[oclug] Re: Fwd: Re: Why we have Source code
rgiffin at cangurus.com
Thu Jan 25 07:12:15 EST 2001
On Wednesday 24 January 2001 19:50, David F. Skoll wrote:
> On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Rod Giffin wrote:
> > > On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Rod Giffin wrote:
> > > > What I'm saying is that when the general population
> > > > doesn't know enough about a technology, no matter if it's reading and
> > > > writing in the middle ages, how to forge iron into a tool or a weapon
> > > > in the iron age, or how to write software in the information age,
> > > > they are vunerable to economic repression by those who control the
> > > > technology of the age.
> > >
> > > Really? You reckon electronics manufacturers are repressing the 95% of
> > > the population who have no idea how electronic appliances work?
> > No I don't reckon. I mentioned electronics manufacturers exactly 0
> > times and did not quote a percentage of people affected by anything,
> > so I'm not exactly what you're trying to get at.
> What I'm getting at is that electronics is the "technology of the age", and
> yet many people are perfectly happy using it without understanding too
> much about it.
Yes, many people aren't unhappy with it, I said economically repressed, I
didn't say unhappy. Give them time. But a lot of people are not happy about
it. Some of them are aware that their real income has dropped considerably
in the past 10 years.
Step back a second and look at the whole picture.
Statistics Canada says that there is a widening gap between those below the
poverty line, and those above the poverty line. It is not happening so much
right here in Ottawa, because of the economy here is still white hot. Notice
that it's mostly the high technology industries in Ottawa which are driving
that (not all of them are electronics companies - that's a very narrow view
of what high technology or even information technology is). But across
Canada the situation is a little different. Globally the situation is even
History tells me that one of the effects of a widening gap in wealth and/or
power is a violent re-distribution of wealth and/or power. Not always, but
enough times that the question crossed my mind that "if information is
wealth, could a revolution be fought over it?"
It also crossed my mind that the proprietary software industry is akin to
capitalism in general, and the open source movement acts right now as a
mitigating influence on the capitalists, just like the socialists do in our
global society, redistributing some of the wealth.
In light of those thoughts and some others, I came to the conclusion that
Francis metaphore of being able to program a computer being like literacy was
more valid than I had previously thought. The metaphore is not a perfect
example, there are some practical problems with it, but generally it fits
very well. I think it does anyway.
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