“From Free Software to Open Source”
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“From Free Software to Open Source”

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A presentation about open knowledge in 4(ish) acts.

A presentation about open knowledge in 4(ish) acts.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/savidgefamily/6985639991/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Project
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/savidgefamily/6985639991/
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“From Free Software to Open Source” “From Free Software to Open Source” Presentation Transcript

  • “From Free Software to Open Source” A presentation in 4(ish) acts. by: Brett Neese
  • act 0: prelude and warnings
  • “How does open (knowledge, information, data, etc) change the conversation about ideology and what might the positive and negative effects of this shift be?”
  • act 1: wherein I roughly deconstruct Berry but not really
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • “I have no idea what that means.”
  • So let’s examine it a bit.
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • “free as in speech, not as in beer”
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • "In this chapter I want to pick up some of the themes that have been discussed in the previous chapters and examine them through the optic of the free/libre and open source software movement (FLOSS)… in particular I am interested in the way in which FLOSS groups have come to represent collectively a certain post- Fordist model of production."
  • OK, but why is this important?
  • Namely, it completely disrupts the structure of production constructed over the past 150+ years. (and with it, introduces a bunch of really sticky and complicated legal problems.)
  • Namely, it completely disrupts the structure of production constructed over the past 150+ years. (and with it, introduces a bunch of really sticky and complicated legal problems.)
  • So, how’d we get here?
  • ACT 2: a brief history of computers and hacker culture! (starring: me and a bunch of nerds)
  • (This is a computer.)
  • (This is a computer.)
  • (This is where most computers used to be.)
  • (These folks also had some good machines.)
  • (These folks also had some good machines.)
  • Most early computer programmers were academics and much of the early work was informed by science and academic processes. (hence, computer science)
  • Most early computer programmers were academics and much of the early work was informed by science and academic processes. (hence, computer science)
  • "During the early days of the computer industry, people identified themselves as craftspeople.Their culture was very much one of artisanship rather than pure engineering."
  • Meanwhile, (also) in California…
  • The tech industry was built by academics, anarchists, scientists, and hippies. We built systems and a culture informed by the social movements at the time… which still survives today.
  • Plus, it kinda made sense to share.
  • “the principle of sharing resources amongst themselves – the ‘commons’ was understood as the amount of processor time and software that was available that had to be shared equitably between different users”
  • "In fact the anti-corporate and anti-managerial feeling of much of the free software and open source movement discourse can be traced back to these early freedoms and to the experimental practices of the first software coders being contained and blocked by employers. "
  • That’s never gone away.
  • that’s great, but what does it mean?
  • "Managing a technology project continues to remain very much an art of balancing often eccentric and individualistic programmers, who will seek exit with their knowledge and skills, with the collective needs of a corporation, which needs to centralize and control knowledge and information.”
  • act 3: a new model is formed
  • "He had a history in the open shared programming environments that were the norm in early computer science labs, where he began to envisage a computer system that was not held in proprietary hands."
  • RMS wanted to build an OS of his own. (that was everyone’s to own)
  • RMS wanted to build an OS of his own. (that was everyone’s)
  • unfortunately, that’s a bit more complicated legally than it first sounds.
  • so, like any good hacker, he hacked the legal system itself.
  • Preamble The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--to make sure it remains free software for all its users… When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.
  • "The legal space that is created by the GPL is generally held to be a ‘commons’ that is brought into existence through a clever legal ‘hack’.GNU is held to be owned in common… it bears the structure of commons on the inside and of property on the outside.”
  • “It might therefore be more accurate to view the GNU project as a guild-like or co- operative structure that gives the right to share and use to others but retains ownership within the Free Software Foundation.This move centralises the copyrights in the non-profit FSF organisation and clearly designates both ownership and intention should legal problems arise."
  • “It might therefore be more accurate to view the GNU project as a guild-like or co- operative structure that gives the right to share and use to others but retains ownership within the Free Software Foundation.This move centralises the copyrights in the non-profit FSF organisation and clearly designates both ownership and intention should legal problems arise."
  • “It might therefore be more accurate to view the GNU project as a guild-like or co- operative structure that gives the right to share and use to others but retains ownership within the Free Software Foundation.This move centralises the copyrights in the non-profit FSF organisation and clearly designates both ownership and intention should legal problems arise."
  • "This new form of software sharing was soon christened ‘copyleft’, which Stallman claimed as ‘all rights reversed’, and it has proved to be a remarkably stable base for this form of peer- produced software."
  • "This new form of software sharing was soon christened ‘copyleft’, which Stallman claimed as ‘all rights reversed’, and it has proved to be a remarkably stable base for this form of peer- produced software."
  • "This new form of software sharing was soon christened ‘copyleft’, which Stallman claimed as ‘all rights reversed’, and it has proved to be a remarkably stable base for this form of peer- produced software."
  • act 4: some bad news
  • obviously software isn’t the only things humans create that might want to be free.
  • wikipedia provides a nice case study to the potential problems with “free” and open source.
  • anyone can editWikipedia. if everyone can edit Wikipedia, then it should become the ultimate, canonical, correct database of human knowledge.
  • anyone can editWikipedia. if everyone can edit Wikipedia, then it should become the ultimate, canonical, correct database of human knowledge.
  • anyone can editWikipedia. but not everyone does.
  • anyone can editWikipedia. but not everyone does.
  • “only 16% ofWikipedia’s editors are female — which is puzzling in that women outnumber men on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, and even in online games.”
  • “only 16% ofWikipedia’s editors are female — which is puzzling in that women outnumber men on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, and even in online games.” source: freakonomics radio
  • why?
  • after all women tend to be more altruistic, volunteer more, and are more likely to participate in social media sites and even online games.
  • Lam (et al.) suggest many problems, but the most interesting one is systemic.
  • democracy is messy.
  • democracy is full of conflict.
  • females are systemically discouraged from contributing.
  • here again is a situation where the system has a different, intrinsic, flaw.
  • can it be fixed?
  • act 5: conclusion
  • in this presentation, we covered open source software, a bit of hacker culture, the GPL, and the dearth of female editors onWikipedia.
  • we learned that computer systems and the “hacker way” were developed at a time of very interesting social movements whose beliefs were embedded into the systems themselves.
  • we learned that the GPL is a neat legal hack to software freedom that grants everyone the right to share, distribute, and change software (that is licensed under the GPL, of course.)
  • and we even learned that even under “ideal”, inherently powerless and purely democratic systems of knowledge (Wikipedia), there are still huge flaws in this system.
  • “How does open (knowledge, information, data, etc) change the conversation about ideology and what might the positive and negative effects of this shift be?”
  • Thanks to: flickr user: klaserfilms flickr user: quinndombrowski flickr user: savidgefamily Wikipedia/Wikimedia Freakonomics Radio http://www.amazon.com/Copy-Rip-Burn-Politics- Copyleft/dp/0745324142 http://web.archive.org/web/20120425130022/http://wikisym.org/ws20 11/_media/proceedings:p1-lam.pdf