Open Source Ghost

If you’re up for a morning laugh you should read one of the most brain-dead posts on open source I’ve ever seen. So many different things are mixed up there it’s hard to keep track, it’s like twenty issues tangentially related all being tied together in a conspiracy theory that is interesting but frightening. I left a comment but it hasn’t shown up yet. Update: The comments and pings have been updated and they’re letting all viewpoints through, so speak your mind over there if you want to.

18 thoughts on “Open Source Ghost

  1. Er… I think you guys are giving this entry far more credit than it’s due. It’s just a train-of-thought, not even at attempt at any reasoning.

  2. That article was… pointless. It wasn’t really about open source… so I don’t know why it was mentioned. It was about RSS. Then they mentioned the CC license, which had nothing to do with anything.

    Quite fun.

  3. Calling advertisements in pulled data spam shadows the true problems of email spam. RSS feed not to your liking? Unsubscribe. And I’m sorry, anybody that uses BoingBoing for definitions on a topic like this loses karma.

    I swear, when I first saw that picture of one Dana Blankenhorn, I though it was David Cross with a beard.

  4. Lately I’ve seen my RSS feeds becoming heavily polluted by RSS spam — entries that are just ads, or sets of links that all lead to purchases (on which the spammer gets a cut). Maybe it’s because I’ve been covering cellular technology a lot.

    What… the… ????

    Even without the mention of open-source, this would still be one of the most brain-dead posts on RSS I’ve ever seen.

    Let’s start calling web advertising “HTML spam” and blame the W3C for not coding ethics into the standard. Yeah, that’s it.

  5. I agree with Firas… the germ of that post is that there are people who disrespect the commons… which is certainly not groundbreaking news…

  6. I almost thought it was a joke, along the lines of someone writing like a teenage girl to be funny.

    Then I read it again and began to think they were serious. At that point I became rather frightened that they were commenting on something with such ineptitude, yet acting like they knew what it all meant.

  7. As you pointed out, Michael M., Dana’s point has a long intellectual history in various disciplines (‘how does the commons enforce its ethics on the unethical?’ ties into the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and other many, many other issues—both moral and political/economic). But the main part of his post has nothing to do with the concluding question…

    If he means order in Open Source, then it is done by centralizing things (project admins etc.) This is more of a social-organization issue that an ownership issue (it’s paralleled in the way IRC channels, mailing lists and forums have moderators). Some unmoderated Usenet groups are good examples of what a mess results when nobody has ultimate authority.

    But none of that is not about “who polices what no one owns”, because—in the case of open source—the fact that it is intellectual property removes some of the economic problem of scarcity. 10,000 of us could use WordPress without requiring more resources inputted into WP’s creation than when 1,000 use it. Unlike cars where every produced item needs more metal. The classic tragedy of the commons example is grazing ground, where grass that has been eaten needs time to regenerate, etc. No such problem exists with open source because all you need to regenerate a file is a copy command…

    The strange thing is that the ‘tragedy of the commons’ is usually used to argue for private property, against the commons—and the link to the Somali problem Dana posted in Michael’s comments is a disaster caused by conditions being on the other end of the scale—a purely unregulated market—far from a commons where everyone can share!! Actually Somalia’s resources are neither in common nor totally ‘private’ in the libertarian sense (because there are few protections for ownership of property), it’s just lawless. That is *not* how open source is structured.

    Where to begin? What a strange mishmash of ideas. The basic point he seems to be making is that anarchy is unsustainable, and well, yes it is. But most of open source is not created in anarchical conditions.

    And that has nothing to do with spam in RSS, especially not with the licensing of that format!

    I think if Dana could clarify exactly what kind of spam he’s talking about, we could get down to the nuts-and-bolts of the issue.

  8. Seems like the article has been edited, since there really isn’t much there now to even bother commenting about.

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  10. lets try again:)

    >> Let’s start calling web advertising “HTML spam” and blame the W3C for not coding ethics into the standard. Yeah, that’s it.

    Damn you W3C for not creating an advertisement tag!

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