Monday, September 27, 2004

The Politics of Open Source

Caught this article on the politics (or lack thereof) in the open source (or FOSS) movement. Heavy reading -- the author's love of big words and convoluted sentences puts me to shame.

One interesting term that came up halfway through the article is "neoliberal." I've heard of "neoconservatives," but this is a new one to me. From context, these neoliberals apparently support the more aggressive forms of intellectual property law. Funny, I always just called them "greedy bastards," but "neo" seems to be a more politically-hip modifier.

Found this quote in the article, which sums up pretty well how hackers feel about politics:

While programming is considered a transparent, neutral, highly controllable realm for thought and expression where production results in immediate gratification and something useful, politics tend to be seen by programmers as buggy, mediated, and tainted action clouded by ideology that is not productive of much of anything while it insidiously works against true forms of free thought.

The most interesting point the article makes is that the FOSS movement's support of free speech is rooted in pragmatics -- free speech is a neccessary enabler for the spread of ideas and peer communication required for good programming.

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