Brazil (Linux Journal)
Posted Jul 15, 2006 4:08 UTC (Sat) by kirkengaard
In reply to: Brazil (Linux Journal)
Parent article: Brazil (Linux Journal)
Mmmm. Freedom and self-interest are best when they work together, because the former is a manifestation of the greater self-interest of the group. Self-interest without freedom is not sustainable -- it will starve itself after consuming all available capital -- and freedom that denies the self-interest of the free is hollow group-oriented sophistry. Enlightened systems balance the two and evade Marx's 'inevitable' collapse.
Maybe it's the American Democratic Capitalism background talking, but freedom is impossible without the participation of the individual. Motivation towards participation is all about self-interest. Freedom is all about the ability to pursue one's own interest while respecting the various interests of every other self.
Free software is start-to-finish the self-interest of the participants, and it works because the freedoms enforced by the GPL enable the exercise of any interest, by any recipient, as long as that exercise perpetuates the next person's ability to so exercise their interest. Projects die or go dormant as a result of lost interest; projects live as a result of confluent interest. Freedom enabling self-interest enabling freedom enabling self-interest ...
The author is, however, correct in that it comes down to control. Rigid, centralized control enables a very specific set of interests, at the expense of a broader set. However, this is controlling self-interest bent towards exclusion of outside interests. The controlling self-interest in the GPL is controlling towards the end of universal exercise of interest, with the exception of the previous, exclusionary sort. The controlling interest in many projects may be towards some ideal or goal or itch, and may become exclusionary in terms of other itches of goals or ideals (or ideas) -- see the BSDs. This is different by scope.
What the author doesn't seem to get is that his proposition is merely his own self-interest, which may well be the interest of many others, which is an itch towards greater universal usability, better interface design, and 'intuitive' control. That's my little bit of irony for the day: a blogger hoist with his own petard.
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