By Samir Chopra
Choice Outstanding educational Title
Software is greater than a collection of directions for pcs: it allows (and disables) political imperatives and guidelines. Nowhere is the opportunity of radical social and political swap extra obvious than within the perform and circulate referred to as "free software." loose software program makes the information and innovation of its creators publicly on hand. This liberation of code―celebrated in loose software’s explicatory slogan "Think unfastened speech, no longer unfastened beer"―is the basis, for instance, of the Linux phenomenon.
Decoding Liberation provides a synoptic standpoint at the relationships among unfastened software program and freedom. targeting 5 major themes―the emancipatory strength of know-how, social liberties, the facilitation of creativity, the objectivity of computing as medical perform, and the function of software program in a cyborg world―the authors ask: What are the freedoms of unfastened software program, and the way are they manifested? This booklet is key examining for a person attracted to realizing how loose software program supplies to rework not just expertise yet society as well.
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Additional resources for Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software (Routledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture)
Thus, continued nonreciprocal borrowing of free software for use in proprietary products could increase the latter’s market share without contributing to the software commons. Last, and most subtle, is the possibility of a weakening, after exposure to differing values, of the shared norms that bind the community. The FOSS community does not have control over the first method (though sufficient exposure to FOSS norms could weaken the allure of enticing proprietary-software jobs). The second could be affected by executive decisions over the deployment of licensing schemes; keeping code free, and ensuring reciprocity in code sharing through licensing provisions such as those of the GPL ensures protection against co-optation.
The third is controlled by discourse in the community. Here, significantly, the rhetorical thrust of the open-source community (Berry 2004), in sharp opposition to the language of the free software community, is an invitation to co-optation. The Open Source Initiative’s pronouncements indicate that this language is deliberately employed in the cause of corporate acceptance. indb 28 6/8/07 12:07:35 PM Free Software and Political Economy 29 that can . . create business value. . [It] is just a way to put product in many users’ hands inexpensively” (Olson 2006) — and the lack of attention paid to the cultural norms of the FOSS community is an indicator of this trend.
Second, such licenses, with their restrictions on redistribution, introduce legal enforcement costs that must be passed on to customers. Finally, these restrictions on redistribution prevent further development of the software in different directions, which acts as a damper on both economic and technical innovation. Thus, despite licenses that fail to capture sale-value, FOSS continues to produce value via the “inverse commons”: due to network effects, the value of the software in the commons increases as more people use it and contribute to its further development.