Text version of key Oekonux concepts

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Free Software: The most mature P2P economy

Author: Stefan Merten (Project Oekonux)

Oekonux key concepts

Characteristics of Free Software

   * The actual product is gratis
   * Source code is available
   * Four basic rights for the users
         o Software may be used for any purpose
         o The sources may be studied and changed
         o The software may be distributed arbitrarily
         o Changed versions may be distributed arbitrarily
   * Licenses embed these rights in the law system


Free in the sense of freedom

Mode of production

   * Without money
   * Effort is taken on a voluntary basis
         o Necessity of concrete solutions to problems
         o Selbstentfaltung of the developers
   * Manifold self-organized in small, independent groups
   * International in the Internet


Often a high quality results


   * More than self-realization
         o Do what you like but not as an atomized individual
   * Selbstentfaltung is "autonomy-in-interdependence"
         o Dependency is not reduction but extension of own possibilities
   * Selbstentfaltung ends up in higher quality
         o Because desire for quality is expression of Selbstentfaltung
   * Possible only without alienation


In general Selbstentfaltung is a desirable goal

Germ form and five-step

   * Germ form is something structural new existing in the old
   * Germ forms develop in a five-step
         o Formation of the germ form
         o Crisis of the old form
         o Germ form becomes an important dimension of development in the old form
         o Germ form becomes dominant
         o Restructuring of the over all process


Free Software is in third step Signs of maturity

Free Software history

   * Early 1980's: Richard M. Stallmann coins "Free Software"
         o Ideological background
         o GNU General Public License
   * Early 1990's: Linus Torvalds starts Linux
         o "Bazaar" model opened up the development
         o Pragmatism
   * Late 1990's: Eric S. Raymond coins "Open Source"
         o Marketing campaign
         o Free Software gained public visibility


Took 30 years to really take off

Free Software as an economy

   * Wikipedia (2007-10-03):
         An economy is the system of human activities related to the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services of a country or other area.
         o "System": (Network of) Free Software projects
         o "Human activities": Made by humans
         o "Production": Based on a production process
         o "Distribution": Through the Internet
         o "Exchange": Not exchange but a flow of goods
         o "Consumption": By consumers as well as producers
         o "Goods and services": Software and support
         o "Country or other area": Global


Free Software certainly is an economy

Success in the old form

   * Free Software is superior to proprietary software
         o Otherwise industry would not use it
         o Important: Quality - not ideological reasons
   * Wide and still rising distribution
         o Final frontier: the desktop
   * Similar to upcoming capitalism


Success in the old form is key for maturity

Beyond old relationships

   * Beyond commodities
         o Absence of scarcity
   * Beyond gifts
         o No social relationships between producers and consumers
   * Beyond classical public goods
         o Not state based
   * Beyond labor
         o Replaced by Selbstentfaltung


Establishing new relationships is key for sustainability

Beyond old ownership

   * Inclusive ownership model
         o Traditional ownership: Right to exclude
   * Beyond exchange
         o You may take without giving
   * Beyond alienation
         o Product is oriented in use value
         o Selbstentfaltung is the anti-thesis of alienation


Establishing new notion of ownership changed history

At several forefronts

   * Social relationships
         o Maintainership
         o Loose binding of people
         o Orientation on projects instead of organization
         o Openness
   * Technical development
   * Globalization
   * Mode of production based on Selbstentfaltung


Sublating the old happens at the forefronts of development

Free in the sense of Free Software

   * Freedom is result of the process
         o Results are Free because of the process
         o I.e. unlimited externally
   * Freedom is pre-condition of the process
         o The process doesn't work without Freedom
         o I.e. unlimited internally
   * One's Freedom enables the Freedom of others


Those positive feedback cycles create sustainability