Bobby Johnson writes a nice piece here about pressure for U.S. trade representatives to consider countries using open source technology as enemies of capitalism. Here’s a great quote:
“I know open source has a tendency to be linked to socialist ideals, but I also think it’s an example of the free market in action. When companies can’t compete with huge, crushing competitors, they route around it and find another way to reduce costs and compete. Most FOSS isn’t state-owned: it just takes price elasticity to its logical conclusion and uses free as a stick to beat its competitors with (would you ever accuse Google, which gives its main product away for free, of being anti-capitalist?).”
I agree. Open Source is free choice and open markets in action. The reason it’s getting this sort of policy level attention is that it breaks the game that the the big-dollar interests have been playing with the “free market” system.
Disclaimer: I earn a living working on free software, as do a lot of people I respect who work for companies that ostensibly compete with my employer (Canonical) and with each other. The majority of them work for companies who get paid by other companies to provide good and services, who then pay their employees to do the actual labor of producing those, and we in turn spend that money locally just the same as anyone working in any other field. That’s pretty traditional capitalism.