Does anyone know if there's conversations ongoing in the free software community around *why* software isn't free?
Like stallman is all "closed source is bad ethics m'kay", but makes it seem like a choice which is where a lot of people seem to be. Ignoring how market competition makes closed source not only appealing, but an actual advantage to competition.
Like yeah you can make your shit open source and it's still possible to make a profit. But you can make way more if you monopolize platforms/code.
So that's obvious enough, seems simple. But if you're starting from a place where you ignore the market itself as the problem then you're also ignoring the way production of code is coordinated by that same mechanism.
It means most people, if they want to live and make code are forced to write code that can direct the purpose of, because it has to be written with profitability in mind. Otherwise they wouldn't get paid to write it.
Sure that doesn't preclude open source yet, companies contribute...
But often times that's less painful for companies where coordination is actually beneficial.
i.e: Linux dominates server software because it's not the actual code running the server where companies get their profits, it's the data collected and tech support. So it doesn't matter if the code is closed, because it doesn't provide much benefit, and infact the development you get from it being an open source project outweigh the need for gaurd secrets.
But that's just for infrastructure. It's like roads.
So then that leaves actual user software in a different boat, because the very function of the software is the useful thing. If that was given away for free capitalists don't benefit.
There's a bunch of software that gets written which is important to keep closed for "competitive advantage" or whatever.
This is where free software is often the least polished, because capitalists don't benefit in the same openness, but users do which is why people often share tools they've already written. Or volutneer
That was kind of long and ramble-y, but my point is that a lot of the software that gets written then is written by people who make money off of coding for a living. People who will be subject to those work conditions through market forces.
That means in order to fight back against those pressures, it takes a concious coordination of *developers* to counter act it, because while the code may be open or not, they do not get to direct it's purpose if they work for a company employing them.
So that means we can't just ignore the market and the impact it has on how the development of code is done.
Some very lucky developers due to the nature of programming, with it's potentially low barrier to entry in terms of capital/resources, can get away with starting their own unique project and supporting that through communities and volunteers.
But the ever expansive wealth that companies capture outpaces this vastly because it's so goddamn productive and they have a need for growth.
All of that is to say, for better or worse company boards drive software development. That means the battleground isn't in the ever receding pockets of what tiny alternative, decentralized project will save us.
But harnessing the actual time in energy we already put into code collectively to be a public good, recognized as such. Only tech workers have the power to turn that tide, because it is workers employed by tech capital who produce the code that we continually have to reinvent to reclaim.
Not to say people shouldn't work on those projects, because they should. But if we want a world where it's not just the most tech savvy who are using these projects then we need a much broader reaching project than I think the FOSS community sees itself as.
But that's only because right now I think we don't have an actual base inside of the war against tech capital, i.e: unions and an independent political party. Once we have those things, maybe this won't seem so abstract.
@bob I mean it's dialectical so yeah that makes sense too. Before there's an established industry that can have a major impact too.
I also think it really helped to have an OEM deal with every computer coming pre-installed with windows.
@bob Yeah, it's pretty much the same situation on mobile for Google today, except they're more integrated beyond even just your OS.
They have a service for everything imaginable that runs anywhere.
@bob Which is why the fact that tech workers are finally starting to feel that power and organize against stuff like Project MAVEN or walking out against sexual assault could spell a new era for FOSS if we play our cards right and support those developments.
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