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Re: <nettime> [Fwd: Re: [ox-en] Felix Stalder: Six Limitations to the Cu
Atreyu 42 on Wed, 27 Aug 2003 13:34:07 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> [Fwd: Re: [ox-en] Felix Stalder: Six Limitations to the Current Open Source Development Methodology]

Maybe you would like to read my article _GPL Society: Applying
free/open-source software model to goods production in general_.

GPL Society: Applying free/open-source software model to goods production
in general (Diaries)

By atreyu42
Tue Aug 26th, 2003 at 04:22:39 AM WET

Project Oekonux discuss "whether the principles of the development of Free
Software may be the foundation of a new economy which may be the base for
a new society", called "GPL society". Some questions arise from this:

How can the free/open-source software model be applied to non-digital things?
How can physical things be easily replicated like free/open-source software?
How can this affect the economy?
Is this anti-capitalist?
How is a GPL society?


How can the free/open-source software model be applied to non-digital

Some examples:

Opencola soft drink is perhaps the most known non-digital open-source
project. The instructions for making Opencola are freely available and

Opencores.org develops hardware in the same spirit of free/open-source
software movement. They created the OHGPL (OpenIPCore Hardware General
Public License).

Simputer is a small low cost handheld computer, intended to bring
computing power to the poor people of India and other impoverished
countries, ensuring that illiteracy is no longer a barrier.

OSCar (Open Source Car Project).

Adbusters have an example of open-source industrial design.

Google Directory - Computers > Hardware > Open Source.

More examples at Oekonux website [in German] (Authomatic translation to

How can physical things be easily replicated like free/open-source
software ?

With fabbers:

A fabber (short for "digital fabricator") is a "factory in a box" that
makes things automatically from digital data. Fabbers generate
three-dimensional, solid objects you can hold in your hands, submit to
testing, or assemble into working mechanisms. They are used by
manufacturers around the world for low-volume production, prototyping,
and mold mastering. Fabbers come in three varieties:

They remove material from a solid block.
They build up the object one particle at a time.
They press on opposing sides of a mass to contort it into the desired

With versatile machines like fabbers, transporting and storing solid
objects becomes as easy as transporting and storing digital data.
Marshall Burns, president of Ennex Corporation, which develops fabbers,
predicts that within 15 years fabbers will be inexpensive enough to have
at home.

Fabbers will be able to make fabbers. And some day we will have
copylefted/open-patented fabbers.

How can this affect the economy?

Free markets, if they are really free (not regulated by governments or
Wold Trade Organization's abusive agreements/laws on patents), will allow
the expansion of this copylefted and decentralized method of production,
where consumers will be able to be also producers. Oekonux maintain that 
this could lead to a economy with no scarcity in goods.

Is this anti-capitalist?

On one hand it doesn't oppose to capitalism defined as:

theories [...] meant to justify the private ownership of capital, to
explain the operation of such markets, and to guide the application or
elimination of government regulation of property and markets.

But, on the other hand, this model could change the society because:

Means of production will be decentralized.
Scarcity will be reduced, and therefore, speculation on goods.
Big corporations will see their power reduced with the arise of small or
medium enterprises (like Red Hat) and non-profit (like Debian) producers.

The key is that this is the crystallisation of a post-capitalist mode of 
production from late capitalism. Capitalism isn't defeated, but transformed
from inside.

If this model isn't capitalist and isn't anti-capitalist, what is it? It's
a model of production, economy and society where the main source of power
is knowledge and information. To say it in a word: it's informationalist.

How is a GPL society?

Stefan Merten of Oekonux describes the GPL Society utopia:

With the term "GPL Society" we named a society based on the principles of 
production of Free Software. These principles are:

self-unfolding as the main motivation for production, irrelevance of
exchange value, so the focus is on the use value, free cooperation between
people, international teams.
[...] Free Software is not based on exchange so neither is a GPL Society. 
How a GPL Society may look like concretely can't be determined fully today


In every society based on exchange - which includes the former Soviet bloc
- making money is the dominant aim. Because a GPL Society would not be 
based on exchange, there would be no need for money anymore. Instead of the
abstract goal of maximizing profit, the human oriented goal of fulfilling 
the needs of individuals as well as of mankind as a whole would be the
focus of all activities.
Atreyu 42 
mailto:atreyu42 {AT} myrealbox.com

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