[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Feb 12 04:07:09 UTC 2008

On Monday 11 February 2008, Emlyn wrote:
> Warning in advance: this is a bit of a rant, not well structured; I'm
> trying to shape some hazy ideas that are having trouble gelling.

Seems very relevant to me. I will try to extract and generalize and 
provide some more thoughts on the topic. 

> On 11/02/2008, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Salary is a signal of usefulness,
> I think this is a prevalent attitude, but doesn't jibe with my
> experience. I now think open source is a collective expression of the
> technical personality's basic frustration with wrongness. The 
> commercial software world clearly just does this stuff totally 
> wrongly. Software builds on software, ideas build on ideas, but IP 
> blocks the use of one idea as the basis for another. I think technical 
> people en-masse have revolted, they've said "this is wrong, I'm tired 
> of trying to explain it, here we'll show you".

Again, taken out of context, Rafal's comment looks more like politics 
than what you describe as a 'revolt' against technical wrongness. 
Salary is not a cultural signal, and open source has this large 
cultural background, it's like what people call the United States, "a 
cultural mixing pot" except the OSS community does it for real.

> This is a signal of something being not at all right with how things
> are organised. In light of this, salary is a signal of usefulness? I
> think salary is a signal of salary getting ability. Networth is an
> indicator of how good you are at increasing your networth. Real value
> is something unrelated.

The 'real value' seems to be some technical addition to the world of 
ideas and implemented software. Take a look at the Linux communities, 
like Debian. These packaging systems have hundreds of thousands of 
different programs packed together, a monumental feat (involving lots 
of automation, granted). *This* feels like real progress. Building 
towers. Standing on the shoulders of giants, etc.

Has anybody written an essay exploring the connections between the open 
source community and the extropian philosophy? There are too many 
parallels to be a coincidence, and yet, socially, there are not too 
many connections as far as I can tell. What's going on?

- Bryan
Bryan Bishop

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