Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

23
Dec

How Compatible Are Anarchism and Capitalism?

by adminadam in essays

Are Anarchism and Capitalism irreconcilable or can these two schools of thought be integrated?

Let’s first explore some definitions. The term ‘anarchism’ comes from the Greek an and archos, which roughly translates to “without rulers”.

Traditionally, Left Anarchism has promoted the idea of political action committees and workers’ councils as an alternative governance structure to State politics. Essentially, these PAC’s and councils are meant to exert political pressure as they see fit. This is both to maintain their political monopoly position — to prevent the reemergence of the “Nation State” (read: any competing governance model) in a given geographic area or indeed the whole world — and also to disrupt the inevitable accumulation of capital in any given enterprise or individual. In effect, the means of political control and domination in such a Left Anarchist society are the same as that of a capitalist nation state. Political power, undoubtedly, still exists; it has just been rebranded. Left Anarchists thus seek to appoint themselves as the new rulers of their society post-revolution.

It is interesting to note the responses received when asking a traditional (Left) Anarchist who it is that would lead these PAC’s and workers’ councils. I have often been disappointed at the naivety (and obstinance) of those with whom I’ve taken up the matter: “All of us would lead. There would be no rulers. We would make all decisions affecting our citizenry through consensus”.

I am personally unconvinced by these assurances and others, such as the assertion that all members of the society would receive everything they needed in order to live a happy and healthy life — and that all this would be accomplished through bi-weekly meetings conducted by the dedicated and incorruptible. Are we all truly so virtuous?

“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” –David Brin

Of course humans are corruptible. And it stands to reason that — in complete denial of our own faults and arrogance — we might view ourselves as pure and righteous and worthy of such power. It is an insidious twist — a leap in logic as it were — to say that instead of just me (for, of course, I am not fit to rule) that we all rule (for, of course, we will make wise and just decisions together). What’s often left out of these discussions in my experience is the question of what happens to the people that don’t participate in the consensus process. Are their views weighed? Or is a small minority (a bureaucracy) making decisions — however presumptuously — for us all?

So we see Left Anarchism is Statism-rebranded, albeit with a necessarily destructive bent towards capital and those who wish to retain the fruits of their labor. With this it seems a wholly more thorough, more potent form of Statism with a penchant for violence and an inherently contradictory nature: If we are all rulers, and some choose not to exercise their place on the Grand Council, we will decide for them. That there can be no competing models, that the Grand Council decides everything, that capital also is inevitably siphoned off to feed this Council smacks of Authoritarianism and Tyranny to me. (Better almost to have a King, considering that: 1. Alone a King could implement logically- and internally-consistent policies, 2. Only a small portion of the populous’ wealth would go to feed him, and 3. he may even give back to his people on occasion.)

Left Anarchists do not truly seek to destroy the State, although they make such pronouncements regularly; they seek to, themselves, become it.

Could Capitalism and Anarchism conceivably compliment each other?

While few understand Capitalism to mean simply the freedom to earn and keep the product of your labor, many take it to mean a world in which corporations — regarded as citizens by the State, mind you — monopolize and exploit workers and the environment. Capitalism is understood to equate to the exploitation of workers in developing countries and the destruction of the environment by corporations. Let us not forget that these corporations are granted rights and given welfare by the State.

In all truth, this consequence or set of consequences, the impacts of corporations, are entirely dependent on the State, which:

  • controls the issuance of credit and fiat currency,
  • subsidizes wholly unprofitable industries, and
  • bails out banks laden with toxic assets (further encouraging investment in such assets).

Remove the State, along with it the subsidies, corporate taxes, and start-up costs… and competition can begin to sort out the problems in the market. Failing banks will fail; private losses will remain private. An oil company that causes undue harm to the environment in this society will be boycotted and hence incentivized by consumers to do the right thing: make ammends, pay reparations, and straighten out its act — or else wither and die. Innovative companies will succeed, and continue to succeed until such time as they stop innovating or are overtaken by even more innovative firms. The Free Market Anarchist, the Anarcho-Capitalist, endeavors to bring about this exact state of affairs.

The Left Anarchist retort to this free market vision is often one which insinuates hypocrisy for proposing to supplant political rulers with the Captains of Industry, the Rich. Wouldn’t the capitalists become the new ruling class, absent any political structure?

This question deserves some exploration.

Capitalists as “Ruling Class”

If we return to elementary economics, we see that when a store owner tries to charge a customer too much for a loaf of bread the customer goes elsewhere. In voluntary market interactions such as these there is by definition no coercive element.

Consider the inverse of this situation, which is that a State or Workers’ Council runs the only store in town — or the only store in the whole country for that matter — and demands $10.00 for Wonder Bread. People are forced to buy it or try to get it through the black market, for which by no mere coincidence they may have their lives and livelihoods threatened by the very same State or Council. This is coercive, indeed. The Command Economy is clearly the more violent of the two systems.

wonder-bread

Which would you prefer? A single state-run bread company, or many firms which compete to offer better bread to you for less money?

Simply put, unless a State is propping up a corporation as a monopoly through legislation, bailouts, and subsidies, a corporation has no chance to coerce its potential customers. Even if for a period of time it charges high prices, eventually competitors will arise.

“The average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today.” (source: BBC: Can a company live forever?)

Let us reiterate: The average S&P 500 company of today will last just 15 years! Compare this to the life of Empires and Nation States, which is a much longer 250 years on average.

Even the average life of currencies — at 27 years — is nearly twice as long as that of a corporation:

According to a study of 775 fiat currencies by DollarDaze.org, there is no historical precedence for a fiat currency that has succeeded in holding its value. Twenty percent failed through hyperinflation, 21% were destroyed by war, 12% destroyed by independence, 24% were monetarily reformed, and 23% are still in circulation approaching one of the other outcomes. … The average life expectancy for a fiat currency is 27 years, with the shortest life span being one month. (source)

Compared with the perenniality of the State, corporations are ephemera. As fast as corporations wane at present, imagine a world in which none are bouyed up by the government. Were they then to fall into such disreputable behaviors as price gouging or senselessly inflicting environmental damage it would only hasten their demise. Fear not an enduring Corporatocracy; it cannot exist without the collusion and the many blessings of the State.

So to answer the Left Anarchist retort: No, there are no Rulers in Free Market Capitalism, only the shifting sands of the innovative and the stagnant — a sea of companies with natural variation over time, high and low tides.

But what of the Command Economy? Can’t it even out these natural variations?

Ignoring for a moment the folly of a group of politicos thinking they can outwit the market — the collective economic intelligence of all of humanity — how could we summarize the vision of the Authoritarian or the Left Anarchist and contrast it with that of the Anarcho-Capitalist?

Let us consider the intersections of political power and economic freedom. We have Authoritarianism on the one hand, which is complete political control, not unlike what is espoused in Left Anarchists circles. The typical government is monopolistic. It has one set of laws and one primary means of enforcing those laws. To suggest that alternative, parallel legal systems or means of enforcement could co-exist is tantamount to treason. The authoritarian condemns and incarcerates the dissident, quashes divergent thinking through indoctrination and “re-education”. And while anarchists of all stripes rail against this, sadly only a select few mean to completely dismantle the State and break the spell of Statism that has been cast over the people, like wool over their eyes.

The State, the Commune, the Council are all authoritarian in essence, or at the very least tend towards authoritarianism and tyranny, growing ever bigger with the passage of time. It is due to this that I lump Statism and Left Anarchism under the same category of Authoritarianism. I’ll leave it to you to perform the mental substitution for either of these schools of thought in light of my visual below.

Capitalism, on the other hand, can be considered a politically-neutral state of affairs in which the accumulation of wealth is entirely unrestricted. These two, I will argue, opposing systems often comprise the political reality of the day in concert. The U.S. is one such hybrid model, for instance.

Political Power and Economic Freedom AUTHORITARIANISM CAPITALISM
AUTHORITARIANISM Authoritarian Ruling Class
Entrenched State Monopolies
Command Economy
All Profits Go to Government
Hybrid Ruling Class
Some State-Backed Monopolies
Mixed Economy
Some Private Profits
CAPITALISM Hybrid Ruling Class
Some State-Backed Monopolies
Mixed Economy
Some Private Profits
No Ruling Class
No Entrenched Monopolies
Free Market Economy
Maximum Private Profits

We can summarize the above as follows:

  • If we have a State we have a Ruling Class.
  • Similarly, if we have a Council or some kind of PAC we have a Ruling Class.
  • If we have Corporations and a State we may have a hybrid Ruling Class, but certainly a Ruling Class exists.
  • If we have only Corporations we do not have a Ruling Class. What we have instead is a constant turnover in the means of production and consistent innovation stemming from unencumbered markets.

But how do we make decisions without the guidance of a State or Council?

If all interactions are voluntary, and all transactions are entered into freely by consenting participants, then no need for political authority exists. It is thus up to each individual to determine what he needs and what he desires. The idea of having “No Rulers” is less prescriptive and more descriptive of reality in this imagined Free World in that case. It achieves the end-game of Anarchism without the need for constant, bloody revolution, without the need for bi-weekly meetings in which conniving bureaucrats on one side, and hot-headed idealists on the other, try to convince themselves that they are still all, in fact, on the same side of the table.

All Statist ideologies posit the need for a final arbiter of truth, a single individual or set of individuals which is not only capable but also virtuous enough to make decisions for the whole of society — often without the input of any of the members of said society — on matters as diverse as finance and environmental stewardship, logistics and defense, welfare and money printing, science and morality, immigration and agricultural production, ad infinitum. We live currently in a world in which people predominantly see through the lens of Statism, one that unquestioningly asserts that such expert and morally-superior Arbiters of Truth exist. Tell me, please: Where are all these Anomalous and Divine Beings? And why on Earth would they choose to enter into Politics of all areas?

So aren’t Anarchism and Capitalism complimentary in fact?

Indeed, it appears so, that the absence of rulers (Anarchism) and the absence of barriers to trade and free association (Capitalism) go hand in hand. Anarcho-Capitalism is a marraige of ultimate personal freedom with that of maximum economic freedom. It seems the more internally-consistent and morally-justified of the political models:

Nolan Political Chart - Capitalism

Source: paoracle.com

At the very least Free Market Capitalism, or Anarcho-Capitalism, starts with the assumption of Freedom for All. Maximize freedom for everyone and dismantle Political Power. On the opposing end we see Communism and Socialism — the same camp in which Left Anarchism ultimately finds itself — and these are in close proximity to Facism and Nazism. All four of these -ism’s presuppose and necessitate the expansion of government power, whether the reigns of Government change hands or not. It seems prudent — insofar as you have a choice — to choose to implement or support a system which grants you the utmost freedoms, so that even if they are eventually curtailed, at the very least you will have experienced Freedom in its purest form during your life time. What a marvelous thing that would be!

7
Mar

The Bitcoin Declaration of Independence

by adminadam in videos

 From bravetheworld.com -- (Watch on YouTube)

“The internet is anarchy.
And cryptocurrencies are
the printless fingers
of the internet.”

Credits:

Julia Tourianski (Declaration of Bitcoin’s Independence, Brave The World)
Roger Ver (Bitcoin Evangelist, also known as the “Bitcoin Jesus”)
Paul Joseph Watson (InfoWars)
Jeff Berwick (The Dollar Vigilante, Anarchast)
Jeffrey Tucker (CLO, LIberty.me)
Charlie Shrem (BitInstant)
Kristov Atlas (Anonymous Bitcoin Book, Dark News)
Bruce Fenton (Bitcoin Association, Atlantic Financial)
Victoria van Eyk (The Ethical Empire, Bitcoin Strategy Group)
Gavin Wood (Ethereum)
Stephanie Murphy ( Let’s Talk Bitcoin, Free Talk Live)
Dmitry Murashchik (Mycelium)
Will Pangman (Bitcoin Maven, Tapeke.com)
Stephan Tual (Ethereum)
Enric Duran (Spain’s Robin Hood)
Richard Stott (Ethereum)
Joerg Platzer (Room 77)
Blake Anderson (uBITquity, neo-arbitrage)
Peter Todd (Bitcoin Core, Dark Wallet, Zerocash)
Trace Mayer (Early bitcoin evangelist, Bitcoin Armory, proponent of free speech, How to Vanish)
Pamela Morgan (Smart Law)
M.K Lords (Bitcoin Not Bombs)
Patrick M. Byrne (overstock.com, “Bitcoin Messiah”)
Amir Taaki (Libbitcoin, Dark Wallet, Dark Market)
Chris Ellis (World Crypto Network)
Ruben Alexander (Editor at Bitcoin Magazine)
Max Keiser (Keiser Report, MaxCoin, STARTcoin)
Stacy Herbert (Keiser Report, STARTcoin)
Juraj Bednar (Hacker, serial entrepreneur, DIGMIA, Citadelo)
Mathias Grønnebæk (Ethereum)
Andreas Antonopoulos (bitcoinbook.info, serial tech-entrepreneur, Let’s Talk Bitcoin)
Joseph Lords
Chris Pacia (Bitcoin Authenticator, Escape Velocity Blog)
Paige Peterson (Developer at MaidSafe, SF Bitcoin Meetup Organizer)
Ryan Taylor (Bitcoin magazine)
Courtney Warner (Bitcoin advocate, actress)
Zach Ramsey (Coin Culture)

6
Mar

Cody Wilson on Gun Control (RT interview)

by adminadam in articles, videos

RT asks: Is the release of plans for the Liberator Pistol going to help people protect their rights and freedoms, or is it a move that’s going to put people in danger?

Cody Wilson explains that he created the Liberator Pistol as a political statement and as a form of political action. The publication of this process (the plans for the 3D-printed gun) and the concept that the barriers to entry for manufacturing, particularly firearm manufacturing, are coming down is significant because neither the plans nor this new notion can be censured or expunged from the internet. The plans are and will continue to be seeded through bittorrent and shared through other means online despite the take-down requests of government agencies aimed at Defense Distributed.

He goes on to describe the act as a kind of ‘attack’ to counter the increasing paranoia and legislative momentum leading towards greater gun control. This attack gives the control and power regarding gun ownership and gun production to each and every sovereign individual, at a time when some politicians are attempting to exert their authority in this space to further restrict such powers to select, pre-approved parties and existing manufacturers. The Liberator Pistol, he says, is an effective way of showing off the power of anarchist market innovation through 3D printing and peer-to-peer file sharing technology.

Effectively, this creates a new political and cultural reality: Regulators are placed on a level playing-field, more or less, with Joe Average, who can now procure — or not procure, if he so chooses — an untraceable, unmarked firearm. At this point, legislative fiat is rendered ineffective due to the resilient nature of information shared online and the accelerating democratization of access to technologies like 3D printing.  It is no longer unreasonable — either practically or financially — for you to make your own working, unregistered Liberator Pistol (namely, the AR receiver) by purchasing or borrowing a 3D printer, such as the Ghost Gunner. Indeed, it can only get easier from here on out.

And while some people might resent this change being thrust upon us, perhaps others — even if they don’t welcome the implications of the democratization of gun production — will appreciate the fact that Cody Wilson and his compatriots at Defense Distributed are forthcoming and transparent about their goals and explicit about what they think it means for us all: Regardless of Cody Wilson having gone ahead with this plan, crossing this kind of point-of-no-return, it was (and is now) inevitable that individual actors bring new and disruptive innovations — such as this gun and the plans to print it — to the world. Going forward we are likely to see more and more plans and home-made products that are illegal or quasi-legal, along with items that are considered taboo or controversial in society. We will see everything from 3D-printed sex toys to black-market electronics, children’s toys to pharmaceuticals, perhaps even 3D-printed houses and cars. Metamaterials (things like glass with malleability and programmability, e.g. solar reflectiveness vs. solar absorption, thermal reflectiveness vs. thermal absorption, impermeability vs. permeability, etc.) will enable the expansion of productive capacity further, leading to millions more currently-unfathomable inventions.

Cody Wilson and others that follow (even unknowingly) in his footsteps and publish plans for disruptive innovations such as these are effectively rendering null-and-void the centralized legislative bodies and bureaucratic agencies of the world, routing around them much like censorship on the internet has resulted in new and more resilient, more distributed solutions to the need for information and sharing and innovation in the world (see: napster; limewire; bittorrent).

This is the new paradigm we are entering. It is a world of radical and expanding individual sovereignty and decentralized and disruptive technological innovation.

How about printing yourself a jet (engine)?

19
Jan

Democracy is Evil

by adminadam in videos

~
  • No-Government is better than Democracy, the tyranny of the majority.
  • Individual rights are sacrificed to the uninformed, entitled, and sheepish collective.
  • Already-corrupt politicians compete to rise to the top. Although not an endorsement of monarchy, at least monarchs have the potential to be not-corrupt at the start of their reign.
  • Humans are flawed and imperfect; therefore, politicians are flawed and imperfect. Uninformed, imperfect voters, however, are presumed to be competent enough to elect their own rulers. This is a fundamental flaw inherent in representative democracies — forget voter fraud, forgery, hackable voting machines, and other issues of cheating and corruption that make the process all the more untrustworthy. The fact is, anti-statists (I included), don’t consent to you choosing who should rule over and make decisions for me. I will almost certainly have no reason whatsoever to trust in your (or your politician-of-choice’s) competency.
  • Australia has made voting compulsory. Seems a clear indictment of the democratic system: Statists will often use voter turnout as a metric on which to base their arguments for the right to rule over, or choose who can rule over, others. As the fallacy goes, if you don’t participate in the flawed system, you don’t get to choose who rules over you (interesting how choosing a person who would violate your rights and make decisions for you is considered a “choice”, a privilege even). As for the Catch-22, if you do vote and participate in the so-called democratic process, thinking that perhaps you can change the system from within in some miraculous way (say by chanting “Yes, We Can!”), you actually just further prop it up. Politicians are under no obligations to do whatever it is that they promised to do that happened to appeal to you when you voted for them. Voting is consent to rule in the minds of politicians. Compulsory voting is forced consent to allow tyrants to continue to believe that they are entitled to rule. Consider what it means to choose to not vote; consider the power of a vote of no confidence.
  • Conversing with open-minded acquaintances and discussing the fundamental flaws of democracy should help to encourage more dissent from the current system. To choose to not vote is a principled — if not effective — way for an individual to revoke his/her consent to be governed, taxed, violated, and misrepresented. Eventually, when enough people reject the farce that is our current system, either through not-voting or by engaging in other, non-violent acts of political and economic disobedience, the State and its apparatuses will crumble.
  • Who would build the roads if we didn’t have the State? Probably the same people that currently build them, but most likely they would build roads faster and more efficiently sans bureaucrats telling them how to do their jobs. See Taking Politics Out of Transportation: Economist Bruce Benson on Private Roads below discussing how successful and instrumental private roads have been throughout American history — and why they have a bright future.
~
What to read next: Doug Casey on Voting, Redux — Why voting is an unethical, degrading, privacy-violating waste of time. Another good one is: Why Not Vote? by Davi Barker, published (albeit only in-part in Grist).
3
Dec

Decentralization

by adminadam in videos

  1. DVR’s were to Pre-DVR TV-viewers as Bitcoin is to Traditional Fiat-Money Users and Banking Clients.
  2. DVR’s were to Pre-DVR TV-viewers as Maidsafe is to Traditional Bloggers, Social-Media Users, and Content Sharers.

Eliminate the middle-man.

  • Cut out the banks that are sucking you dry with fees and bureaucracy.
  • Cut out the governments that are spying on you.
  • Cut out the tech companies that are harvesting and selling your data.

Decentralize: Learn about …

1
Oct

Human Innovation vs. State Control

by adminadam in videos

Defense Distributed‘s new promotional video:

Ghost Gunner

Defense Distributed’s stated aims are as follows:

“To defend the human and civil right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court; to collaboratively produce, publish, and distribute to the public without charge information and knowledge related to the digital manufacture of arms.”

They are a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in the State of Texas.

DD’s founders, Ben Denio and Cody Wilson seek to create a “a political and legal vehicle for demonstrating and promoting the subversive potential of publicly-available 3D Printing technologies.” To that effect, on July 27th, 2012 they launched the Wiki Weapon Project — the effort to create and release the files for the world’s first printable handgun.

The History of the DD is still in the making; the dust has not settled:

In August 2012, Indiegogo.com removed DD’s inaugural fundraising campaign from its website, citing a terms of service violation. This removal prompted stirrings in the 3DP and tech blogs, and led DD to court the Bitcoin community to help fund the Wiki Weapon. By September 2012, DD had raised enough money to set to prototyping and experimentation, when industry player Stratasys scandalously revoked its lease with the company and quickly repossessed its printer. This repossession, one of the first of its kind, made world news, and the Wiki Weapon found commensurate support.

By December 2012, DD began prototyping more durable rifle receivers for the popular AR-15, a fact not missed in American gun politics after that month’s Sandy Hook Massacre. By January 2013, DD had created the gun file repository DEFCAD and released the files for the first printable AR-15 standard capacity magazines. DD followed these achievements in March with the files for the first durable printed AR-15 rifle receiver.

On May 5, 2013, DD released the files for the Liberator pistol — the culmination of the Wiki Weapon Project. This release was met by a flurry of US governmental censures and investigations, and DD is still involved in a conflict with the US State Department over whether there is a requirement to seek government approval before releasing privately generated gun files into the public domain.

And now the Ghost Gunner has entered the scene…

Ghost Gunner is a miniature CNC machine designed to automatically manufacture publicy created designs with nearly zero user interaction. No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Defense Distributed’s first design is the venerable AR-15 lower receiver. Ghost Gunner automatically finds and aligns your 80% lower receiver to the machine, with simple installation instructions, point and click software and all required tools. Just follow a few simple instructions to mount your 80% lower receiver, tighten a couple screws (with simple tools we provide), and on day one, Ghost Gunner can help you legally manufacture unserialized firearms in the comfort of your own home.

GhostGunner3DPwithLowerReceiver
[Read more at Ghostgunner.net]

“One of these centuries, the brutes, private or public, who believe that they can rule their betters by force, will learn the lesson of what happens when brute force encounters mind and force.”

     — Ragnar Danneskjöld (from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)

9
Jun

Truth = Treason

by adminadam in home, quotes, videos

“When Truth Is Treason” — From Community Christian Church in Springfield, MO. (16:44 runtime)

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.


  1. “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

  2. “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” — Voltaire

  3. “The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.” — H.L. Mencken

  4. “A wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him.” — Niccolo Machiavelli

  5. “If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.” — Frank Herbert

  6. “Public opinion, because of the tremendous urge to conformity in gregarious animals, is less tolerant than any system of law.” — George Orwell

  7. “One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression. Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors, to be silenced and imprisoned.” — Howard Zinn

  8. “If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.” — Howard Zinn

  9. “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.” — George Orwell

  10. “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” — George Orwell

  11. “Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us?” — Frank Herbert

  12. “Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.” — Frank Herbert

  13. “Where you stand depends on where you sit.” — Nelson Mandela


TRUTH = TREASON = TERRORISM


27
May

The Extropy of Linux

by adminadam in articles

Allow me to revel for a second in the beauty of millions of volunteers working together from around the world to build free and open-source (and awesome) alternatives to the profit-driven, privacy-abusive, user-patronizing, security-lax, and design-arbitrary Corporate Operating Systems of the Modern World, namely: Windows and Mac OSX.

Here goes: Linux, along with Wikipedia, Wikileaks, the Bitcoin Crowd, Anonymous, Firefox, Diaspora*, and the Occupy Movement may just represent the pinnacle of human cultural development as it stands in the 21st century. That is, at its core, it (Linux) has Freedom, Respect for the dignity of individual humans and human communities, Love and the love of Art and Aesthetics, and Truth as both its mode of operation and its end goal (product, in this case). Both path and destination are glorious. What does Microsoft want from you? Servitude. Apple? Your Soul. And if we look at the other fields I’ve jacked into the equation here, what does Chrome want from you — being another semi-open-source browser with great design and functionality? Your Data, of course. All your data are belong to us. Linux is divergent; counter-culture. Eventually, hopefully, it will be the new norm for you and me.

</revel>

With these idealistic ends in mind I’ve decided to go all out and bring my best Thrivenotes-y analysis of the top 10 Linux Distributions to you, dear reader, in the hopes that it will help you consider your options, firstly, and secondly, know where to start for when you decide that you’ve had enough of Big Brother Data Corp and Their Friends.


First off, let’s give us a definition here, shall we?

What is Linux? Surely our friend Wikipedia can answer that!

This from the Simple English Version:

Linux or GNU/Linux is a free and open source software operating system for computers. The operating system is a collection of the basic instructions that tell the electronic parts of the computer what to do and how to work. Free and open source software (FOSS) means that everyone has the freedom to use it, see how it works, and change it.

What does it do?

It basically allows you to do all the things you would normally do with a computer. Go online, check your email, organize your photos, write letters and documents, create art, play videogames, listen to music, etc., etc..

What doesn’t it do?

Linux is all about free software. With that said, some types of Linux are (by design) not very good at using proprietary software, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. With that said, there are some pretty kick-ass (as in free, as in beer) alternatives, namely: OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and GIMP or Inkscape.

What are the most popular flavors — or types — of Linux?

Ubuntu is the name most people who’ve heard of Linux will recognize. It is amongst the best known. It is, however, the LAST flavor of Linux that I would recommend. Canonical, the company that creates it, seems to have, by default, set it up so that it will share with the company (and any other 3rd parties it deems business-worthy) what you are doing on your computer, what you are searching for (on your own computer), and possibly more. Frankly, Ubuntu makes open-source look bad. Open-source, and Linux as a whole, is all about respecting user privacy and user needs. Canonical (and Ubuntu by extension) have changed the way they do business in a fundamental way by making this data-sharing an opt-out feature. For that, I strike them from my list.

Let’s get on with it. What else is out there?

So so much!


What if we just did a simple little search for the top ten distributions?

Sounds good to me. According to distrowatch.com, during the last year, the top-viewed (read-about) Linux distributions/flavors have been:

  1. Linux Mint
  2. Mageia
  3. Ubuntu
  4. Fedora
  5. Debian
  6. openSUSE
  7. Arch Linux
  8. PCLinuxOS
  9. CentOS
  10. Puppy Linux

Honorable mentions, which have also been in the top 10 in the past 2 years at some point are:

  • Slackware
  • Manjaro Linux

What should we look at now?

What about Google Search Results for each of these?

OK! Here are our Google Search Results (# of Results) for each of the 12 Linux Distros:

1. Ubuntu – 189.0 million results – Most Recent Version: 13 “Raring Ringtail” – TPB Seeders: ~95
2. Debian – 81.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 7 “Wheezy” – TPB Seeders: ~25
3. Fedora – 55.8 million results – Most Recent Version: 18 – TPB Seeders: ~40
4. CentOS – 38.5 million results – Most Recent Version: 6 – TPB Seeders: ~70
5. Linux Mint – 23.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 14 – TPB Seeders: ~55
6. OpenSUSE – 14.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 12.3 – TPB Seeders: ~30
7. Arch Linux – 11 million results – Most Recent Version: a13-2 – TPB Seeders ~3
8. Slackware Linux – 8.2 million results – Most Recent Version: 14 – TPB Seeders ~15
9. Puppy Linux – 3.8 million results – Most Recent Version: 5 – TPB Seeders ~10
10. Mageia – 1.9 million results – Most Recent Version: 3 beta 4 – TPB Seeders ~40
11. PCLinuxOS – 1.5 million results – Most Recent Version: 2013 – TPB Seeders ~9
12. Manjaro Linux – 383,000 results – Most Recent Version: 0.8.2 – TPB Seeders ~1

Ok, so what do Google Results tell us?

They are an indicator of the popularity of something, but more importantly, this tells me that Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and the others on top are more likely to have a lot of users and a lot of forums and Q&A and info-sharing communities on the web. This is important to me as I want the most community-supported, most stable, and most accessible Linux distribution possible. Longevity, commonality, and stability are all good extropian (negentropic) criteria to consider. What is the Linux Distribution least likely to disappoint at some point in the future? I believe that this is answerable (roughly) though these surveys I’ve completed: Distrowatch, Google, and #’s of TPB Seeders.

What do the TPB Seeder numbers mean?

Once you decide to get a Linux Distribution to try it out (I recommend VirtualBox for testing them out without replacing your current operating system). Anyways, once you decide you want a specific distribution, one of the fastest ways to get it (download it) is through the bit-torrent protocol. Peer-to-peer downloading, that is. The Pirate Bay is one such place where you could get a torrent file of a distro you want. Also, the more that people are seeding that distro, the stronger a sign it is to me that it is a good one. People don’t (tend to) seed crap (very often), so to speak.

Now to aggregate a bit…

We don’t want Ubuntu. Doesn’t respect privacy.

Long-standing champions in the Linux arena are: Debian, Slackware, Fedora, Linux Mint, CentOS, openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Puppy Linux, as far as I can gather. PCLinuxOS is new to me. We can look into it a bit, but right now let’s focus on eliminating some of those that remain, either because they are too new or because few people are or have been talking about them.

Mageia and Manjaro, you’re out too. No offense.

What are we left with?

1. Debian
2. Fedora
3. CentOS
4. Linux Mint
5. openSUSE
6. Arch Linux
7. Slackware
8. Puppy Linux
9. PCLinuxOS

That’s based on Google. What about distrowatch page views again?

1. Linux Mint
2. Fedora
3. Debian
4. openSUSE
5. Arch Linux
6. PCLinuxOS
7. CentOS
8. Puppy Linux
9. Slackware


Now let’s remove Arch Linux, because although I’m sure it’s great, it is known for difficult installation.

Also, PCLinuxOS, I’m taking you out of the picture for now, not that I won’t come back to you (someday), but we all have limited time here and you only have 1.5 million Google results. You’re getting there, I’d say… ; )

Now we have 7 to look at more closely. These are all seemingly solid, easy-to-access, community-supported, and stable options. Note: I have re-inserted the TPB Seeder “Scores” here…

Linux Mint – TPB: 55
Fedora – TPB: 40
Debian – TPB: 25
openSUSE – TPB: 30
CentOS – TPB: 70
Puppy Linux – TPB: 10
Slackware –  TPB: 15

All have decent numbers of seeders in my view, especially considering that Pirate Bay torrents is not the primary path most linux users would tread to obtain their system images or live CD’s. Most people go to debian.org, for example, or fedoraproject.org, to download directly the distribution they want. It’s just an added bonus in my mind the notion that enough people want it to be rapidly downloadable through torrents (which is amongst the fastest methods of file transfer overall) that they themselves upload and then seed those torrents for you and me. It’s pretty cool. So consider them bonus points — Bonus TPB points, let’s say.

Now let’s organize them by bonus TPB points.

1. CentOS – 70
2. Linux Mint – 55
3. Fedora – 40
4. openSUSE – 30
5. Debian – 25
6. Slackware – 15
7. Puppy Linux – 10

Now we’ll talk about each one a bit. It is nice to know a little about the roots of each, the developers that develop each, the desktop environments offered, and the support life cycle, among other things. I will give a break down for each distribution now then, starting with the candidate I am least likely to pick as my main, everyday, desktop Linux distribution — and ending with my top choices based on my research and experience so far.


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