Re: [ox-en] Re: herrschaft
- From: Felix Stalder <felix openflows.org>
- Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 17:01:32 +0100
On Friday 16 January 2004 00:38, Casimir Purzelbaum wrote:
Free Software is free because it serves the (self-)interests of
the knowledge elites (programmers with a reasonably secure
economic basis, large service oriented corporations like IBM)
to have it free.
I don't think that the FSF has been financed by IBM for most of
the time of it's existence (-- or, has it?)...
What is your point against "a reasonably secure economic basis"?
Does this affect the results in any negative way? Or maybe
it's part of the answer: a "free society" is absolutely
unimaginable without "a reasonably secure economic basis". On
the other hand, what would be the prerequisites for the general
availability of that reasonably secure economic basis? (Would
that be another "structure", would it be a "free society"?)
I'm pretty sure that the FSF has never been financed by IBM or any other major
corporation, though I doubt they would decline donations from them (and they
would have no reason to). The case is different with many other GPLed Open
Source projects, most importantly the Linux kernel development. Linus and
other key figures are now employed by the OSDL, a foundation financed by an
industry consortium. This, per se, is not a bad thing. I don't think it makes
the code any less "free". But, I think significant in this context is that
there is a convergence in the definition of freedom between highly skilled
programmers and large IT corporations.
The point I want to make is that this indicates for me more of an innovation
within capitalism (to be precise, on the level of the _mode of development_)
rather than something that points beyond capitalism (as a _mode of
production_). I think this old Althusserian strategy of distinguishing
between the technical and the social relationships of production is still
I agree that a free society requires a 'resonably secure economic basis' but
this is a bit of a tautology (like saying to end world hunger, we need food
for everyone). Again, I don't see Free Software contributing to that outside
the capitalist context, at least for a significant number of people.
among others, because it's not a public good.
Software is not a public good either -- in the whole of the
Microsoft World. But there are people migrating out of that
world... Why do you think this happens?
Ok, agreed, I rephrase: Software has a strong potential to become a public
good, not the least because for important sectors of the productive system
(capitalist or not) its more efficient, according to whatever criteria for
efficiency are used by the various actors in these sectors.
People mirgate out of this world because free software allows them to what
they want to do (be capitalists, or anti-globalization activists, for
example) more efficiently.
Don't get me wrong, I think free software is a great development because it
levels they playing field. Insitutions with money always had access to
advanced technologies, now also insitutions without money (but skills) have
access as well. This certainly is a reason for optimism, but I have hard time
deducing from this a necessary, or even likely. course of historical