Networked Knowledge and Invention
* Article: Le savoir en réseaux et l’empreinte inventive. Par Auray Nicolas. Alice 3: Hiver 2000 » La liberté mise au travail (II)
From Michel Bauwens' reading notes, 2005:
The article starts noting that capitalism has become networked, and that such a process mobilizes the intimacy of the participants.
- "Aux ontologies essentialistes, les réseaux substituent des mondes constructivistes, des mondes ouverts ou les êtres sont constitués par leurs rapports et leurs compositions de rapports (cfr Deleuze, Guattari, Serres, Latour) …"
- "C’est exactement le pouvoir émancipateur des réseaux: il permet de se libérer des tutelles hiérarchiques ou des assignations identitaires."
Yet, networks are not totally formless, they consolidate something new, midway between order and chaos. The challenge is to transform 'meeting-events' into 'value'. This transformation depends on the network strategist ("Véritable moteur immobile qui transforme les déplacements en associations stabilisées"). There also need to be ‘passeurs’ (“qui sont eux aussi des créateurs d’informations”)
Simondon stressed that this bridge-making is a form of violence "because it changes the integrity of territories". The strategy-maker is also seen as originating 'opportunistic and capitalist violence', by preying on new combinations. The first is violence through creation, the second through usage. The strategists 'exploit' the network and need to manipulate it.
Since a network is always changing, Deleuze says it could never be diagrammed.
The author stresses that the free software movement was not born in 1984 with Stallman and the GPL, as the latter was only a defensive measure against the new enclosure by patents. Sharing was the default practice before, in a non-judicial format based on custom ('droit coutumier'). The FS ethic and rules were implicit in already existing social practices. Stallman revolted against the changes which created all kinds of artificial barriers such as passwords, security protocols and time constraints.
Socialization in FS projects takes place by a necessary internalisation of unwritten rules, representing 'custom'. This took place through initiation, through someone already 'in the know'. Eric Raymond was one of the first to formalize these practices in a judicial format.
The 'open sourcing' of Netscape was a first dramatic gesture, which opened up to the business world, but also instrumentalized FS in the context of for-profit interests. When Netscape allied itself to Raymond, and the OSI was introduced, it weakened the viral nature of the GPL, which forbade restrictive redistribution rules, which OSI allows. Software which incorporates GPL segments, had to be fully GPL themselves, but with OSI, they an be incorporated in commercialized and proprietary versions.
What Raymond justified is the private appropriation of 'projects'. Ideas are not rare and their forms are not patented. But a project is a long and sustained process, and economies of scale are obtained through such appropriation.
The author says that whereas Raymond justified OS by stressing the benefits of cooperation; free software is by contrast based on a politics of knowledge. Raymond looks to the exchange of gifts, to an eventual return. FS does not want to make products, but wants to create community. Free has to be distinguished from the public domain, since in FS, the author retains his right.