"Free software and its social implications"

Magnus Bernhardsen magnus.bernhardsen at nm.no
Sat Dec 22 11:27:59 MST 2001

Free software and its social implications

">> Q: This sounds very utopian: Free Software as the sign of the end of
capitalism and the transformation of the new society? How do you predict
this transformation coming about - spontaneously, as the economic basis of
capitalist production just withers away?

I hope these more or less utopian thoughts give an idea of the notion of a
GPL Society as it is currently discussed within the Oekonux [Oekonomi and
Linux] project. And it's not Free Software in itself which may transform
capitalism. Instead, the principles of the production of Free Software -
which have developed within capitalism! - provide a more effective way of
production on the one hand and more freedom on the other. The main question
is how is it possible to translate these principles to other areas.

I tried to explain how Free Software - as a germ form of the GPL society -
is inside as well as outside of capitalism. I think Free Software is only
the most visible of the new forms which together have the potential to lead
us into a different society. Capitalism has developed the means of
production to such an extent that people can use them for something new. Of
course, the transformation also requires a political process and although
historically the preconditions now are better than ever before there is no
automatic step that will lead to the GPL society. People have to want this
process. However, I'm quite optimistic that they will, because Free
Software shows us, in microcosm, how a better life would look, so the GPL
Society is in the best interest of people. And Oekonux is there to
understand the process of this change, and perhaps at some point our
thoughts may help to push the development forward :-) ."

Magnus B

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