[lug] RE: So now we're a bunch of communists, eh?

Brian Jarrett BrianJ at StorageSoft.com
Mon Jul 31 08:59:11 MDT 2000

I've always been slightly confused by what communism and socialism is.
Apparently Marx thought that Socialism was the step before Communism in
moving away from Capitalism.  Socialism, according to Marx, was where there
was no private property and goods were not equally distributed.  He then
said that communism is the state where there is no private property and
goods ARE equally distributed.  I don't think the U.S.S.R made it to a true
communist state (by Marx's definition.)

To me, I always think of communism as the first definition given in the
dictionary. (see below) The linux community _could_ be seen to have these
basic traits.  Of course, I suppose an argument could be made about who
really _owns_ an open-source project and that these owners merely allow
others to modify and enhance it.  In any case, I think good 'ol Steve B. is
just venting his frustration that there is no company his corporation can


Main Entry: com·mu·nism
Pronunciation: 'käm-y&-"ni-z&m
Function: noun
Etymology: French communisme, from commun common
Date: 1840
1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in
which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
2 capitalized a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and
Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R. b : a
totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party
controls state-owned means of production c : a final stage of society in
Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are
distributed equitably d : communist systems collectively

Main Entry: so·cial·ism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
Date: 1837
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or
governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and
distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private
property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of
production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and
communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay
according to work done 

-----Original Message-----
From: Philip Greer [mailto:whilenot1 at yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2000 8:16 AM
To: clue-talk at clue.denver.co.us
Subject: Re: CLUE-Talk: So now we're a bunch of communists, eh?

<My 2cents>
That's interesting. If you consider what communism is, M$ is a more
direct comparison to communism. A communistic government controls
everything - commerce (supply and demand), competition (lack thereof),
and attempts to provide (everything?) to the citizens. Considering his
true statement that there is "no company led Linux" how could Linux be
communistic? Linux is more of a free-market economy. Competition
flourishes through providing a better product at a better price -
driven by supply and DEMAND. We DEMAND a better product at a better
price. M$ has complete (near) control over the supply and demand
(forced upgrades) for the desktop PC (Windows) and attempts to supply
everything to the user (office suite, backoffice, OS, stamps their name
on hardware, internet service, etc.). To me M$ appears more of a
communistic environment than the free-economy likeness of the Linux
</my 2cents>

Philip Greer
UNIX Systems Administrator
Visa DPS
Denver CO

--- B O'Fallon <bof at americanisp.net> wrote:
> Steve Ballmer, at Microsoft's annual financial analysts meeting in
> Seattle (the full article is here:
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/12266.html):
> "Linux is a tough competitor. There's no company led Linux, there's
> barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from
> the
> earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that
> people love so very, very much about it. That is, it's free."
> -----------
> I have in my lifetime been called many, many things (some good, some
> not
> so good) but no one until now has dared called me a communist.
> Perhaps a
> better term for Linux users would be "anarchists." Or, we since they
> want something for free, how about "misers"?
> But communists? Never!
> B. O'Fallon

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