BookBlog: Red Penguin?

BookBlog: Red Penguin?

A challenge to Dan Hunter’s article about open source being Marxist.

Another attribute of political marxism is an belief in mandatory equality. Peer production projects often have a meritocratic culture with dramatic inequality, where founding leaders and high-value contributors have greater prestige, influence, and sometimes financial reward. It’s not considered inherently unjust that leaders of open source projects like Perl and Python have received grant, foundation, and corporate funding to do their work (although visible leaders of peer projects can also become lightning rods for criticism).

This hints at what I wrote earlier that the open source culture is not necessarily one of equality and no rewards. And that it is definitely one of power and distribution of goods. This piece also hints at the possiblity that the efficients of knowledge production in the open source community feed this inequality and perhaps support the meritocratic leaders.

For many people, software development is pretty clearly in the complementary category, where the rewards of prestige and satisfaction coexist with monetary rewards. There are Apache developers on corporate payrolls, and companies supporting open source technologies, ranging from IBM to MySQL, Zope, and Jabber. There are developers who make a living consulting based on free software expertise.

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