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Red Hat CEO lambasts ‘feudal’ software industry

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"In most businesses in the free market the customer is in charge. But in the computer software business a company can behave like a feudal landlord. They rule by controlling access to knowledge." The Guardian 18 September. Red Hat's Bob Young certainly knows how to give good quote, and he's a history graduate to boot. And it doesn’t take a Machiavelli to work out he’s aiming that learned boot at Microsoft's well-upholstered behind. But does this feudal landlord/software company analogy really bear close examination? Very briefly, the medieval feudal system was organised on the lines of vassals (Microsoft resellers/dealers) who held lands(distribution rights) from lords-superior (Microsoft) on condition of military service(dealer accreditation fees). At the very bottom of this rigid caste system was the serf (Microsoft customer), a person in -- our Chambers says -- "modified slavery (Microsoft customer), especially one attached to the soil (er…)". And let's not forget droit du seigneur, also known as jus primae noctis, the formerly alleged right of a feudal superior (Bill Gates) to deflower a vassal's bride... (this analogy stops right here). If Young is interested politico-historical analogies, we could always work up a comparison between Linux and anarcho-syndicalism, an ideology that flowered briefly as a movement in 1930s Barcelona (Linux activists) before it was mercilessly crushed by ruthless Communists(Red Hat), ensuring that the Peoples' Front(Linux Community) fell into disarray rendering it entirely unable to fight off the Fascists (Microsoft). No? ® You can email me here if you want to comment on this story.

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