Re: [ox-en] Free Software and social movements in South America
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 08:51:51 +0200
I created a Wiki page for this debate under
I'll fill this page with snippets from the debate while I go through
Before I respond to the interesting contributions to this debate I'd
like to share some aspects I remember from the Biella conference and
some thoughts I had on this.
BTW: For now I'll use "(classical) social movements" with purpose.
Raoul seems to have a point there.
Last month (38 days ago) Stefan Merten wrote:
* What kind of connection is there between social movements and Free
Software exactly? What is the nature of this connection? How strong
is it really?
At least some part of this connection seems to be motivated by the
fact that Free Software is (usually) also gratis software. Since money
is a big issue in those (classical) social movements gratis
availability of software comes in handy.
If this is a point then the question to me is why in highly
industrialized regions of this planet like Europe this seems to be not
so handy. May be even poor people in Europe are still much richer than
poor South Americans so they can afford paying high prices for
software. (Please remember that Windows has a prize even if it is
pre-installed on a new computer.)
However, people say that in less industrialized countries pirate
copying is the norm and the prize of proprietary software effectively
reduces to the price of the burned CD. Long ago Graham reported this
for Russia and it would be interesting to learn how the situation is
in South America.
Another part of the connection seems to be a more cultural aspect. One
Biella participant quoted people from those (classical) social
movements: "Free Software is just the way we are." This is something
which would be really interesting of course but probably can only be
confirmed or refused by those engaged here and know both cultures
As far as I understood as part of the connection Free Software is used
very much for end users. Are there separable parts of these
(classical) social movements which don't use Free Software - for
instance in the administration? Is there also a usage of proprietary
software for end users?
* Why in contrast is there no strong connection between Free Software
and social movements in more industrialized countries?
One very smart answer to this question was: "Are there (classical)
social movements in these countries?" Actually a very valid answer
since compared to the situation in the 1970s and 1980s at least in
Germany the (classical) social movements are extremely weak and very
few. The only two movements which come to mind are Attac and the
anti-globalization movement. There are a few remnants from the
anti-nuclear and other Green movements. But IMHO that's it. All the
rest seems to me more like a leftist dream than a real movement.
Thus the question could be a false question.
* What are the goals of these social movements and how does Free
Software help these? How can Free Software help?
Well, I understand that the main goal of these (classical) social
movements is to fight poverty. Is that true? Fighting poverty,
however, is a fight for more money.
* Do these movements help Free Software? Can they help? If so: How?
* What are commonalities and differences between Free Software and
* Can this phenomenon of the strong connection between Free Software
and social movements in South America be compared to other
phenomenons happening around Free Software?
IMHO there is a simple case to compare: Usage of Free Software by
corporations. If it turns out that Free Software is mostly used
because it is gratis then there is no difference to corporations which
use Free Software because it's cheaper.
In this regard it would also be interesting to learn whether Free
Software is used by South American corporations more, equally or less
than for instance in Europe.
* Does this phenomenon relate to the things we learned about Free
Culture in South America / Brazil and if so how?
Mit Freien Grüßen
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