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What if GNU *IS* evil?


From: quanta
Subject: What if GNU *IS* evil?
Date: 5 Nov 2004 13:15:11 -0800

It may sound like a flamebait, but remember, this is not about how
existing corporate monopolist view GPL because it threatens the
revenue model of companies making proprietary products.  Instead, it's
about paradigm shift.

Given increasing acceptance of GPL and similar freedomware products, I
begin to wonder, if GPL becomes more acceptable because people tired
of the upgrade treadmills from major commercial products, what if
there is an emerging culture, hidden somewhere in the world, that
proposes greater social benefits than GPL offers, runs directly in
contrast with GNU philosophy (at least superficially), run by yet
another visionary?  Will existing GNU followers be able cope with
another philosophical competitor, or will they just use their
new-found wealth to mercilessly attack another messanger without
merits, just like how corporate monopolists do to GPL today?

This is an important question to be answered, because such cycle
happened to movie industry.  Detail of the history can be found at
http://www.mp3newswire.net/stories/2003/monopoly.html.  In short,
movie industry of today started out to avoid the General Film
Company's attempt to block unlicensed equipment.  Many years later,
the MPAA now tries to block electronic file sharing tools, at the
expense of civil liberties.

Sounds familiar?  This is the beginning of the trend for software
development, and it's going to get worse if we choose to dismiss such
possibility.  I am not suggesting the leading GNU followers will do
that, but what about in future where free software become dominant,
and the GPU philosophy is passed on to a new generation, whom never
has experience as an underdog, whom does not have to earn others'
acceptance for the philosophy?  New generation or not, will the GNU
followers become far too stubborn to accept challenges based on merits
rather than money?  Will we have to endure more multi-billion smear
campaigns to settle the matters?

It may sounds like a far future that's never going to happen, but
given how fast things going these day, an average person may just have
to face another paradigm clash or two well within its lifetime.  Are
there any safegurds, or safegurds on safegurds, within GNU philosophy,
that minimizes the chances of meritless attacks during paradigm
shifts, especially when GNU philosophy itself becomes irrelevant to
the ever changing world?  The last thing we need is to win a war, only
to discover it is wrong to begin with, and start thinking we will all
be better off to turn the progress backwards.


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