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[Nettime-bold] open-source: leveraging the power of speculative producti
wade tillett on 9 Apr 2001 08:57:13 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] open-source: leveraging the power of speculative production capital

similar  to ibm backing linux, mit proposes to put course content
online  with  'OpenCourseWare.'  as  with ibm, the open standards
system  is being used to leverage production capital. i.e. mit is
leveraging  its  research  (production)  with its education mode.
OpenCourseWare   serves   as   an  advertisement  for  increasing
production capital. the president is not worried about enrollment

the power is in the production.

at    the    same    time,    reliance    on    the   traditional
hardware(ibm)/degree(mit)  is preserved and extended. open-source
is  not  seen  as a threat to brand-name, to hardware production,
nor  to  the  education legitimacy process of the status quo. the
patents,  the  degree,  are  still  created.  they are used as an
element of the production discourse. yes, you could claim to have
taken  the  courses  online, you could take the open-source tests
even.  you  could even be certified (degreed) by some third-party

but  what  is  your  connection  to  production capital?

patents,  degrees,  hardware,  are  after-all  mainly to increase
shareholder   confidence,   these   are   back-end  and  end-user
commitments  which  are  by no means disregarded or unprofitable,
but  which  are  an  essential part of leveraging power, dollars,
confidence,  to  the  front  end:  to  a  belief  in  a  *future*
production,  to  an  increasing  operating,  production, research
budget   based  on  a  general  public/peer  attitude  of  future
production potential.

intellectual property is thus a sort of status-builder. yes, much
money  is  made  by  increasing  the patent enforcement. but this
enforcement  serves  to continue the general subversive myth that
power lies in ownership. that is, ownership (or 'non'-ownership) is
leveraged   to   utilize   and  increase  current  advantages  of
production  resources.  the  product  is  guarded as something of
value  in order to facilitate further production. the product (be
it  television, newspaper, mp3, vhs, or education) is distributed
(all the better if you can get people to pay for the distribution
channels...  pay  for  the  hardware,  tv, vcr, computer, degree,
operating  system,  but  it  works  as  well  if  it  is gpl'd or
open-source,  so  long  as the author/producer is preserved) in a
manner  which  increases  the  power  of  the  product's producer
through increasing confidence in their production capability. the
content  of  a  newspaper is an advertisement for the newspaper's
continued  and  future  ability to produce. produce what? its own
continued  and  future  ability  to produce. the product offers a
certain  position,  a certain audience. no one just sits back and
makes money off their 'intellectual property' product - the whole
business   is   in   facilitating  and  leveraging  a  production
*possibility*, a perceived *potential*.


MIT   President   Charles   M.   Vest   has  announced  that  the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology will make the materials for
nearly  all its courses freely available on the Internet over the
next  ten  years. He made the announcement about the new program,
known  as  MIT  OpenCourseWare (MITOCW), at a press conference at
MIT on Wednesday, April 4th.

"I  have  to  tell  you  that  we  went  into this expecting that
something  creative,  cutting-edge  and challenging would emerge.
And,  frankly,

***we  also  expected  that  it  would  be  something  based  on   a
revenue-producing model***

-- a project or program that took
into  account the power of the Internet and its potential for new
applications in education." ...

"OpenCourseWare looks counter-intuitive in a market driven world.
It  goes  against  the  grain  of current material values.
***But it really  is  consistent***
with  what  I believe is the best about MIT. It is innovative. It
expresses  our  belief in the way education can be advanced -- by
constantly widening access to information and by inspiring others
to participate," said President Vest...

President  Vest  commented  that  the  idea  of OpenCourseWare is
***particularly   appropriate   for  a  research university such as
where ideas and information move quickly from the laboratory into
the  educational  program,  even  before  they  are  published in

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