GPL ensues democracy, Linus make it work
Posted Apr 22, 2008 6:27 UTC (Tue) by khim
In reply to: Forking Linux? Fugettaboutit!
Parent article: ELC: Morton and Saxena on working with the kernel community
It's totally different question: why the democracy work. GPL ensues democracy - with or without Linus. Since you can not create proprietary fork the only reason to fork is if Linus makes bad decisions (BSD license, in comparison, allows democracy, not ensues it). And if Linus will make bad decisions on regular basis you'll see that this "Kernel supported by Linus himself" will quickly become moot point (see gcc/ecgs story, for example: forks like pgcc were frowned upon and rarely used till a lot of developers "voted" against FSF's rule). Now, it's true that Linus is enforcing some decisions - but so do "real" democracies (have you seen any where all decisions are made by votes of everyone?). They have government for everyday's work and even fundamental things like taxes are rarely voted by the "population at large".
Free software is a democratic institution because everyone have exactly one "vote" - it's just that this vote must be cast with your feet, not with your ballot. Unlike real life (where you'll be forced to change lifestyle and your spouse and kids will suffer) "vote with your feet" in virtual world only affects your work, nothing else - so it's proper vote.
Proprietary software is, of course, planned economy: what the management says - goes. And as usual when resources are scarce and goal is clear planned economy work best (recall 20th years of last century in USSR and US) but when you have enough resources to try different approaches and don't have a clear goal... take a look on Windows Vista and Linux today...
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