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GPL, socialism vs. BSD, free market

So, this one is from March of 2011 and I do remember doing some research on this.  I stopped writing it because I couldn’t actually find good stats to backup what I was going to argue.  Essentially the argument was to be that the rich of the past were inquisitive.  I’ve actually been thinking about this innovation without competition thing and having a heated discussion with @marxistvegan and @henrydubb on innovation in education.  Stephen pointed me to some information on psychology and the economy.  Anyway, like the other posts today, I’m giving you an unedited version of what I had stored in draft.  Also, admittedly, I see a lot of myself in this song.  In a similar vein, but from the other side, here’s a song by CC artist David Rovics along with a humorous story.  Anyway, I’m still curious people’s thoughts on innovation.




The latest Free as in Freedom podcast got me thinking about adoption of Free/Libre and Open Source Software.

The GPL is socialism. BSD is free market.  I’m not going to bother supporting this claim because it’s so obvious if you’re a member of the community, and it’s entirely not the point of the post.  It also shouldn’t be taken as any sort of “the GPL is Stalin” type of statement.  Just think of what the two systems purport to do and to an extent actually do; socialism is sharing and the free market is anarchy.  Let’s agree, for the sake of argument, that both sides have positives.

The licenses work exactly opposite to the economic theories.

The BSD license stifles innovation.  It allows companies like Apple to close up shop and attempt to replicate Fort Know.  A healthy free market economy produces innovation through competition.  However, it also increases adoption. Android is a prime example and Bradley Kuhn mentions X11 as an example.  Of course, if you are going to use BSD, you could also think about WTFPL.

The GPL license increases innovation by making sure the code is always available.  However, it scares the pants off some companies, thus decreasing adoption.  Socialism though, the argument goes, reduces the desire to succeed and thus decreases innovation.

I certainly don’t mean to mask a political debate with my thoughts on innovation, but I have some thoughts I think are interesting and I’d like to hear what you think.

The “competition” argument for free market is nullified by the inevitability of monopolies.  The socialism argument and innovation has never really been tested.  Russia and China are totalitarian states and China certainly is not devoid of capitalism.  KFC is huge in China.  Plus, Russian and Chinese innovation is driven by competition with the US.  What I’d suggest is that we can look to the past to see that socialism can produce innovation.  We find my argument in an unlikely place; the early modern…

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