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Re: [ox-en] Centralized peer production

Hi Patrick, StefanMz, all!

Last week (9 days ago) Patrick Anderson wrote:
Stefan Merten wrote:
The example [of centralized production]
I'm usually using is that of the Linux kernel.

Stefan Meretz wrote:
To me the linux kernel is an example for a
_decentralized_ peer production

You are both correct.

This confusion arises when we don't differentiate between the Type of
a thing and one specific Instance (or copy) of that thing.

Well, I was talking about the production *process* and not the

But in fact you are right insofar that we need to distinguish between
the centralized development of the kernel led by Linus Torvalds and
the decentralized production (aka copying) of productive kernel
instances done by massively automated facilities (computers, Internet,

In fact in my original post I was wrong because I neglected the
decentralized part of the production of the kernel. That probably was
because this decentralized part is in many respects part of the common
infrastructure. At the very least you can say that it normally happens
"subconscious" (for instance while installing a GNU/Linux

The longer I think about it I think this aspect of a generalized
infrastructure being able to produce the phyiscal artifacts is an
important thing. May be transport facilities can be a bridge when
there is no such infrastructure.

When I neglect the decentralized part then I still think the Linux
kernel is an example of a centralized production.

Last week (9 days ago) Stefan Meretz wrote:
On 2010-07-10 11:41, Stefan Merten wrote:
The example I'm usually using is that of the Linux kernel.

To me the linux kernel is an example for a _decentralized_ peer 
production, not a centralized one.

In the age of globalization the question of centralization is no longer 
a territorial one, but a question of subject.

I fully agree that centralization is not a matter of localization of
the producers. It may be a matter of the localization of the means of
production, though.

In fact I'd define a centralized production facility as one, which can
not be easily replaced by an alternative production facility. To me
this is the case for the kernel hackers as well as for a steel mill or
an iron mine.

As for my example of the 
ozone-hole-closing-peer-project: This would also be a decentalized peer 
project. Linux kernel and ozone hole are decentral and discrete 
subjects. Decisions are made "locally", by people knowing what the do, 
not by alien instances far away from the topic.

Well, I don't know for the ozone-hole-closing-peer-project but for the
Linux kernel this is certainly not the case. I make no decisions when
in the decentralized part I install a kernel. In particular I do not
make any of those decisions which every programmer of a piece of
software makes every second. These decisions are part of the
centralized production facility.

A central structure, on the contrary, would be like a big company or a 
soviet style centrally planned economy trying to cover totally different 
fields of societal needs mediated by alien structures (market or 

I'm not sure whether I understand this. What is clear to me is that
you are describing alienated production facilities. But alienated
production IMHO has nothing to do with centralization. I think we have
to be exact here.

To me it looks like you are describing a facility which produces very
different things (big company) or controls such production
(bureaucracy). This way it would centralize different production
processes. In any case that was not the type of centralization I was
thinking about.

In fact there are even instances where it is very useful to centralize
different production processes because they are so closely connected.
I'm thinking of chemical industry here where a by-product of one
production process easily can be used as input product for another
production process. In this case even in a peer production based
society it probably would make sense to have large chemical factories.

May be you can explain more what you are thinking about?



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