Re: [ox] notizen zur keimform
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 23:49:54 +0200
Allow me to say, that I'm deeply impressed by your involvement. For
someone who didn't know German from the start to me it's absolutely
impressive what you're doing :-) .
3 weeks (25 days) ago wrote:
On Thu, 17 May 2001, Stefan Merten wrote:
Last week (10 days ago) Glatz wrote:
"keimform" beinhaltet im wort eine analogie zur biologie, legt einen
entwicklungsprozess zumindest nahe, der bei allen veränderungen im ablauf
einem bauplan, sozusagen einer DNA, folgt.
Ich mag den unterstellten Determinismus jedenfalls nicht. Umgekehrt
scheint es mir übrigens auch Geschichtsdeterminismus zu sein, wenn
behauptet wird, daß es keine Keimform geben könne.
Personally, I think the 'keimform' analogy is useful as a shorthand. But I
wonder why it is so hard to find a different analogy that does not suffer
from the implied determinism of the biological 'keimform'. There are two
aspects to this determinism:
1. That the plant/society will grow. But this
is not inevitable in either case (there may be a drought. Governments may
make it too difficult for free software to grow).
2. That the seed will grow to become a particular kind of plant. This is
inevitable for a plant, not for a society: in general terms I think
everyone would agree that what form the gpl-gesellschaft will take is
unknown, we cannot write the music of the future, usw.
But there is still
a tendency to see free software in terms of a line, with the FSF at one
end, larry wall in the middle and esr at the other. If you then remove
everything except the FSF, you no longer have a line but a point. What can
grow from a undifferentiated point? Its future is not determined from
within, but from without - it is subject to accidents, but not real
development of its own.
Well, I'm not sure whether the development *in* the Free Software
movement is relevant in this case. After all it's only (one of
possibly several) Keimformen, and the concrete development there may
not be what a GPL-Gesellschaft develops. Ok, until now there's not
much in the Free Software movement where I'd argue this way, but I
think this option exists.
But free software is not undifferentiated, and the
rms-esr 'line' is only one of many aspects. In some ways some of the BSD
and Perl people could be considered to the 'left' of rms; or at least they
see themselves as the true defenders of freedom against the 'dictatorial'
gpl. There is a technocratic theme running through much of free software
though rarely explicit (I guess Bruce Perens would be the nearest to a
spokesman for this). There are differences over tactics in relating to the
surrounding capitalist society. There are differences over development
style (on this plane m.E. esr would be to the left of rms). As a
'keimform' free software has many many internal differences, it is not
undifferentiated. Any of these tendencies may finally be stronger than the
others, and what the 'keimform' develops into will depend partly on the
relation between these tendencies and how they evolve. But all the
tendencies, not only the FSF, are part of it.
On the other hand - and to completely confuse you ;-) -, I find that
one of the strengths of the Free Software movement: That *is*
differentiated. In some sense it mirrors the whole spectrum of a
None of this is anything like a biological 'keimform', so why is there no
word for the social equivalent?
Actually, I don't know. Unfortunately nobody seems to be able to come
up with a better word :-( .
Last week (9 days ago) Glatz wrote:
Vielleicht bietet Freie Software aber auch beträchtliche
Handlungsmöglichkeiten für eine postkapitalistische Gesellschaft, die
keineswegs herrschaftsfrei ist, sondern eine neue Art quasipersonaler
Abhängigkeiten von Technokratien hervorbringt.
Kann eine Technokratie im engeren Sinne nicht nur dann bestehen, wenn
das Wissen fein säuberlich weggeschlossen und nur den Technokraten
zugänglich gemacht wird? Ist es nicht ein ganz entscheidender Witz an
Freier Software, daß jedeR, die sich ein bißchen mit der Technik
auskennt, aufgrund der offenliegenden Quellen ausrufen kann: "Der
Kaiser ist nackt!"? Schwierige Bedingungen für eine Technokratie m.E.
I don't think this is so easy to dismiss as a possible perversion of the
'gpl-gesellschaft'. Certainly there are many people who write to Slashdot
or Kuro5hin (and I presume, the German equivalents) who assume that
because they have technical knowledge they
are entitled to decide on other issues in people lives. Bruce Perens'
(now defunct) Technocrat.net was a failed attempt to find ways for
technical people to influence US government decisions directly, and
everyone involved seemed to feel it natural that people with technical
knowledge should have more influence than 'ordinary' voters.
But the question is, whether they *really* have more influence than
(at least potentially) anyone else.
When we think in terms of GPL-Gesellschaft I think most of us think of
a society which is in the end controlled by persuasion, the better
argument rather than power. This is, where Free Knowledge comes in. In
such a society knowledge *is* the base for being able to persuade
people. That's why I think there's not much room for technocrats.
Take the anti-nuclear movement as an example. (In Germany) the
movement gathered lots of knowledge about the nuclear technology which
enabled them to argue on a technical level and persuade people by
facts rather than some ideology. And look at the things happening in
OSCar. It's really exciting, to see what happens if ordinary people
really have a say.
there does seem a tendency for free software people to form a hierarchy
in levels of skill which is usually expressed in terms of apprentices,
journeyman, masters, and wizards (eg advogato.org).
And what's wrong with that? There *are* levels of skills, steps of
mastership in every field of human life. If you look at your own work
you'll know what I mean, I guess.
If this were
carried over to the gpl-society, then how would the life of an apprentice
compare with the life of a wizard? Or the person who can't even become
That's however a wrong conclusion. I may be a fairly good programmer
but a bloody apprentice at say garden work. Every person has a
multitude of dimensions each of which a person may develop. In fact
that's already part of the Selbstentfaltung. So the chances are
little, that someone doesn't become an apprentice in something.
But even then: What's wrong with that? The right to live and to
selbstentfalt is given to everyone. If someone wants to have influence
because that's part of hir Selbstentfaltung, then s/he'll do something
about it, won't s/he?
Even in our conversations in this list, people have said that industrial
production will become a simple appendage to production of information in
the new society, just as agriculture became an appendage to industry
in capitalism - with the implication that what happens to people currently
working in industrial production is not a problem, since any problems
will have been solved after the 'transition'. This also seems a rather
technocratic attitude to me. What happens to people who don't want to
(or can't) program, or create information of other kinds?
In the GPL-society people don't need to be "useful" to have a right to
live. In capitalism it's clear that "Wer nicht arbeitet soll auch
nicht essen" but that's exactly one of the points we want to overcome.
will you ever get rid of capitalism without them? ;-) Is there any
guarantee that the gardener or the cook will have equal rights
with the programmer or the nanotechnologist in the gpl-gesellschaft?
There's never a guarantee, really...
Where do these guarantees come from?
A guarantee must come from outside the society. Classically this has
been the state. I think we need to overcome the state together with
the need for guarantees from outside.
I'm not really feeling so negative as this sounds!
Hope, I can make you sound a bit more positive ;-) .
Mit Freien Grüßen
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