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Re: [ox-en] The Ideology of Free Culture and the Grammar of Sabotage

Dear friends, I'm travelling these days so I don't have time to reply properly and I'll be back in one week. I'm not a free software specialist, I tried simply to make different approaches and cultural background converge. Let's forget theoretical systems and post- operaist families for a while (and paternalistic and careerist remarks - no career on this side as somebody on this list knows, I'm not that lucky). I subscribed this list years ago as I was attracted by a mix between a sort of good german marxism and new technologies (sorry for distorting reality). That was many years ago. Simply I found the expression "GPL society" a bit unfortunate and I'd suggest to drop it, but that's my modest personal opinion... the text is an extract and in the final chapter it will be more contextualised.

Free Software 'culture' is under evolution I hope, it's not a set of fixed rules and dogmas, so it's good to develop new paradigms and proposals. Maybe one day the term 'Free Software' will be obsolete (see today's 'FLOSS'). 'Free' is not enough and often controversial (if I may say). I endorse Dmytri's ideas about Copyfarleft and "productive commons" as one of the few around that questions the relation between the 'digital commons' and the outside, the surplus- value, even the complicity with big business (rewind: IBM and Linux).

I'd like to discuss many other things, like a quote by Stalmann that I find curious: "I see no social imperative for free hardware designs like the imperative for free software" [Richard Stalmann, “On Free Hardware”, Linux Today, 22 Jun. 1999. Web: stories/6993.html - but that was 1999]. Sorry for being so "materialistic", but I'm opininon Free Software may become an even stronger weapon if it develops a proper strategic relation with the materiality of the hardware out there and the material economy. Dmytri is going in that direction, as far as I understand from his texts as I never had an opportunity to talk with him properly. If you have more example of 'asymmetrical' approaches and proposals like this, please post them.

To avoid personal polemics, I'd like to work around a collaborative definition of the digital commons, that I describe as Autonomous Commons (not found a better word sorry). Autonomous Commons are not 'digital'. I tried to sketch out a basic definition, still quite immature. Don't take it as 'mine'.

Autonomous Commons 1) allow not only passive and personal consumption but even a productive use of the common stock - implying commercial use by single workers; 2) question the role and complicity of the commons within the global economy and put the common stock out of the exploitation of large companies (by a new license yet to be designed?); 3) are aware of the asymmetry between immaterial and material commons and the impact of immaterial accumulation over material production (e.g. IBM exploiting Linux); 4) consider the commons as an hybrid and dynamic space that dynamically must be built and defended (there is a sabotage component in any knowledge sharing or file sharing behaviour that must be defended as a 'right' - freedom to download is a poor freedom yet); 5)...


Contact: projekt

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