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Capitalist Software

Capitalist software is software that late stage capitalism produces and is practically 100% shitty modern bloat and malware hostile to its users, made with the sole goal of benefiting its creator (often a corporation). Capitalist software is not just proprietary corporate software, but a lot of times "open source", indie software and even free software that's just infected by the toxic capitalist environment -- this infection may come deep even into the basic design principles, even such things as UI design, priorities and development practices and subtle software behavior which have simply all been shaped by the capitalist pressure on abusing the user.

Capitalist software largely mimics in technology what capitalist economy is doing in society -- for example it employs huge waste of resources (computing resources such as RAM and CPU cycles as an equivalent to natural resources) in favor of rapid growth (accumulation of "features"), it creates hugely complex, interdependent and fragile ever growing networks (tons of library of hardware dependencies as an equivalent of import/export dependencies of countries) and employs consumerism (e.g. in form of mandatory frequent updates). These effects of course bring all the negative implications along and lead to highly inefficient, fragile, bloated, unethical software.

Basically everyone will agree that corporate software such as Windows is to a high degree abusive to its users, be it by its spying, unjustified hardware demands, forced non customizability, price etc. A mistake a lot of people make is to think that sticking a free license to similar software will simply make it magically friendly to the user and that therefore most FOSS programs are ethical and respect its users. This is sadly not the case, a license if only the first necessary step towards freedom, but not a sufficient one -- other important steps have to follow.

A ridiculous example of capitalist software is the most consumerist type: games. AAA games are pure evil that no longer even try to be good, they just try to be addictive like drugs. Games on release aren't even supposed to work correctly, tons of bugs are the standard, something that's expected by default, customers aren't even meant to receive a finished product for their money. They aren't even meant to own the product or have any control over it (lend it to someone, install it on another computer, play it offline or play it when it gets retired). These games spy on people (via so called anti-cheat systems), are shamelessly meant to be consumed and thrown away, purposefully incompatible ("exclusives"), bloated, discriminative against low-end computers and even targeting attacks on children ("lootboxes"). Game corporations attack and take down fan modification and remakes and show all imaginable kinds of unethical behavior such as trying to steal rights for maps/mods created with the game's editor (Warcraft: Reforged).

But how can possibly a FOSS program be abusive? Let's mention a few examples:

The essential issue of capitalist software is in its goal: profit. This doesn't have to mean making money directly, profit can also mean e.g. gaining popularity and political power. This goal goes before and eventually against goals such as helping and respecting the users. A free license is a mere obstacle on the way towards this goal, an obstacle that may for a while slow down corporation from abusing the users, but which will eventually be overcome just by the sheer power of the market environment which works on the principles of Darwinian evolution: those who make most profit, by any way, survive and thrive.

Therefore "fixing" capitalist software is only possible via redefinition of the basic goal to just developing selfless software that's good for the people (as opposed to making software for profit). This approach requires eliminating or just greatly limiting capitalism itself, at least from the area of technology. We need to find other ways than profit to motivate development of software and yes, other ways do exist (morality, social status, fun etc.).


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