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

On Saturday 07 May 2005 18:02, Thomas U. Grüttmüller wrote:
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,

That's interesting, though I think it's questionable whether you can say there 
is such a thing as "the product" and its "copies". Without getting into a 
metaphysical debate about the ontology of "the product", I'd say that it can 
be both a product shared and valued for its use and labour, and a commodity 
traded on a market with exchange value added by various factors (physical 
distribution media, etc.)

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.

Yes, it is legitimate, but whilst lurking on this list I have seen, in almost 
every paper that has been posted, a tendency to completely distort reality in 
favour of Marxist interpretations. IMO a libertarian hacker ought to be able 
to read your paper and find no fault in your analysis, only in the principles 
and assumptions upon which you operate. Problems occur when you investigate 
the first topic ("what are the principles...") with a mind to proving the 
second ("how can they be transferred [in light of Marxism]...").

So on the question of exchange vs. use vs. labour value, it is more honest and 
interesting to first ask questions about why free software is created and how 
the product should be considered, than it is to just say "free software isn't 
a commodity, let's see what this means in other areas and for society as a 

I didn't mean to suggest that the topic of Oekonux is pointless, only that I 
have become a little fed up with the approach I've seen so far.

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.

Yes, and that might help avoid the questionable distortions too!


Please send personal emails to tom ... not lists ...
Contact: projekt

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