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It's kind of ironic, as open source is a pretty socialist idea in the first place (not that China is socialist, but it's supposed to be).

Is it really? The author of code owns that code. It's not like the workers using the factory (the programmers using the languages) owns it, they are just licensed to use it way more freely than it the owner did not give any freedoms.

In a communist society then the governemt would take ownership of all code (of factories). That's not Stallmans idea.

Saying that 'socialism == sharing' is too simple.

One of the core ideas of Communism - workers own the means of production. Source code is means of production for software. Capitalism is when the source code is owned by the "factory owner", i.e. corporation, and not by the people who actually produce it.

Example: programmers who work at Microsoft don't own the source code and can't use it for their own benefit, while Microsoft makes money from it and only pays wages, which are below the value of source code to the company. This is the old model of Capitalism.

Open Source is very much a Communist idea. People who work on open source, even if they are payed for it, still have access to their work and can use it independently of the company.

Great point. It seems obvious in retrospect, yet I had never thought of it with that level of clarity. It also explains why, as I ponder my career, I'm drawn to companies where a significant portion (or all) of my work would be open source.

On the other hand, given the terrible outcomes communism produced in the 20th century, it has a well-deserved bad reputation. I'd therefore hesitate to link it to open source without noting why open source is different: Code, once written, can be copied infinitely for free (or at a very low cost), so the model can work.

Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

There's also the issue of git users getting hit pretty hard whenever GitHub goes down or is inaccessible for some reason.

For all their talk about the importance of using a distributed version control system, they've managed to pretty heavily centralize themselves on GitHub.

Like they say in China: "we just practise capitalism and call it communism".

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