jaromil on Sun, 16 Dec 2001 19:27:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> The Fading Altruism of Open Source Development

On Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 12:39:49AM -0500, Felix Stalder wrote:

> I never understood why people think of Open Source in terms of
> _altruism_.  Perhaps, it's due to some confusion related to the
> "saintly" image of Richard Stallman, but it's the completely wrong
> approach and shows a very limited understanding of economic
> relationships where things are more varied than than selling things
> vs giving them away.

On Fri, Dec 14, 2001 at 11:37:51PM -0800, Kermit Snelson wrote:

> The open source paradigm should not be identified with altruism.
> This was Felix's main point, and I very much agree.  I also agree
> that software developers, like lawyers, can make a good living by
> selling their time rather than licensing their product.  This is
> hardly news, however.  (And the example of US legal celebrities such
> as Alan Dershowitz and Melvin Belli shows that the path to true
> riches in the law lies not on billable hours, but on widely
> distributed and copyrighted product.)

By reading David Lancashire's article and by following this thread i
still don't understand if you're voluntarily blurring differences
between "free software" and "open source" or you are simply ignorant:
in the latter case please refer to
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html and
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/drdobbs-letter.html ; to be sure you
have it clear, i quote here a brief statement from the second

 The GNU GPL embodies the firm philosophy of the free software
 movement; it doesn't come from the open source movement. I am not a
 supporter of the open source movement, and never have been. 
                                                   (Richard Stallman)

Once cleared such a crucial difference for the discussion i'd like to
add my point of view about free software: _it is_ altruism, it has a
philosophical background which is a solid spark in a free software
developer's mind; furthermore motivation is given as well by the
possibility to learn from and reuse code of other experienced
programmers willing to share knowledge and much is done also by a
development framework which finally _works_ as it should (and it's
free[1]! anybody here knows about the costs a programmer had to
sustain to distribute bytecode produced with a reliable compiler,
about 10 years ago? anyone ever read about the industrial revolution
and the role property of production systems played into it?); it's
about the pleasure to research into a field one is sincerely
interested, about the craftmanship spirit of self production which is
dramatically disappearing IRL substituted by mass-production

Free software is about solidarity, quoting Richard Stallman in one of
his first theorizations on free software:

 Why I Must Write GNU

 I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I
 must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to
 divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to
 share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in
 this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement
 or a software license agreement. For years I worked within the
 Artificial Intelligence Lab to resist such tendencies and other
 inhospitalities, but eventually they had gone too far: I could not
 remain in an institution where such things are done for me against my

 So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have
 decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I
 will be able to get along without any software that is not free. I
 have resigned from the AI lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to prevent
 me from giving GNU away.


                                 "The GNU Manifesto", Richard Stallman
               Copyright (C) 1985, 1993 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
                          Permission is granted to anyone to make or
                          distribute verbatim copies of this document.

and of course it's about reputation which i would'nt define
"ego-boost": i see such a phenomenon much more present in other
contexts which right here i see engaging the katartical exercise of
blurring a different philosophy to make it easier to reach.

enfin, to mark distances, i must state "je ne parle pas logique, je
parle generosite" : this answer Andre Breton gave in an analog
situation makes me once again comfortable in underlying the
differences i see in our languages, and approaches.

[1] Free software is a matter of freedom, not price; the word "free"
has to be intended in this way here. Furthermore, referring to the
wrong assumption by Keith Hart in this thread:
> The open source movement is split on the issue of exchange and money
> payment. Those who follow the Free Software Foundation appear
> consider that any hint of money and exchange, even of reciprocity,
> leads directly to unacceptable compromise with capitalism.
refer to http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html to have a clear
point about the free-speech / free-beer issue.

jaromil  ][   http://dyne.org   ][  GnuPG _key__id_
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