Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/832/19632
From The Socialist newspaper, 5 November 2014
Take over software giants
The article "Private companies hold NHS to ransom" (Socialist 830) showed how giant software companies can exploit their near monopoly position. It isn't only the NHS that finds itself in this position. And apart from Microsoft, Adobe, McAfee and others are all at it.
As the article explains, Open Source software could be an alternative to continually handing over money to big business. Everyone would back that. One drawback - you have to support it yourself.
Free to use?
Even a small network of say, fifty users, would be hard to support without a dedicated team of skilled software engineers. The email system alone is horrendously complex to make secure and reliable. These costs tie even large companies to Microsoft and their ilk. 'Free to download' is not the same as 'free to use'.
The Open Source community can offer support and fixes, eventually. But when the boss stands next to your desk constantly, demanding to know where his emails are, it can be career limiting.
'In the cloud'
The next big wheeze is 'in the cloud' computing. You don't buy or own any software, but for a monthly per user fee you can rent it. That cranks up the dial on the treadmill to eleven.
These big companies will also keep all your data on their servers, which is very kind of them. Decline and decide to stick with what you've got, and you face having unsupported software that will become ever more out of date and vulnerable to attack from viruses. That's exactly the position the NHS was in.
Cloud computing is not necessarily a bad idea and might be developed in a socialist society. That is why the article rightly demands that "the huge IT companies should be run under democratic working class control and management".
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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 5 November 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Cold, cruel cuts: Fight the Con-Dem attacks
The Con-Dems' Machiavellian cuts
All main parties in crisis: where will the opposition go?
Pressure mounts on zero-hour contracts
Them & Us
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Every penny counts: donate to Socialism 2014
TUSC fights for health centre
Carlisle: Stop the car parking tax
Socialist Students campaign reports
International socialist news and analysis
Ireland water tax: 'We won't pay'
Burkina Faso: Mass uprising ousts dictator
Socialist Party workplace news
Back fresh strikes to save the NHS
Defend firefighters' right to strike!
Victory to St Mungo's strikers
Sheffield Green workers start indefinite strike
Greenwich libraries victory
Police staff ballot for decent pay
Ritzy cinema bosses back down
Kent: Range wardens strike
Workplace news in brief
Agree with Russell Brand? Join the Socialist Party!
Ebola virus crisis - no profit, no vaccine
Repel the Tories' attacks on our democratic rights
Portsmouth jihadis: austerity and alienation to blame
Take over software giants
The Socialist 5 November 2014 |
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