What does Occupy Wall St. have to do with open source?

Posted 11 Oct 2011 by 

Colin Dodd (Red Hat)
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Is Occupy Wall St. really an "open source protest?"
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opensource.com

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Nothing. Open source is completely apolitical.
34% (144 votes)
Everything. It's human beings self-organizing.
28% (120 votes)
I can see the parallels, but it's a stretch.
37% (158 votes)
Total votes: 422

If you do a google search of "Occupy Wall St."+"open source," you'll find a lot of interesting reading. While there is some discussion of the technology and techniques used by the protestors, there is far more philosophizing about the open, leaderless, amorphous nature of the protests and the "forks and innovations" that the movement counts on for momentum.

More than one blogger refers to the movement as an "open source protest" because like open source software, "[It] has no defined “message.” It’s just an amalgam of ideas from everyone who’s willing to contribute."

What do you think?

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40 Comments

Peter Groen
I think it is another symptom of a growing global 'Open Revolution' (open communities, open access, openness) and have tried to describe that in a series of blogs on the topic about the America's Future and the American Dream - see http://americanvision2050.blogspot.com
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Michael B.
Open Minded
So far, Occupy Wall Street seems like a progressive version of the Tea Party Movement. Unlike the Tea Party Movement, Occupy Wall Street was funded and organised primarily by one man, George Soros. The Tea Party Movement was an organic movement started by fed up libertarians and then hijacked by fed up conservatives. This was possible because there were no leaders, no people controlling anything. Occupy Wall Street is quietly being controlled by a maniacal billionaire; therefore, not open.
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tcolindodd
Open Source Champion
David and Charles Koch are two billionaires who help fund the tea party movement, but who cares? It's a free world, right?
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Dan Martin
I don't care about the Koch brothers, or how they choose to spend their money . Nor do I go care about George Soros, or how much money he spends on OWS--as long as he's paying for the cleanup.
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tim
helping fund something and have organizational control over it are two entirely different things - and, it won't be a free world if Mr. Soros has his way. All you have to do is listen to his words.
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Unidentified
Same could be said for the Koch brothers.
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Michael B.
Open Minded
Very true. The Koch brothers are very involved in libertarian causes. If they controlled the tea party organizations, you wouldn't see some of them talking against gay marriage, open borders, etc. Instead, you'd see them fighting against drug prohibition, occupational licensing, marriage licensing, military intervention and presence around the world, etc (in addition to fiscal issues).
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Unidentified
This is not my impression of the Koch brothers. Please supply some links to justify the statements.
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Michael B.
Open Minded
How about wikipedia? I'm most familiar with this brother even though I haven't heard a great deal. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_H._Koch Take a look at "Political Career" section, but almost the entire thing tells of his politics and what he stands for.
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plasmaborne
No sources for you allegations so you're just spewing your baseless opinion expecting rubes to believe they're facts. It is a fact that Tea Party hadn't much integrity and was easily taken over by the likes of the Koch Brothers. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Peter-Fenn/2011/02/02/tea-party-funding-koch-brothers-emerge-from-anonymity
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mflanery
Community Member
Occupy Wall St is not funded by George Soros or any other billionaires. The Tea Party, however, is funded by the Koch Brothers (the same ones that are pals with Scott Walker in WI) and Art Pope (director of Americans for Prosperity, which organized the Tax Day Tea Parties). If you're tired of being manipulated by corporations and billionaires, you are always welcome to join us at the protests! :)
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dennis7x
One can have their own opinion, but not their own facts. Please read the articles about "Koch Brothers and Tea Party Funding" http://www.google.com/search?q=koch+brothers+tea+party+funding&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a
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Michael B.
Open Minded
Accidental double post.
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DavidSpalding
Open Minded
This poll is missing an option. "There are many visible aspects in common with open source projects, but it's not what I'd call an 'open source' movement." As someone has apparently done, in any activity like this if you dig deep enough you will find an instigator, a driving individual or group. Now, I think good FOSS projects start that way as well. But they eventually become democratic don't they? Sure, what we see on the streets in NYC may seem democratic, but ... is it really?
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stites
Open Source Champion
I agree with David Spalding's comment. Also, open source is a way of creating something positive and useful. As far as I can see the Occupy Wall Street movement is much more akin to the anti-industrialization Luddite movement than to the Open Source movement. I see Occupy Wall Street as destructive, not constructive. ------------------------------- Steve Stites
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ken
The debate itself, regardless of the side you’re on is constructive on some level, no ? If someone says "Your greed is hurting the rest of us and we want a slice of the pie", the results can be one way of another, but the constructiveness remains to be seen doesn't it? Certainly the civil rights and women's movements started out the same way and turned out to be constructive.
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John Todaro
I see elements of the open-source spirit in this "Occupy Wall Street" movement, but the open-source world is much more calm, self-assured and undercover. The Occupy Wall Street protests are getting carried out in 70+ cities by a mere fraction of a huge population of people worldwide who are disgruntled by the greed and recklessness of big banks that get away with murder. Unfortunately, it's much harder to fight Wall Street than the Microsofts of the world.
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Charlie
:-) Limbaugh says OWS is funded by Wall Streeter Soros, so it must be. Duh. OWS is an ongoing conversation about the undue influence of monied people in politics and running the country. Hence the 99% tag. Open Source is about the undue influence of proprietary software on the ability of people to use technology to enhance their work and their world, perhaps. Similar, yet not. Openessness is the common ground.
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golfman
If you compare open source software with proprietary software then I can see a parallel with democracy that is more compelling the more you look at it. With proprietary software you make an initial choice to purchase it but you have no control over it once you have purchased it and it's virtually impossible to see what's going on inside it and how it is working. You are stuck with it until the software license expires. This is much like voting for a government in a democracy - you get an initial choice, a vote, at the beginning of a term of government ('license period') but then you are stuck with very little control until the government term (software license) expires and you have to choose another government at an election (acquire new software). During the term there might be lots of problems (bugs) with your choice but you are locked in. You can't fix any of the problems yourself because you don't have permission to change the legislation (source code). An open source government is not incompatible with democracy. It would require some major, but not impossible, changes. We elect ('acquire a license for') a more 'open and transparent' government. One in which every lobbyist or rich billionaire getting favors from politicians for cash is completely exposed. We could even take it further - the contributors to the writing of bills and voting on them could be done by ordinary people and the whole population is able to vote on them via the internet! That would be truly open source. It might be that open source means that a country's complete legislation is 'open sourced' - anyone can make suggestions for changes (commit to a development branch of the VCS). Everyone, not just the key developers (politicians) can vote on whether or not a change is merged into the trunk.
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Ricegf
I believe California took this tact with their Proposition legislative system. This resulted in the people voting themselves low taxes and expensive benefits, which is causing a few problems. Texas has a similar approach in that our constitution is far too detailed, resulting in a slate of amendments similar to Propositions each election. This resulted in the people voting themselves low taxes and few benefits, which certainly simplifies balancing our budget compared to California's experience. Of course, at the federal level we have just a republic, where our representatives have voted us lots of tax cuts and expensive benefits. So maybe open source government isn't any better than the republican variety? Hmmm...
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Unidentified
really why give these protesters any more publicity. Seriously older generation who just want to protest anything, young generation who havent contributed at all, most of these kids come from upper middle class or higher families, cant get job because they got a lib art degree from harvard but no job. NY they were chanting for freedom of sex with animals.. i mean seriously. they complain and want comm-socialist way but complain about obama care.. the only thing i see if they are in the wrong area and should be protesting white house and his admin for over promissing and underdelivering. i believe it was white house that gave wall st $$, told corp to hold cash.
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Unidentified
Actually that was George W Bush that gave all that money to wall street.
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Unidentified
While George Bush was president and did support TARP, it was a Democrat-controlled congress that wrote and passed the bill, which was also endorsed by both Obama and McCain. But TARP was just the first round of funding to the banking industry and others. There were two other larger rounds of funding after Obama was inaugurated that had little or no Republican support. And then there is the large amount of money that has never been accounted for that the Fed provided to unspecified recipients outside of any laws. On top of that, there is increasing evidence that the cause of the banking crisis was bad regulations passed by Democrat-controlled congresses that Republicans wanted to reform but were unable to do so because they never had a sufficient majority in congress, and there is at least at much evidence that the crisis was precipitated by Democrat supporters as many of the other claims made here.
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ken
And who's lack of regulation enforcement helped bring about the crisis.
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mflanery
Community Member
Funny... I'm an IT consultant in my mid 30's. Not only do I have a job, but a very good paying one at that! I'll admit that I complain about Obamacare - because it's too conservative. I think we should have socialized (gasp!) medicine and perhaps let people opt for private insurance if they'd prefer. As for sex with animals, well, I think you're the only one hoping for that.
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unclesmrgol
I'm a tea partier. I see no parallels between open source and either my political leaning or that associated with Occupy Wall Street. Open Source is non-political in the sense that it is created on a contributor's free time -- there is nothing which requires anyone to contribute, nor is there anything which requires anyone to use. It does not require the user or contributor to vote in a certain way, or to swear allegiance to any particular philosophy other than that of donation and acceptance of donation. It is the ultimate in freedom, and it harms noone. Furthermore, I can put whatever restrictions I want on my open source (see the vast number and types of open source licenses available), and the user community will vote with their use or non-use of my software as they see fit. Ditto, of course, for my opponent open source contributor/user -- the guy who disagrees with me politically and who probably coded up the occupywallst.org website -- which uses an open source framework hooked into google-analytics.com
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Unidentified
Funny, I see Open Source as Wall Street like. Where in the world do you see the value of ideas being voted on and established everyday. This said, certain government preferred entities, those receiving special government terms do abuse the system (banks, and other heavily regulated industries). See the way I see it, government and big businesses can afford the regulation, the challengers (open source and those wishing to start maybe a bank) can not compete on ideas due to the regulatory requirements. More regulation is great for the industry leaders, they can just add a few people to gain compliance, but going from 10 people to 13 is a substantial burden to those trying to unseat the big guys. So, I believe that open source is about freedom. Freedom from having others dictate the way you want to do business (live your life). Standards are established to aid in the development not hinder productivity based on arbitrary bureaucratic whims. And if it is a bad standard, a better more open one replaces it.
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golfman
The idea that the government rules for the people is a nice idea, kind of like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy - nice idea but when you grow up you realize it's just a nice story to make you feel warm and fuzzy. "Where in the world do you see the value of ideas being voted on and established everyday." Democracy or communism - doesn't matter - they both give the elite controllers infinite power because they only have to gain control of a few key "legislators" (politicians). If you change the game to let the people vote on "issues" rather than government then the multinational corporations and banks need to buy out millions of people rather than a few spineless turds we call "our representatives" - what a deceitful term.
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Tim
Open Society maybe.... In the puppetmasters own words: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/open-society-soros-explains-the-anti-capitalist-pro-marxist-tactics-he-uses-to-fundamentally-transform-countries/
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mflanery
Community Member
nice try... That's Glenn Beck's website. You can't get more biased that that.
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Tim
How tolerant an open-minded of you. By the way, Its a video of Soros speaking.
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golfman
If you really want to know why so many countries are in so much debt then this pretty well explains the role of bankers since the 1700s till now. <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXt1cayx0hs>So you think your government is in control... hahaha!</a> Whether your government is democratic, communist or socialist it doesn't matter as it appears these elite and powerful people have a long history of making money work for them.
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Leo Germeys
Quite obvious is opensource movement essentially united with "occupy wall street". What open source is about is the insight that sharing knowledge is much more fruitful than owning it. Occupy wall street is about the same insight that money only gets its meaning when used for welfare of mankind, otherwise it is bound to be destructive for society. Of course this connection is not obvious in a world dominated by a public opinion funded by private interests. But that does not define what is true or false.
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Michael B.
Open Minded
As a member of the open source movement, I have to completely disagree. I'm a free-market libertarian. Libertarians in general are pro-open source (once they know what it is). Some of the more extreme libertarians even want patents entirely abolished. For me, open source is about two things. The first is property rights. A patent or copyright is not true property. They are temporary, legislated monopolies. They generally violate other people's property rights. They should only exist when the violation of property rights is a lesser evil to the violation of other rights or the public interest. The other thing it's about for me is a struggle against rent-seeking. There are three main kinds. The two relevant ones are ones who try to corner a market through anti-competitive business practices (microsoft or apple for instance). The other one is firms who try to get an unfair advantage through legislative means (for instance regulations, licensing requirements, patents/copyrights, etc). In other words, for me open source is a more pure, uncorrupted form of capitalism that hasn't been tainted by rent seeking monopolists or government. On the other hand, the occupy wall street movement seems the opposite. They seem to be for government power and influence, as opposed to freedom and liberty (which is one of the things i thought open source was about) and they seem against capitalism.
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ricegf
I'm not a Libertarian (I support a strong national defense, for example, and reasonable consumer protection enforcement against corporations), but I think you've nailed my understanding of and position on OWS. The government trying to pick winners in the market causes far more harm than good (think Solyndra), and the "bailouts" look suspiciously like good old fashioned pork-filled spending bills to me. If a corporation is "too big to fail", then it's too big *period* and should be broken up into smaller competing companies. Then let them compete - and the penalty for serving consumers poorly is bankrupcy, not bailouts!
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Michael B.
Open Minded
Bailouts, subsidies, and tax credits and exemptions are another form of extracting economic rent from people. I know I'm starting to get out into the weeds here, but I just wanting to correct something you said because I find that it's a common misconception. Libertarians aren't against a strong national defense (though I'm sure that there are some who are). Many libertarians like the idea of a strong national defense. They just don't like the idea of a strong national "offense," if you catch my drift. Foreign conflicts aren't the business of the state. Spending taxpayer money on them is viewed as theft (much the same way many conservatives view welfare as theft). On the other hand, if one wanted to donate money to a revolution or go to another country to fight, then that is perfectly fine and in some cases even honorable.
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ricegf
I read the relevant sections of libertarian.org, lp.org, Ron Paul's website, and the Libertarian entry in Wikipedia. I hate to say this, but... you're absolutely right. ;-) Mea culpa, and thanks for the correction.
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golfman
I don't live in the US but if you guys miss out on the chance to make Ron Paul your president then you're commiting yourselves to another 4 years of slavery to Wall St and the elite controllers who run your Federal Reserve that is NOT owned or controlled by the government nor the people. Once you understand his plan it's easy to see why all MSM (also controlled by the elite) will do everything in their power to discredit him and present another puppet (Obama or republican candidate X where X != Ron Paul) to "run" the show.
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stites
Open Source Champion
"They just don't like the idea of a strong national "offense," if you catch my drift." I think that a better term for what you are describing is "imperialism". -------------------------- Steve Stites
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Consultoria RH
Este blog é uma representação exata de competências. Eu gosto da sua recomendação. Um grande conceito que reflete os pensamentos do escritor. <a href="http://www.luizpaschoal.com.br">Consultoria RH</a>
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