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[ox-en] Re: Next successful Free Product?

Hi list!

I had an additional idea on this catalog of questions. What about
asking for existing "next successful Free Products" these questions?
Currently two next successful Free Products come to mind: Wikipedia
and Free Science (often labeled Open Access). I think nobody here
would refuse that Wikipedia is a big success and it is as Free as Free
Software. Free Science IMHO is not yet a success Free Product but
there are a lot of promising aspects in the movement.

Yesterday Stefan Merten wrote:
6 days ago Franz Nahrada wrote:
that we create "mutual cycles of support"

In your thinking is mutual support mandatory during a transformation
phase? Mutual support cycles would mean that Free Projects fit
together so well they can cover a whole area. Do you think this is a
necessary condition? If so: Why?

Frankly to me this looks like a kill argument because mutual support
is even harder to get than island projects.

Neither Wikipedia nor Free Science are supporting other Free Products
in any special way. So no mutual cycles of support here.

On the other hand in the area of Free Software there is lot of
(implicit) mutual support. May be this is can be used as a criteria:
That in a given area of human activity is mutual support of Free
Projects better for the projects and all of society than competition
capitalist style.

Well, Wikipedia is more or less the only Free Product in its area so
there is no other support which can be supported.

As far as I can see in the field of Free Science there is mutual
cycles of support. At least scientists of various fields are working
together to have Free Science at all. I don't know how deep the mutual
support is between different fields but if there is little this might
be a consequence of the relatively small net effects the relatively
little mass of Free Science currently has.

Also if mutual support is taken seriously to start it you need to
support Free Software creators first. Since they need not much
specific support for their work beyond that they give themselves to
each other it would mean to give them good live conditions. Hard to
imagine beyond the money scheme.

Neither Wikipedia nor Free Science supports Free Software in any
special way.

where increasingly free products
fill the void created by lack of money.

Well, Free Software was not created to fill in a lack of money. Free
Software was created for the fun of it. Why do you think that for
furthering the GPL society it would be most useful to fill the niches
which capitalism leaves because valorization of labor is no longer
possible there?

In the contrary I'd say that the niches capitalism leaves because
labor can no longer be valorized there are those areas which are
especially hard to fill with Free Projects based on Selbstentfaltung.

After all capitalism has filled the niches because it was able to
structurally force people to do painful work. What has changed in the
work necessary in these niches so that capitalism does not want to
structurally force people any longer but a Free Project can base on?

Wikipedia certainly did not come into being because people lacked
money to but a paper encyclopedia. As far as I can see Wikipedia is
based on the fun of having a Free Encyclopedia - just like the roots
of Free Software.

Free Science has more to do with lack of money. One of the roots of
Free Science is the complaints of scientists that their results are
given to scientific magazines for nothing but the scientific community
has to buy back the results in form of the magazines using ever
increasing amounts of money. However, this lack of money is not at the
fundament of scientific activity which is still funded by states
and/or companies. Well, the lack of money for the expensive magazines
can be seen as a partial retreat of states / companies from funding
science. Ok, I'd say lack of money plays a role for Free Science but I
guess not in the way envisioned by FranzN.

This seems largely a problem of
good design

Yeah, design and organization of work are important. But again:
Capitalism has seemingly not been able to do this design and
organization in the niches you are talking about. Why do you think
that Free Projects may be more successful here?

Wikipedia runs on a completely different design than proprietary
encyclopedias. No central bureau which has the final say and so on.
Indeed Wikipedia uses effects possible with the Internet and only with
the Internet by making room for cooperation among - relative to the
global population - few people interested in the same thing.

Free Science uses also the features of the Internet and indeed Free
Science is not thinkable without the Internet. However, the design of
the Free Science processes differs very little from classical science
processes so I'd not say there is really a different design.

What strikes me is that Free Software, Wikipedia and Free Science are
all not (really) thinkable without the Internet. I tend to conclude
that this dependence on the Internet is a standard feature of Free

In the software business we see even in proprietary software
production elements which are common in Free Software like giving the
creators a lot more freedom than other employees. In domains which are
well suited to be covered by Free Projects I'd expect similar
developments *in* capitalism. Can you see this?

Well, I don't know much about how proprietary encyclopedias are made
so I won't comment on this.

Science on the other hand lives to a large degree on the
Selbstentfaltung and freedom of the scientists. Many argue that even
Free Software is based on this idea seen first in science. Thus I'd
say that classical science already contains many aspects of Free

and conviction.

I think if conviction is a necessary precondition you should
immediately stop the Free Project. Conviction is on what all the
alternative projects throughout the last 40 years run and if we can
learn one thing from them then it is that conviction does not lead to
a new society.

As far as I can see conviction is neither for Wikipedia nor for Free
Science a special issue.

Free products must soon include basic human
needs (the "bread")

During bourgeoise revolution the commoners started with things like
textiles. They did not start with what was the basis of the old
society was but with products they were best in, where the spearhead
of the development of the means of production made most sense to
expand. If you look at this on a global scale even today there are
parts of the world where this is not fully controlled by capitalism.

Why do you think this is to be reversed in this change or eras?

Both, Wikipedia and Free Science are relative luxury products. They
are more or less on the opposite end of the range of human needs than
bread. However, both are pure information products. This is clear for
Wikipedia but I think this is also true for Free Science which means
the Free publishing of papers - not Free chemical labs.

and that is in the long run the strongest base and
tool that we have:

1) have a material base of raw materials and energy     ---  best is
self-reproducing / biomass based production, thats why I favor rural areas
as birthplace of seed forms of Free Life

Ok, self-reproducing / biomass based production is certainly better
suited to be distributed into small projects than big centralized
ways of production.

One important point, however, is that with self-reproducing / biomass
production you can produce only a small share of the raw material
needed for many, many products - at least if you are to compete with
capitalist products. Doesn't sound like a sustainable way to me.

Well, clearly neither Wikipedia nor Free Science have any connection
to this. They are instead on the other end of the development of the
productive forces.

2) make the output of each process "feed" another process, so you are glad
something is using your "waste"  --- that is a question of systems design

Yeah but isn't capitalism already good in this? Where is the
capitalist who would not be willing to sell his/her wastes? Why should
Free Projects do better here?

Since there is no mutual support there is also no feeding. And there
is no waste BTW.

However, both Wikipedia and Free Science are useful for the capitalist
society. The contribution of Wikipedia might be small but results in
Free Science can be used by the capitalist society as every other form
of science. Both reflect the aspect we can see in Free Software that
the germ form is useful for the still older dominant form.

3) integrate processes by agreement, not by market --- market is not a
good coordinator if you want to achieve goals 1 and 2

Agreement would mean a lot of interaction between otherwise
unconnected projects. In Free Software we see a lot of synergies
between projects without explicit agreement. It would be an
interesting study to find out where this agreement comes from.
Wouldn't it be more useful to find areas where common doing needs
little public agreement to be useful on a societal level?

As far as I can see neither Wikipedia nor Free Science on average need
a large agreement. Sure there are pages in Wikipedia which are debated
hotly but these are probably very few compared with the total mass of
pages. Also in Free Science you don't need much agreement in any
special way.

For both projects the goal is clear: Create a good product. This is on
what every contributor can agree, this focuses on the use value of the
respective product and what actually means good is found out in an
evolutionary process.

						Mit Freien Grüßen


Please note this message is written on an offline laptop
and send out in the evening of the day it is written. It
does not take any information into account which may have
reached my mailbox since yesterday evening.

Contact: projekt

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