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Tranzis love Linux

I can’t remember exactly when it was, but one evening something like a fortnight ago, David Carr, Adriana (I think she was there), Perry and I were gathered at Perry’s in the small hours of a morning and we were discussing that newly erupting Transnationalism article. The various properties and qualities and signs of Tranzis and Tranzi thoughts (we were already using David’s word, I seem to recall) were itemised. I offered the thought that Tranzis probably prefer Linux to Microsoft, but was squashed by the assembled majority. Linux is libertarian and the Tranzis don’t like that do they? Course not. I said no more.

But now have a read of this article by Steve Lohr, and then tell me I was wrong. Anti-American governmentalists everywhere (especially from the Tranzi heartland: the EU) queueing up to support the Penguin and to trash the Evil Gates, whom they regard as the personification of US corporate imperialism.

I think personal computer software is a natural global monopoly, if you’ll pardon the expression. What I mean is that at any moment there is a global winner which it makes sense for nearly everybody to use – Tranzis, anti-Tranzis, Americans, anti-Americans, everybody – simply because everybody else does. And any year now, it would seem, the world may do a switch. But I confess to being biased about this, because I placed a sort of bet four years ago in a Libertarian Alliance piece about Linux!, and if Linux ever does topple Big Bill I will look very prescient.

12 comments to Tranzis love Linux

  • Dale Amon

    Brian, that is the first time I’ve ever seen you come off with a silly thesis.

    I’m out to bring down Gates because MS software is utter garbage with rip off prices, business practices that attempt to take away my freedom to use computers the way I wish to; security that is simply non-existant; reliability that is a joke.

    None of this is a big secret; lots of companies are moving away from the evil Gates and my company is there to help them do so: we’re small, but we are one of the older pure Linux companies in existance.

    Just remember: A Processor is a Terrible Thing To Waste.

  • I thought it was an odd thesis when we discussed it and I still think so. The fact a few incoherent Tranzis might like Linux is about as relevant as the fact despotic African presidents like to drive around in Mercedes Benz cars.

    If it means anything at all, it is that Tranzis who like Linux are in fact embracing the sort of bottom-up dispersed system that is really antithetical to their world view if they did but stop to think about it. The irony is that perpetual domination by Microsloth would go some way to validating their top-down regulated model of how reality actually functions.

    In reality, Tranzi (or just ‘Statist’) interest in the Open Source ‘Movement’ springs from the fact they do not actually understand it and thus are fixated on the fact it is ‘free’ without realising why it is ‘free’… and it ain’t nothing to do with collective ownership of the means of production: quite the contrary as it is essentially intellectual ‘laissez faire’! It is pretty damn funny actually.

  • Dale Amon

    To be fair, the LA paper is about 95% spot on.

    I’d add that in a few decades a great deal of material goods will be open source as well. The time of the matter copier/ home nano-assembler will one day arrive. Then we’ll have open source razors that never go dull, things like that. Anything that one or more people out of 10 billion ever take an interest in will be out there.

    There are still economic costs, but they are for the basics:

    *bulk matter
    *skilled minds for things that aren’t fun

  • Steve Wood

    I have to disagree on this one. Linux is stated as being “free”–which it is, if you want to wait hours to days to download a 1.5 GB operating system (GUI and all) over a 56K connection. Most people I know who use Linux on a home computer (including myself) are not that patient, or computer savvy enough to install it after the download is complete. It’s a lot easier just to purchase and install Linux using a commercial distribution like Redhat (or SuSE I guess for your European readers). Not everybody chooses an OS based on ideology, there is also the good old price comparison. A $50 commerical version of Linux vs. $400 Microsoft (Office and all)–I love market competition!

  • btw-the biggest problem with desktop linux is drivers. i think the installers and GUI have gotten 90% there….

    but i know ppl that go back to MS after a day being frustrated about their modem not working (NOT a winmodem even).

    but once you have critical mass that should be less of a problem. linux will prolly win the server market a lot quicker though, i’ve read that in 5-6 years it will achieve parity with commercial Unix in terms of power. also, think about all the embedded systems that proliferate out there, a lot (most) prolly will run on linux.

    so even if the desktop semi-monopoly holds for MS all is not lost.

  • Brian, little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing. The evening in question, when we quashed your suggestions about any connection between Linux and Tranzis, I also mentioned a document called The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which is a sort of manifesto of open source, the underlying ‘philosophy’ of Linux. I have forwarded it to all concerned later that evening.

    I agree 100% with Perry’s comment above – it explains why Linux as a concept may (will) utlimately undermine the Tranzi’s objectives. The Mercedes-Benz analogy is perfect. I seem to recall, Brian, that your argument was that the Tranzis are behind Linux in some way, sponsoring or driving it somehow. That, I repeat, is utter nonsense.

    By the way, I am taken aback by the haziness of your recollections as to my presence during that particular debate. Perhaps it may refresh your memory that apart from explaining the basics of open source philosophy to David and yourself (Perry already knew about it), I also brought Fonte’s article on Tranzis to David’s attention for the first time. What is it about libertarian men that they cannot remember when a woman was present in a discussion?!

    To conclude, there is nothing in John Lohr’s article that suggests that the Tranzis are favouring Linux. Tranzis are not identical with governments. Also, it makes perfect sense for both to adopt Linux. Whether they do it to spite Microsoft or benefit from the advantages of open source does not change their underlying objectives, mind-set and agenda.

  • I must agree with Razib that Palladium is a HUGE issue. Not just the ‘interface hooks’ but the outrageous intrusive ‘rights management’ technologies. I for one am not going to tolerate MS having any ‘hands on’ OS level input regarding what I can or cannot copy.

  • Tom Grey

    First, Linux seems like a fine thing — it’s used on servers at my CA IB work, but not yet on desktops. So I don’t use it, but prolly will try it on one of my home PCs.
    Second, IBM is now in bed with Linux, and is pushing governments to standardize on “the most cost-effective” OS, eg “free” Linux. The MS monopoly is doomed. See NY Times

    Finally, just because the Tranzis (fine name) are crazy, idiotic, illogical, ignorant, and/or clueless about many things, doesn’t make them “stupid”; and sometimes some may support good things. After all, that’s what they think they’re always trying to do; just usually wrong.

  • Julian Morrison

    Air Un-libertarian!

    Today the libertarian world reeled as it was revealed that Tranzis like air. “it’s free innit” said a Mr N Obody, “commies like that”.

    Reportedly, the leaders of Libertarian thought in the cmmunity are trying to hold their beaths – at least until they can buy air, bottled, from scuba equipment companies..

  • David Carr

    Yes, Adriana, you were most definitely there and it was you who so insistently brought the John Fonte article to our attention.

    From that moment on I was lost to the rest of the proceedings. You see, I happen to run Microsoft XP and I happen to think it quite spiffing and I wouldn’t recognise Linux if I found it protruding out of my left ear

  • Uncle Bill

    What the Hell are libertarians doing talking about religous matters?

    I thought that you guys had serious stuff to squabble about.