GNU Linux & Wal-Mart
The Frontline special “Is Wal Mart Good For America?” was an interesting documentary about the negative effects of Wal-Mart on our economy. With their “always low price” motto, the global retailer has become hugely successful in America, but at what costs? Wal-Mart doesn’t mind bullying their manufacturers. Even as the manufacturer's cost of production rises, Wal-Mart will not raise their supposed “low price,” forcing the company to lose profits. If the manufacturer does not comply with their demands, Wal Mart will no longer do business with them. Rubbermaid, for example, became hugely successful thanks to Wal-Mart, but now the business has gone bankrupt...also thanks to Wal-Mart.
A former Wal-Mart Store manager exposes the true scams behind Wal-Mart’s advertisements promoting low prices deals. Wal-Mart, like most cheap retailers, get most of their goods from foreign countries. If a customer is looking for a product that's not from China, the ex-manager says that the price will not be low at all.
Wal-Mart’s success is due to their excellent organizational structure and management. They were the first retailer to make good use of barcodes. Using Telzon guns, they can keep track of sales and other data. At midnight every night, an automatic order is placed in a Wal Mart warehouse, where the order is immediately shipped to the store. According to the documentary, Wal Mart is a world leader in logistics. Wal Mart’s relationship with it’s manufacturers is revolutionary. A push system is when manufactures decide what they what to produce and they try to get retailers to buy that product. Wal Mart uses a pull system. A pull system is when the retailer tells the manufacturer what to produce based on what products are selling.
Linux’s relationship with developers is exactly the opposite. GNU Linux is an open source operating system, which means that the source code of the software is available to the public. This allows any developer to be able to create software for Linux, and alter software that is already been created. Software is developed for Linux like the push system. Developers decide what they want to make for the Linux operating system, and then Linux users may decide whether they want to use that software. Very different than the pull system of Wal Mart.
Of course, there is a big different between Wal-Mart Corp. and GNU Linux. The difference is money. Wal-Mart seeks to make the highest profits by buying the cheapest merchandise and selling it for the highest markup. Linux has a philosophy that open source software is essential in a democratic society, and they are a not for profit group.
In her blog, “Vive Le Target,” Jill expresses her opinions about Wal Mart in comparison to her favorite store, Target.
Meghan takes a humorous approach to the subject in her post “My way, my way/ What I say goes, and I'm in control…”