Keith Hart on Wed, 19 Dec 2001 19:29:53 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime>The Fading Altruism of Open Source

It appears we cant even agree that one major difference between Free
Software and Open Source/Linux is the attitude to money and hence to
capitalism. Jaromil (below) thinks a statement posted on the net by the
politburo settles the issue. But read Florian's 'in it for the money' and
even more Stefan Merten's interview, where he imagines a society 'beyond
labour, money and exchange' (both below).


>Free software is a matter of freedom, not price; the word "free"
>has to be intended in this way here. Furthermore, referring to the
>wrong assumption by Keith Hart in this thread:
>> The open source movement is split on the issue of exchange and money
>> payment. Those who follow the Free Software Foundation appear to
>> consider that any hint of money and exchange, even of reciprocity,
>> leads directly to unacceptable compromise with capitalism.
>refer to to have a clear
>point about the free-speech / free-beer issue.

Florian Cramer:

>The real amount of altruism in Free Software
>development may be debated, but any programmer who's mostly or even only
>in it for the money would be stupid to program anything but proprietary
>software (which, no doubt, is more profitable).

Interview with Stefan Merten, Oekonux, nettime, 7/12/01:

>But whereas Free Software
>emphasizes the freedom Free Software gives the users,
>Open Source does not care about freedom. The Open
>Source Initiative (OSI) was founded exactly for the
>reason to make Free Software compatible with business
>people's thinking, and the word "freedom" has been
>considered harmful for that purpose. 

>I had the idea that Free Software is something very
>special and may have a real potential for a different
>society beyond labor, money, exchange - in short:
>capitalism - in 1998. 

As it happens, I had come across the free speech/free beer distinction
without having to consult the gnu website. It still seems to me that the
freedom of Free Software is largely, but not exclusively tied up with the
normative absence of money. This allows the purists to insist that those
who wish to work across the divide 'do not care about freedom' or are 'only
in it for the money'. And behind that, of course, is a desire to preserve
the mystique of a hacker elite.

Keith Hart

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