You have strong faith in an ideal free market. As one can see from the "Perfect Competition" entry in wikipedia, an imporant assumption of ideal free market is perfect information - All consumers and producers are assumed to have perfect knowledge of price, utility, quality and production methods of products. However, perfect information is never possible in the real world. While improvement in consumers' ability to share information would improve spreading of some information, many kind of information remain asymmetric. Some information are asymmetric because a producer or supplier always has more information than a consumer. For relatively simple jobs like taxi driving, the information advantage of the supplier is not very big. But for more specialize job that requires years of training, a supplier have much more information than a customer. Without certification from a professional body, it would be very difficult for consumers to judge if a supplier is competent or not, unless the consumers themselves undergo years of training to become experts themselves.
Sure it can, but it cannot corner any market for long without the power of coercion government adds. I defy you to find monopolies that resisted for more than a few years without government protection, in the form of barriers, subsidies or regulations.
Since this is Slashdot, it is surprising that you does not seem to aware of the monopoly position held by Microsoft on PC operating system. Microsoft's monopoly is certainly not a result of government regulation or control. There are a number of causes of monopoly besides government interference, for example, high barrier to entry, network effect, predatory business practices, etc. Actually, good government regulation is supposed to suppress predatory business practices. A few years ago, an antitrust investigation against Intel (the CPU maker) revealed that, in the past they were giving a number of CPU to Dell effectively free of charge (price zero) if Dell would not buy CPU from AMD. Do you think anyone can stay in or enter the CPU business if such practices is not prohibited by the government?
A cynic might point out that the only three things you think the government should do could be easily turned against you. The Coyote said "A libertarian is an anarchist who wants the government to police his slaves". I wonder if you understand what that means.
Anything, if it is useful, can either be used for a good cause, or be used for an evil cause. For example, a knife can be used for you for cooking, or it can be used against you for causing bodily harm. The important thing to do is not to view knife as evil, but to make sure that knife are only used for good purpose as much as possible.
Rich people are not "harming" anybody. Much on the contrary. Someone with employees is providing the employees jobs that otherwise wouldn't exist. He can "screw them over" and they can decide to go elsewhere. That is how a free society works.
The Rich may cause harm to people in the same way a corrupted government do. By abuse and mis-use of their power. The Rich are not interested at providing employee jobs. They are only interested at making profits, any jobs provided are a side effect. While in theory, employees can go to another company if their employer treat them badly, nowadays coporate merger and monopoly means there are only a very small number of companies in a given industry, making it difficult for employees to change company, unless they abandon their accumulated skills and swtich to work in a different industry. A "free" society cannot be really free if the Rich has vastly more power than the average people.
On the other hand if you increase government powers, those same employees can be "screwed over" without any chance to defend themselves under the threat of force. And even worse this force can be bought by those rich guys.
Without the laws and regulation imposed by a government, the Rich will have no problems finding ways to "screw over" employees. In this case, the Rich does not even have to buy any favour or power from the government, since the government will not be able to stop them when they use their financial power for corecion of the employees. Your own worry that some of the government power can be bought by the Rich, actually shows the danger of not having sufficient checks against the great financial power of the Rich.
So if you want to prevent damage from being done you should defend that governments should be as small as possible and that violence and coercion, which are the tools of any government, should be kept at a minimum.
It is best to keep a balance of power between the Rich and the government. If any one side become too powerful than the others, it would be bad news for the people. Actually, what is needed is a balance of power between the Rich and the average people, but the latter is not sufficient organized or powerful enough to face the Rich alone, so the use of the institution of government is necessary. While a corrupted government is certainly more harmful than the Rich, the democratic form of government is so far the best form of government to prevent corruption, as it allow the public to keep a check on the power of the government.
If your company do not want to share the custom software produced by you or your company, it is fine and there is nothing wrong with it. On the other hand, as a result of the choice of your company, people writing GPL software also do not want to share with your company the software produced by them. I noted that in your post, you used the phrase "competitive advantage". People produce GPL software because they want to make sure that their software and any further improvement can be freely shared by users of the software. They do not write the software to provide your company "competitive advantage". Since your company enjoy profits from the custom software, it is completely fair that your company should pay the cost to rewrite any part of the software when necessary.
Your claims that Jobs followed Dell's advice is the most ridiculous claim I have ever heard. Not only is the logic twisted and distorted, but what you stated as facts are actally all wrong.
Firstly, Apple did not abandon its personal computer business, and Macintosh computers remains an important part of Apple's business. While you claim that Apple was clearly losing in the computer business, the fact was that after Jobs's return, he was able to make the Macintosh business profitable. In fact, Apple's profit margin on Macs sales alone is much higher than those of makers of windows boxes.
More importantly, Apple did not pull R&D effort away from computers. Here, your claims that Jobs shit-canned his own operating system is not only factually wrong, but reveals that you know very little about Apple's history. At that time, the operating system used by Macs, known as Macs OS 9, is the one that everyone know was obsolete. The new operating system to replace it, Macs OS X, is based on the operating system developed by the NeXT computer company, which is founded and owned by Jobs. In fact, Apple purchased the NeXT computer company from Jobs in order to get its operating system. Since then, Apple continued to make significant R&D investments in Macs OS X. If simply grabbing FreeBSD, Konqueror and Cups would allow one to make a decent desktop computer experience, then Linux or FreeBSD should have a higher market share of desktop operating system than Macs OS X.
And by calling the shift of focus to iPad/iPhones as "moving to gadgets", you have failed to realize that these gadgets are actually computers themselves, although in a form factor different from the traditional desktop. What most people used to do using a desktop computer, can now be done using an iPhone without having to sit by a desk. The operating system of iPhones is an adaption of Macs OS X, which is the technical foundation which enable an iPhone to do the same things that were used to be done by desktop computer. To say that Apple's computer line has failed and need to be killed off is like saying that Intel microprocessor business has failed and need to be killed off because the old Pentium 4 CPU are obsolete, while in fact Intel is making heaps of profits producing newer core i3/i5/i7 CPU.
This blogger has a very narrow point of view, seeing only the technology issues, but failed to take into account the social and moral issues. As stated in the summary, from a purely technological standpoint, giving the information to a court or giving the information to a drug cartel may be the same. However, motivation and other social issues often play a key role in determining whether something is good or not. For example, from a purely technogloical standpoint, an explosive detonating in an underground tunnel may be the same as an explosive detonating in an underground railways. The chemistry and physics are the same. However, if it is known that in the former the explosion is for the purpose of mining of materials, while in the latter the explosion is a terrorist act designed to cause harm and injuries, then the two explosions are completely different. In order to make a sound judgment of whether something is good or bad, it is not enough to consider only the technological issues, but factors like motivation must also be given important consideration.
People use computer networks for many different purposes, and decentralized network is not necessary always better. The fact that mainframe computers are still used by many enterprises and show no sign of declining suggests that some tasks are better done in a centralized environment. Replacing a mainframe computer with multiple computers spaced many miles apart may not be necessary cost effective or even practical. "Local is better" may make a nice theory, but blindly claiming that a theory is a cure-all solution for all problems without checking that the prerequisite conditions has been met, could result in wastes and failures.
There is no evidence that Linus Torvalds is responsible for any bad decisions or mistakes made by Nokia. If you have any information that can support your speculation in your previous comments, please post them. I have read the theregister.co.uk article you linked, the only thing it said about Linus Torvalds was that he convinced Nokia to create a Linux unit. The article never said he advised Nokia to go for WiMAX or partner with Intel. Many other companies have successes in adopting Linux in their products or technology. In fact, company like Google are able to make good use of Linux in their development of Android, and Android become highly successful. The failures faced by Nokia are squarely Nokia's own responsibility, and Nokia's own poor executions are to be blamed. It is crazy to try to blame Linux or Linus Torvalds for mistakes made by Nokia itself.
In this post you are suggesting that the postal service is a monopoly, but in another post you say Fedex and UPS compete for your business. This is a contradiction. The fact that you can choose other carriers such Fedex or USP shows that the postal service is not a monopoly.
It should be pointed out that private business can also becomes monopoly. In some political circle's rush to dismantle what they viewed as government granted monopoly, they inadvertently helped to create private monopoly.
This story tells an important reason why the police want to form more SWAT. Who are these people shooting police cars from the houses, and why they are doing the shooting? Unless the police in the cars are shooting at the houses, no one has a right to shoot at the police cars. In all likelihood, the ones doing the shooting are violent criminals, and it is therefore no surprise that the police feel the need to concentrate their force into SWAT.
Your story about the ambulance being shot is even more illustrating. While it may well be stupid for the police to use ambulance as transport vechicle, no one has the rights to shoot at the ambulance. No matter whether it is the terrorists or police being inside the ambulance, the ambulance should not be shot unless the people inside the ambulance shoot first. If these people feel free to shoot at police cars or ambulance passing through the road, do you think they will sit calmly when the police come to arrest them?
An earlier post in slashdot said Microsoft has 1 million servers. Therefore, Microsoft could put these unsold Surface tablets into good use by converting them to servers. Instantly increase the number of servers by 600%.