Simply put, socialism is a process of control of resources by a community or state in varying degrees. So the big question is does the Free Software movement enjoy any relation with socialist ideology ?

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dave's picture
Created by dave 10 years 14 weeks ago – Made popular 10 years 14 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
kiba's picture


10 years 14 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago


Free software is a very capitalistic

Free software is a very capitalistic way of doing things.

For example, people can fork, compete with others for popularity, service contract, etc.

Just because it is essentially public property does not mean capitalistic model will not proliferate. Rather it is the opposite.

Soviet Union are not really communism. They're really a dictatorship. Communism is essentially utopia. It might even be anarchistic.

The governing of free software project is really a combination of governing style. There would be democratic model, dictatorship mode in place to make project governing efficient and sound depending on the situation.

While Free software lend themsleves easily into capitalism, they can also be gift economy, meaning members of the community have reputation, which can be also converted to hard cold cash.

It may be that Free software is the synthesis of several economic system such as pesudo anchro-capitalism, socialism, gift economy, and etc. Meanwhile the governing system is also a synthesis of many depending on projects.

A commentor in the blog say capitalism, communism are a way of controlling scarce resources and say it doesn't apply to softwares. I disagree, software that do what you want can be rare, workers may be in short supply, etc. Although softwares can be duplicated essentially for zero dollars, there still exist a market to create good softwares that do tasks that haven't been done before.

MS' capitalism is not the ideal capitalism. It is using market protections granted by the government and rent-seeking measures to hold off competition and thus prevent rapid progress in the markets.

peacemaker's picture


10 years 14 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago


You can really only have benign

You can really only have benign dictators with free software. Because if a dictator started doing things "the people" didn't like, "the people" can, as you mentioned, fork.

FOSS is very interesting politically speaking because, while it is capitalist in the sense that it promotes competition, choice and a free market place, it is also very socialist in that what is produced is aimed at benefiting society and no one person controls it. Rather than "the state" controlling it "everybody" and/or "nobody" does.

And then, it is also anarchistic in that there are no real rules or governing bodies. You can do whatever you want with the software and govern yourself. No one is going to come along and say you can't do this or that, no one is going to say you don't adhere to standards... or, if they do, it doesn't matter.

It seems to take the best aspects from all of these different political models.

It's all just so... organic.

Smegzor's picture


10 years 14 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago


There certainly is a correlation

There certainly is a correlation in my own case. I have two usb sticks packed with every useful free or open source program I can find (for Windows), and some live cd's. I fix people's computer problems and introduce them to lots of great software for the price of a cup of tea and a few biscuits. I never ask for money but they always pay me anyway (I never say no to that).

lozz's picture


10 years 14 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago


I have to agree with this line

I have to agree with this line of thought. If you haven't already read it, do a search for Antony C Sutton's book, "Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution" which is a free download in a number of formats at various sites. Sutton clearly demonstrates how the major banks in Wall Street bank-rolled the entire Russian Revolution and many of the revolutionaries, themselves, were actually sourced from the US.

The Soviet model was actually the one favoured by these major financiers because the state, itself, became one giant Monopoly, where competition was not allowed.

Imagine a state where Microsoft had gained full control of everything and you won't be so far off the mark.

Microsoft, itself, is simply following in this 20th century tradition favoured by these monopoly socialists.