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[ox-en] Slides for Lancaster


I finalized a version of slides for the KLab9 event in Lancaster. I
and Raoul would appreciate useful comments.



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Free Software and art

Similarities and differences

:author: Stefan Merten, Raoul Victor

.. contents::

Introduction to Oekonux

Characteristics of Free Software

* Examples for Free Software: Linux, KDE,, Gimp, ...

  Free Software is everywhere

* The actual product is gratis

  However: Price plays a role, but is not crucial

* Source code is available

  Important for the most of the following four rights, which every
  user of Free Software has

  * Software may be used for any purpose

  * The sources may be studied and changed

  * The software may be distributed arbitrarily

  * Changed versions may be distributed arbitrarily

  This is guaranteed by a license

  Is there a similar concept in art?

  In fact licenses like the Creative Commons allow many restrictions

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Free in the sense of freedom

Mode of production of Free Software

   This is a very important characteristic

   In the workshop: How can this be compared to the mode of production
   of art?

* Without money

  Developers finance themselves by other means

  Similar to other hobbies

* Effort is taken on a voluntary basis

  * Necessity of concrete solutions to problems

    Is there any analog concept in the realm of art?

    May be exactly this is the difference between fine art and useful

  * Selbstentfaltung of the developers

    Programming is fun (for some people)

    Other activities may serve the Selbstentfaltung also

    For instance art...

* Manifold self-organized in small, independent groups

* International in the Internet

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Often a high quality results

   Quality is a direct result of the mode of production

   In the workshop: Is this similar in art?

Germ form and Five-step

This is the Oekonux perspective on overcoming capitalism

* Germ form is something structural new existing in the old

  Not the new in a small version

  Rather a new logic

* Germ forms develop in a five-step

  * Formation of the germ form

  * Crisis of the old form

  * Germ form becomes an important dimension of development in the old

  * Germ form becomes dominant

  * Restructuring of the over all process

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Free Software is in third step

Free in the sense of Free Software

This freedom is indicated by the capital "F"

* Freedom is result of the process

  * Results are Free because of the process

    Can be used by anyone who needs them

    Implies that they are available without payment

  * I.e. unlimited externally

* Freedom is pre-condition of the process

  * The process doesn't work without Freedom

    Freedom enables contributions from all sides

  * I.e. unlimited internally

* One's Freedom enables the Freedom of others

  Instead of limiting it like in abstract freedom

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Defines several positive feedback cycles

   This is where the power comes from

The utopia: GPL society

**GPL society** means a formation of society, which is based on the
principles of the development of Free Software

Until now it can be imagined only in rough outlines

* Means of production make Selbstentfaltung possible

* Useful activities are Selbstentfaltung

  * Societal and individual utility is directly intertwined

  * Automation makes necessary activities superfluous

* Information and goods are Freely available

* Overcoming of the labor society

  * No labor, no commodities

  * No exchange, no money

  * No alienation

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Freedom of the one becomes the precondition of the freedom of all

   And vice versa

The onionskin model thesis

* Free Software was first

  Already established quite well

* Culture is coming next

  * Wikipedia

  * Free Science like in OpenAccess movement

  * Free Music like in Jamendo

  * Free Culture like in Brazil

* [Probably some more onionskins here]

* Complete societal production is last

  Including material production

  Only small hints so far

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   The new logic establishes in steps

   This relates to the way the germ form becomes more and more

   This is similar to how capitalism spread

   Which as we know was a quite successful strategy

Some thoughts on art

Fine art and useful art

Important distinction

* Fine art

  * The artifact has no use beyond being artistic / beautiful / some
    other symbolic value

    That is: No *intentional* use beyond this

    Granted: Distinction between symbolic and other use values may be
    hard sometimes

  * Fine art only changes something in the mind of people

* Useful art / craft

  * The artifact has some non-symbolic use

  And this use is intended during creation

  * Artistic features / beauty can be deeply embedded

  A boring business application can nonetheless have a beautiful

  * Useful art can be used to change the world

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Intended usefulness as the main difference

   May be also between Free Software and art?

Artists, beauty, Free Software

We are not art experts...

* Artists have special skills

  * These allow them to produce art

  * Free Software: Often written by people with special skills

* Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

  * Many kinds of beauty can only be understood by trained people

  * Software can be beautiful

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   There are some similarities between art and Free Software

Authorship in Free Software

Contributions to Free Software

* Many different forms of contributions

  * Main artifacts: coding, graphical design

  * Supporting artifacts: documentation, project web site

  * Infrastructure: software design, testing

  * General care: maintainership, discussion

  * Supplements: bug reports, fixes, feature requests

  * Hardware: servers, connectivity

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Free Software projects need many different skills

   This is a feature typical for industrial projects

   This is probably different from typical art projects

Authorship in Free Software

* Authorship relates to artifacts

  * However: Many other important contributions beyond working on

* Small projects often consist of a single author / contributor

  Sometimes getting minor outside contributions

  Probably matches best the typical artist?

* Bigger projects have many authors / contributors

  * Many cooperating contributors with specialized skills

  Explicitly named: authors and maintainers

  * Division of labor is typical and welcome

  Are there similar art projects?

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Divison of labor in art?

Authorship and ownership

* Authorship usually constitutes ownership

  Copyright regulates this explicitly

* Ownership in general

  * The right to forbid others to use things

  * Useful to make money

* Ownership in Free Software

  * The duty to allow others to use things

  * Prevents making money

    Because making money depends on scarcity

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   Authorship has different consequences in Free Software


From the proposal:

  In Oekonux the Selbstentfaltung of the developers is considered as
  one of two major forces which make Free Software successful. The
  presentation explains why Selbstentfaltung is so important and what
  results from the Selbstentfaltung - for example the superior quality
  of Free Software compared to proprietary software.

  The terms Single and Doubly Free Software are explained. Single Free
  Software is Free by the license but written under alienated
  conditions such as payment. Doubly Free Software is not only Free by
  the license but also the developers create the Free Software driven
  only by Selbstentfaltung.

Keyword: Selbstentfaltung

The notion plays an central role in Oekonux

* More than self-realization

  Self-realization focuses too much on the isolated individual

  Selbstentfaltung understands humans as societal beings

* Selbstentfaltung is "autonomy-in-interdependence"

  * Dependency is not reduction but extension of own possibilities

    Because others from whom I depend create possibilities by their
    actions I would not have on my own

* Content of Selbstentfaltung is different for every individual

  For some it is developing Free Software

  For others it might be creating art

  Leverages the differences between people - instead of their equality

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   In general Selbstentfaltung is a desirable goal

Keyword: Alienation

In a way: The counter notion to Selbstentfaltung

Plays a central role in Oekonux

* Describes the relationship between humans and things or humans

* Influences which are external to the concrete relationship

  * Default example: money

    Wage labor means alienation with respect to the concrete activity

    Commodities mean alienation with respect to the material qualities
    of the products

  * Example: Software licenses

    Licences are external to the software

    Only control the social relationship

* Makes Selbstentfaltung impossible

  * Implies: Makes superior quality impossible

  Superior quality results from the unalienated relationship to the

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   In general alienation prevents emancipation

Simply and Doubly Free Software

Important distinction of concepts

* Simply Free Software

  * Freedom for users

    Standard rights of Free Software apply

  * Commercial Free Software

    Software on contract

* Doubly Free Software

  * Freedom for users **and** producers

  * Producers are active on non-alienated basis

  * No commercial Free Software

.. admonition:: Conclusion

   How Free is art?

Follow up

Thanks and more

* Thanks for your attention

* More on

  * Web site:

  * Introduction:

  * Mailing list:

Questions for the workshop

* Questions:

  * Selbstentfaltung / creativity

    * How does Selbstentfaltung seen in Free Software relate to
      creativity seen in art?

    * How does Selbstentfaltung in art influence the quality of artistic
      work? Is quality art possible under alienated conditions?

    * How can the mode of production of Free Software be compared to the
      mode of production of art?

    * Does it make sense to distinguish between payed art and Doubly
      Free Art?

  * Authorship in Free Software and in art

    * Is there something like Free Art and if so how is it expressed

    * What is the relationship of an artist to his/her work? Is this
      relationship different from that of a software developer from
      her/his work?

    * What are similarities and differences between authorship in Free
      Software and art? What could be reasons for those similarities
      and differences?

    * Software fulfills a (technical) function while (fine) art does
      not. What follows from this difference?

    * What follows from the notion of authorship used in art compared to
      the results in Free Software?

    * If artists want to learn from Free Software what could be useful
      to adopt and how needs this to be adapted?

.. admonition:: Conclusion


Contact: projekt

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