Free Software must migrate to become Free Culture

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 00:45

Cineast and Free Culture activist Nina Paley wrote some days ago a rantifesto on why the FSF has a double standard: Why are the Freedoms guaranteed for Free Software not guaranteed for Free Culture?, by not following its own very strict rules on software when it comes to culture as a whole. Her post was widely circulated, and got (at least) one reply by fellow Debian Developer Wouter Verhelst, largely agreeing with her, and an anti-rantifesto by Joe Brockmeier — Which was promptly answered again by Wouter with a very fun and inspired post, written from the right angle: From the viewpoint of a person who is both a programmer and a musician, and understands the concepts at hand.

I'd love to write a longer, better thought post — But I'm tired and frankly stressed by many things, so I am just echoing their very interesting discussion to other people who might want to read it.

I have been thinking and writing bits on that subject over the last couple of months. An example of that was the talk I gave at the Senate ~6 weeks ago. Following that talk, I wrote a short article for Revista Zócalo (a widely circulated magazine mainly dealing with Mexican politics and social issues) called simply Software libre, cultura libre (full text available, but in Spanish only — You can try reading an automated translation if it suits you). I wrote the article, mind you, with very limited time, and I'll be the first to recognize the prose was quite poor this time :(

Anyway — My point is that our nature is to share culture, to build it in a collaborative fashion, and having the Internet as a practically zero-cost, zero loss medium with which we can interchange our creativity with other like-minded people will naturally boost creativity. Free Software emerged before other Free Culture groups just because programmers had privileged access to Internet in the 80s and early 90s; as network access –and digital creation tools– have got to more people, it's just natural for all kinds of free culture to grow.

Software is just a form of knowledge. Code is just a notation for a certain kind of ideas, just as the mathematical or musical notations. I believe (and hope) it's just unavoidable for us all to eventually switch to a mainly free cultural creation system.

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tincho's picture

hey gunnar, the rewrited url

hey gunnar, the rewrited url http://gwolf.org/blog/free-software-must-migrate-become-free-culture is not working. by the way, could we use (with some modifications) the article you wrote for a free-culture magazine we are planning here in Argentina? you say its not a good writing but is quite good to me and always is better not "re-create the wheel"
saludos!

gwolf's picture

Thanks - and yes!

Thanks for the notice... Well, the URL is fine, but DreamHost and Drupal sometimes don't play nicely with each other - So Drupal throttles the modules when the server is too busy, and just generates 404 errors when content should be delivered :(

About the text: By all means! Please do, and if you can, please fix it ;-) Look at the footer of my page: Todo el material que encuentres en este sitio está disponible libremente, y tienes derecho de usarlo como más te guste siempre que el documento en cuestión no mencione explícitamente diferentes requisitos.
All the material found at this site is freely available, and you can use it as you wish, except when the document mentions explicitly different conditions.

If you can send me a copy (electronic is enough), I'll be most thankful.

Anonymous's picture

Evolutionary (not creative) culture

I think using the word creative or creation contributes to the mess (at least in English). So-called "creators" have a creator complex or creator delusion where they think that just because they "created" a work, they are entitled to some divine usage rights (e.g. the frequent warning attached to copyrighted literary works, etc, that says "All rights reserved). If we change the idea of creation to that of evolution, then artists become "evolvers" or say, developers (as in software developer) rather than "creators" ("contributor" is another term free from the connotation of exclusivity).
So one might speak of a certain director developing a new film version of Hamlet. Shakespeare himself would qualify as one of the more famous developers of Hamlet (a Linus Torvalds of the drama world), since the play he wrote was itself based on other sources.

gwolf's picture

I like your idea :)

...And pretend to evolve it as a parasite of some of my own ;-)