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Editor's Note: FOSS Is More Valuable Than $60 Billion

Aug 22, 2008, 23:02 (10 Talkback[s])

by Carla Schroder
Managing Editor

So let me tell you how my day went. It started at 7am on my back deck. I usually start my workday there when the weather is nice. It's cool, the bugs aren't awake yet, and it's just plain nice to be outside.

Eventually I move back inside to the big computer. I like laptops, but an hour or two working on one is plenty. My office is the way I want it, everything I need for computering fun in one happy messy place. I spent a bundle to get good chairs that don't mess up my back, and I don't have to guard them from thieving co-workers. I have my own music, cats, and even a window that opens. Now please someone tell me- what sadist perpetrated and perpetuated horrid office buildings with windows that don't open? I can understand a lone sociopath putting up such a building and enjoying the resulting misery- but how it became the standard doesn't speak well of the building industry. I wonder if they have a secret slogan- "Haha, We Built It And You Bought It, Sucker!"

On my breaks I can mess around outside, or hop on the treadmill, or take a quick nap. Today I spent my lunch break digging big holes with a backhoe. (Hint to tired gardeners: rent big machines. It's faster and more fun.)

Two things made this pleasant lifestyle possible: the Internet and Linux. You may recall the story a few weeks that went all freakout over open source costing vendors sixty billion dollars, and that used words like "bloodletting". It took some hard work to twist it around to that perspective, and of course savvy Linux Today readers saw right through it and put the correct spin on the story, which was the economy did not waste $60 billion thanks to FOSS.

A savvier reporter would have recognized the real story, which is that robber barons benefit only themselves. FOSS is rather like a good sourdough culture, because a properly cared-for sourdough culture will live and feed people forever. You can't take from it without giving it a little something back because then it will die.

Another fundamental point these types of stories miss is that price tag does not equal value, and an economy is about more than price tags. It's a complex organism that needs a lot of participants and diversity to thrive and be healthy. It needs trade of all kinds- skills, knowledge, and goods to name just a few. A good strong economy could thrive without any kind of money at all.

Oh I know, think of the poor billionaires- they think it's harder to become filthy rich under that type of system, which is why are so ruthless in killing it. For them to win, everyone else must lose. Which is another kind of blindness, and creating an enemy where there isn't one- anyone can use and benefit from FOSS. I may cry myself to sleep over mean old FOSS picking on them. On second thought, nah, why bother?