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Talks by B. Reiter
Social and Political
Aspects of Free Software
KDE User and Administrator Conference
2004 KDE Community World Summit, Ludwigsburg 28th of August 2004
- Free Software
- Licenses Categories
- Social Aspects
- Power and Control?
- Danger: Software Patents
- Danger: Restriction Managment
Bernhard Reiter <email@example.com>Free Software Foundation Europe -- Coordinator for Germany
Intevation GmbH -- Managing Director
Computer Power (and Human Reason?)
- Did you use a computer yesterday?
- What if it suddenly breaks?
- Or refuses to work?
- "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't load this KDE page."
- How much do we depend on it?
- Who controls the rules?
What is Free Software?
- Software permanently granting Freedom to:
- run the program, for any purpose
- study how the program works, adapt it to needs
- redistribute copies
- publish improvements
- Definition evolved during late 80s; current form: 1999
- Freedom through Copyright
- Copyright allows Licensing
- Licenses granting Freedom: GNU GPL, GNU LGPL, BSD, ...
- 1983 Richard M. Stallman: announces GNU Project
- "GNU's Not Unix"
- Vision: Free Software system like Unix
- 1985 Richard M. Stallman: Initiates Free Software Foundation
- Licenses: GNU GPL, GNU LGPL
- Developing a definition of Free Software
- Maintaining the GNU Project
- 1991 Linus Torvalds: Linux (the famous kernel)
- 2001 Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)
Categories of Free Software Licenses
- Strong Protection
- GNU General Public License (GPL)
- Weak Protection
- GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
- No Protection
- XFree86 License (modifizierte BSD)
- GPL incompatible or unbalanced
Free Software or the translation
Open Source, a failed marketing term
The Open Source Initiative is a marketing program for free software. It's a pitch for "free software" on solid pragmatic grounds rather than ideological tub-thumping. The winning substance has not changed, the losing attitude and symbolism have.
- -> could not obtain Open Source Trademark
- 2002: New trademark "OSI Certified"
Bruce Perens (1999)
It is time to talk about Freedom again.
"What use are open sources with out freedom?"
Confusing? terms for Free Software
FOSS / FLOSS
What is the difference?
for specific software X:
- Either Free Software or not.
- Several stickers for the same thing
as a political statement:
- Free Software: related to society
- Open Source: focussed on technology
- FLOSS: I-don't-known-Embrace
- Access to software determines our access/ability for
- Software skills are a cultural technique!
- Who controls it?
Freedom to study in education
- No secret arts
- Everything is free to be learned
- No built-in barriers
- Learn as much as you want
- No sand box games
- Learn from the best at state of the art
- Learn principles, not products!
Take your software home!
- Equal changes independent from wealth
Teach your family!
- Code shapes the physical laws of digital space
- Code & Law are both regulators!
Governments are themselves "just users"
- = Equally dependent, monitored and controlled
From Democracy to Technocracy:
- Danger: transfer of mandated power to companies
- Grant mini-monopolies to companies,
increasing the "viral" effect of proprietary software,
creating monopolies harming all of national economy.
- Prevent reimplementation of ideas,
a basic for Open Standards,
reducing communication and competition.
hitting proprietary and Free Software
damaging people that depend on IT
A warning from 1991:
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when
most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents,
the industry would be at a complete stand-still today. [...]
A future start-up with no patents of its own will be forced
to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price
might be high: Established companies have an interest in
excluding future competitors."
William H. Gates
Internal Microsoft Memo (1991)
[Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars (1994)]
(Damn) Restriction Management
- European Copyright Directive and IPRED
- Illegal to circumvent copy protection, Hard Punishment
- Treacherous Computing
- Not helping security ("Look mom, a buffer overflow.")
- Only for DRM: Choice between Hollywood and Freedom
- Knowledge in Cryptobottles
- Is there a right to read?
- "The Digital Rights Management from today is the Political Rights Management from tomorrow" (John Barlow 2003)
- Volker Grassmuck: Freie Software Zwischen Privat- und Gemeineigentum
- Joshua Gay [Hrsg.] : "Free Software Free Society: selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman"
- www.gnupress.de, ISBN 1-882114-98-1
Bernhard Reiter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Werner Koch <email@example.com>
Georg Greve <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jonas Öberg <email@example.com>