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free software

Hi Joy,

To some extent I agree with your reading that the free software
movement only advocates the free sharing of intellectual property, not
of tangible property.

Speaking for myself, I have nothing against the accumulation of wealth
as long as that wealth cannot be shared without diminishing the owners
share.  If it can, please feel free to share it.  For example, I
participate in a distributed supercomputing project in the background
on my home computer.  This project (SETI@Home,
http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/) is scanning the skies for radio
signals from extra-terrestrial intelligences and distributing the
actual seperation of signal from noise to millions of PC's over the
Internet.  I run it on my computer since:

- The slowdown I experience from running it is trivial.

- I believe that my computer is wasting 90% or more of its cycles
while I'm working on it, and those cycles can go into doing something

- I believe in ETI :-) though whether they'll evidence themselves as
radio signals across space or some other means is debatable.

As you can see, it costs me nothing (or a very trivial amount) to
share my computer over the Internet, while it does increase the amount
of computing power available to this project.

I feel that you are ignoring the basic tenet of the free software
movement -- sharing software in particular (and IP in general)
increases the amount of wealth in the world.  That is not true of any
other kind of sharing.  If it were possible to share Rs. 100 in such a
way that it becomes Rs. 200, I'd be glad to take up that movement too,
but unfortunately the people who do that today are called cheats, and
either put behind bars or elected to high office ;-)


-- Raju

>>>>> "Joy" == Naksi Ink <naksink@xxxxxxxx> writes:

    Joy> I have some problem regarding the argument raised against the
    Joy> proprietary model of software. The argument is, information
    Joy> or knowledge never diminishes as it is shared. So it can be
    Joy> shared freely and should be non-proprietary. It means this
    Joy> argument establishes the argument for the proprietary model
    Joy> of such commodities, which are perished with usage and
    Joy> consumption. It provides legitimation to the whole model of
    Joy> market economy, which is based on proprietorship. The
    Joy> argument of non-proprietary software movement basically
    Joy> establishes the supremacy of proprietary model and defines
    Joy> itself as an exception rather than upholding a holistic
    Joy> attitude towards all the commodities used by mankind.

    Joy> This argument raised by custodian of free-software community
    Joy> tries to single out themselves from the rest of the society
    Joy> as a special case. It doesn?t challenge the accumulation and
    Joy> protection of wealth. Rather exploits the material limitation
    Joy> of other commodities for its expansion and growth.
    Joy> Indirectly it actually opposes the free availability and
    Joy> distribution of perishable commodities and justifies the
    Joy> exploitive nature of market economy. I find that theory very
    Joy> selfish theory. It actually means if knowledge diminishes by
    Joy> sharing they will never share it!!

    Joy> Their theory doesn?t guarantee against the blockage of
    Joy> knowledge to protect the power acquired through control over
    Joy> knowledge. Because according to the theory if anything
    Joy> diminishes as a result of sharing they are not going to do
    Joy> it. I am raising this point because certain kind of knowledge
    Joy> requires certain kind of access, which is dependent on wealth
    Joy> and power. Knowledge is not only matter of information but
    Joy> also matter of infrastructure.  Infrastructure is a
    Joy> perishable commodity. In many cases just availability of
    Joy> books or CD does not help, instruments and hardware are
    Joy> extremely important which they think should be proprietary
    Joy> because those things are perishable.  This means they want
    Joy> and at the same time they don?t want free distribution of
    Joy> knowledge!! It looks as if it demands respectable status of
    Joy> non-criminal act within the value system of market economy.

    Joy> Rather I recommend that argument might be, every commodity
    Joy> ideally should be freely available and non-proprietary but in
    Joy> market economy something like certain form of information can
    Joy> only be circulated freely because it does not require
    Joy> accumulation of wealth to reproduce.

    Joy> My concern is free software movement should not be seen and
    Joy> identified as isolated event with which larger section of the
    Joy> community can not communicate. Rather it should be seen as a
    Joy> part of larger social consciousness.

    Joy> One more important point I would like to discuss. If we
    Joy> condemn cracking it means we are condemning stealing. Though
    Joy> stealing might not be a justifiable act and as I am not
    Joy> elaborating but I would like to put some light on the fact
    Joy> that we have lots of facts and fictions which try to examine
    Joy> the act of stealing. Some time they even end up justifying
    Joy> it! We have seen lots of Hindi films and some stories and
    Joy> novels on this subject. I just want to say we can see the
    Joy> word and act of cracking more critically rather than
    Joy> condemning it just by saying ?hacking is not cracking?. As
    Joy> sometime we try to see software piracy critically.

    Joy> Joy 27.02.2001,1.37A.M.

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Raju Mathur          raju@xxxxxxxxxxxxx           http://kandalaya.org/