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Re: [ox-en] Re: Free Software is not a gift

Hi George!

3 weeks (26 days) ago George N Dafermos wrote:
According to Gregers's presentation, the developers of
free software do NOT want to establish a personal
relationship through their free exchanges of source

Which is also my impression.

Thus, since the gift (according to M. Mauss) is
a form of exchange which seeks to etablish and
establishes a social bond, Gregers concludes that
practices of free software are NOT having to do with
the gift. My comment: Mauss is explicit that one of
the primary functions of the gift is that it
establishes a social bond, but he adds that the social
relationship established through the exchange of the
gift is NEVER between *individuals* (as in the
seller-buyer dialectic), but it always encompasses and
unites groups of people.

Which introduces "groups of people" to the debate...

Cast in this light, I'd say
that the gift is present in practices of free software
insofar as a "gift" of source code by one group of
people in given to a project which involves (heavily
or not) other groups of developers too, and thus seeks
to establish a bond between the two (or more) distinct
groups of developers.

In practice AFAICS this happens rarely. Usually Free Software projects
are separated pretty much from each other. Some projects - namely
libraries - are used by other projects but I can not see that this
creates the type of relationship you mention.

If at all you can talk of an anonymous group of Free Software users
for which some Free Software is a gift. But this is more like being
part of a general culture than anything I'd label gift. In particular
there are no specific individuals or groups involved.

						Mit Freien Grüßen


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