Freedom or Power?
Subject:   comsumers do have the real power
Date:   2001-11-23 11:38:16
From:   msouth
As much as people like to point to Microsoft as the bad guy (and, believe me, I agree that they have unquestionably acted illegally and immorally to the detriment of the industry and the market), the people with the real power in America are consumers. All that is required for Microsoft to disappear is for people to quit buying their products. The only way Microsoft got where they are is by people buying their products. If people had acted responsibly, asked themselves "Is supporting this company the right thing to do?", Microsoft would quite likely have disappeared long ago, or at least faded into normal relevance.

This idea that programmers control the world is overstated--people can choose to ignore a product. Yes, our world probably needs software. But they don't need _your_ software.

The same thing applies to music. All these people arguing with the RIAA (who is, I agree, attacking our fundamental fair use rights, etc--even the artists hate them, that can't be good), but most of them still give their money to support the evil empire. It's easy to argue with your mouth, but the vote that counts is one you cast at the cash register.

Things are the way they are because not enough people care enough to do anything about it. It's a great thing that we can say this--it shows how free we really are in this country. We are free to create and feed monsters, and we are free to ignore the fact that we are doing it. We are equally free to band together and stop feeding the monsters so that they can die off or shrink to a less damaging size.

Linux has gained a tremendous foothold in the world, but it is only there because people cared enough to make it happen. The 800lb gorillaness of Microsoft is likewise there only because people didn't care enough to keep it from happening.

One might also argue that the people that did care didn't do all that great a job recruiting followers, but that's another matter. What is, is, and it is what it is because of what people have chosen.

And don't even get me started about politics...