Originally Published: Saturday, 14 August 1999 Author: Maurice Entwistle
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux as World Community Model

I first learned about Linux through articles in the online magazine Salon.com. That was over a year ago. I now have Mandrake 6.0 on my computer with a Lilo dual-boot. If I didn't have a winmodem, I could even get on the Internet with Linux. But Linux as a computer OS is not what this article is about. I want to broaden the Linux phenomenon on the basis of the development model--the community!...

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I first learned about Linux through articles in the online magazine Salon.com. That was over a year ago. I now have Mandrake 6.0 on my computer with a Lilo dual-boot. If I didn't have a winmodem, I could even get on the Internet with Linux. But Linux as a computer OS is not what this article is about. I want to broaden the Linux phenomenon on the basis of the development model--the community!

"Probably no group understands better how the Linux development model incorporates the latest theories of Quantum Physics, Chaos Theory, Open Space, Volunteerism, etc. Many of the Linux gurus come from scientific backgrounds and are familiar with these concepts. I think it is time for the Linux community to take the next step.

It's not just the Linux OS that is significant, and it is not just the development community as a software development model that is significant. I think that the Linux Community Model is one of the few, if not the only practical model for World Community. The next step of Linux is to acknowledge the significance of the Linux Community Model as a model for Global Community. I think it is high time for sociologists and economists to begin studying the Linux community to discover and quantify its value as a new societal model in the next millennium.

The Linux Community has been labeled communist by the right-wing fanatics. And this label does fit the Linux Community in a many ways. But, there are some huge differences. If we take the motto, "From each according to his ability. To all according to their need," we can see that Linux fits this statement very well. But what underlies Linux is volunteerism!

Linux is not a "dictatorship of the proletariat." Linux is the "free community of creative abundance." As many have noted, giving away code does not take away your code. You can give it away and still have it. You can have your cake and eat it too! It's even better than that. You can give your cake away and have it returned with an extra layer, and frosting too! There is no dictatorship in the Linux community. But there is the basic acknowledgment that, if what you do is based on someone else's prior work, your work in turn has to be given back to the community.

In communism, a paternalistic, bureaucracy determined where you worked and what you did. And then you had to give it away. Linux says, contribute if you like, just keep in mind that we all get to use it. There is nothing forced in Linux community. It is a community of Volunteerism for the common good at its best. And most important, it is a model that works. This fact alone is so significant that its use for Global Community should be investigated.

Perhaps sociologists could come up with a term for the study of such communities, such as Quantum Communities, Voluntary Abundance Model, or Chaos Theory Self-Organizing Development Communities (CTSODC). I'll leave the naming up to them. And maybe forward-thinking economists will begin examining the Linux community and start putting some dollar figures around the value created by the Linux community. And they may want to compare the cost of the Linux development model with the standard development model.

With Red Hat and other Linux based companies going public with IPO's, isn't it time that the model Linux has uncovered be critically examined by the top professionals in the fields of Sociology, Economics, and Business? Let the top people in these fields step forward and uncover the universals that Linux development has uncovered. Wouldn't the world be greatly served if the Linux development model could be used as a new bases for Global Community?





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