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Salon: The Cybercommunist Manifesto

Drawing heavily on the obvious success of the Linux-based
operating system and other free software flag-bearers, Barbrook
suggests that “circulating information as gifts can be not only
more enjoyable, but also more efficient than commodity
exchange.”
Those who wish to make a profit off their software
will have to figure out how to accommodate the gift economy, or be
doomed to, as Vladimir Lenin was wont to say, “the dustbin of
history…”

“But Barbrook’s analysis does jibe well with fears expressed by
some software programmers concerning the possibility that free
software could prove to be an economic disaster for the software
industry. As these programmers see it, the GNU General Public
License that ensures that source code to GPL-protected programs
will always remain free is a real-live communist virus designed to
wipe out profitability in the software biz.”

“Those fears are probably overstated — at least right now, the
free market is putting a very high value on programmers who can
demonstrate technical proficiency with free software. Red Hat’s
sky-high stock price also suggests, for now, that Wall Street has
no immediate fear that capitalism is in danger of being
superseded.”


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