[JTL Day 209] Open Source Investigation part 2 – Is it really Free?

I continue with Open Source, starting with the phenomenon called Free Software and leaning to the idea of ‘Free and Freedom’.

There is a movement initiated by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation (http://fsf.org)

Reading through Stallman’s explanation on how and why he advocates exclusively only to Free software in opposing Open Source – as I get his conclusion it is that ‘free software is freedom’ and Open source is still ‘of interests’.

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html

” Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement. For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, essential respect for the users’ freedom. By contrast, the philosophy of open source considers issues in terms of how to make software “better”—in a practical sense only. It says that non-free software is an inferior solution to the practical problem at hand. Most discussion of “open source” pays no attention to right and wrong, only to popularity and success.

For the free software movement, however, non-free software is a social problem, and the solution is to stop using it and move to free software.”

Here comes Stallman’s idea of real difference:

A pure open source enthusiast, one that is not at all influenced by the ideals of free software, will say,

“I am surprised you were able to make the program work so well without using our development model, but you did. How can I get a copy?” This attitude will reward schemes that take away our freedom, leading to its loss.

The free software activist will say,


-“Your program is very attractive, but I value my freedom more. So I reject your program. I will get my work done some other way, and support a project to develop a free replacement.” If we value our freedom, we can act to maintain and defend it.””

Open source means I can look into the source code – it’s literally and absolutely transparent, I can fork(reuse) and modify it but after that, I can restrict the modified source’s usage, I can make profit out of it to personal(corporate) interest as it does not enforce copyleft* and thus someone can develop closed-source software/product based on the code/knowledge.

* “What is Copyleft?

Copyleft is a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well.”

So, after this programmer introduction – I am asking what can be learned from this in terms of humanity/political/economic perspective?

The creations of “Open” can be monetized and it’s further development can be “Closed/Non-free”, while the “Free” means that in no way can be monetized, and it will always remain “Open and Free”.

The idea is that with Open Source – the information can be shared and distributed transparently and effectively – which can be beneficial for catalyzing research and development and the reason is that corporations (even the big ones) do this, is that their ‘interest’ is maximizing their effectiveness, which is obviously: profit.

The point of profit is not ‘evil’ itself – if it’s within a holistic principle of considering all participants equally, because our current human system is ingrained with monetary flow to such an extent that it is what keeps it alive – without this kind of ‘interest’ – there is not enough effective movement even for effective operation/surviving(infrastructure/electricity/food/transport/health care etc).

That is why the Free source is not yet that widely effective, because only few individuals do actually decide to create like that, who are able to have access to the basic requirements for living. If someone can’t have food/shelter/healthy living perspective, it’s obvious that the priority is to secure that – responsibility for family/surroundings is common sense, however it is crucial to invest into education of the individuals on what impact and consequence we are all accumulating with our decisions and actions.

Also it does not require to have a doctorate about quantum physics or rocket science to figure out that in a way we all are having impact on how the whole system operates, in fact mostly it is greater than we think – it is not difficult to be occupied and overwhelmed by our personal responsibilities that losing or never even had the bigger picture.

To develop skills to be able to investigate and understand effectively not only the personal, interpersonal but the universal levels of energy, resources, dynamics and interconnectedness of all participants within our human systems is also not just possible but very much needed to understand how much inequality and lack of real compassion is happening with actual people’s conscience and very few are able to aim real support – and it is not charity I refer to, but to be able to find and access the core of the problems with our morality, the economic and monetary exploitation and deliberate abuse.

It is to understand that currently corporations are part of the already manifested inequality, separation but they are also keeping the system alive so to speak in terms of fueling infrastructure, common good and even the basics for living: electricity, food, basic services.

That is why doing riots, anarchist rage-protests, blame game cannot be a solution, because the participants of that do not even get that they would be the first line to suffering the consequence of the havoc they are willing to wreck, because emotions are in the way to see things through. But in fact we can only take responsibility for acceptances and allowances in terms of our real freedom we personally give away when not standing up to, not only for our own self-interest but for all others equally too.

The current schema for government/political/economic and corporate management is of ‘Closed source’ thus the details of the hidden agendas cannot be seen thus it is not obvious where the effectiveness, the common welfare of the population is being blocked and also being not obvious why and these questions has to be answered in order to be able to understand what are the facts in order to be able to change the systems what are determining our lives.

Free source and free software is really a great idea and in fact the people are creating those values also has to eat, have shelter, life support, which are not free within this current economic, political, law system. Even if the individuals/groups, who are researching, developing these intellectual values have access to those requirements for a healthy living, there is monetary flow within that support, which is undoubtedly interconnected with the money system as a whole.

Therefore it is also to recognize that the idea of ‘Free’ can be understood as really just being an ‘idea’, but interesting to realize also that the starting point of the whole money system as ‘need to compete to survive’ is also an idea, just it’s within everybody’s head and thus being played out becoming physical reality with real consequences, which of many are irreversible.

However to recognize the starting point of the strive towards freedom, Free Source, the General Public License – to create something what is for everybody equally: it is something what can be investigated and used as a model for the future within the interest of what is best for all.

Freedom is also an interesting concept – let not go into that – yet -, rather explore some Open Source initiatives:

Open Source Government: http://www.opengovguide.com/

Open Government Plan: https://osc.gov/Resources/OSC_Open-Govt-Plan_Nov2014.pdf

Open Source Ecology: http://opensourceecology.org/ 

to be continued…

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