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FOSS Economy


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Description:

For people who think FOSS should stop being the Research & Development department for proprietary companies like MS or Apple.

Members:12
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Created:Jan 21 2010
Changed:Jan 21 2010
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 A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Jan 21 2010
 
Score 50%
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

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FOSS software is invaluable to the development of current technology, since it constantly sets the concepts upon which a lot of proprietary companies feed upon. It is also invaluable to human rights, for it maintains the true definition of software to what it is, a created language, instead of applying tangible-product economics to an immaterial good. But its greatest asset is indeed protecting informational freedom of expression from becoming dictated by corporate heads or lawyers. In those precepts, the vibrant communities of FOSS have grown, enlarged, and developed a body of extraordinary software with insurmountably few resources (AND independently of profits).

But the proprietary world has started to siege our community from all flanks; some do it through the tribunals, some through software or hardware monopolies, and yet most from a combination of both. Under the guise of 'intellectual property' (which conflates the right to receive royalties from copies with the right to monopolize the production of a specific software) they have taken ahold of FOSS's great concepts and made them their own. One needs only to look at FreeBSD to find the saddest example of such piracy: Apple is getting billions of dollars from its ideas because it provides FreeBSD components at no charge through a specific license, and only charges for the Aqua GUI (which means revenues stay within Apple). It becomes clear that even though the code being publicly available is our greatest asset development-wise, it is also our greatest weakness economy-wise, since today's economy is all about securely monopolizing a resource enough to charge for it.

The FOSS Community today has grown to a scale where it needs to produce sustainable profits in order to perform. But it cannot, by doing so, violate the Free and Open Source Standards which created it. That is the nub of the matter: How can FOSS software become profitable without excluding people from their legal right to redistribute FOSS source code?

I hope I'm not the only economist trying to tackle this in the FOSS world. But I think we should become a profitable entity of some sort in order to have a collective say on the distorted technology world today. Therefore I'm hoping to create a new economic model which correctly portrays our current situation and gives realistic solutions. And more than that, I hope to do it the Linux way, through community collaboration instead of corporate mergers.


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 Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Jan 22 2010
 
Score 50%

A new economic model? Why not. But have you considered the existing models that never really had a chance in mainstream international economics? Such as collectivism, communism (not the bolshevik variant, but as described by Marx, or better, Kropotkin)... or the recently popular participatory economy (aka parecon). Or even, if you're on that side, a REALLY free market. I am not quite the free market guy, but for how I see it, free market was never REALLY implemented.

For how I understand economics, free software doesn't fit too good in the actual neo-liberal capitalist economics of today, as you already stated, but it would fit any of the obove mentioned models. What do you think of that?

Anyway, I think that free software itself is already defying the actual political system, both social AND economic. It may not propose a differrent way of economics and social organization by itself, but surely it does point out the absurdness and immorality of the existant ones. And it is obviously opposed to them. Which is why various socialists, anarchists and free market supporters are attracted to it.

I have one more thing to bring forth, about the entity you were talking about, but I have to go now... It will be fo the next time. :-)


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Jan 22 2010
 
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

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I have always admired group-based strategies such as the ones proposed by parecon and collectivism. Not so much about communism. Although I agree that capitalist systems are completely unfair and self-serving, communist candidate structures always seem to blind people from understanding that their Lack of personal responsibility is the problem, and erradicating it to produce absolute collectivity is simply veiling human's internal social structure.

Parecon at first glance serves as an excellent GUIDELINE for FOSS models, but I cannot accept it as a model since it does not change the ultimate ends to the economy. Reading M. Albert's work and his explanation of the press company, it seems he only tries to provide social means, but to the service of capitalist MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY (which is, simply put, the maximum amount of money a flow of resources can put into stockholders' wallets). Although those means are CRUCIAL to attaining true FOSS models, we must readapt them so they will become steps to our ultimate goal and not obstacles.

Collectivism's general definition comes as the closest idea of what we have in FOSS: interdependence. An absolutely key concept in our reformation, since it not only encompasses self-sustenance (autonomy) but also emphasizes mutual accords towards a better-evolved future. A strand of this thought, cooperativism, is perhaps what we have been looking for, since it maintains parecon guidelines while defined toward its participants' collective good. That -I think- will make a grand first sketch to this goal. I can already envision the draft.


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 Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Jan 23 2010
 
Score 50%

Talking about communism, I think its biggest problems are the so-called communist states of the past AND the present. But, in reality is there anything communist in, for example, China's economy?
I know that these days it is difficult to think of communism without falling in stereotypes about bolshevik regimes and their economic systems. But when mentioning communism I actually meant what is more specifically called libertarian communism, as it was first defined by Peter Kropotkin, and successfully implemented in most libertarian communes during the spanish revolution which took place during the civil war. Well, they were functional and successfull at least untill the stalinist and royal armies destroyed them...
What I am trying to point out is that libertarian ethics itself insists on personal freedom, which as a consequence means personal responsability, also. So, there is communism and communism.
And I am the first to categorically reject any kind of authoritarian and statalist communism. My country was a communist state in the near past (as part of Yugoslavia), so I know what I am talking about. But still, I think that libertarian communism could be given a chance.

On the other hand, I am not really an advocate of any kind of communism, nor of any other kind of economic model, for that matter. I rather insist on libertarian social organization models. And by "libertarian" I mean anti-authoritarian, grassroots, participatory, egualitarian, directly democratic, federalist, anti-state and basically left-wing when talking about economics; which is the classic european idea of what is libertarian. I know the american idea is a bit different, so I wanted to stress this.
I believe that, if everybody concerned gets chance to participate in the decision-making process, on an egualitarian basis, the communitiy will be able to implement any economics that the community will collectively decide is the best, and change it when it shows itself inefficient, or just the elements of it that proved inefficient.
I hope this group is a step forward in this direction.

But I promised to say about the entity you were talking about... So here we are. But they are mostly questions.

What do you mean by "profitable entity" and, who would run it? Isn't there already Canonical or Red Hat? And how about the FSF, which I guess is not a profitable entity, at least not as Canonical or Red Hat are, but still it is a "collective say on the distorted technology world today"?

On Windows Haters we were talking about monopolies and hegemonies. Aren't you affraid that this entity could eventually claim monopoly on the "collective say" of the free software community?
To prevent that, I think that, whatever comes out of it, the entity should always speak exclusively on behalf of itself and its members, not on behalf of the whole community, which is, and certainly will be, much wider. Unless you think of it as a FOSS general assembly or a federation of assemblies, which I think would be a rather ambicious project, though beautiful. :-)

I like the idea of making it a kind of cooperative, though. Were you thinking of a, let's say, Canocical/FSF hybrid, but adopting a cooperative production/distribution model? I think it is a nice idea.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Jan 25 2010
 
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

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Sorry for the delayed response, but lately I have been beaten down by lots of schoolwork :).

It is very difficult to speak about communism as a single term, because -basically- there are too many variants to describe (like Linux). I tried to be as general as possible, but even the most blanket statement will fail to include good exceptions like the one you mentioned. Indeed, I can dig the rationale for libertarian communism: "work out of personal freedom, but for the common good."

But though I agree with its rationale, it still lags (like all human-made things, it is not perfect) on presenting a verosimile picture of the ultimate end. Like MOST communist models (I learned from my mistake), it completely emphasizes AND values the common good as the only attainable ultimate end. This is not to say that its ideology is "wrong" or flawed, but rather that in my perception, we are organized by more than the simple -yet completely true- morality behind it. For we as humans also value on the same balance many individual goods which in the "society" concept may not be much, but are crucial in the concept of COMMUNITY.

What I mean is, although the common welfare of the Linux community is indeed the greatest achievement on the sociological scale, individual perceptions have also many important goods which on libertarian communism, sadly, are not presented properly. The Linux community integrants are as concerned with their blind grandmas being able to braille their way into their e-mail as well as with the next threat Microlost poses on top of us. Their personal struggles with proprietary software are also part of our war, the same as our war is a part of them. But on a purely libertarian communist view, the little things happening to all of us are unimportant because there is no intrinsic worth to our personal decisions unless they are made for the common good.

Cooperativism is very strong on this point, because it does not define a specific variety of good as ultimate, but rather defines the ultimate end as simply "good"; its form adapts to each person's individuality as well as to the collective, and only then does it become the more perfected and preferrable "common good". To cooperatives, a victory in getting MS to be a FOSS company will have the same say in the ultimate "good" as getting your annoying older brother to run Linux and XBMC together. Its basis upon friendship blurs the distinction between what is individual and what is collective, and does not stress on it: eventually, individual issues become collective issues, and collective issues become also individual issues. What matters in cooperativism is our parecon, our unity and the inevitable links of humility, spirituality and friendship that made our journey to FOSS in the first place, which eventually just replace our initial indignation or 'getting tired of a M$ product'. And although we do serve and hope to keep serving an anarcho-communist "common good", even if we never reached it, or after reaching it, the cooperative would still stand strong on the relationships that pervade it in the personal level.

That is my personal big question: how to preserve this wonderful community which sprang the future's technology out of cooperation so that it will grow and stand on its own feet for many years to come. Why? Because it's easy to make a model for a micro-business: you just have to differentiate the product enough with ads and new features so that it will become a market in itself upon which you will claim monopoly. What's hard is to make it without losing the spirit of sharing, mutual learning, and complete self-improvement GNU/Linux has had since its foundation. That is what -I think- we should value more.

Regarding the "profitable" matter [8-)], the short answer is NO. FSF is a legal guardian for our freedom, but it does not guarantee our economic independence. Canonical and Redhat are economically independent, but they do not watch for the community (or the incredible costs that contributors have been giving out to them simply because they care about Linux). And even if these seem complementary, they do not work IN COORDINATION, but rather play a little bit of game theory to predict each other's goals and movements so they (for now) do NOT stumble each other. We have seen the specialization of Redhat in high-end enterprise SERVERS, and Canonical in Ubuntu deals for the public/private DESKTOP sector.

But far more important is the lack of a true Linux market identity, like for example, the Mac ads (I'm a PC, I'm a Mac); the lack of an identity recognizable by everybody as Linux, I fear, is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy since we do not know where to fit the community in the market. Canonical surely has done important strides in joining Linux together on some aspects, but at the same time it has created rifts inside Linux as well (rpm-based, Ubuntu-based, Debian-based, etc.). In order to purchase us entry into the OS colosseum we need a self-defining way of distributing goods and services, much like MS did to gain PC monopoly and Mac's monopoly. The difference is, of course, that our differentiation will be produced, and produce... a Community.

In the next post I hope to establish the first draft into a Linux cooperative development module, or "LCDM-draft1" were it a software package. But please keep up the dialogue and let's extend it until the thread can't hold it no more.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Jan 26 2010
 
Score 50%

There is a nice package in the Ubuntu and Debian repos which contains An Anarchist FAQ, in both plain text and html versions in a single package. You get it with "sudo apt-get install anarchism". :-)

But returning to the topic...
So, we obviously need a FSF/Canonical hybrid. But talking about identity, the very nature of the GNU/Linux identity is pluralistic. Only look at the full name of the OS... It is a complex of a lot of different identities interconnected. And then, you can add all the rest of the FOSS community's OS's, like various BSD's, Open Solaris, FreeDOS, even ReactOS, a Windows clone, and plenty of others. And, most likely, whatever we do, our project will become just another identity, side by side with others. So I think we should rely on this pluralism. Somehow it is necessary to keep it pluralistic while presenting us to the public. Yet, I am aware of how confusing that might seem to somebody new. But I think it is impossible to keep the image of the whole community without keeping it pluralistic.
Hm... I am still thinking of a kind of federation...

While rifts inside FOSS, and even inside Linux in particular, existed even long before Canonical came to the scene. It seems like whatever action you take, you will cause a further rift of those who will fully support you and those who will be opposed to your project, and all the fractions in between.

What I think really lacks in public is information. Many people I had the chance to speak with still think that Linux is a single product released by a certain company. A friend of mine, untill a few days ago when I explained it to him, thought that GNU was a company developing and releasing some version of Linux, hence GNU/Linux.
How to explain to Joe and Jane Sixpack that it is at the same time no companies and a lot of companies?

I don't know, right now I have a big confusion in my mind... and I can't write anything constructive untill I think a bit more about everything.

Anyway, I have found some interesting marketing ideas from Novell, "I am a PC, I am a Mac"-style. It is cool for some brainstorming. Take a look...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtp5gNhBZgo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d50LfiPWWM

And another one, quite sympathetic, not from Novell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSYeKcsC7cg&feature=PlayList&p=2F7549A0BC69F30E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=22


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Jan 23 2010
 
Score 50%

Talking about communism, I think its biggest problems are the so-called communist states of the past AND the present. But, in reality is there anything communist in, for example, China's economy?
I know that these days it is difficult to think of communism without falling in stereotypes about bolshevik regimes and their economic systems. But when mentioning communism I actually meant what is more specifically called libertarian communism, as it was first defined by Peter Kropotkin, and successfully implemented in most libertarian communes during the spanish revolution which took place during the civil war. Well, they were functional and successfull at least untill the stalinist and royal armies destroyed them...
What I am trying to point out is that libertarian ethics itself insists on personal freedom, which as a consequence means personal responsability, also. So, there is communism and communism.
And I am the first to categorically reject any kind of authoritarian and statalist communism. My country was a communist state in the near past (as part of Yugoslavia), so I know what I am talking about. But still, I think that libertarian communism could be given a chance.

On the other hand, I am not really an advocate of any kind of communism, nor of any other kind of economic model, for that matter. I rather insist on libertarian social organization models. And by "libertarian" I mean anti-authoritarian, grassroots, participatory, egualitarian, directly democratic, federalist, anti-state and basically left-wing when talking about economics; which is the classic european idea of what is libertarian. I know the american idea is a bit different, so I wanted to stress this.
I believe that, if everybody concerned gets chance to participate in the decision-making process, on an egualitarian basis, the communitiy will be able to implement any economics that the community will collectively decide is the best, and change it when it shows itself inefficient, or just the elements of it that proved inefficient.
I hope this group is a step forward in this direction.

But I promised to say about the entity you were talking about... So here we are. But they are mostly questions.

What do you mean by "profitable entity" and, who would run it? Isn't there already Canonical or Red Hat? And how about the FSF, which I guess is not a profitable entity, at least not as Canonical or Red Hat are, but still it is a "collective say on the distorted technology world today"?

On Windows Haters we were talking about monopolies and hegemonies. Aren't you affraid that this entity could eventually claim monopoly on the "collective say" of the free software community?
To prevent that, I think that, whatever comes out of it, the entity should always speak exclusively on behalf of itself and its members, not on behalf of the whole community, which is, and certainly will be, much wider. Unless you think of it as a FOSS general assembly or a federation of assemblies, which I think would be a rather ambicious project, though beautiful. :-)

I like the idea of making it a kind of cooperative, though. Were you thinking of a, let's say, Canocical/FSF hybrid, but adopting a cooperative production/distribution model? I think it is a nice idea.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Jan 23 2010
 
Score 50%

Sorry for the double post... It was a stupid error of navigating forward/backwards in Firefox. And this forum doesn't let people delete their own posts...


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by boballen55 on: Feb 13 2010
 
Score 50%

I really enjoyed reading this conversation. My sort of abstract thought is since we really like the FOSS community but because it is kind of at conflict with the "standard" way products are made in the world's monetary system there is the fear something must be done or we will lose it. The current talk here is trying to preserve the best things about FOSS while alleviating this conflict by making it more like that "standard". I'd propose the opposite, try to move everything else more towards the FOSS model/ideals.

Work towards the elimination of the current tribalism of our world and the profit motive. Everyone working towards the common good because it will basically represent your well being. That sort of goal might sound totally idealistic but with the current advancements of technology and with the FOSS movement as something of a model I think it is becoming closer to realizable (though clearly it would take some time for the culture change to happen).


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 Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Feb 18 2010
 
Score 50%

I must say I completely agree. :-) Though it doesn't eliminate the need of some kind of entity, whether registred or not, whether legal or not. Some kind of organization that would push forward to it.
OK, there is FSF already, but they are mostly focused just on software and I.T. And, even if what they do is very important and they should keep up with it, they seem to be unable to prove how such libertarian politics could and should be implemented in every day real world life.
To fill that hole, there is already a 200 years (if not more) tradition of (left) libertarian social movements, but most of the modern libertarian organizations seem to be unable to recognize the importance of I.T. in the modern world and the impact of it on the real world society. They talk about directly democratic community control over production means, but keep thinking that FOSS is just some kind of lifestyle, like vegeterianism is. They don't understand that nowadays who keeps control over I.T. is really keeping control over production means, AND over our lives, which are ever more IT dependent, not to mention the orwellian 1984-like Big Brother stuff...

We obviously need something to connect the two approaches, a channel of communication between the FOSS community and the libertarian social movement.

Some kind of will in that direction already exists. We can see some libertarian groups promoting FOSS, although shyingly most of them. We can see distros like BLAG, or websites like BinaryFreedom. There is even a package in the Debian (and Ubuntu, consequently) repos which installs An Anarchist FAQ among system documentation.
Obviously, some will in that direction exists. Maybe we should look forward to articulate it.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by boballen55 on: Feb 20 2010
 
Score 50%

There doesn't need to be a new group to make the changes, current structures (companies, governments, and other organizations) can be pushed to change. More people just need to participate instead of just being mindless consumers.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by Prescience500 on: Feb 20 2010
 
Score 50%

Very, very true. Lack of political activism, especially by people in the middle of the political spectrum is a problem, too.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A FOSS Business Model?

 
 by bubi on: Feb 24 2010
 
Score 50%

Yes, but government is meant to exclude people from decision making and to make everyone politcally passive, except for the elite of politicians. Which is basic logic: if everyone would govern (which the word "democracy" originally means), there would practically be no government. Which is exactly why no government is really democratic, though it is a very frequently used oxymoron, because the main purpose of government is to preserve privilege.
The same goes for most companies and quite a lot of existing organizations.
The problem is the current structures are corrupt. So grassroots activism is the only way of doing anything with it.

Boballen55 said : "try to move everything else more towards the FOSS model/ideals." This, as I see it, means direct participation in politics (and politics is constituted of economic and social organization decision making), and this means a radical restructuration of society as a whole. The existing structures are weaked and corrupt, they are means to restrict freedom itself, they are useless to anybody who wants to break free. They are to be overthrown and replaced by new, more democratic, libertarian structures. It is the only way to give people the chance to participate, "instead of just being mindless consumers."


Omnia sunt communia.

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 !

 
 by Padster on: Jan 21 2010
 
Score 50%

M$ should stop ripping off open souce things like sudo!


Resistance is futile.
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 Re: !

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Jan 21 2010
 
Score 50%
mandriva0usr0mandriva0usr 0
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

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All too true.


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 New Economic Model?

 
 by Prescience500 on: Feb 16 2010
 
Score 50%

FOSS works perfectly well in mainstream economic models. Let's use the neoclassical model for example. The problems in the software markets would be a result of "government failure." In other words, people are worse off because of government interventions like software patents and overly stringent copyright laws.


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 Re: New Economic Model?

 
 by bubi on: Feb 20 2010
 
Score 50%

...which are an essential part of the actual economic model, based also on property, not only on market. The actual mainstream economic model just wouldn't exist without government intervention to defend it. Without government, the economy would necessarily become either more communitarian and participatory, or more market oriented, less on propriety. Anyway, it wouldn't be quite what we have now. One of the main roles of government is to preserve property, which in modern times means preserving the actual economic model. Patents and copyright are just a means to apply the property principle on ideas and intelectual products, which is a logical and practical nonsense, because you can't really "possess" an idea or some knowledge and claim property over it. You can, eventually, keep it secret, but you can not possess it, as it is not anything material.

In conclusion, as property is one of the main postulates of the actual mainstream economic model, free (non-proprietary) software is just somehow awkward. Seems like we really need a different economic (and social) model.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: New Economic Model?

 
 by Prescience500 on: Feb 20 2010
 
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Different economists will have different idealogical ideas about property rights. Economics isn't about ideology though. It's a science that tends to be much more mathematical than theoretical. When analyzing patents and copyrights, they view it as a government intervention that creates a temporary artificial monopoly in order to increase innovation. It's generally viewed as a necessary evil. Economists have been trying to get government to loosen patent and copyright laws for decades and to cut the duration in half. Did government listen to mainstream economists? No. They listened to lobbyists of big business, especially Disney. Copyright duration was doubled and they weren't very helpful on the patent side either. Like most sciences, economics is something that most people don't understand very well and politicians rarely listen to what mainstream economists recommend. In economics, government is viewed as a mechanism to address market failure. People already know lots about market failure and economists working for the government (about 2/3 of economists in America, I don't know about other countries) are always assigned to address the things politicians want addressed, not necessarily what most needs to be addressed. Economists in the private sector are in a similar predicament, though there's is by choice. Without knowing it by name, most people already know and care about market failure and cast there votes based on that. Government failure is often more of a problem because there isn't as great of an awareness of it in the general population.


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 Re: Re: Re: New Economic Model?

 
 by bubi on: Feb 24 2010
 
Score 50%

Just as I said, economy IS politics. As political thought is basically constituted of social AND economical thoughts. So economy is quite a big deal in politics. It is a science, but although it uses mathematics as a tool, it is not quite the kind of sciesnce that mathemathics is, nor as physics or chemistry is. They are all what is called natural sciences, which strive to understand the laws of nature, with or without civilizations' influence on it. They can, to an extent, be ideologyless.
Economy, on the other hand, is a social science, just like sociology or history is. They strive to understand the laws and dynamics of human society and its activities (which includes economy). Because it is impossible for human societies to be immune on human ideas and ideologies, it is consequently impossible for social sciences to be immune on them. It is you yourself who just gave an exaple of ideological influence on economy.

There are plenty of different economic models, everyone of them in coherence with its own political set of thoughts. Just one is used at this very moment, not because it is the best one (we are just facing a recession, remember?), but because it is good enough for maintaing ruling class' privileges, which includes property. And government is meant to preserve all of it. And I think it does a good job at that. The fact I don't like its role is another matter... But fact is, patents and stuff is not government failure, but government success in preserving the mainstream economic model, which hepls preserving privilege.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Back from hell-month 1 and 2

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Mar 15 2010
 
Score 50%
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

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I am very sorry for the long time since I last posted, but sincerely, these 2 months have been perhaps the hardest in my academic career. 57 assignments, 3 exams, 3 projects, 1 letter to the editor and 2 group projects - talk about not having a life. But thank God, most of these things have been gone now and I can now focus on what I love, freedom and FOSS.

I therefore present to you LCDM-1, the Linux Cooperative Development Model prototype 1. It is the conversation starter for our version of a business that provides FOSS not as a means, but as an end in itself.

LCDM-1 is my roughest concept of what a FOSS profitable entity could become: it comes in different breeds, each with advantages and disadvantages, but for now I will only post one and gradually add the others. It is kind of complex at times, and at times it is made complex by my verbosity syndrome. But I will try to make its general advantages as clear as possible.

First off, we define the Linux community as the group of users/developers that are officially registered at (a thorough and exhaustive list of websites, forums, groups and other media which are a. with FOSS as their main topic, b. non-hate oriented and c. actively withholding any of a thorough list of FLOSS-compatible licenses). The definition of the community is crucial, because without it, even Apple/MS can be counted as part of the Linux community and simply infect our idea of FOSS as a separate endeavor. This is a separate study branch of the model, since it must present methodology, candidates, etc. But this makes the basic point.

Second, we define the model: here is my pre-pre-pre-alpha stage model, the very first envisioning of FOSS profitable entities.

1) It could become a cooperative. The idea is that a project, let's say, a distribution, becomes "proprietary" by charging for the software in binary form the same way other companies do (without the profit motive and hefty price though; this will be explained later). The source code, however, will be the product of special emphasis; if you become a "member" (by suscribing to a small monthly fee) you get the software in both source and packaged binary for free, and have update services as long as you are a member. Plus, any excess revenues that come from the sale of memberships/binaries will become profits for your account, distributed the cooperative way and will withdraw the money when closing the account; and even more, you will have a vote/voice in deciding the directives, codes, negotiations and rules in the project. The vote strength and voice will not change whether you are a stockholder or a member. But it should be clear that it's really not so much spending, it's more like investing.

The implications for the GPL freedom are more controversial, but (at least in concept) should not modify the spirit of freedom nor the license(s) and its/their application.

Since the FOSS community is now defined, the source code policy of a flux cooperative could be defined as something like this:

"The source/binary code is monetarily and GPL free within the Linux community, and can be modified, consumed, distributed, packaged and studied by the official community members at no charge. Provision of the source code to entities, individuals or groups outside the community constitutes piracy and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent by applicable law.

The Linux community retains the right to provide special services, privileges and/or licenses to charitable and educational institutions officially registered as such in the Linux community. It may or may not, to the sole discretion of its members, extend the GPL freedoms to the institution as a whole.

Corporations contributing to the FOSS community shall have the full GPL freedoms provided they officially register and sign a legal agreement to never disclose, without full community consent, innovations copywrighted by their development teams/developers to unregistered, proprietary companies.

Corporations and individuals involved in developing proprietary software shall not become members to steal the intellectual property developed inside the community. This will also be defined as piracy. Also, individual members distributing software to platforms, projects, etc. outside the community will be subject to -blah- intellectual property rights."

This would become a legal backbone of the cooperative regarding FOSS; it would define all the interactions between the cooperative and the rest of the FLOSS community as well as with non-community entities/people in all aspects of FLOSS. The basic point is, software developed inside the community is free inside the community. All of our software and interactions with it outside the community will be considered proprietary and the community has a say on them. Such a long legal measure will help us restrict proprietary OS's from copying our ideas, remodeling them and then implementing them in their OS's as patented technologies.

This does NOT mean we are restricting the software freedom, since basically anybody can join the community. This means we are restricting the number of people benefited by said freedoms to those officially registered as members of the community.

Another great benefit of this model is that it is scalable. You don't have to begin with a whole distribution, heck no! You can begin with a particular technology, say Nepomuk, or even a particular software repository, like MIB. It will require minor modifications but it applies all the same. And although less by the scale factor, it can and will be a) sustainable and b) profitable in all cases.

The last benefit is that it is flexible. If things are dire and we need to stop doing the business thing, the community would just go back to its current state. If forks occur, the community can keep the same workflow provided they register the fork at the official lists. Even better, this registry of forks will help us create a "phylogenetic tree" with all the technologies we have developed and maybe even create a historical source code database to study source code solutions in the past and remake them in the future. KDE 3.5, for example, could be put into the database and people could actualise it at their will with KDE4 technologies and patches.

And a collateral fourth benefit is that with resources, we might be able to buy driver specs for the latest and most cutting-edge of hardware, hire programmers for global maintaining community initiatives, pay Adobe to port Photoshop to Linux, adopt Openoffice and merge it with Koffice, and even perhaps in a not too distant future, have Linux alongside Windows in Wal-mart shelves. The imagination sets the limits, really.

Well, and so it begins...


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 Re: Back from hell-month 1 and 2

 
 by bubi on: Mar 17 2010
 
Score 50%

OK, I noticed some issues that really concern me in your suggestion. I am saying them in best faith.

I joined the free software community by starting to use free software, not by joining any group. Contributing to Ubuntu forums, Launchpad, registring on gnome-look.org etc. were just a logical thing to do for myself personally. But I can fully understand anybody who decides, for any reason, to stay outside any given group, no matter if it is bacause he/she wants to start a new one or because he/she prefers to stay alone. And I want that individual to keep all of the freedom the community has. One of the most important reasons I joined the free software movement is because I liked the idea of a world without piracy, not by enforcing copyright and patent laws, but by declaring that everyting is in common, everything is everybody's. Inspired by Proudhon's work "What is property?" I found out the concepts expressed there are especially suitable to intellectual and software property. Well, property IS robbery, especially if intellectual.
I would feel very bad to be a part of a group denouncing anybody for piracy. After all, we are all pirates. We are trying to subvert the copyright and patent laws so that we can freely act like pirates are acting underground all the time. I would dare to say that free software and free culture is an attempt to bring piracy from underground to mainstream.
Also, I am sure a lot of people here are using pirated copies of Windows on their dual boot systems. Personally, I don't, but I am not immaculate, neither. I play some games I should have payed for, and I am shareing them, along with the ones I legally payed for, with my friends. That behaviour is legally defined as piracy if the software is proprietary, but it is the common thing to do with free software. Accusations for piracy from our side is nothing but hipocrisy.

Also, I don't like the idea of a sectarian society happy with it's own "freedom". Nobody is free until everybody is free. We should never forget that. Personally, I am hoping one day the workers will take over Microsoft and develop "Windows Free". Not because I like Windows, but because I hope it will happen with everything.
The point is not in taking over Microsoft's market share, but in making it possible that free software becomes standard practice in software use/developmet.
I don't really care if there is an official Linux port of Photoshop or not, if it is still proprietary. If they would just release their windows product under, for exapmle, GPL, there would be for sure somebody able to port it to GNU/Linux, officially or not.
I mean, it is not about Linux, it is about free software, and more importantly, about freedom itself.
There is already a Nero for Linux, and it surely helps in making GNU/Linux more popular, but if I share it with my Linux-using friends I can still be convicted. That is no freedom.

So, I was thinking, we should not create something like a quasi-grassroots Masonic lodge of privileged. We should rather do something like a really grassroots revolutionary trade-union, and not discriminate the common people outside of it. We should somehow force Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, etc. to adopt free software policies, not just compete with them.


Omnia sunt communia.
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 Re: Re: Back from hell-month 1 and 2

 
 by mandriva0usr0 on: Mar 17 2010
 
Score 50%
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University of Puerto Rico
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Gamaliel Lamboy 7

University of Puerto Rico
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Last visit Sep 28 2011
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Sorry if some things seemed like I was against the collectivist ideal, but in some things I also think I was misinterpreted regarding the model. I will keep the ideal of best faith too, as this is the proper place to keep this discussion (the model obviously needs to improve), and more importantly, suggestions are welcome :), not rejected out of hand. That is the basis of community development.

The first thing I think I was misinterpreted in was that this is a microeconomic model. It does not intend to change society, it tries to survive in it. So it will be composed of tweaks to our mesosystem (in the Bronfenbrenner sense), but very important ones that pose the building ground for the exosystem that WILL change communities. Then the model will adapt to those changes and become more and more to the big-picture ideal... in the medium and long run. But in the short run of a kulturkampf a certain degree of Machiavellic pragmatism is needed; I didn't dictate current society, but I will use it as a means to attain better ends. We must be objective in it, rather than kill everybody because our ideal is better.

I would certainly not condone a militant revolt against the system, not without carefully planning our advantages and disadvantages first (and gaining some key stealth spots, etc.). The informational World War III may eventually come, but I would not rush it by proposing a "shock"; I would rather be prepared so when the shock comes, it's for real (my country has a lot of history in hurried shocks that led to communal disaster, so I can tell what it is like to live in such a hell).
So rather than an insult, this "slow-and-gradual" change proposal is building our strength for when the true revolt comes (not to mean we do not keep in check the times to know when it does).

I do not think cooperatives violate our main ideal, since everything IS common. We live in the same world, and we all manipulate resources like air, water, language, atmosphere and climate everyday commonly. The difference isn't in whether it is common or not, it is the type of social control and inequality exerted by humans over the commons, whether by exclusion or inclusion. Most employ a mixture of the two, which varies from time to time and place to place regarding the right concentration of the two and the areas in which they are applied. Cooperatives, I think, have the freedom of choosing that mixture by themselves.

I am not condoning exclusion, I am taking advantage of our exclusion ecosystem. Current economics itself is founded on the principle of exclusion, since the only way for things not to be excluded is for the price to be 0; the selfishness of the producers is the incentive to raise the price (since at price 0 rational producers would not sell anything, the story goes) and generate equilibrium. Growth occurs when the whole of the consumers submit their preferences to the producer apparatus, and recessions occur when confidence in the system, uncertainties and simple psychological behavior makes consumers revolt against the offerings of the economy, in such a way as to generate unexpected inventories (investments) in the producers' pockets. They then call upon government to coerce that consumption via "stimulus bills", which is nothing else than the government forcefully buying the extra output with the money you give to it by law and either making you choose it (obama checks) or itself choosing it (bank bailouts). That's the kind of tyranny we live in, so I am using "exclusion" of our commons as a way to protect the commons, hitting them with their very discourse. That's the true intention behind it, nothing else.

Now the "exclusion" I meant in the previous post was a vocabulary mistake, not really my ideal regarding it. If someone does not want to join the community, by no means does that expel him from Free Software. The Free Software movement will still develop software to the outside world that's free in both senses, and accessible by everybody including MS owners (for self-innovation purposes, perhaps?). But there will be a price restriction on the availability of source code for code developed inside the defined community (not the real community). This by no means needs to be holistic, it could be half-and-half "free members and paid members sort of thing, like Jagex's Runescape game). But a membership requirement to unlock these benefits is needed on the microeconomic scale of a tyrant-driven world (when true cooperativism's shackles are finished by the revolution, this will be removed) in the short-run of a major paradigm shift.

This does not mean I don't see your point, I really do, and in a lifetime do not want this system to BECOME a quasi-grassroots Masonic lodge of privileged. But I live in a crap world, with crap tools to improve it, and a whole intellectual school sucking R&D funds into bragging why their system works and how it's not pure capitalism or socialism. But the crapness of their tools can be used to our advantage in the mesosystems, since we can offer our ideals as replacements in that scale and generate our own federation. Then, when our federation is organized, the revolt comes, and Free Software becomes -by virtue of the very system's selfishness flaw- the Norm rather than the exception that it is now. But we cannot count on social resources we do not have (and we do not have Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and governments on our side - despite recent sproutings of mutually beneficial ACTIONS from them). What we do have is the community, and it's more than enough; it just needs organization, definition and planning. And in so doing, it becomes the FSF/Canonical hybrid we were discussing, a Federation of proletariat with a cultural, economic and political say in this perverted world.


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 Re: Re: Re: Back from hell-month 1 and 2

 
 by bubi on: Mar 19 2010
 
Score 50%

Quote:
Sorry if some things seemed like I was against the collectivist ideal


Well, I was actually more concerned about the individual, than about the collective... :-p But then again, you can't hurt the individual without hurting the collective and vice-versa, because every collective is formed of individual human beings, which is something too often forgotten by both some collectivists and some individualists. Which is why I feel both individualist AND collectivist. :-)

Quote:
but in some things I also think I was misinterpreted regarding the model.


And I can see that now. Thank you for the explainaition. But let us continue this conversation...

Quote:
But in the short run of a kulturkampf a certain degree of Machiavellic pragmatism is needed; I didn't dictate current society, but I will use it as a means to attain better ends. We must be objective in it, rather than kill everybody because our ideal is better.


Well, killing is not quite what I had in mind... :-) I find it too Machiavellic. :-p But really, I find a bit problematic this machiavellic thing. Call me idealistic, but I think the means must be what is more possible similar to the end. The end just can not be in itself the justification of the means.

Quote:
That's the kind of tyranny we live in, so I am using "exclusion" of our commons as a way to protect the commons, hitting them with their very discourse. That's the true intention behind it, nothing else.


I see... But I must think a little bit longer about that, cause somehow I still have some doubts on the ethical side. I mean, it is their very doscourse that bothers me, a discourse made to justify their own behaviour. Should we really odopt it as our own discourse? And for how long can we keep immunity on it, before we become just like them?

But I would like to do a digression here. You were talking about producers and consumers... I got confused here at the first instace. In my political jargon, by "producers" we mean those who actually produce, the workers, not those who own and manage the means of production and the distribution of the product itself, which are capitalists and managers. OK, in reality it is not so simple and black-and-white, I just wanted to stress how ambiguous the term "producer" can be. Also because, if you think about it, most people are both producers AND consumers. Most of us produce something and consume something else, along with what we produced ourselves. Practically, the same person is a producer in one situation and a consumer in another. That's why I like to keep a class perspective, rather than a production-and-demand one.
Digression finished. :-)

Quote:
But there will be a price restriction on the availability of source code for code developed inside the defined community (not the real community). This by no means needs to be holistic, it could be half-and-half "free members and paid members sort of thing, like Jagex's Runescape game). But a membership requirement to unlock these benefits is needed on the microeconomic scale of a tyrant-driven world (when true cooperativism's shackles are finished by the revolution, this will be removed) in the short-run of a major paradigm shift.


I don't see why would, let's say, MS pay for code that will force it to release their product as free software. It would jeopardize their market tactics. But maybe that is the point.

I don't really like the idea of gratis and paid members. I am affraid it could make internal class divisions, which would be very unproductive... Just like in online games (I don't know the one you mentioned, I talking my experiences), paid member have more feature and more privilege than gratis members. While it can seem very trivial an issue when talking about games, I think it is crucial in the matter we are now discussing. So, either everybody pays, or nobody pays.

Ah, I almost forgot... Another problem with all this is that GPL would become incompatible whith what you are talking about, and FSF would hardly, but probably never, join in. On the other hand, a licence taking similar positions already exists, it is The Hacktivismo Enhanced-Source Software License Agreement (http://www.hacktivismo.com/about/hessla.php). Maybe you could take a look at that and tell what you think.

Quote:
And in so doing, it becomes the FSF/Canonical hybrid we were discussing, a Federation of proletariat with a cultural, economic and political say in this perverted world.


Let's hope so. :-)


Omnia sunt communia.
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