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Re: [ox-en] Free software entry on wiki


Am Samstag 07 Mai 2005 17:55 schrieb Tom Chance:
Who wrote this [1]?

Franz Nahrada, Akagu, and Chris

Why is it so inaccurate and, at a guess, ideologically 

For example, the section entitled 'Neither paid work nor subsistence'
begins with the sentence fragment: "Because the producers of free products
are not paid and usually don't want payment..." Where did that come from?
According to Lakhani & Wolf, 40% of free software hackers are in some way
paid to participate on their work [2]. I'd guess that very few hackers
would ever *object* to being paid, so long as it didn't conflict with their
(relative) productive autonomy.


The second sentence claims that most GNU/Linux distributions cost little
more than the cost of production. Really? That's true of community-oriented
distributions, and of third-party resellers who just ship burnt CDRs. 


But look at the major commercial distributors (Red Hat, Mandriva,
Novell/SuSE, etc.)... they're all selling box sets with considerable

Right. (Their business modell is questionable though, but that's another 

The section 'Neither exchange nor gift' subscribes to the myth that "Free
software and other free products are not objects of exchange". That's not
true. More accurate would be that free software isn't solely and always an
object of exchange; it often isn't produced as an object for exchange, but
may nonetheless become a commodity.


* Free software can be a commoodity initially. E.g. Blender was sold for
  100.000 €.
* Once, free software has started circulating in public, the product itself is
  not a commodity anymore (e.g. when the program has become a part of Debian).
* But...
  * Copies of the program can still be a commodity, in situations causing
    natural scarcity (i.e. not everybody has a flatrate to download Blender
    and all its dependencies.)
  * On the other hand, artificial scarcity can hardly be added. (When you can
    get a copy from a friend, nobody can force you to buy a copy from, say,

I would spend ages correcting it all, but then it may just revert back.

This could happen in any wiki.

Before touching it, I'd prefer to know whether people in this community are
serious about research or serious about putting forward a distorted Marxist
interpretation of every aspect of free software theory?

You are part of this community, so you can answer yourself whether you are 
interested in serious research. 

The Oekonux topic is

 1. What are the principles of free software?
 2. How can they be transferred to other areas?
 3. Can a society be built on these principles?

A Marxist interpretation of free software is imho legitim, but it is certainly 
not the only one.

What I don't like about the article is that it tries to explain free software 
from scratch. In this way, it is competing with the Wikipedia article, which 
it imho shouldn't do. Imho all parts that are relevant for general audience 
should go to the Wikipedia, the Oekonux article on the other hand should 
consist of a short summary, a link to the Wikipedia article, and additions 
too special for the Wikipedia.


Thomas }:o{#
Contact: projekt

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