[ox-en] Re: [FSC-Fsact] Abstract: comments welcome/requested..
- From: Robin Green <greenrd greenrd.org>
- Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 02:07:41 +0000
Fascinating abstract! I look forward to reading your paper, especially
the bit about a new ownership configuration!
On Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 11:48:44PM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], mp wrote:
For this conference:
Lessons from Cyberspace: The Political Economy of Free Software and Its
Implications For Security.
That human societies are technologically embedded it is difficult to
argue against; and it is easy to argue that much of this embedding
relies upon Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which in
turn finds its foundation in computer code. Because human societies are
reliant upon a techno-structural underpinning it is in order to devote
attention to the code that sustains it. Code is the essence of what is
generally called software. There is a significant conceptual difference
between software that is distributed with and software that is
distributed without its code. This conceptual difference is at the heart
of the socalled software wars and represents, I will argue, a
qualitative difference in terms of security and reliability of software.
Two propositions, I suggest, can be juxtaposed for the purpose of an
investigation of software security: (i) that free, open, co-created code
debugged collectively within a paradigm of community-based
self-organisation/-regulation/-control, which allows for modification
and customisation to the level of security desired in local context, is
the more secure and reliable option; (ii) that a black-box technology
provided by security experts with a declared set of functions,
mechanisms and output is more secure, since your enemy cannot fully
comprehend its workings and hence will find it more difficult to crack.
It seems that both of these propositions are instrumental in a wider
ideological conflict: how is software ownership configured most
appropriately? Moreover, the question concerning software security
cannot be viewed in isolation from its social, economic and cultural
implications, and through an appreciation of these matters we shall see
that proposition (i), which promotes free open structures, is
constitutive of an ownership configuration that transgresses the
boundaries between Capitalist, Communist and Corporate modalities, which
appear to have historically defined the limits of 'kinds of ownership'
in the Western imagination.
This phenomenon is both the point of departure and the conclusion of the
discussion and should be understood as preliminary steps towards a
disclosure of the novelty of, the lessons that can be learned from, and
the potentials for human development inherent in the political economy
of Free Software.
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