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Interview: Ask Jon "maddog" Hall What You Will 26

It's been over 13 years since we did a Q&A with Linux International executive director Jon "maddog" Hall. For decades, maddog has been one of the highest profile advocates for free and open source software. He is currently working on Project Caua which aims "to promote more efficient computing following the thin client/server model, while creating up to two million privately-funded high-tech jobs in Brazil, and another three to four million in the rest of Latin America." He's also gearing up for FISL in Brazil, and helping to plan the FOSS part of Campus Party Europe in London. maddog has graciously agreed to find time to answer some of your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interview: Ask Jon "maddog" Hall What You Will

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @01:24PM (#44102501)

    The magic of the free market is that people don't depend on magic.

    Capitalism is merely the observation that capital (i.e., any resource, such as money, land, labor, etc.) is best allocated not by, say, the bureaucrat who takes it by decree, but rather by the one who—through voluntary interaction—gained control of that capital in the first place. That's it.

    More capitalism means more freedom, and more freedom means faster progress in all aspects of life; under a free market, each person realizes he actually has that capital, and can use it readily to better both himself and his community (that is, to accrue more capital; profit is not merely a transfer of wealth, but an increase in the world's wealth).

    What most people don't realize is that the free market is not about immediate solutions, but rather about the evolution of a solution over the long term, even if nobody realizes that a solution is emerging. Evolution requires variation and selection—that is, the free market; the government, by its very nature, crushes this process. When a poorly performing organization grows larger and more intrusive rather than dying of its own ineptitude, then you know something is fundamentally wrong.

    Except that, in the case of the environment and child labor laws and everything covered by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, you're completely wrong.

    Also, I like how a solution arises even when no one knows a solution is arising so it's sort of like a religion where you can never say that it's going the wrong way because you just don't realize yet that a solution is arising.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.