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Re: [ox-en] Book project

Hi MJ,

I'll have a go at replying, though I'm not certain I've got your meaning

On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, MJ Ray wrote:

johan soderberg <soderbergjohan> wrote:
However, if our ideas are correct (GNU + end of
capitalism), it is dynamite. [...]

This has confused me in the past, not least in the oekonux blotter text.  It
seems to be based on some idea that free software is anti-capitalist. 

Well, software in itself isn't pro- or anti- anything. And from my 
experience the majority of free software developers aren't anti-capitalist
in their beliefs. I don't think most oekonux people would claim either
of those things. But there is a closely related point: free software has
shown that it is possible to have production on a very large scale 
organized in a way that is not normal for capitalism, ie. not based on
wage labour and creation of products in order to make a profit. This
is appealing for people who are anti-capitalists, which many on these 
particular lists are.

Although it does not allow a normal capitalist model for the products, there
can still be a capitalistic process for the experts.  Is that incompatible
with oekonux?

This is the point where I don't understand you. By 'products' I 
assume you're talking about production, but then what do you mean by 

What made me ask is the fallacy "the actual product is gratis" in the page

I don't think this is a fallacy. If you pay for a red hat cd-set, you're
partly paying for the convenience of the cds, but mainly for the promised
service - you're not paying for the 'actual product' (ie. a linux
distribution) which you can always download from the redhat site for the
cost of the internet connection, copy from a friend, etc. Even where large
firms are involved they can't make you pay for the free software itself:
maybe I have this wrong (I have no experience in buying IBM mainframes!)
but my impression is that IBM is using free software to sell its hardware 
- as it used to do before proprietary software licensing existed -
not making a profit from the software itself. In general, the only way
companies can profit from free software is not by selling it, but by
selling services based on it. In this sense free software is perfectly
compatible with capitalism, though it doesn't provide the huge profits
made by proprietary software companies since it is inevitably labour
intensive. Hence the argument - now even from UNCTAD etc - that free
software is a good route for countries with large numbers of skilled or
potentially skilled workers but little presence in the proprietary
software field.



Thanks for your clarifications and opinions,




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