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I've now witnessed several people use this poorly constructed stereotype. Some people seem to think that if a program is GPL, and requires that all future software utilizing it be open source, that it must be communist. They draw parallels between having the right to a job or house to having the right to view and edit the source code. Pondering that thought, they then figure that if the software is free (confusion of the word free is also a frequent mistake), the only reason for writing software would be for the common good, and again associate the GPL with communism. There are some serious faults with this logic.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
- Thomas Jefferson

Communism entails the the nationalization (government ownership) of all businesses (no private businesses). This is where the confusion is caused. People see that the source code has to be available to everyone, and they conclude that this similarly eliminates private business. Nothing could be further from the truth. The GPL actually prevents nationalization by requiring that everyone be able to see the code. The code is openly available to the government and the people. This makes it just about impossible for the government to have complete control over a project, because there's no way they could stop (under the GPL) other people from editing and redistributing the code. In this aspect, I'd go so far as to say the GPL is against communism. Also keep in mind however, that the people can't isolate a project from the government either, ensuring equal rights (An absolute necessity for one of the foundations of the US government, Social Contract Theory).

On to the second idea; the only reason for writing free software would be for the common good, since you can't make any money. Take note before I begin, that I won't be arguing the definiton of free, because my anti-pyro hazmat suit is still being dry cleaned. Anyway, people who use this faulty idea to associate the GPL with communism are making another fatal mistake. You can still make money. Not only that, but you make money through things that make more sense. You have the customer pay for the box, manual, tech support, and other services (wide range of possibilities there). This makes more sense economically because (excluding the manual) these things can't really be pirated. Until we have advanced AIs, nobody is going to worry about having warez d00ds copying friendly tech support people. Your company can save tons of money and time not having to research and program CD Keys, copy protection schemes, etc.

Now, some maybe quick to point out that by using something like tech support as one of your primary sources of income, you're encouraging the developer to purposefully create bugs. This brings us to another democratic concept, balance of power. Because the source code is available to everyone, developers will be quickly targeted by their own consumers if they try such devious tricks. Whether the developer likes it or not (as is granted to the consumer by the GPL), customers, hackers, etc. will quickly create a fix and distribute it.

I hope I've made it clear to everybody now that the GPL does not, I repeat, does not support communism.

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