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Coming to terms

Texts · August 5th, 2010 · Femke

If everything is both neutral and imbued with values at the same time, how can we separate instrumentality from ideology? This is essentially what I take the distinction between Free and Open to be about. Free is an ideological standpoint, the idea that users of software should have the right to look under the hood, to know exactly what their software is doing and to make changes to it, should they so choose. Free is about freedom, which is an admirable thing. Free takes on the idea that freedom can be built into code and its licensing schemes. Open, on the other hand, speaks to the instrumental. It speaks to the idea that companies don’t want to put the word Free on their products, for fear that people will fail to make the distinction between freedom and monetary freeness, as they do.

ginger coons coming to terms with Open, Free and Libre. Apparently something we all go through, but hers is eloquent and frank like we know her: http://www.adaptstudio.ca/blog/2010/08/coming-to-grips-with-my-own-opinions-about-open-libre-and-free.html

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  • 1. Alex

    Aug 6, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Very interesting. “Free takes on the idea that freedom can be built into code and its licensing schemes.” In other words Free software is code loaded with ontological values. Still, Richard Stallman suprisingly fails to recognize code as a non-neutral object.

  • 2. Dave Crossland

    Aug 16, 2010 at 9:15 am

    How does Richard do that?! :)

  • 3. Alex

    Aug 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Indeed, the wording isn’t right, sorry for that. What I meant is that RMS distinguishes functional works as opposed to intellectual ones; Which I think is problematic.

  • 4. Dave

    Aug 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    RMS distinguishes functional works from artistic works in the same way that the US Copyright & Patents office does. Typefaces are not subject to copyright in the USA because they are deemed functional by that office, for example.

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