As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid? Is this fair? ... Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? ... The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software …but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.
The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. ... At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. --Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
- Access to computers - and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works - should be unlimited and total.
- Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.
- You can create art and beauty on a computer.
- Computers can change your life for the better.
- All information should be free.-- Steven Levy
The critique of market exchange and of money, the rejection of hierarchy and borders, the critique of contemporary work and the revindication of passion and freedom as primary motivations, of cooperation and of sharing as the foundations of new relations, all this is found, to a degree more or less elaborated and coherent, in the "hacker ethic." Now these are elements that form part of the foundation of the communist project.
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
- The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
- The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits
I consider that the Golden Rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement. ... So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free.
In real space, we recognize how laws regulate - through constitutions, statutes, and other legal codes. In cyberspace we must understand how a different “code” regulates - how the software and hardware (i.e., the “code” of cyberspace) that make cyberspace what it is also regulate cyberspace as it is. As William Mitchell puts it, this code is cyberspace’s “law.” “Lex Informatica,” as Joel Reidenberg first put it, or better, “code is law.”
Linux was the first project for which a conscious and successful effort to use the entire world as its talent pool was made. I don't think it's a coincidence that the gestation period of Linux coincided with the birth of the World Wide Web, and that Linux left its infancy during the same period in 1993 - 1994 that saw the takeoff of the ISP industry and the explosion of mainstream interest in the Internet. Linus was the first person who learned how to play by the new rules that pervasive Internet access made possible. While cheap Internet was a necessary condition for the Linux model to evolve, I think it was not by itself a sufficient condition. Another vital factor was the development of a leadership style and set of cooperative customs that could allow developers to attract co-developers and get maximum leverage out of the medium. But what is this leadership style and what are these customs? They cannot be based on power relationships - and even if they could be, leadership by coercion would not produce the results we see.
Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as a material quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of total labor. The phrase "proceeds of labor", objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all meaning. … labor [will] become not only a means of life but life's prime want -- Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme
At the center of the digital revolution, with the executable bitstreams that make everything else possible, propertarian regimes not only do not make things better, they can make things radically worse. Property concepts, whatever else may be wrong with them, do not enable and have in fact retarded progress. In the network society, anarchism (or more properly, anti-possessive individualism) is a viable political philosophy … because defection is impossible, free riders are welcome, which resolves one of the central puzzles of collective action in a propertarian social system.
Raymond had been invited out by Netscape to help them plan their browser source-code release ... we might finally be able to get the corporate world to listen to what the hacker community had to teach about the superiority of an open development process. The conferees decided it was time to dump the moralizing and confrontational attitude that had been associated with "free software" in the past and sell the idea strictly on the same pragmatic, business-case grounds that had motivated Netscape. They brainstormed about tactics and a new label. "Open source", contributed by Chris Peterson, was the best thing they came up with.
It is no accident that those who understand this are those closest to technology. Our challenge will be to find ways to explain it so other creators get it as well .... Our single, overarching aim: build the public domain, by building projects that expand the range of creative work available for others to build upon.
The copyright industry today likes to present the problem as if internet were just a way for so-called “consumers” to get so-called ”content”, and that we now just got to have ”a reasonable distribution” of money between ISP’s and content industry ... It is totally wrong to regard our role as to represent “consumer interests”. On the contrary, it’s all about leaving the artificial division of humanity into the two groups ”producers” and ”consumers” behind. ... We are now pounding the old mass medial aura and we are in a state of transgressing the hierarchical consumer-producer society. -- Rasmus Fleischer of Piratbyrån speaking at the 2005 Chaos Communication Congress
Many of us see strong crypto as the key enabling technology for a new economic and social system, a system which will develop as cyberspace becomes more important. A system which dispenses with national boundaries, which is based on voluntary (even if anonymous) free trade. At issue is the end of governments as we know them today. ... Strong crypto permits unbreakable encryption, unforgeable signatures, untraceable electronic messages, and unlinkable pseudonymous identities. This ensures that some transactions and communications can be entered into only voluntarily. External force, law, and regulation cannot be applied. This is "anarchy," in the sense of no outside rulers and laws.
How can we reduce the ability of a conspiracy to act? … We can split the conspiracy, reduce or eliminating important communication between a few high weight links or many low weight links. Traditional attacks on conspiratorial power groupings, such as assassination, have cut high weight links by killing, kidnapping, blackmailing or otherwise marginalizing or isolating some of the conspirators they were connected to. ... The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.