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Re: <nettime> Journal of High Tech. Law review of A Hacker Manifesto
Newmedia on Wed, 17 Nov 2004 06:44:08 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Journal of High Tech. Law review of A Hacker Manifesto


McKensie:

The reviewer offers --

> Although implausible to the cynic, the success of the 
> free operating system Linux testifies to the incredible 
> capacity of the unfettered hacker.

Hmmmm . . . ya gotta wonder if he really understands this "success."

As a commercial operating system, Linux is hardly "free."  Red Hat, Suse
and others have built very nice businesses based on Linux
service/support.  Although it might have looked like "free" was
attractive a few years ago when many were slashing their IT budgets,
over the past year it has become very clear that "free" involves many
significant costs. 

Furthermore, the technology that makes Linux useful for business applications 
has come largely from IBM, HP, Sun and others who funded the R&D behind their 
"donations" by selling other products.  Indeed the "success" of Linux in the 
enterprise is largely an artifact of the decision by IBM and HP (plus Dell) to 
*not* port their own UNIX implementations over to Intel Xeon-based servers.  
This market is really an x86 server market -- not a Linux market.

Lastly, many of the leading "hackers" associated with Linux now have jobs at 
companies -- like IBM, Novell, etc. -- where their salaries are directly 
dependent on the ability to extract profits from intellectual property.

Funny how "history" catches up with its own "lessons", isn't it . . . ??

Best,

Mark Stahlman
New York City


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