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Re: [ox-en] Spreading the word

On Tue, 8 Oct 2002, johan soderberg wrote:
What is the advantage to having it recognised by the
ivory towers? do you have any strong
arguments why it would be good if it were?)

OK, you have some good arguments. I must admit I was thinking more
specifically of the 'ivory towers' when I made my objection, rather than a
book (which I think might be a good idea) - my feeling being that it's
more important to be doing things than to get 'gnu/marxism' (nice term,
which I'll borrow, but even on this list I guess you'd probably find
people who called themselves marxists were a minority)  recognised as a
proper academic subject suitable for academic conferences etc. But 'doing
things' obviously covers a multitude of actions, including publishing...

I take it for granted that we do want the GNU/Marxism
perspective to become part of a general discussion
outside of the hacker community.

A little off-topic, but relating to your original comments about the
difficulty of presenting the arguments to left parties, the Portuguese
Bloco de Esquerda ('left block', coalition of various far left parties) is
the first European left party I know of to take up the subject (in England
it's the Liberal party!):
[in Portuguese: they're presenting a bill on use of free software/open 
standards by the state, closely based on recent Latin American ones]

and the guy who's presenting the bill says it was under pressure from
Linux users in the party. Which is still mostly how I see things spreading
- aren't left parties who incorporate free software into their theories
without any feeling for it (and even the BE are running their site on
Win2k) just going to alienate people? In my experience their whole mindset
is wrong - democratic centralism and free software are not a good fit. How
does it help getting Gnu/Marxism discussed in theory, rather than getting
people actually involved? (I know I'm being very negative here, but it's
partly because I'm trying to get things clear in my own mind - easier to
play devil's advocate ;-)

If so, it is of
significance if the subject gets 'accredited' by
having been published in the real reality. A
publication would give opportunity to catch the
attention in media (reviews, etc.) and thus reach
people that would otherwise not have found out about
GNU, or at least not our point of view on it.  
Currently, hacking is defined by the OpenSource

I'd really question that - in whose eyes? People I come across either
know nothing about free software; or have heard of Linux and have a vague
idea what it is; or know both sides of the free/open source argument. I 
don't think I've ever met anyone who had swallowed the opensource argument
without at least having some idea of the FSF's position. 

The distinction between free software and
opensource is deliberately blurred to satisfy the 
needs of IBM-Netscape-Oracle. Every time a compendium
on 'history/ethics/practice of hacking' is written by
Raymond & co, the radical critisism of FSF is further
marginalised. Both in the eyes of the outside and in
the constellation of hacking community itself. 

Hmm... I guess you belong to that minority that showed up in the FLOSS
survey that see an absolute division between the two sides. Personally I
think the two sides actually have a lot of underlying ideas in common, and
are very difficult to unentangle, as the FLOSS survey showed (also, that
the practice is often more important than the theory - I find it very
unedifying to hear rms/tom christiansen-style debates about the true
meaning of 'freedom', but what they both do is important). It's a shame
that we don't have FLOSS surveys running over time; my guess would be that
the number of FSF supporters has grown, not shrunk (definitely, if the
popularity of debian in that survey means anything). And as for people
outside the hacking community; if they were 'suits' in management, they
were probably never going to take the FSF line very seriously anyway. Does
it matter?

Finally, sooner or later Empire-inspired academics
will attend to software, 

Yes, that sounds likely.

Tiziana Terranova and Jamie

Do you have any pointers for Tiziana Terranova's work? All I can find on 
the web are things related to her teaching.

has already opened up the subject as a legitimate
field for marxists to study. They will more likely
than not get it wrong. I totally agree with your
criticism of Hardt/Negri-Deleuze/Guattari axis, the
closed code-language and their tendency to estrange
allies (Lessig, May etc). Again, it is a question of
who defines GNU/hacking.

Yes, I definitely have more sympathy with your argument here :-)

The impact of a book-publishing is open-ended
(depending on how we manage it). But these are
rationales for such an attempt.

OK. Another topic for the conference :-)



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