporatization comes the profit motive.

Posted by patjoecon on July 15, 2004 at 03:06 AM PDT #

The fundamental problem with this discussion is that "greed" is a loaded word. When you replace "greed" with "self interest", does it seem so repugnant? Recall the famous passage from Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations": ... every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society, as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it ... he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. (Smith, p. 423) Socialism is a failure. Humanity is best served when individuals are free to promote their own best self interest, of course within the bounds of a legal system.

Posted by hoffie on July 15, 2004 at 04:09 AM PDT #

Adam Smith's quote ends at the page citation (Smith, p. 423) - my editorialization follows :)

Posted by hoffie on July 15, 2004 at 04:11 AM PDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.
About

John Clingan

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today