October 3, 2001
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opiate of the people

A few nights ago, in a delightful bistro in the delightful German town of Erfurt, a delightful Brazilian Web artist explained that she could not use Macromedia Flash because it wasn't Open Source, and her artistic process requires "Open Source" -- by which she meant, as far as I could make out, that she insists her work be revealed entirely by the View Source browser command.

This meant, I pointed out, that in practice her work was completely dependent on Microsoft. For her, "open source" means, in practice, whatever JavaScript dialect MSIE chooses to handle.

This self-imposed regimen means she'll never use any of the tools I create. She can only use tools endorsed by governments and giant corporations, for only they can define standards. In the name of openness, her art is captive to the whims of giant corporations.

Only the wealthy can practice their art (or write tools for artists to use) while pretending to exist outside the economy.