Does a bumper year for Linux show us that a collaborative meta narrative for the economy is starting to replace the out dated free market competitive one. A quick and rather narrow review of Microsoft versus Linux will provide some insight as to why and how this new collaborative meta narrative is appearing.
When we think of software many of us think of operating systems for desktops and when we think of open source operating systems we likely think of Linux. In a world dominated by Windows and Mac, linux has a meagre 1% share of the desktop market. Hardly disrupting the market…. but when you factor in smart phones and tablets, we start to realise that Android, which is an open source operating system based on Linux, in countries like UK and USA, is now the leading operating system.
Factoring the complete ‘computer market’ a recent Goldman Sachs’s report says that Microsoft’s share of the computer market has gone from 97% in year 2000 to just 20% in 2012. See this Forbes article for quite a balanced view of those numbers but still very damming for Microsoft. What gets interesting is the stats for super computers, the worlds largest computers, taking on some of the most important and risk averse tasks, where linux has 94% of the market share.
All in all 2012 has been an amazing year for Linux with momentum in loads of fields such as virtual clouds and car computer systems.
Now we can start to see that open source is truly disruptive within the operating system world but if we take a wider systems view of the software world (i.e. including web applications and machine operating systems etc) we see that proprietary software is actually one part of an open source ecosystem and not the other way round.
The closed proprietary world is one of the pillars of the ‘free’ market competitive system but has become a less collaborative element of broader collaborative systems. However, there’s still loads of competition within this collaborative ecosystem. This shift in meta narratives is not an eradication of competition. But now we see that in the old survival of the fittest adage, the fittest are actually those who can collaborate the best.
Dogs don’t eat dogs very often. In fact they work best in packs. There’s also lots of profits and money changing hands. This is not an argument for the eradication of profits either. In fact arguments about the pro’s and con’s of profits are secondary at this point. It’s an evolution of the current system rather than a shift to socialism for example.
This inversion between the collaborative and competitive world of software systems is the kind of inversion that we’re about to see in the economy as whole. It’s the creation of a new collaborative meta narrative to replace the free market competitive narrative that dominates today.
If you take a broader view still, looking at the wider knowledge based economy (apparently we’re in the knowledge economy era) you then see that through facebook, youtube, blogging etc that openness and sharing, which are deep routed forms of collaboration, have become the very backbone of the information economy rather than a niche or naive idea. Commercialisation through ownership is now becoming smaller part of the large system. Welcome to the beginnings of the new economy.
Quite frankly if this new meta narrative does not address climate change, peak oil and the potential for economic crisis, then it is by and large useless. But, in short, we at REconomy are seeing the same collaborative meta narrative appearing in the new economic microcosms developed in local communities by the Transition movement and beyond to the Occupy Camps etc.
Granted that the approaches that these change-maker groups are using are by and large less commercialised but the collaborative or community dynamic is fundamentally aligned. Moreover, i think its the mix of commercialised and non commercialised that gives this shift real appeal to mainstream and alternative groups alike. In fact, because the collaboratively we’re stronger and fitter the shift will happen as it as performance logic not just mainstream of alternative appeal.
Credits: Capitalism is over : IAN RANSLEY DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION’s