[ox-en] open Source, a capitalist movement
- From: Geert Lovink <geert xs4all.nl>
- Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2007 14:23:59 +0100
24th Chaos Communication Congress
Day 3 (2007-12-29), Saal 1, 12:45
Hacking ideologies, part 2: Open Source, a capitalist movement
Free Software, Free Drugs and an ethics of death
The Open Source initiative re-interpreted Free Software to include it
into the neo-liberal ideology and the capitalist economy - whose aims
are contrary to the FS starting axioms/freedoms. This platform will
focus on ideological and political aspects of this. It will also
suggest FS recovery strategies.
Believe. "The World is Yours." (Ian Brown, 2007)
What is Re-interpretation of FS by Open Source ?
In The Revenge of the Hackers, Eric Raymond talks about Open Source
goals in clear terms: "In conventional marketing terms, our job was to
re-brand the product, and build its reputation into one the corporate
world would hasten to buy."
The move of the Open Source initiative to bring Free Software closer to
capitalism shows that:
a) there is a gap between the Free Software movement and capitalism;
b) without a significant institutional intervention and
re-interpretation that gap can not be overcome;
c) it is the founding documents (practice of Open Source doesn't
differ), ethics that Richard Stallman stands by so fiercely, that are
the bite that capitalism can not subsume, swallow in its original form.
Open Source is a neo-liberal, parliamentary capitalist social movement.
Neo-liberalism claims they're "just doing it" for the sake of a better
economy, without any ideological beliefs. As if any economy, or any
act, was possible without decisions determined by a set of ideas and
This is why Nike's slogan "just do it" is the best summary of the
capitalist ideology ever.
And this is why "Open source is a development methodology; free
software is a social movement" (Stallman), misses the crucial point.
Open Source is not just a development methodology, but a social
movement too, a social movement of a different kind, with different,
parliamentary capitalist, goals.
Another problem lies in the claims that Open Source separates ethics
from the technical side of Free Software (Stallman, "Why 'Open Source'
misses the point about Free Software"), thus making it acceptable to
This implies two wrong statements about Open Source:
a) it has no ethics of its own;
b) there are purely technical solutions which can be used without any
ethical, political, or ideological commitments.
The result of these mistakes is widespread comparison of Free Software
and Open Source on false, crucially misleading terms:
one (FS) operating under the weight and demand of its ethics;
the other (OS) getting away without being examined at all, basking in
the purity of its technical attributes and various business-friendly
This is how the ethics, the ideology and, indeed, the politics of Open
Source slip through unexamined and unchallenged -- like the capitalist
ideologies whose key strategy has historically been to accuse any
political opponents of ethical commitments, while insisting on their
own "pragmatism" and on the purely technical aspect of "just getting
• Free Software (application/pdf - 224.1 KB)
• Hacking Ideologies, part 2: Open Source, a capitalist.movement
(application/pdf - 60.3 KB)
• The Mirror's Gonna Steal Your Soul
• Free Software
Contact: projekt oekonux.de