Is free software “communist”? Maybe yes...

Is free software “communist”? Maybe yes...


Some prominent people have called free software “communist” in an attempt to bring Cold War bugaboos to bear against the movement—a kind of “nuclear option” of FUD. I remember the paranoia of the Cold War personally, and I thought then (and I still do now) that it was “just stupid”.

So rather than react as some have done with a knee-jerk “no it’s not!”, I propose to accept the label and see where that insight takes us. Maybe there is something communist about free software? I think we will see, however, that the idea behind free software is far more radical: no less “communist” than “capitalist”, but no more so, either.

The tired rhetoric of the Cold War

August 6th is known as “Peace Day”. It’s an ironic name for the day that commemorates the day in 1945 when the United States became the only country ever (before or since) to use a nuclear weapon on live human beings. It might be argued that that final offensive act of WWII was also the initial offensive act of the Cold War. We had cooperated uneasily with Soviet Communists to win the war, and when it was over, our political machine began the first go at the “New American Century”, with American monopoly control of nuclear weapons as the big stick needed to police the world.

Sometime in the next few years, the Soviets overcame that disadvantage; the “red scare” was started; and Senator McCarthy’s anti-communist witch-hunts began—and the word “communist” became more than an academic classification of a particular socio-economic philosophy. It became a dirty word, synonymous with “traitor”, and if Bill Gates can still get a rise out of using it to describe the free software movement, then we’re apparently still not quite over that paranoia.

But in the end, it is just a word—an idea that, right or wrong, appealed to millions of human beings for decades. I believe that there is some insight to be gained from considering free software from the communist perspective. Maybe in certain important ways, free software is worthy of the name “communist”. Not the dirty word, not the strawman totalitarian threat of the communist party, but the pure concept behind it. The part of communism that convinced millions of people that it might be a good idea.

Working together is a good thing, isn’t it? The ideal of unity of purpose,  is critical to communist expressions of their own goals. But maybe the only thing we should be fearing in this picture is the gun—the spectre of state coersion to attain that unity. If people work together through freedom, that’s another matter entirely. (Propaganda poster from Wikipedia Commons: Public Domain).Working together is a good thing, isn’t it? The ideal of unity of purpose, is critical to communist expressions of their own goals. But maybe the only thing we should be fearing in this picture is the gun—the spectre of state coersion to attain that unity. If people work together through freedom, that’s another matter entirely. (Propaganda poster from Wikipedia Commons: Public Domain).

Communism was a political philosophy attempting to solve certain kinds of social problems in the Capitalist West that were (and are) quite frankly real problems: poverty, class stratification, and social injustice. That it did not seem to solve those problems when applied on a national scale during the 20th century represented a human failure, but hardly an incarnation of evil. And you’ve not yet given an idea a fair hearing until you’ve looked at it from the point of view of its supporters. Communists themselves do not see the central state control of the economy as the point of communism—only as a means. Marx argued that it should be expected to “wither away” in fact.

No, the point of communism, as communists would describe it, is to implement the communist ideal:

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

In this particular sense, free software development does indeed follow. Since there is often no direct and exclusive material remuneration for the work done, the principle reasons for doing software work on free community projects are the abilities and desires of the developers. We have an “interest-ocracy”, as some have described it—those who care enough about the design to do the work, get to determine how it is done.

Likewise, the nature of software as information and the resulting near zero cost of replication of the work leads naturally to a condition in which there is no reason not to take according to your needs.

The essential, unbreakable connection between the give of production and the take of consumption is broken naturally by the nature of software itself. Fearing the economic consequences of this reality in a society which takes the conservation of number and mass (natural properties of matter, but unnatural for information), our capitalist societies have constructed elaborate, centrally-administered market-controls (sound familiar?) in order to force the information market, against its nature, to imitate the properties of the matter marketplace.

We call these controls, collectively, the “intellectual property regime”. And what was once a fairly innocuous implementation, limited in both time and scope, has become enormous. When 12 year old kids and senior citizens are being threatened with lawsuits and fines of more than they might earn in the next ten years for the horrible crime of listening to music and sharing it with their friends; when vast corporations use armies of lawyers to claim control of trivial ideas through software patents; when international treaties hinge on the application of stricter and stricter controls on the dissemination of information; when the act of merely writing software capable of breaking these manacles on intellectual freedom is made into a criminal offense—can we really pretend that “IP laws” are any less oppressive than the communist “command economy”?

Free software eliminates these unnatural controls, freeing the marketplace, and allowing information products to assume their natural behavior. A behavior, which—curiously—embraces the ideals of the communist society.

Free-Market Communism

In fact, the free/copyleft license strategy and the whole concept of community-based peer production cuts right across this political spectrum, destroying the traditional boundaries, because it achieves the communist ideals without the restrictions that capitalists object to.

As a social contract, free-copyleft licenses like the GPL draw a very different boundary for personal “property” in the intellectual sphere than either capitalism or communism does in the material world. Attribution is accorded much greater importance, as the important fuel for the “reputation game” that keeps excellent creators in a position to create. But the ability to control the use and replication of the work is rejected. Indeed, via the copyleft requirement, this artificial market control is denied to all, ensuring that the work is free for use, reuse, improvement, and sharing of the improved work. The work is owned in that sense, not by any individual, but by “the commons”.

Thus it can be said to be both “communist” and “free-market”—at least from a certain point of view. We in the West have been conditioned to believe that the free-market always chooses competition, but in the case of free software, the free market chooses cooperation, or to put it more bluntly, communism (that is to say, it encourages people to behave communally and hold property in common). People can participate in a free software project with little or no “capital”, so there is no reason to raise large capital investments, hence no actual need for “capitalism” as such (as opposed to the case of proprietary software, you do not need a company to start a free software project!).

That, of course, is the cannonball that knocks the supports out from under the capitalist arguments for the importance of intellectual property controls to maintain production. They take it as a foregone conclusion that production is impossible without monetary capital investment and that licensing-fees are the only way to recoup that investment. However, free software production is demonstrably so efficient and reductive to cost that capital investment becomes almost irrelevant for all but a tiny minority of software projects. Hence, less restrictive means of collecting revenue—such as service contracts, commissions received beforehand, and investment based on personal use value—have proved adequate to meet the much more modest funding requirements of free software projects.

Contrary to the assumptions of our society, “free market” does not necessarily imply “capitalist”. “Capitalism” refers to the specific practice of accumulating capital to start enterprises. In the material marketplace, free markets appear to invariably lead to capitalism, but we can’t safely assume that will be so in information markets.

In the free-market of community-based peer production (CBPP), labor is spontaneously contributed to the completion of goals for the pure joy (or enlightened self-interest, if you prefer—which I generally do) of helping the communal effort, based on the skill sets of the people contributing. This happens completely without state coersion or market controls. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” occurs without any kind of state enforcement (i.e. in a free market). Hence, CBPP or free software development, is a real, working case of “free market communism”.

We already know that this system works. It built GNU. It built Linux. It built X. It built Wikipedia. It has accomplished things with little or no capital investment that cost corporations billions of dollars in capital (compare to Microsoft Windows, the Apple O/S (before Darwin/OS X), and Encyclopedia Brittanica). And far from being inferior copies as our Western capitalist education says they must be, they appear to be at least as good if not better than their proprietary equivalents. In some cases—such as the Internet itself—there are no proprietary equivalents.

A new revolution

This free market, bazaar economy doesn’t really resemble the real 20th century communist societies. But it might resemble the vision that Marx had in his head—of a communist society that worked, that didn’t need market controls or oppression to function. But that’s not something we should be eager to condemn, is it?

I think the only reason people don’t say this is that they are afraid of being labeled “communist” because of the historical paranoia. But I don’t think we should be so reactive. We should rise above that level, and realize that that’s exactly what we are doing with the free software movement and the bazaar—we are rising above the tired, 20th century conceptions of “communism” and “capitalism”. We are replacing them both in the way every old system should hope to be replaced—by building something that works even better.

Long live the revolution!

License

Copyright © 2006 Terry Hancock / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)

Originally published at www.FreeSoftwareMagazine.com.

You must retain this notice if you reprint this article.

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Comments

wh7qq's picture
Submitted by wh7qq on

Any of you that have worked for a large corporation know that therein lies the ultimate expression of communism. The individual is subjugated to the will of the collective (We are Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated or fired).

Terry Hancock's picture

Well that certainly put the cat among the pigeons. ;-)
(I'm refering to the comments on the digg site linked above, actually)

I can't say that wasn't my intention. Honestly, though I did not mean to use the proposition "free software is communist" as merely a strawman -- I actually believe that the term is at least as applicable as "capitalist" is (and actually more so).

We really have four concepts: "capitalism", "free market", "communism", and "command economy". In the industrial-era matter economy we could safely assume that "free market capitalism" would be aligned opposite to "command economy communism". So much so that we have conflated these four concepts into two.

But the information economy turns that on its head. Now we have to choose between "command economy capitalism" and "free market communism".

So if you were a "free market capitalist", which bit was it that you liked? The freedom, or the necessity of building capital in order to create wealth? Personally, I'm going for the freedom -- and if that means that the natural approach to information production is communist, then so be it.

It seems to me that I've already said all this, so if people didn't get it the first time, this comment probably won't help, but I can't help trying again!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I look at FOSS the same way I look at barn raisings, the neighbor that fixes cars as a hobby, giving somebody a lift to the gas station when they run out of fuel, or an individual that donates his/her time to organize the school carnival:

It is not required, it is an opportunity to help out a neighbor or community because it is the right thing to do.

Our community is just bigger and more diverse is all.

-- Bilfurd

Rick Stockton's picture

On Boston Legal, Denny Crane said something like, "You lost when you allowed me to frame the question". Allowing Proprietary-Control-Oriented persons and businesses to put their labels on us goes a long way towards simply surrendering to their many unfair characterizations.

Thus: Don't EVER call it "Digital RIGHTS management": Point out the simple fact that it imposes RESTRICTIONS, and insist that it be called 'Digital Restrictions Management'.

And: Don't EVER let them call us 'Communists', allowing the obvious linkage to the totalitarian characteristics of all so-called "Communist" Governments (past and present).

Perhaps we're "Socialists". I feel that we're actually "Libertarians", because Free Software is about FREEDOM-- you aren't FORCED to use it. Don't EVER accept this carefully chosen label of MS toadies. Thanks for listening. Your essay is provocative, I was very happy to be provoked :)

Terry Hancock's picture

The problem I have with being called a "communist" is not unlike the problem with being called a "liberal". Since when is it an insult? And so why should we run scared from it?

You have to have bought into a particular and very elaborate "frame" in order to accept the idea that "communism" is automatically evil. The other side isn't just throwing insulting words around, they're attempting to redefine them in the process by lumping a whole complex system of assumptions onto them.

It's true that the communism as implemented in the 20th century largely derives from Karl Marx, and might be more properly and narrowly defined as "Marxism" which is particularly violent and oppressive (one could mention Lenin and Stalin, but they're hardly an improvement), but American labor unions have also identified themselves and been identified by others as "communist". Certainly they believe in the power of collective action. And I for one, owe a personal debt of gratitude to American labor unions. Collective bargaining for fair wages is the reason I have a college education.

I know that in a pure capitalist system, the tradesmen in my ancestry would've been ground into the dirt by the same kind of greedy capitalist scum that's trying to control this ideology. I've seen what they do first hand, and I've read enough history to know exactly what the "captains of industry" will do to the working class if they can make one extra stinking buck by doing it.

I'll fight for "freedom" versus "oppression", but "capitalism" versus "communism"? Who cares? Freedom can be ideological, but fighting for the economy to be controlled by a few people with deep pockets versus the collective decisionmaking of the many? That's way too much like the "divine right of kings" for my taste. Prove to me why it should matter to me.

IMHO, the only reason why it matters is because -- in the matter economy -- capitalism is what happens when there are no market controls. It is in that sense "natural". Communist states in the 20th century showed us just how expensive and difficult it is to manage an economy unnaturally, and I strongly support the free market, which means that as regards the matter economy, I'm a capitalist, albeit not exactly a "laissez faire" capitalist, because I believe that capitalist markets need boundary conditions in order to behave reasonably well.

But come the information economy and the tables are turned -- now communism is what happens naturally in a free market, and the capitalists need extensive market controls to keep themselves in business. Or so believes Microsoft, the RIAA, and the MPAA. They say we have to have extensive "private intellectual property" systems, artificially enforced by state authority via more and more restrictive laws. And then the laws about that private property aren't enough (and consumers don't believe they're fair), so they start trying to make new technology to enforce their will violently, by oppressing the consumer. Then they feel they need a new set of laws (like the DMCA) to protect the technology of oppression -- even from the prying eyes of researchers. Essentially, they are asking for secret state police measures to enforce their will.

So, I think we need to stop fearing the idea that what we're doing might be communist. Our experience has mislead us into believing that it is the communists who want to oppress us, and that capitalism is always the way to freedom. But that doesn't work in the information world. Information is best when it is widely shared and held in common -- even the American "Founding Fathers" believed that. It's only the peculiar idea of trying to apply rules from the matter marketplace onto information that would make us think otherwise.

The problem with the label "libertarian", though it is probably just as descriptive, is that -- as a party -- libertarians have come down on the other side of the intellectual property issue. Unfortunately, they've been so snowed by the capitalist propaganda, that they don't realize that IP is unfree.

Still, maybe an argument from the "libertarian" angle is worth writing. The main reason I didn't do that here is that I think it's already been done rather well.

gcacic's picture
Submitted by gcacic on

The flagships of Capitalistic economical thought, to mention just two Johns - John Meynard Keynes and John Kenneth Galbright, have spent the entire productive lives trying to deny simple Marx`s sentence

- The human labour and human labour only creates the new value

Capitalism is all about taking away that new value from it`s rightful owner - the worker.

It is also mentioned in Marx`s "Das Kapital" that reaching the high level of human thought together with "production forces" (technology!?) is a must to make true Comunism viable.

And the paradox - How on earth could come that initiative comes from the most unexpected place - the ultimae Capitalistic society (please read USA). Maybe Marx`s predecessor Hegel could help

- Everz system carries in it`s essence the seed of it`s own destruction

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

When you make a statement like, "...hence no actual need for “capitalism�" you fail to realize that most capitalist start off with relatively nothing but the desire to be succesful.

Philosophicaly speaking, capitalism is an extension of free markets. If you choose to share your knowlegde, capital, widgets, programs, etc. that makes you a good person, not a communist.

Terry Hancock's picture

And that is the kind of ignorance that a bourgeois upbringing leads to, as long as we're throwing ad hominem attacks around. ;-)

Sure they start off with "nothing". Nothing but education (generally beyond what is available for the public at large -- that being "communist" or "socialist", too, of course), family connections, and -- oh yeah -- MONEY.

If you get a job to earn capital, you aren't a capitalist, you're a worker. If you get your education from the state-funded public school system only (which is what your choice is limited to if your parents didn't give you the MONEY -- because, for example, they didn't have it), then your remark is particularly ironic.

And if you think it's possible to start out with no education, get a job, pay your way through school, save up money, and start a business from scratch... well, you obviously didn't grow up in the United States anytime in the last 40 years.

RichardBronosky's picture

Terry Hancock,
I find it very amusing how people like you consider me to be part of the evil, privileged, rich, just because I chose to escape poverty, and not become reliant on government.

When I was very young my mother, brother, and I lived in government housing. Our mother taught us that we can be anything we want to be if we:
1. Learn to speak properly.
2. Get all the education we can.
3. DON'T GET ANYONE PREGNANT!

She refused to accept food stamps because she could afford food, just not housing, and she wanted us to know that we were not supposed to take handouts just because they were there.

So, I guess in a way you are right, success is dependent on being privileged enough to have a good education. Just not the bourgeois education you suggest. The education of success is what my mother gave me. The education you give is that of failure. You and those like you are guilty of telling people in tough situations that they cannot succeed on their own. Your message is the root of the social problem.

Does the public education system in the US suck? Yes. But there is still no excuse for not learning. Free/Libre software is the great equalizer. There is absolutely no reason not to learn skills that make you highly marketable. That's the path I chose. My brother had the discipline to get good grades and he went into radiology and with grants and scholarships paid less than half of full price for his schooling. If we would have been influenced by people like you, saying things like "if you think it's possible...", we'd be in poverty today. Shame on you.

Terry Hancock's picture

I'm sorry if the term "bourgeois" offended you. Clearly you felt I was labeling you. But pithy banter aside, the term was accurate in the way I used it, which was to modify the word "education", and that is exactly what I meant: "an education defined by the values and needs of the bourgeoisie".

The definition of "bourgeois" (from Wordnet, the GCIDE definitions are similar) is:

  • "belonging to the middle class" or
  • "a capitalist who engages in industrial commercial enterprise"

In other words, someone who owns the capital for their own production, such as a small (or medium-sized) business owner.

Regardless of your economic class, if you got your education in a US public school, or indeed, in almost any US private school, then the curriculum was almost certainly determined by members of the bourgeoisie, either directly, or through indirect influences such as a school board position. I have seen very few exceptions to this rule.

Mind you, this is equally true of the education I received, at least through high school level.

By and large, this is not a problem, but there are conflicts of interest that can create confusion.

I assert that it is one such confusion that you are clinging to in your prior anonymous post -- the conflation between the separate terms "capitalist" and "free market". Since the free market is probably the best ideological argument for the benefit of capitalism, is it any surprise that capitalists themselves want to believe that the two are inseparable?

Thus, conventional education in the US treats these terms as interchangeable, because it is assumed they always go hand-in-hand. This is not a conspiracy. It's a blind spot. I'm sure the people writing those textbooks think they are telling the truth when they imply that "capitalism" and the "free market" are the same thing.

However, the main point of this article is precisely that, in the domain of information production, they are not the same!

Instead we face a choice between "free market communism" and "command economy capitalism" (choices we didn't have in the matter marketplace). As someone who strongly favors the "free market" (the lack of market controls) but is ambivalent about "capitalism" (the accumulation of wealth to fund businesses), I favor the former choice -- it's more important to be free than to allow people to get rich (not that I believe it's bad to get rich, it just isn't as important to society as freedom is). If that means being a "communist" (one who believes in collective action to start projects), then I'm cool with that.

Furthermore, this is limited to the information marketplace. Since I favor the free market, I also favor "free market capitalism" where it occurs -- which is in the matter marketplace.

But of course, this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because the whole point is that the old rules and assumptions break down in the information marketplace. I'm sure you realize that neither Adam Smith nor Karl Marx had any clue what 21st century information economies were going to look like. They both dealt with the matter economics of the agrarian and industrial ages. Thus, their theories both break down when the fundamental assumptions they are based on -- such as the conservation of number -- are broken.

It's a bit off-topic, but since you bring it up, I do not advocate "government handouts" any more or less than your mother did. I've made similar choices myself, and for much the same reasons.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Arguing whether free software is communist or liberal is like arguing whether photosintesis is imaginative or conventional.

It just does not make sense. you are trying to qualify something with terms that just don't apply to it, it is false both that the
statement is true and that it is false, it's a meaningless statement.

You can say a lot of true things one way or another and still don't prove anything. You could say photosintesis is imaginative
because nobody would have thought of it if we hadn't had plants to show us. But that's silly, not only because we wouldn't
be here, much less think of photosintesis, if there were no plants, but because "imaginative" applies to ideas, attitudes and
human behaviour, not to biochemical reactions. You could say that photosintesis is conventional because it happens all over
the planet and is the basis of all conventional life in the planet. But it is not "conventional". It is natural but nobody
has decided to use photosintesis to turn sun radiation to life as an option between some other equally valid option that we could
have choosen. It is no convention because nobody planned it, so it is not conventional.

Communism and capitalism is about allocating resources. Communism says they should be allocated evenly among everybody,
and capitalism that people who are somehow more productive should get more resources. Communism believes that it is
wasteful for someone to have more than he needs while someone has less than necessary and capitalism thinks that it
is wasteful to allocate the same resources to those who produce more than those who produce less. This only makes
sense when resources are allocatable. Once you deal with resources that everybody can have as much as he wants without
stopping anybody else from having the same (like information) the allocation is irrelevant, is meaningless and is
artificial.

That's theory. In practice we haven't tried communism and we haven't tried free markets. We've tried state controled
production and oligopolists controlled markets . Somehow the communists argue that private control of means of production
leads to the benefit of only the few that control means of production and neglect of desirable outcomes from which no
single party benefits, while capitalists argue that central control
of production leads to both a control problem too large to solve (therefore bureaucracy and inefficiencies) and
to the benefit of those controlling it (the political class). But that is again about finite resources. Should
factories produce Cola or books ? A factory can only produce one of the two. You can have only so many factories,
you can't have two facilities in the same place at the same time... But should a desktop be programmed in C or C++ ?
Well, you can have 2 different desktops . monolithic kernel or microkernel ? You can have a wide choice of kernels...
Even if you are sure of what is the right decision you don't lose anything by someone taking different decisions.
If I am sure that kids need to read books more than drink cola, so we should prioritise paper and book factories
over cola factories, and someone else disagrees then we have a problem because there is only so much land to build
the factories, only so much water to use for cola or for manufacturing paper... So we can start arguing whether
it should be decided by the government or the venture capital.

The only finite resource in knowledge economy is time, and even that it is only finite from a certain perspective.
Your own time is finite, but if you happen to have children maybe the time available for any task is not finite
(at least until you take into account that we don't seem to be getting round to making our species survive
an infinite time).

If free software was communism then the free software revolution should be about confiscating excess software from those who
have more software than they need and giving it to those who don't have enough software. Free software is not that, at most is
about giving software to those who need it (and about much more) but there's no need to take it from anyone else.
If free software was capitalism then it wouldn't make sense that everybody could get tens of thousands of packages
in a distribution, irrespective of their contribution to free software, the amount of free software available
to each person should be related somehow to what that person "deserves" by some notion of "deserving". Both absurdities remind more of propietary software than of free software, because both are modeled on scarcity of resources which is
contrary to the nature of information and therefore to the nature of software.

Do you think Marx woud have objected to his books being included in the large libraries of people who already had
many books (think of e-books so that the scarcity of paper or printing press does not play a role)? Do you think
Keynes would have a problem if told that every person in the would would be able to read his theory irrespective
of how much money he had, how much work he had done and how much he had contributed to economic theory ?. Was Marx
against private libraries ? Was Keynes against public libraries ? (would they have been if they had known
of electronic storage of their works?). Did Stalin pretend that all information should be owned by the state ?
(i.e. was he against confidentiality or secrets?). Did McCarthy outlaw language, math or any other knowledge
shared by everyone ?. Both capitalism and communism is about matter economy. Information is only addressed
as an asset for control, not as a good.

The article points rightly many incoherencies of trying to apply mater economy to intangibles, but it does not realise that communism is just a different matter economy model, not more adapted to knowledge economy than capitalism.

So free software is not about capitalism, not about communism: it is about information and about choice, about software and about freedom.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

50-50-90 rule:
when you can choose from 2 points of view which both seem to be 50/50 accurate, in 90 percents you will pick the wrong one.
(why - there is usually 3rd option which was hidden from you).

Its not about communism or capitalism. do not accept the mark.
All americans could be seen as commies: are u a practicing communist ?

its all about freedom:

  • managed (censored) world against the free one,
  • slavery / freedom,
  • lies / truth,
  • creativity / corruption.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Let Us not be Confused by the Obfuscation and Dissembling by those Multi-Billionaires who wish to do us Great Harm so that they may further continue to Profit from Our Ignorance.

Closed Source binary-only Software is BY DEFINITION Communist. It has NO TRANSPARENCY and NO ACCOUNTABILITY to the People of the World who are Forced to use it. We are not allowed to Change anything. If We try, We are Persecuted in exactly the same way Communist China deals with Dissidents.

Free Open Source Software is BY DEFINITION Democratic. Laws are Codified so as to be able to be read by anyone with Common Sense. The People may Contribute to the Legislation by Petitioning the Democracy. The People may Contribute to Open Source Software in exactly the same way.

Petitioners in Communism get Flattened by Tanks, or their Quasi-Legal representative equivalent, because Communists care nothing for the Rule of Law. Communists Rule by Whim and Fiat. Communists Arrest you and then Invent the Crime for which you have been Arrested.

Bill Gates is a Communist Dictator who rules by Whim and Fiat. If you do NOT Absolutely and Completely Agree with what he says, he will Persecute you, Bankrupt you and eventually Destroy you, if all else fails to sway you to his Communist Ideology.

Like all Communists, Bill Gates is very skilled in the Arts of Lying and Calling People Names, but the Names he calls the Free People of the World are really only projections of his own mentally defective Communist self-image.

In the 70s and 80s he called all Hobbyists pirates, yet Bill Gates is the one who STOLE Dartmouth BASIC, put his Own Name on it and sold it to the Apple and Tandy Computer Companies. Dartmouth University was not, and has never been to this very day, ever paid anything for the code he had Stolen Outright from the original developers of BASIC.

That is what Communists do. They Steal from the People, then turn around and say what they did was not Grand Larceny. They claim Innovation in Design, when all it really consists of is Innovation in Theft.

Almost without exception, the other Computer Systems Manufacturers at the time who wished to use BASIC did pay Dartmouth University, and they did prominently display the Credit for the Software to Dartmouth University.

Democratic Society gives until it hurts. It gets a lot of people, mostly the Confused and those Communists with an Agenda, upset at the way how they throw Money, Time and Effort around like it Grows on Trees, but the Simple Fact of the matter is that the the People of a Free and Democratic Society give Because they know the People deserve the Best that can be made. They also know that, for the future generations to understand it, THE GIVING MUST BE CODIFIED IN A TRANSPARENT AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE FORM. There is NO OTHER WAY to Insure the Viability, Integrity and Future of Freedom and Democracy.

Communists only know how to Steal. It has been 8 years since Bill Gates and Company were Convicted of Abusing their Monopoly Power and they still, to this very day, have not complied with ANY of the Remedies set forth by the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson or his Successors on Appeal. Bill Gates and Company simply CAN NOT comply with the Remedies because they have no idea whatsoever how a Free and Democratic Society works. It is Anathema to their Ideology.

I say to you all and for all to hear, that Bill Gates verily is the greatest Communist and Criminal Mastermind of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He has been Our Most Deadly Foe for over 30 years, and he continues to be Our Worst Enemy. We, the Free and Democratic People of the World, are still Fighting against him and we shall continue to Fight against him, against those Billionaire fellows of his Communist ilk and against those who would sympathize, support and make excuses for the Bad Behavior of Their Communist Dictators who continue to act against the wishes of a Free and Democratic Society. The Free People of the World are neither Confused, Ignorant nor Guillible.

The only Real Question that Remains to be Answered is will We, the Free and Democratic People of the World, be Triumphant and shed ourselves of Bill Gates and Company, or at the very least Bring them to Heel and Force them to Behave as a Free and Democratic Society demands?

It is my Great Hope that We, the Free and Democratic People of the World, will prevail. We should keep in mind that Victory is not Inevitable but, by Each of Us doing Our Part to dispel Confusion, Lies and Ignorance, it most surely is a Distinct Probability that FREEDOM WILL PREVAIL.

Until that day dawns, We will continue to face a struggle NO LESS IMPORTANT to the Future of the Free People of the World than the American People have faced, and continue to face, in their struggles from 1776 onwards.

Signed,

John Quincy Public, Citizen of the World.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I think someone should read some story books and get real here..... unfortunately our "capitalistic democracy" is just as bad (if you wish ) as communism, except from some other million side effects (i.e. Global warming, is that enough???).
Well... free Citizens of the world maybe you should describe how bad people are rather than someones ideals. American are just as bad as Soviet ciizen, which are just as bad as European which are just as bad as Indian and arabs... and so on. Muslim are just as bad as christians, that are just as bad as Hindu, which are just as bad as jewish and so on. The socialists Ideals are no worst or better than any other Ideal, It`s actually people as anytime in our history that just can resist power and find mean ways to get it. So why don`t you just free your way of thinking and stop the bllsht, try to see wher does Bill Gates fit in exactly, try to see if in a corporate world you can speak free and change something. Certainly there hasn`t ever been a Bill Gates in the Communist China, so what the fu.. are you talking about... what are you on drugs??? What did they teach you at school ??? what about stealing... well maybe all these other Big existing "democratic corporation" who are stealing our childrens furure are founded in China and then sent to the West to spread communist Ideals... GET real and think before you speak.
Aron M, Human being

Andrew Min's picture
Submitted by Andrew Min on

A little off topic. However, unless Tony or Dave deletes this, I'll reply.

Communism has never actually "worked". Communism is where all the people work together with no government. Did that ever happen? The USSR always had a government. So did China. And North Korea. So, it never actually worked.

Andrew Min's picture
Submitted by Andrew Min on

I agree, free software can look like Communism. Except that there's a difference. We being "communistic" and working together on free software, we are helping the free market grow. Would IE 7 have been as good if Firefox wasn't released? No. Why? The MS developers wouldn't have had any competition, hence they wouldn't have put it as high a priority as some other products (like operating systems).

Marco Fioretti's picture

...and it may damage Free Software more now than ten years ago, when almost nobody knew what FS is anyway. After a couple of recent comments on Linux Today I had to put an answer with some facts:

http://stop.zona-m.net/node/87

HTH,
Marco
--
The Online Loser Guide, 2010 edition:
http://stop.zona-m.net/node/66

Author information

Terry Hancock's picture

Biography

Terry Hancock is co-owner and technical officer of Anansi Spaceworks. Currently he is working on a free-culture animated series project about space development, called Lunatics as well helping out with the Morevna Project.