Is The Free Software Communism?

Recently, I stumbled upon a blog that was trying to equal the GPL license, and the entire notion for free software with it, to the communism.

This idea is not new for the fans of Mr. Steven Balmer, of Microsoft fame. And the notion of comparing what you don’t like with that scary communism existed even before him… However, I don’t see often a combination of so much efforts and work with so little knowledge over the topic it discusses – namely, the communism. And decided to describe it, as one who has lived his first twenty-odd years in a communist state, and really knows what communism is, and why it is scary indeed.

The very association between GPL and the communism is obviously because of the GPL principle that the software must be free for all. In practice, however, under communism nothing is free, and even less it is for all. The Party core has everything, but the others do not.

Being one of “the people”, you may buy something (yes, buy – the only gratis thing in a communist state is the transport to a gulag). You do it with hard-earned money. But even then, it is yours only in theory. Despite that you paid for it, the Party (or the country – that’s the same) may deny it to you, confiscate it, or change the rules for its usage without notice, even starting with a past date. It is like everything is not sold, but licensed to you, and the Party/state may terminate the contract at their discretion, if they deem you to use the thing in an inappropriate way.

The communism means surveillance and control. Everything about you – what you like and what you don’t, where you go, what you listen, what you watch etc. is reported to some Big Brother. Your privacy is violated routinely, without your permission, or even a notification. This is done “for your own good”, and “for the good of all the people”. And you should not know even that this is done – and certainly should not speak about it.

You don’t have the right to know it, because it is a part of the inner workings of the system – and you are forbidden to know them. If you try to investigate them, and to learn about them, you are committing a crime, and should be punished by the law and order. If you see a hole in their working, you must report it to the Party in private – publishing it openly is a violation of some obscure regulation.

Under communism, everything is secret. You can’t show a map of your city to a foreigner, because it is classified. (It is also deliberately inexact, since you can’t be trusted to know everything. The same map, however, that the foreigner has got from a kiosk in his country, is exact and not a secret there.) Suprisingly, all this secrecy produces only meddles and bad life instead of freedom and good life… You can’t implement yourself, for your own usage, any technology considered important – this is a violation of the law. Technologies for copying and distrubuting information are restricted above everything else.

The communist state boasts with its economic effectiveness. In practice, however, its effectiveness is based on squeezing sweat and blood out of its people – and even then is often worse than in a non-communist country. It boasts a lower cost of living – but that living is a hell, and everyone there would gladly prefer a higher-cost living elsewere. At any cost, actually. (Especially after s/he learns that living elsewhere is really cheaper, despite that communist state says the opposite, and proves it with numerous researches.)

Most of all, a communist state trumpets of the rights it gives to its citizens. It never says, however, that every other state everywhere provides these rights, too – and many other. Even these it provides are severely limited, in order “to not disturb the right of The Other People”. A sad proverb in every communist state is that the word “rights” there actually means “restrictions”… Communist officials often say that their country is democratic, and if the people don’t like this government, they would just elect another – they have got elections, right? But in practice only one party is present on the elections, you can’t vote otherwise than for it – exactly like you can’t buy e.g. a record of Beatles that is not eventually licensed from EMI.

When it comes to comparing things, communism just lies directly. It says that “the dirty capitalism” has never had social things like pensions, medical insurances, free ER, free education etc. It “proves” this with everything your head won’t be able to imagine – “researches”, philosophical analyses, essays… It repeats ad nauseam how the capitalism enslaves the workers and the people in general, how it denies them any freedom possible, and any other rubbish one can ever think of. But, strangely, who has ever tried the free world doesn’t show any tendence to return back to the communism.

So, this is the communism in practice – and that is why it is horrible. Not because it gives the best freely to everyone, but exactly the opposite.

If GPL, and the free software are like this, then they are definitely like communism. My impression, however, is that you will find much similar things in other software realms, and other licenses.

2 Responses to 'Is The Free Software Communism?'

  1. Пламен Тонев Says:

    Преди време Столмън добре им го зачука с:

    Bill Gates and other communists

    http://news.com.com/Bill+Gates+and+other+communists/2010-1071_3-5576230.html

  2. M. Fioretti Says:

    The myth that “Free SW is communism” is still around…and it may damage Free Software more now than five or 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, which I hope you will find useful: http://stop.zona-m.net/node/87

    HTH,
    Marco

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

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