[Marxism] Venezuela and Open Source

Jeffrey Thomas Piercy, El Pato Comunista mqduck at sonic.net
Sat Apr 15 12:25:14 MDT 2006

Louis Proyect wrote:
> http://english-cyprus.indymedia.org/newswire/display/92/index.php
>  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.

Richard Stallman, one of the biggest names in, and coiner of the term, 
the free software movement, supports the idea of "copyleft," a "reverse" 
copyright. Instead of limiting what you can do with the software as is 
the goal of normal copyright, copyleft deprives no person of the power 
to use the products of the free software movement in any way they wish; 
all that it does is to deprive them of the power to take away the same 
freedom from others by means of such freedom.

[I could continue on like this. "It has been objected that upon the 
abolition of proprietary software all work will cease, and universal 
laziness will overtake developers."]

> 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.

I'm rather familiar with the free software movement, and I've never 
heard of this "Liberation Movement."

> 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.

The classic example is free "as in free speech" versus free "as in free 
beer." In other languages, they have separate words for the two meaning. 
In French, as I understand it, the words are libre and gratis respectively.

The term "open source" has the problem that it only technically means 
exactly what it means: the source is available for viewing. This is far 
from "free," as explained above.


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