Subject: Re: Is Big Blue turning Red? IBM opens SW patents
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 06:03:49 +0900

>>>>> "Seth" == Seth Johnson <> writes:

    Seth> Actually, it's a true perversion of capitalism to call the
    Seth> principle of information freedom "communist" -- as opposed
    Seth> to capitalism, presumably.

    Seth> Capitalism and communism have in common an historical
    Seth> understanding of what free software stands for.

Perhaps.  I was recently fascinated by the (re)discovery of Fred
Brooks's description of "programming systems products", and by the
realization of just how much in common it has with "free software"---
although there is no hint in Brooks of a need to open the product at
all!  There's a clue here, though I don't know how to express it, or
even predict the direction it will take me.  But definitely a unity
that I had not seen before.

However, you should not gloss over the fact that a capitalist
philosopher will emphasize the individual's right to trade away the
power to use information in return for "good and valuable
consideration".  Those of the Friedmaniac persuasion will accede to
creation of appropriate markets via state power, constraining the
individual's future acquisition or use of this nonrival good from a
third party who experiences no loss in passing it on---but only as an
instrument to facilitate the initial trade with the innovator.  Recall
that Friedman signed the economists' brief in Eldridge, because the
extension act simply appropriated wealth from readers to incumbent
copyright holders without enabling any new trades.

Communist philosophers, on the contrary, will reify the nonrivalry of
information quite differently, by deducing a common or _social_ asset.
Consequently they will advocate diametrically opposed policies toward

"there's battle lines being drawn
 nobody's right if everybody's wrong"

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.