[Marxism] Venezuela and Open Source

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 15 07:34:29 MDT 2006


 From Venezuela to Cyprus - Self-sufficiency, Free software and the Revolution

The revolutionary process unfolding in Venezuela has taken on new 
dimensions, rendering the anti-imperialist concept of economic and 
technological self-sufficiency directly relevant to the electronic and 
digital realities of the 21st century.

Information from various sources is confirming that the Government of 
Venezuela has intensified a campaign of transition of all its computer 
operations to free, open- source software. {Sources for more reading 
materials on this and related themes are listed below}.

This present move being actualized in Venezuela is in harmony with the 
orientation and praxis of some of the most radical sections and wings of 
the Liberation Movement active in countries of the West (US and Western 

In the West hundreds of networks of Anarchists, Anarcho-Communists, 
Feminist and Ecology- minded Socialists have been operating facilities of 
the Liberation Movement, organizational tools and community communications, 
educational, creative and entertainment services all based on open- source 
free software. The applications for political and social organizations 
which benefit from these radical applications of "politicized software" 
include email lists, webservers, open publishing tools, data storage, 
cryptography and many other computer functions. Most crucial, they include 
functions as basic as computer operating systems. (Microsoft's "windows" is 
a privately owned, patented operating system which is familiar to most 
people. Open source operating systems are evolving which are better, more 
efficient and more secure, such as Linux).

All these politicized community computer services mentioned above are 
operated through software that is developed, applied, and distributed 
outside of the ownership and control systems of Corporate power. All of 
IndyMedia's branches, local and global, including Cyprus IndyMedia, operate 
on those principles as well.

This kind of software is often referred to by several names with 
overlapping meanings. The names emphasize various aspects of what "Free" 
means: Open Source; Free, Non-proprietary, etc. "Free" in these frames of 
reference does not refer only to their price (which very often is zero). 
More important than price, "Free" refers to free from Corporate ownership.

Open- source free software packages are collective works, the condensed 
labour of many people who co-operate to contribute to their development. 
Also, an important part of the labour is aimed at ensuring that the work is 
made available to the public and that the ownership rights of the work 
remain in the public domain.


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