This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
See also John Postill’s blog, media/anthropology Preface x-xi Free Software (FS) all about practices, not surface ideologies or goals – it’s public, ‘about making things public’ xi… in a particular way: ‘it is a self-determining, collective, politically independent mode of creating very complex technical objects that are made publicly and freely available to everyone – a “commons,” in common parlance” xi Cultural significance of FS marked by its ‘proselytizing urge’ and the ease with which its practices diffuse Introduction 1 FS shock value when it appeared: making privately owned software of high quality public 2 FS is ‘a set of practices for the distributed collaborative creation of software source code that is then made openly and freely available through a clever, unconventional use of copyright law’ 2 Book is about ‘the cultural significance of Free Software’. Culture here means ‘an ongoing experimental system, a space of modification and modulation, of figuring out and testing; culture is an experiment that is hard to keep an eye on, one that changes quickly and sometimes starkly’. [How different or similar to Boellstorff's 2008 notion of culture as applied to a very different internet study: Second Life?, see previous blog posts]. 2 FS not just about software; example of ‘more general reorientation of power and knowledge’. 3 To explore cultural significance of FS, Kelty introduces notion of ‘recursive public’: a public that is vitally concerned with the material and practical maintenance and modification of the technical, legal, practical, and conceptual means of its own existence as a public; it is a collective independent of other forms of constituted power and is capable of speaking to existing forms of power through the production of actually existing alternatives. 3 (Recursive) publics distinct from unions, corporations, interest groups, mosques, and ‘other forms of organisation’ in their ‘focus on the radical technological modifiability of their own terms of existence’. 4 Book revisits time and again three entwined phenomena: i) the Internet, a singular but heterogeneous ‘infrastructure of technologies and uses’ 1
ii) FS, a highly specific set of ‘technical, legal and social practices that now require the Internet’ iii) recursive publics; a notion that will clarify how the other two are related 5 By studying FS and its modulations we can understand better wider processes related to Wikipedia, stock quotes, pornography, etc. [A Big Claim - will the book deliver?] 5 Outline of book: Part I introduces ethnographically the recursive public notion via ‘international community of geeks’. Part II looks historically at how FS emerged in 1998-99 but tracing genealogies back to late 1950s. Separate chapters devoted to history of main practices that make up FS: namely proselytizing & arguing, porting & forking source code, conceptualising open systems and openness, creating FS copyright, and coordinating people and software. Part III goes back to ethnography, case studies of two projects inspired by FS to make something different in broader domains of knowledge production, incl. academic textbooks. 6 At stake is ‘reorientation of power and knowledge’; 7 a reorientation unlike the grand claims of Informatin or Knowledge Society/economies. 7 FS is particular kind of public: a recursive public. Trouble is our present popular and scholarly understanding of a self-governing public is rudimentary. FS far more than ideological positioning; 8 in fact, it’s really all about practices, that’s what unites geeks, the practices of ‘creating Free Software and its derivatives’. 8 Advantage of this term – recursive public – is that it draws attention not just to discourse (as in common uses of public sphere notion) but also to ‘the layers of technical and legal infrastructure’ without which FS couldn’t exist. [cf. work on internet and public sphere, e.g. e-Minnesota, which does indeed focus on discourse and neglect infrastructure]. 9 FS geeks crucial in maintaining the Internet unitary against interests of many state and non-state agents who’d wish to fragment it. Recursive public and FS practices have checked these centrifugal tendencies. [Another Big Claim - evidence provided in the book?] 10 Geeks have ‘ethic of justice’ combined with legal and technical acumen 10 C21 public sphere to be found not in pamphlets, cafes or salons but in mailing lists, copyright licenses and source code: shift from Tischgesellschaften to Schreibtischgesellschaften. 10 Reorientation of power and knowledge two main components as part of notion of recursive public: a) availability: transparency, open access, etc b) modifiability (or adaptability): 11 ability not only to access but to transform; core practice of FS ‘is the practice of reuse and modification of software source code’. 2
Motto of Creative Commons is “Culture always builds on the past” … with tacit rider: ‘through legal appropriation and modification’. This raises key issue of finality: When is something (software, a film, music, culture) finished? How long does it remain finished? Who decides? Or more generally, what does its temporality look like, and how does that temporality restructure political relationships? 11 Modification has become far more routine, fast and sophisticated now that we have distributed software. [Historical change/increase] 12 Modifiability not just a technical solution, creates new possibilities and challenges for established practices such as publication 13 Started project studying geeks but constant debates about what exactly was FS led author to turn to key research question of book: ‘what is the cultural significance of Free Software?’. 13 In late 90s FS becoming more conscious of being a movement, not just an amalgam of practices, tools, projects, 14 this discussed in chapter 3. 14-15 Five main components of FS: 1) movement (chap 3) 2) sharing source code (chap 4) 3) conceptualising openness (chap 5) 4) applying copyright/copyleft licenses (chap 6) 5) coordinating and collaborating (chap 7) [on this last practice in filmmaking domain, see Toni Roig 2008, this blog] 15 Components = practices [but you don't define 'practices' here or elsewhere] 16 Modulation = someone trying out a FS practice in another domain 18-23 Three contributions of Two Bits, often mixed up: 1) empirical: geeks caught in the act of ‘figuring out’ things; superalterns can speak for themselves, no crisis of representation here! ‘geeks are vocal, loud, persistent, and loquacious’. But although people essential to ethnography, ‘they are not the objects of its analysis’; 20 the object is in fact FS and the Internet, or more precisely “recursive publics”. 2) methodological: example of how may study ‘distributed phenomena ethnographically’ [and historically as well??]. No single geographical location to study FS or the internet. Went to places like Bangalore, Boston, Berlin, Houston. 21 One interesting oddity is that ‘nearly everything is archived’. ‘What geeks may lack in social adroitness, they make up for in archival hubris’ [Nice one, Chris; thus demanding of researcher the ability to discard huge amounts of materials readily available? how does this relate to focus on actual practices? to what extent can one reconstruct actual embodied skilled practice from mailing lists and other such digital archives?]. So for a lot of questions you don’t need ‘being there’ – stratified ethnographic research [mmm, but can you still call it ethnographic?]. 3
3) theoretical: start by working out ‘which information technologies and which specific practices make a difference’. For concept of recursive public useful readings include Habermas, Taylor, Warner, Dewey, Arendt esp. idea of ‘modern social imaginaries’ [see Leong 2008 PhD thesis on internet in Malaysia]. 23 Upbeat end to Intro: contra Habermas’ pessimism about bankrupt public sphere in C20, are we seeing in early C21 emergence of strong recursive publics that give us hope?
Chapter 1. Geeks and Recursive Publics 27 What binds geeks together is that they are a recursive public [for definition, see previous blog entry] 28 … via the Internet, this is what’s distinctive about the public formed by geeks. 29 Geeks argue about technology and through technology 30 the mathematical concept of recursion, from OED and James Boyle; not same as ’simple iteration or repetition’ [but see Giddens 1984 on “the essential recursiveness of social life” - how specific to programming or Free Software is recursivity? Or better perhaps, what specific forms does social recursivity take within the world of Free Software?] 31-3 Hanging out with geeks in Boston, May 2003 [uncanny; that's exactly when I started hanging out with internet activists in Subang Jaya]. 33 Undying faith in new technologies; Internet ‘part of the solution to the problems that ailed 1990s healthcare [in the US]‘. 34 Geeks of ethnographic episode, like all geeks, rely for their technopreneurial goals on regarding the Internet as a flexible ’standardized infrastructure’. 35 ‘Geek’ refers to ‘mode of thinking and working, not an identity’; but no longer can we speak of early 1990s homogeneous group of geeks, a subcultural elite. 36-38 Hanging out with geeks in Berlin, Nov 1999. ‘I am now a geek’ – can see like the Boston and Berlin geeks the Internet as infrastructure, although here the stress was on political activism not business. 38 The Berliner geeks mix up ‘operating systems and social systems in ways that are more than metaphorical’. 39 Charles Taylor builds on Habermas and Michael Warner to propose ’social imaginary’ as a public whose ontology fluctuates between concrete (external) and imagined (internal), e.g. civil society, a self-governing people, the economy. 39 Kelty understands recursive public as a manner of social imaginary so as to avoid ideas vs. practices dichotomy.
Because the creation of software, networks, and legal documents are precisely the kinds of activities that trouble this distinction— they are at once ideas and things that have material effects in the world, both expressive and performative—it is extremely difficult to identify the properly material materiality (source code? computer chips? semiconductor manufacturing plants?). This is the first of the reasons why a recursive public is to be distinguished from the classic formulae of the public sphere, that is, that it requires a kind of imagination that includes the writing and publishing and speaking and arguing we are familiar with, as well as the making of new kinds of software infrastructures for the circulation, archiving, movement, and modifiability of our enunciations. [pp. 39-40] 40 With notion of social imaginary you can also avoid pitfall of ideology vs. material practice dichotomy. Plus ideology is always a tricky notion to use – it’s always other people who have it, not the analyst (Geertz). 41 Ricoeur does take ideology closer to social imaginary. 41-2 Back to Charles Taylor and his notion of social imaginary: “the ways in which people imagine their social existence, how they fit together with others, how things go on between them and their fellows, the expectations that are normally met, and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie these expectations’. 42 Social imaginary not just the norms that guide our actions; it’s also a ‘moral order’ – ‘a sense of what makes norms achievable’ (still Taylor). 43 Do geeks in Berlin or Boston share a social imaginary? What’s distinctive about it? Well, their ideas of order are both moral and technical, they mix up “operating systems and social systems”. [Nice and clear point, thanks Chris]. 43-46 Kelty with geeks in Bangalore, March 2000. Mostly male and into heavy metal. All sorts of ethno-religious backgrounds but secularised. Indian geek and key informant was influenced in 1990s by Rheingold and Barlow, gave him ideas on how to run an online community. 47 Silk-list (mailing list for Indian geeks) is metatopical space (Taylor) from geographical viewpoint but topical space from machine’s viewpoint: list of names all kept together in a database. It is not ‘the’ public as there are countless such lists. 48 A public, e.g. a reading public, must be autotelic if it is to remain outside power of state or market or any other social totality. Faith in this autotelic dimension is essential if public is to exist, it allows individuals ‘to make sense of their actions according to a modern idea of social order’. 49 Is Silk-list a sovereign public? 50 Geeks committed to sustaining idea of recursive social order, a moral and technical order grounded in the Internet.
51 Reiterates idea: there’s only one Internet, and geeks are engaged in a contest to keep it that way, they share an imaginary that entwines operating systems and social systems. 52 Napster shutdown in 2000 angered both music fans and geeks, didn’t help music industry either; many geeks saw Napster as mini-internet. 52 Kelty illustrates geek mailing list discourse via Napster case, post sent to list by someone previously unknown called Jeff Bone. 54 His message not ‘published’ in conventional sense, just clicked send. Exemplifies recursivity in two ways: in being public statement about how internet should remain open, and it instantiates precisely that openness and the new publicness it fosters. 55 pre-1993 internet (ie pre-Web) full of people like Rheingold, Barlow, Dyson who adhered to a ‘vibrant libertarian dogma’ that said no territorial sovereign power could govern the internet. 56 folk net idea that cos no central command, censorship not possible. But Lessig and others have criticised this view: internet not static, it could go in different directions with more or less freedom. It’s a perpetual contest over maintaining ‘the legitimate infrastructure’ that allows geeks to forge bonds. 57- story of how Internet became standardised: Internet Engineering Task Force and its Request for Comments system. 58 widely shared bit of geek folklore: “We reject kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code”. … “everything that isn’t code is just talk” - a problematic idea, says Kelty, as someone has to write it first. 59 Internet is layered, ‘each enabling the next and each requiring an openness that both prevents central control and leads to maximum creativity’. 60 You always need an ‘operating-system kernel or a piece of user software’ and a lot of people who will all use it. Infrastructure and discourse shape one another recursively: geeks use mailing lists to discuss and transform the very technology that allows those discussions in the first place. Process is open-ended. 61- Conclusion: Recursive Public 61 Geeks in Bangalore, Berlin and Boston united by a ’shared moral and technical understanding of order’ – they’re an autonomous public who maintains and transforms itself. 62 Have the agency to ‘recurse’ via infrastructural layers in an unending process. This infrastructure is part of the imaginary – apart from being ‘a pulsating tangle of computers, wires, waves, and electrons’. 62 Their affinity as geeks – i.e. membership in the recursive public – rests on their adoption of its moral-technical imaginations.
Chapter 2. Protestant Reformers, Polymaths, Transhumanists 6
64 This chapter is about stories geeks tell, 65 about their modern myths or ‘usable pasts’ 65 At present we see reform and conversion going on in relations binding states, firms, geeks – not ‘revolution or overthrow’ 66 Geeks range from polymaths (technology as intervention into a ‘complicated, historically unique field’) to transhumanists (technology as unstoppable telos). [aha, the notion of FIELD pops up - but developed any further in this book?] 67 Geeks love allegories of Protestant revolt – allows them to opt for reformation (so that they can save capitalism from the capitalists) over revolution. Instead of a struggle between state and church, the struggle here is between the corporation and the state, and at stake [no pun intended] not church organisation or doctrine but ‘matters of information technology and its organisation as intellectual property and economic motor’. 68 Lots of holy wars, big and small: Apple vs. Microsoft, EMACS vs. vi; KDE vs. Gnome, etc. 69 e.g. in a 1998 article Linus compared to Martin Luther: “like Luther, he had a divine, slightly nutty idea to remove the intervening bureaucracies and put ordinary folks in a direct relationship to a higher power – in this case, their computers” :-) 70 These stories are appealing partly cos they avoid polarised, bipartisan language of US politics. 71 and [again] you can save capitalism from the capitalists. 71 [Terrific parallels with Reformation struggles] 72 These usable pasts of Reformation stories ‘make sense of the political economy of information’ while distinguishing between power and control. Geeks should be the ones in power, but controlled by states and big corps who want to manipulate people ‘into making technical choices that serve power, rather than rationality, liberty, elegance, or any other geekly concern’. 72 Term ‘evil’ often used by geeks to talk about design or technical problems [every world of practice has its own terminology]. 74 can also be applied to entities such as Microsoft and how it wants to brainwash computer users. 74 Kelty wants to show how these allegories have worked their ways very effectively into geeks’ minds through own example as a geek in the making: this is ‘participant allegorization’ [ha ha]. 75 one Reformation struggle was over alphabet (and cross heading it). Similarly, (c) carries a lot of symbolic power today. 76 With Reformation allegory, geeks can make sense of unequal power relations; it’s an ‘alternate imagination’ thru which they evaluate and judge actions taken by different parties [see Dobie 2004 on p2p stakeholders]. 77 Geeks proselytise among non-geeks cos they think it is inevitable that software and networks will come to shape everybody’s lives. 7
Geeks live in specific ways in time and space. They are not just users of technology, or a “network society,” or a “virtual community,” but embodied and imagining actors whose affinity for one another is enabled in new ways by the tools and technologies they have such deep affective connections to. They live in this-network-here, a historically unique form grounded in particular social, moral, national, and historical specificities which nonetheless relates to generalities such as progress, technology, infrastructure, and liberty. [Like Boellstorff, Kelty eschews popular labels such as 'network society' or 'virtual community' in order to specify exactly the kind of social universe he is grappling with - in this case the recursive public of geeks, in Boellstorff a 3D computer world populated by avatars]. 78 Some geeks, not all, ‘heroise’ the present by telling stories about the past and chart a future for geekdom. 79- Polymaths they have no choice but to know ‘a very large and wide range of things in order to intervene in an existing distribution of machine, people, practices, and places’. 80 The really hard work is design, i.e. ‘the process of inserting usable software into a completely unfamiliar amalgamation of people, organisations, machines and practices’ – the technical, specialised, code stuff is by comparison easy. 82 e.g. Adrian tries to translate across fields of business, engineering, medicine [see Strauss 2007 and Hinkelbein 2008, this blog, on digital divide mediators or 'new mediators' in the UK and Germany respectively] 82 Not so much about inventing new things as about their insertion in a new milieu, an intervention that Adrian calls ‘technology’. [The notion of milieu has potential both here and in Boellstorff's Second Life world?]. 83 He reckons healthcare IT companies often use ‘technology’ in a narrow sense as a fix to the hard problems of management, equity, organisation [old magic bullet problem?]. 85 Polymaths think like Feyerabend: no single method will make the magic of technology work, must be aware ‘of standards, of rules, of history, of possibility’. 86- Transhumanists 86 Believers in technically-driven progress, of humans transcending limitations of bodies through technology. Timeline of technical progress. 87 Huxley’s article Transhumanism influential. 89 For transhumanists, technology lives in absolute time, divorced from ‘human life or consciousness’ 92 Technical progress is inevitable but can be intervened in by intelligent beings 93 Transhumanist still operating within mundane, localised demands of technological work 8
93-94 Conclusion You can’t simply map US bipartisan divide onto geeks, no technoconservatives vs. technoliberals. ‘Their politics are mixed up and combined with the technical details of the Internet’. Geeks are interesting cos they create new things that transform our political categories. But geeks not kind of person – their affinity shapes and is shaped by the recursive public they are part of, with Free Software as a paradigmatic case. Studying FS we not only gain an understanding of geeks, but also of a recursive public that could transform ordinary life for all of us. [Another Big Claim, let's assess it in subsequent chapters]
PART II FREE SOFTWARE Chapter 3. The Movement 97 This second part each chapter history of one of 5 practices that make up Free Software: ‘creating a movement, sharing source code, conceptualizing openness or open systems, writing copyright (and copyleft) licenses, and coordinating collaborations’. 98 All five practices part of a ‘collective technical experimental system’ that crystallised in 1998-9. 98 Movement = when geeks argue and discusss about Free Software. They may disagree but all recognise that they are ‘doing the same thing’. So ‘the practice of creating a movement is the practice of talking about the meaning and necessity of the other four practices’. [Is the movement a meta-practice? (see Peterson, reading practices, this blog) Is it an anchoring practice? (see Couldry 2004, Media as practice)]. 99- Forking Free Software, 1997-2000 99 FS forked in 1998 when Open Source term emerged – each term led to separate narrative. Open Source linked to dotcom dreams of disintermediation and costcutting, had profit-making dimension. By contrast, Free Software was about legal resistance to ‘intellectual-property expansionism’. 101- Netscape decides to release its source code for reasons to do with the five core practices of FS, as well as galvanising the new FS movement: 1. Sharing source code: although trouble persuading people that this made business sense 2. Conceptualising open systems 3. Writing licenses: 104 but when wrote own Netscape license this spliced the recursive public into half 9
4. Coordinating collaborations: 105 much harder than all the ’spurious talk about “self-organizing” systems and emergent properties of distributed collaboration’. In practice, software engineering is ‘a notoriously hard problem’. 107 But Netscape didn’t succeed – cautionary tale is that you can’t just expect ‘the magic pixie dust of ‘open source” to do marvels. ‘Software is hard. The issues aren’t that simple’. 5. Fomenting movements: 108 Raymond suggested Open Source at a 1997 summit. 109 Trouble is he stressed new forms of coordination over new practices of sharing code or writing copyright licenses. Raymond not into enhanced human liberty but into development model of innovation in software production. A pragmatist and libertarian who had no time for what he regarded as the dreamy communitarianism of Stallman and his Free Software Foundation. Thought Stallman’s dogmatism was preventing business world from adopting Free Software. 112 Raymond et al won recognition for Free Software and its role in the success of the Internet, but under ‘true name’ of Open Source. 112 At any rate, in practical terms, geeks still did things as usual; ‘different narratives for identical practices’. 112- A Movement? 113 FS and Open Source are NOT:
• • • •
collectives: no membership informal organisation: i.e. not bands of hackers, crackers or thieves a crowd: this is temporary, while FS extended in time social movement: FS and OS ’share practices first, and ideologies second’
So the movement shares basic agreement over ‘the other four kinds of practices’. [But is 'movement', I wonder, the best term to describe the meta-practice of talking about the other four practices?] [Also, could we regard FS as a recursive field of practice? a field with its own sectors, fundamental laws, sites, arenas, leading practitioners, apprentices, etc, see Postill this blog] [At any rate, I'm reminded here of Boellstorff equally helpful clarification of what Second Life is NOT; such conceptual ground clearing is fundamental if the argument is to proceed]. 114 ‘figuring out’ via reflection is crucial to FS and its recursivity 114 The movement is a practice of storytelling: ‘affect- and intellect-laden lore that orients existing participants toward a particular problem, contests other histories, parries attacks from outside, and draws in new recruits’.
114 Researcher must be aware of geeks’ ‘archival hubris’ – virtually all their discussions are archived 115- Conclusion Before 1998, no movement existed. But suddenly geeks had to take sides – either Free Software or Open Source. [Isn't this a classic Victor Turnerian 'arena' pointing to the potential usefulness of regarding FS as a political field in the classic Manchester School definition, i.e. a field in which struggles over public matters are fought out - see this blog and Turner's Dramas, Fields and Metaphors; see also edited volume Political Anthropology, 1966]. 116 OS and FS materially identical, but different ideologies. OS privileges technopreneuralism, while FS privileges individual creativity and self-fashioning via software creation [very similar to Linden Lab's rhetoric about Second Life?]. 116 This ideological discrepancy but practical sameness means that ‘the real space of politics and contestation is at the level of these practices and their emergence’. [Erm, I'm not clear about this, will revisit it later].
Chapter 4. Sharing Source Code 118 There would be no Free Software (FS) w/o shared source code 118 Source code ‘both an expressive medium, like writing or speech, and a tool that performs concrete actions’ 118 Many FS geeks say “information wants to be free”. Kelty begs to differ: “information makes people want freedom” because sharing gives rise to a specific moral & technical order 119 Geeks have naturalised sharing norms over last 30 years; this is the story of the UNIX operating system, ‘a monstrous academic-corporate hybrid, an experiment in portability and sharing’ well known to geeks but not to rest of the world. 119 Spread via computer sci students around globe; 120 UNIX kinda ‘primal recursive public’ 120 UNIX unified as concept but devilishly entangled with all its ports and forks 120 UNIX came to be paradigm not only of operating systems but of networked computers in gral; widely seen by geeks as philosophy that can help answer question: ‘how shall we live, among a new world of machines, software, and networks?’ 121- Before Source 121 late 1950s, higher-level languages appear: translation higher to lower level languages. Irony about computers: although it has general programmability, from 11
1950s hardware created was idiosyncratic, you programmed for a specific machine and had to rewrite for another. [see Georgina Born 1990s work on AI geeks in Paris]. 123 This programming Babel led for search for standardized programming languages in early 60s: Algol, FORTRAN, COBOL, etc. This is problem of portability: how to move software across machines. 124 In 1968 IBM decided to unbundle software and hardware; until them had always been sold together. Portable source code became thinkable. But still restricted portability: not to rivals’ machines. 125 So the success of UNIX all the more astonishing, became the epitome of an operating system. 126 Unique commercial-academic hybrid 127, allowed it to attain conceptual integrity beloved by scholars and designers. “It worked”. 128 Distributing UNIX source code became an engrained practice; this encouraged users ‘to maintain it, extend it, document it’. Ported to huge number of machines throghout 1970s. 129 UNIX became essential computer-science teaching cos working operating system that came with source code and simple, could learn in one or two semesters. 129 Unlike now, in 70s still needed material support of magnetic tape to disseminate software. 130 Bell Labs lawyers struggled with instability of UNIX; technical quality improved with all the fixes, updates, new tools but muddied the legal status; aim was to give one license for one piece of software. 131 Not clear whether AT&T owned the fixes 131 Struggle not between evil capitalists and rebels but between two ways of seeking to stabilise UNIX [see ANT literature on stabilisation; see also Sperber 1996 on stability and lability of different cultural representations]. 131 Lots of modifications but concept of UNIX remained highly stable. 132 More on pedagogical dimension of UNIX: ‘As it was installed and improved, it was taught and learned’. So it achieved pedagogical stability more than as a legal entity or corpus of source code. By contrast, Windows much more widespread but ‘its integrity is predominantly legal, not technical or pedagogical’. Pedagogically, ‘Windows is to fish as UNIX is to fishing lessons’. 133 Lions’ UNIX textbook incredibly important [on software textbooks and the muddles of software pedagogy, see Born 1997]. UNIX ported not only to machines, but also ‘to the minds of young researchers and student programmers’. 134 Importantly, students learning UNIX basics from n-th generation photocopy of Lions’ texbook were learning at same time about AT&T’s efforts to enforce its legal distribution. 12
134 Lions’ Commentary widely read down the generations, rare form of ‘literary criticism’ still admired by geeks today, contributing to the making of a recursive public around a body of source code in both implemented and textual (photocopied) form, 135 a public that saw itself as “breaking the law” [on software and frequent lack of documentation, see Born 1997]. 135 So UNIXphile geeks connected not just technically, but also socially and legally [and affectively?]. 135 To avoid legal issues, the Amsterdam academic and geek Tanenbaum created Minix, with no AT&T source code in it. As frequently used for teaching in 1980s as Lions’ source code in 70s. 136 Exemplified UNIX’s conceptual integrity; stood for all operating systems. Yet copyright controlled by the publishers, Prentice Hall. 136 Young Linus Torvalds forked Minix in 1991-2 to expand it and take advantage of new hardware being made in 90s. Both in common: commitment to visible sourcecode & sharing. 138 BSD forked from UNIX, new functionalities, esp. code permitting computers to connect to Arpanet via TCP/IP protocols. 140 UNIX can take on many different forms, resulting from conflicting notions of sharing and divergent technical and moral imaginations. 141 TCP/IP protocols went pandemic: 98% of comp sci depts in USA incorporated them into their UNIX systems and instantly gained access to Arpanet. 141- Conclusion UNIX operating system not just technical feat: making of set of norms for sharing source code in strange ecology: mix of academic and commercial, networked, global. 141 Three ways of sharing UNIX source code: porting, teaching, forking. [subpractices?] 142 Thorny issues raised about standardisation, audit and control, legitimacy – still apply not just to UNIX but to whole Internet and its “open” protocols. 142 The practice of FS code sharing today not because of individual technical or marketing genius, but because ’sharing produces its own kind of order: operating systems and social systems’. Geeks like to speak about ”UNIX philosophy” cos it’s not just an operating system, it entails those complex interfield organisational bonds as well.
Chapter 5. Conceiving Open Systems 143 ‘open’ most complicated part of Free Software: opposite not ‘closed’ but proprietary software. 13
143 This chapter: struggle over meaning of ‘open systems’, 1980-1993. 144 Not just technical, also moral components to contest. Moral = ‘imaginations of the proper order of collective political and commercial action’. 144 Open systems have a blind spot: intellectual property. Irresolvable tension between manufacturers promising interoperability and secrecy-ridden intellectual property regime; a tension between ‘incompatible moral-technical orders’. 144 At heart of struggle was standardisation, but never clear how and who would do it 145- Hopelessly Plural 145 Open systems seen as solution to all the legacy of locked-in computer systems. But dream of The Computer never materalised: we have a world of computers: ‘myriad, incompatible, specific machines’. 147 From 1950s to 80s stable marketing strategy: find customers, sell them whole package, charge them a lot. But by 80s computers faster and smaller. 147 Open systems emerged in 80s with promise of interoperability, marketing and PR people spoke of “seamless integration” [this buzzword still around in 2000s, see Harvey, Green et al's work on ICT projects in Manchester, esp. unattained dream of interoperable museum databases across EU; see also my own research on local egovernment in Malaysia, forthcoming]. 148 But term open systems “hopelessly plural”, 100+ definitions; means or ends? whose goals? who set them? do state and non-state agents agree on them? [see Roig, this blog, on 'double openness' in relation to internet filmmaking]. 148 At any rate, openness became a ‘cultural imperative’ [cf. Harvey et al's 'imperative to connect', Manchester ICT projects, this blog] 149 At least one thing clear: opposite of open was ‘proprietary’. 150 Everyone thought open a good idea, but no agreement on *which* open systems. 150 But intellectual property idea of moral order in conflict with that of open systems, yet intellectual property left out of the definitions of open, taken for granted, not challenged. 152 From intellectual property viewpoint, would be mad for company to release source code and let other vendors build on it – what could the company sell then? ‘Open systems did not mean anything like free, open-source, or public-domain computing’. 152 Account of how UNIX entered open systems contest shows tension between open systems and intellectual property 153- Open Systems One: Operating Systems 14
In 1980 most obvious option for standardised operating system was UNIX, already running on more than one hardware type 153 UNIX wars of mid-1980s: vendors from both sides ganged up to support rival standards. 154 Longhairs vs shorthairs 155 When UNIX spread and became more fragmented, efforts to standardise it 155 Figuring Out Goes Haywire … circa 1986-8: four rival standards for open systems 155 UNIX had spread (porting) but also differentiated (forking) – 156 different features added to diff ports 156 Step one: creation of standard that specified minimum set of functions at interface level: ‘interface definition’ – 157 alas two competing definitions emerged 158 ‘Standards’ ended up being products that firms wanted to sell to their industry via a consortium, e.g. interesting Sun ad from 1987 tapping into angst over open systems. 160 Open Source Foundation with some of biggest players: IBM, Digital Equipment, HP… 160 Sun branding itself as open-systems idea originator; promised to free companies from grip of single vendor 162 UNIX wars of late 1980s: all against all, fighting to show customers that they’ve made right choice not of machine or software but of standard. 164 UNIX wars show blind spot of open systems: intellectual property rules at odds with specificities of software; assumption that w/o intellectual property innovation would stop. 164 – Denouement 164-5 Result not a single winner, but ‘reassertion of proprietary computing’. Microsoft one big winner for same reasons open systems failed: ‘intellectual property favored a strong corporate monopoly on a single, branded product over a weak array of “open” and competing components’. 165 Return to IBM-style monopoly but with new monopolist 166 Open Systems Two: Networks Another crucial part of open-systems story of 80s was efforts to standardise networks, esp. inter-networking protocols.
167 Conflicting social imaginaries of OSI and TCP/IP protocols; across state, uni, industry borders. By 1993 TCP/IP had overtaken OSI cos of (a) availability, (b) modifiability, (c) serendipity, incl “killer app” WWW 168 … familiar C20 battle over gov planning and regulation vs. entrepreneurialism 168- Bootstrapping Networks From 1970s lots of competing closed networks, with IBM one pioneer 169 Late 70s BBSs appear 169 also in 70s telecomms get in on the action, eg Minitel France experiment 169 in common across experiments: networks piggybacking on existing, stateregulated telecomms; 170 these hampered by antitrust & monopoly laws 170 OSI and TCP/IP epitomised gulf between computing and telecomms worlds; Arpanet was ad hoc and experimental, very different from ISO 171 all agreed standard network protocols were a must; although derided for being slow, bureaucratic etc, the ISO and ITU processes had undoubted legitimacy 172 TCP/IP explicit goal: share computer resources, not necessarily linking two indivs or companies, or to create competitive markets for networks (software) 173 Requests for Comments (RFC) process integral to process of standardising; 174 geeks love its history cos shows clever, ad hoc solutions to coordination problems – muddling through 174- Success as Failure 1985 OSI was an official standard, but there were few implementations; 175 it was in face TCP/IP that turned up in actual systems by late 1980s. Why successful? Again (see above): availability, 176 modifiability, serendipity. 177-8 Conclusion To understand FS practices must understand open systems & openness; 1980s open systems struggles prepared stage for FS, ‘leaving in their wake a partially articulated infrastructure of operating systems, networks, and markets that resulted from figuring out open systems’. 177 TCP/IP protocols success created single standard and entity, the Internet, with own built-in goals mirroring FS’s moral-technical order 178 Constraints to collaborating are in flux, resulting from struggles involving giants like IBM, onetime rookies like Sun, amateurs, academics, geeks, etc.
The creation of a UNIX market failed. The creation of a legitimate international networking standard failed. But they were local failures only. They opened the doors to new forms of commercial practice (exemplified by Netscape and the dotcom boom) and new kinds of politicotechnical fractiousness (ICANN, IPv6, and “net neutrality”). But the blind spot of open systems—intellectual property—at the heart of these failures also provided the impetus for some geeks, entrepreneurs, and lawyers to start figuring out the legal and economic aspects of Free Software, and it initiated a vibrant experimentation with copyright licensing and with forms of innovative coordination and collaboration built on top of the rapidly spreading protocols of the Internet.
Chapter 6. Writing Copyright Licenses 179 ‘The use of novel, unconventional copyright licenses is, without a doubt, the most widely recognized and exquisitely refined component of Free Software’, esp. GNU General Public License (GPL), by Stallman. 180 by early C21 hundreds of FS licenses + huge legal lit 180 Biella Coleman: no hacking apprentice can make it w/o in-depth knowledge of intellectual property law 180 Before you can defend ideas like common property and sharing, must first produce them thru concrete practices [constitution of FS practices is what this book is about, oder?] 180 This chapter: GPL history (1st FS license) – controversy over EMACS (highly respected software); 181 GPL ‘figured out’ in the process via new medium: Usenet and Arpanet lists [recursive mediation?] 181 this story not about hacker genius, but about ‘active modulation’ of practices among human and non-human agents, all part of broader knowledge-power reorientation [see STS lit] 181 FS philosophy is fact of FS itself, ‘its practices and its things‘ 181 – Free Software Licenses [...] Dewey on Bentham: his liberal reforms were product of experimentation; 182 same goes for FS and Stallman, ‘hacker hero and founder of the Free Sofware Foundation’; famous software creator; ‘Bentham-like inventiveness’ 182 Hacks = ingenious solutions to technology problems; work-arounds 182 FS owes its existence to US copyright law which it subverted 183 FS licenses known as copyleft; instead of strong rights for indivs, stress on porting, sharing, forking software
183 But note this is description after the fact; initial goal was not to hack copyright law 183- EMACS EMACs not just a text editor, a religion, main interface to operating system for many geeks 184 pre-UNIX very few progs to manipulate text directly on a display 185 powerful set of tools 185 idea of EMACS spreading via different machines and forms 186 Stallman’s EMACS communal sharing; not universally loved 187 for users strong incentive to join commune and extend EMACS, proto-recursive public even if autocratic; small size of community helped him 187 Stallman well aware of open systems blind spot [see previous chapters]: conflicting moral-technical orders of intellectual property 188 Controversy of 1983-1985 in context of explosive adoption and modification of EMACS 188- The Controversy 189 Social drama [not Kelty's term] around GOSMACS. Stallman accused rival Gosling of “software sabotage” for selling version of EMACS to Unipress. Yet Stallman in pickle for using small bit of Gosling’s commercial code. This drama resolved when Stallman created Gosling-free UNIX version – this became standard. [Could FS history be rewritten/modulated using Turner's political anthropology, i.e. fields, dramas, arenas...?]. 189 three issues pending: (i) software copyrightable?, (ii) what counts as software?, (iii) meaning of copyright infringement. 190-1 Gosling didn’t mean’public domain’ by ‘free’; thought public domain would destroy GOSMACS; 192 back then in 1983 still no FS license, ’no articulated conception of copyleft of Free Software as a legally distinct entity’. 192 In 1983-85 EMACS commune morphed in GPL – Stallman adding copyrights and messages to software. 193 March 1985: Stallman’s GNU Manifesto, heated discussions, revisited in various forms ever since [notice the painstaking, precise mailing list archival research throughout the book, see Postill and Peterson in press, What is the point of media anthropology?, Social Anthropology journal]. 195 Stallman worried people may be put off by legal threats 18
197 Mailing list post by one Labalme shows proto-FS thinking at work. Also insight into hacker practices: oral, undocumented, messy [Born's 1997 Paris research among AI geeks supports this]. 198 Social drama [not Kelty's usage] continues – Stallman vs. Unipress. 199 – The Context of Copyright 200 most people in controversy took orthodox line that software not patentable 200 copyright law seldom used for software production at the time 201 copyright gradually and unevenly replaced trade secret as main way of protecting intellectual property; very important 1976 changes to copyright law, Copyright Act 1976 203 … but didn’t define software – this happened via court cases in 1980s; different cases answered differently whether software was copyrightable 203 hackers in 1980s far less legally sophisticated than today – didn’t understand well 1976 changes, their practices changed slowly 204 Infringement was crucial issue but avoided by rewriting code 205 Legal uncertainties undermined Stallman’s commune: how sustain it if unsure about whether could legally use sb else’s code? 206 Lots of flame wars given that law in flux, and US soc litigious plus low legal knowledge, so danger that many would opt for buying software 206 But these discussions have educated FS geeks and today know almost as much about intellectual property law as about code 206- Conclusion 207 from 1986-1990 FS Foundation famous among geeks, by late 1990s had own legal staff; story of EMACS shows that GPL more than a hack: a new, legal commune 208 that stressed sovereignty of ’self-fashioning individuals’; not a return to pastoral idyll of community but creating something new out of ‘dominating structures of bureacratic modernity’ [central sociological point of this book; see also Boellstorff's Second Life study and notion of techne, this blog] 209 EMACS dispute set precedent: young geeks today undergo rite of passage of getting involved in similar debates – ‘the only way in which the technical details and the legal details’ can be properly explored Chapter 7. Coordinating Collaborations 210 Last of four practices/components of FS dealt with in this chapter: coordination. A lot of hope invested in ‘gift economies’, ‘peer production’, etc. 19
210 Will look at coordination in 1990s 211 Unique about this coordination is that no goals – favour adaptability over planning. This not same as chaos, rather way of reconciling individual hacking virtuosos and collective coord you need ‘to create and use complex software and networks’. 212 Recursive public not just about people and discourse but also about giving ‘concrete infrastructural form to the means of expression itself’. Geeks see programming and hacking as ‘variants of free speech and freedom of assembly’. 212- From UNIX to Minix to Linux 212 Both Linux and Apache = coordination experiments; both supposed to be fun [on the rewards of practice, see Warde 2005, this blog]; both key to Internet expansion 1990s; 213 represent a global movement of sorts, as branded in 1998-9 213 Linus Torvalds seen as new generation of FS, post Stallman and Raymond. He stressed fun, meaning adaptability over planning. Right time and place to become an “accidental revolutionary”. Not much theorising going on, except perhaps around ‘community’ eg Rheingold [ah yes, community again]. 214 late 80s-early 90s a lot of experiment with Internet tools, academic-commercial hybrids epitomised by UNIX 214 never quite clear what meant by coordination, e.g. level of explicitness/implicitness of licensing issues 215 Linux started as student project in Helsinki, not intended as contribution to FS Foundation; thrived cos already in place infrastructure/moral-technical geek order [notice key importance of unsung mailing lists] 216 piggybacked on Minix, itself UNIX based 217 perhaps cos of EMACS past troubles, Torvald didn’t want to reuse any code, didn’t want restrictions 217 Design and Adaptability Tanenbaum (Minix) usually strawman role in Linux story; old comp-sci prof against young Turk of Torvalds 218 Tanenbaum didn’t want thousands of strangers improve on his Minix: to him useful for teaching 218 In contrast, Torvald no goals. Debate not really showing Tanenbaum’s conservatism, but contrast tween two ways of coordinating and collaborating 219 it seems that Torvald accepted just about any contribution, didn’t make decisions
220 hierarchical system though, but strictly voluntary 220 all that mattered was whether patch (pieces of code) submissions worked or not; again adaptability over planning; 221 evolutionary metaphors often used to explain this, no premeditated design 222 Linux = recursive public of entwined operating and social systems 222 whilst adaptability is all about critique, goals and planning are about negotiation or autocratic decision-making [cf. Manchester School 1966 definition of politics as struggle over public goals] 222- Patch and Vote 2nd example of coordination: Apache Web server and Apache Group 223 this is story of ‘progressive evolution’ of coordinating ‘people and code, patches and votes’. 224 Patching a bit like debugging, ‘but more like a form of ex post facto design’ [reverse engineering?]. 225 story of discussion about patches over mailing list, voting innovations, 226 tension individual virtuosity vs. group decisions about developing the same software 227 disagreements over forms of collaborating, presumed forks, etc; list poster 1 ‘modesty’ in beavering away alone, list poster 2 frustrated with this silence and sudden revelation 229- Check Out and Commit 229 Source Code Management systems (SCMs): tools for organising code and people. Shows problem of recursive-depth: FS still free if made with non-free tools? 230 SCMs anyone can check out code, but only some people can ‘commit’ it; 231 used by both Linux and Apache, 232 e.g. Apache voted to elect trusted committers, those with ineffable “good taste” [same story in every field of practice, e.g. journalist 'nous' in study by Nottingham Trent ethnographer] 232 Sep 98 fight Linux kernel developers: Torvalds not up to speed, posssible forking of Linux – ‘there is only one Linus’ [egocentric social field; not to be confused with egocentric network]; Torvalds avoided fork after came back from holiday [mensch, wish I could get a holiday, this blog is a slave-driver] 233 Stallman’s ideology vs. Torvalds’ fun/pragmatism 234 settled vs unsettled practices: GPL was stable document, whereas SCMs coordination still in flux
235 like EMACS controversy of 1985 [see earlier chapter], 2005 Bitkeeper controversy Torvalds created own SCM – in common, the issue of how recursively deep the meaning of free. Experiment failed, but lesson learnt about not to use SCM to coordinate people and code. Also that adaptability not matter of genius invention but of ‘critique and response’. 236 both Torvalds and McVoy figuring out limits of FS but differently: bottom-up, nondesign vs. top-down, planned. 236- Coordination is Design hype about ’self-organizing systems’ when people don’t know how things work 237 same point about FS coordination reiterated: all about adaptability not planning; debugging can mean lots of things 238 key problem of coordinating: how do you collect and redistribute changes made by contributors? 239 FS finds niche tween spaces of design and debugging 239- Conclusion Both Linux and Apache are social experiments with technologies, legal tools, governance and coord systems, moral-technical orders Important cos central to expansion of Internet, which in turn changing how we think about governance, knowledge and power [big claim about the Net, cf. Boellstorff's claim about Second Life] As a recursive public, FS proposes and provides alternatives [I'm not clear now whether only FS is a recursive public or Linux, Apache etc as well?] 240 all this to be seen in historically specific not universalist terms
Chapter 8. “If We Succeed, We Will Disappear” 243-4 Nice ethnographic entree, 2002. Meeting Baraniuk and Hendriks at Rice to discuss new idea, to modulate FS into something else: creating textbooks – Connexions project 244 Question for Kelty: what the same and what new in this project? 245 same thing as FS? 245- After Free Software
modulation = ‘exploring in detail the concrete practices… of Free Software in order to ask what can be changed, and what cannot, in order to maintain something (openness?) that no one can quite put his finger on’. 245 so to answer Q “Is Connexions FS?” must look at FS not as ideology but as socio-technical experiment, look at actual practices. What is FS? What’s the cultural significance of its practices? 246 Connexions modulates four FS components/practices but not the movement – no Free Textbook movement yet; came out of FS experience, not pedagogical needs 247 like Creative Commons, heading for a recursive public which textbook and entertainment industries resist 247- Stories of Connexion Nice story of dinner speech [and refreshingly unAmerican self-deprecation when Kelty messes up the story, overcomplicates it but rescued by eloquent Rich Baraniuk] “I sigh in relief…I can let the superaltern speak for himself” [nice one, Chris] 248 idea of Open Source textbook, a la Linux; 249 FS textbook repository 249 textbook modules closer to model of science than humanities or social science 249 if our brains not linear, why should textbooks be? 250 the more modules, the more connections to be made 250 trouble is Connexions project took off during bubble burst 2000, eg failed Columbia project, so it’s a hard sell 251 MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) not coming out of Open Source; 252 decided to give content away but still charge a lot for “MIT experience” on campus, adding value to it 252 In contrast, Connexions massive experiment coming out of success of Open Source; Connexions is about “communities” says its champion, 253 whilst OCW just offloading existing content onto the Web [see Mark Deuze on contrast between newspapers who offload print content and those who create new Web content] 253 all changes recorded in Connexions; what really excites people is possibility of creative links across modules, classes 254 – Modulations: From Free Software to Connexions Connexions surprises people for same reasons as FS, same practices and components – idea that people will share and modulate textbook contents: port, fork, share them 255 complex economy of contribution and release, plus issue of digital ‘content’ 23
256 idea of openness harks back to 80s: crucial to project is info created by people, unlike locked proprietary systems 256 Connexions promoters not into online textbook publishing fame, but into becoming ‘a famous publishing infrastructure‘ [a key notion throughout this book]; i.e. they want perpetual openness, *a recursive public* 257 Stallman applies same principles of software to textbooks: to remain useful, must be kept freely modifiable 258 – Modulations: From Connexions to Creative Commons Nice James Boyle story when he came to Houston and met Kelty et al to talk Creative Commons 259 Creative Commons not FS types, mostly lawyers and activists, yet all saw 1998 Open Source emergence into limelight as being very important 260 Creative Commons more than about licenses, about struggle for culture, freedom to use one’s culture (Lessig); 261 idea that culture ‘besieged by the content industries’; 262 Disney great cos drew from surrounding culture 260 back-door entrance as couldn’t change laws 262 Creative Commons quickly became movement more than writing licenses experiment 262 Boyle wanted Connexions to get involved in Creative Commons – our anthropologist as go-between 263 – Participant Figuring Out For Kelty, experience with geeks more valuable than anthro or social science background to his Connexions work; all about ‘an imagination of openness, an imagination of social order” learned with geeks 264 he wanted to ‘help figure something out’; but some tricky questions about modulating out of geekdom: meaning of collaboration, reuse, limits and breaches, etc 265 Glenn suggested Some Rights Reserved instea of All in some cases; great ability to switch from language of law to marketing 266 Workshop, two threads: (1) digital libraries, educational tech, etc, (2) law, economics. All keen to make a difference not just talk about these things. Boyle in Dec 2002: “We actually made something; we didn’t just sit around writing articles…” [oops, that hurt, Boyle] 267 Lessig not focussed on law but on “culture”: understanding and manipulating customs and norms [see Martin Jordin's lecture notes on this, Sheffield Hallam Uni]
267 consensus: public domain like environment for 1960s environmentalists – commons, public goods, etc. All part of power/knowledge reorientation discussed throughout book. Institutional economists bewildered by this phenomenon. 268 Connexions cross tween thought experiment and natural experiment: conducted in the open, unbounded, open-ended… 268 Interplay of Connexions and Creative Commons lesson for Kelty in AngloAmerican common law, as opp. to Napoleonic legal rationalism. ‘It was a practical experience of what exactly the difference is between legal code and sofware code, with respect to how those things can be made flexible or responsive’.
Chapter 9. Reuse, Modification, and the Noexistence of Norms 269 What are implications of Connexions for FS practices and their modulation? 270 This chapter: how Connexions and Creative Commons (CC) modulations of FS relate to ‘the problems of reuse, modification, and the norms of scholarly production’. 270 in ‘figuring out’ what trying to do, both projects hit a surprise: changing meaning of finality of a creative/scholarly work; how do such works attain identity, stability, completion? Trouble is how to stabilise content in unstable context 270 project members want to redefine finality in open and public way: modifiability to be integral to how knowledge stabilised [sounds counterintuitive; do these efforts make sense?] 270 two tricky issues: reuse and 271 whether norms exist. After all we’ve had “turn to practices” in anthro and science studies, and this partly away from norms [but practice theory only mentioned in passing in Two Bits, see Brauechler and Postill, this blog; what's Kelty's implicit theory of practice?]. 271 … yet interestingly geeks are into Mertonian norms of science. But can norms be created? 271- Whiteboards: What Was Publication? 272 long process of figuring out, of modulating: ‘template-work’; Connexions looking at scholarly publication thru FS template 273 History of book, Johns more useful than Ong: to create a reading public not easy; printed texts in C17 seen as unreliable, needed system of evaluation to establish their legitimacy [this is pure media anthropological history] 274 so instead of Ong’s ‘print logic’ wt Johns we get historical specificities of how different print cultures developed; not just a matter of standardising books, ‘a publishing infrastructure’ needed: reputation, social engineering, skills of distinction, consensus, etc that we know from STS. 25
274 After long struggle, Johns shows C20 idea established of a single print culture [remind me to get this book] 274 Connexions two challenges: figuring out historical changes, creating/changing infrastructure to meet demands of authoritative knowledge – 275 from authority of publishing in Gutenberg Galaxy to that in Turing Universe. 275 – Publication in Connexions Three phases to create Connexions content: 1) composition, not just writing 2) 276 translation, into marked-up Connexions system (XML); not quite public document though on Net 3) “publication”, but not finality or fixity as can be altered, same as highly politicised Wikipedia entries which never stable 277 Not just textbook’s tangibility transform, but very cultural significance of texbook writing as practice 277 [examples of remediation, not Kelty's term] 278 new copyright questions coming out of Connexions: ‘how much change constitutes a new work’? 279 many academics uneasy with Connexions, not seeking to replace the book but whole publishing process; part of broader, old problem: reorientation power/knowledge; 280 knowledge as living and in flux, not final or static; changes can be made ‘in real time’ 280 no goal to destroy publishing yet shaped by same moral-tech imaginations as FS and internet 281 keyword is ‘community’ – Connexions tagline: “Sharing Knowledge and Building Communities” [well I must say you've picked a dubious notion, why not Publics?] 282- Agency and Structure in Connexions decoupling author from owner of content; yet avoiding ‘authorless, creditless’ Wikipedia system that most academics abhor 284 so you get via CC more flexibility but also more open than Wikipedia which rigidly committed to ‘a single definition of authorship and ownership’ 285 [tacit communitarianism of Connexions team] 285 – From Law and Technology to Norm 26
reuse is the main Connexions concern and modulation, ie modulating meaning of source code to extend to textbook writing 286 second concern is scholarly “norms” re: creation, use, reuse, publication and circulation; whiteboard diagrams [not mailing lists?] used for this 286 geeks naturally reach out to highly codified law, but with academic norms a lot of it not codified, which makes both geeks and scholars uneasy 287 forking always necessary? why not collaborate? 288 diagram captures how FS components being experimented with; many academics worried about challenge to system that has worked for centuries 289 free texbooks movement (final modulation) doesnt exist yet 290 whole project boils down to creating recursive public 291 Connexions software ignores disciplinary boundaries 292 reuse problem raises vexed issue of whether norms actually exist – or are we talking legal and technical practices?; 293 yet if strategy is to work, norms MUST exist 293 – On the Nonexistence of Norms in the Culture of No Culture Kelty’s phone conversations with Glenn over Connexions: technical and legal jargon galore; 294 very fine legal and technical nuances – learned a lot about legal language in rel to cultural norms 296 ‘punting to culture’ in some cases, 297 i.e. leaning on culture to clear up moral ambiguities beyond legal pale 298 differences tween culture and law; law can do little about entrenched artistic or scholarly custom but at least licenses can channel meaning of copyright, reuse, etc 299 Creative Commons are legally binding, though the aim is to change norms, e.g. promoting citation and attribution, fair use, flexibility, etc. 300- Conclusion CC and Connexions extend FS practices in novel ways by modulating them [see also Toni Roig, internet filmmaking 'modulations', this blog]; Commitment to perpetual openness of contents to modification, challenge, reuse, etc. Reorientation of power/knowledge demands not only legal and technical response, also public response. THE END
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.