Concepts and Debates on Knowledge Freedom and Free Software

Diego Saravia

Published in http://www.sulabatsu.com/voces/Documentos/FreeVoices-1.pdf

Contents

1. Software and Knowledge Freedom

1.1 What is software?

Software is the set of programs that control the machinery on which humanity is increasingly more dependant on.

Without Software we would not be able to withdraw money from the bank or extract petrol. Our telephones work through software; election poles are handled with software; and more hundreds of examples. Our society functions through Software and the capacity of creating and modifying it determines how many aspects of our lives and economy are controlled and determined.

In recent years a few corporations have managed the creation and distribution of Software in the planet, and their owners are the biggest millionaires anybody can recall.

These companies have managed to achieve a monopoly by using restriction laws on intellectual property, known as "copyrights", laws which allow the editorial industry to charge money for every copyrighted work distributed.

For books or music, publishers show the actual intellectual work. What is known is what the authors wrote or composed.

On incorporating binary software into copyrighting, millionaire software multinationals ban the actual intellectual work from being showed. They just offer a sub-product, a set of instructions (binary or source code) which is only understood by the computer. The text created by human programmers is left unseen.

This becomes very damaging thus no one knows what programs actually do. Governments loose sovereignty because they have no security control for their machines and information. Enterprises and organizations are at the mercy of these monopolies for any change or issue that comes up, and must rely on and trust only them. There is no competence in said conditions, and what's worse, the data for people, organizations and governments that these programs store are not readable with other programs. Information is owned by monopolies, and all depends on them in order to recover any of it.

This kind of software is known as "licensed", according to some, and more recently as "privative" according to other. It usually contains many mistakes and helps virus dissemination and other things, because no one can audit or improve it.

1.2 What is Free software?

In order to solve problems caused by new legal practices on copyright and monopoly action on software, a group of people worldwide created FS.

Working jointly through the Internet, building the Internet, creating alternative software and giving humanity the chance to know the source code, modify it and to use the software as desired and share it with others by distributing it.

Definition of Free Software: software over which there are rights for:

  1. using,
  2. inspecting,
  3. distributing,
  4. modifying and distributing its modifications.

software which allows to:

  1. use,
  2. inspect,
  3. distribute,
  4. modify and distribute its modifications.

A social movement, emerging from the community of developers, organized in hundreds of projects of wide array and inspiration that invented work methods where hundreds work on the same program and share the results, and where "everyone contributes a little bit and takes everything".

This is knowledge.

If one drinks a glass of water, that water ceases to be available; if, on the other hand, one uses an idea, nothing stops another person from using it too. Every time one shares an idea every one can have it and use it, contribute and share it with others. Ideas and software are naturally free.

A group that is enriched by user groups (LUG's) and their communities, activists from every ambit, ideology, organization, cultural environments, parties and knowledge fields that contribute with ideas, work and social and political action behind the concept of Free Software.

In a wired world, there is no point in establishing restrictions to the circulation of digitalized ideas, because this very action has no marginal cost. We can all offer our ideas and receive thousands of ideas from others. We can all give one and receive a thousand, it is a game that always adds-up positively.

Free Software supporters are constituted as a social movement with a political position regarding intellectual rights and endorsing more rights for the people. What is hoped to be achieved with the final goal: that ownership-based licensed software ceases to exist.

Essentially FS is politics, militancy and Figideology instrumented with concrete methodological collaborative work Software and technological development.

1.3 Programming

Programming is one of the most pure creative arts, absolutely limited regarding its expressive possibilities. A program consists in a simple sequence of 60 different characters, which potentially contain all that can, has, is and will be known.

Carries out everything that can be executed. Pure Language. Functional Abstraction. Machine and communications.

When this art is freed and becomes collective, the experience reaches thousands of communities, defining them.

When it is not only a matter of an effort but of a whole group of efforts that interact and also have a technical, social, political and ideological purpose, it be comes a universal project.

This is, in essence, Free Software; a project for humanity's projection into the future without remaining attached and falling into a digital dictatorship based on machines controlling all human transactions.

An artistic, creative and collaborative project. A process that builds communities, networks and its own tools: Internet, GNU/Linux, Apache, Firefox, and hundreds of art-pieces with practical sense and great abstraction.

A process where each software is a work of great beauty, originality, technique, sensibility, effectiveness, efficiency, quality, professionalism and which evolves in time with the contribution of hundreds of minds.

A starting point in Human culture, prompted by rising and vibrant social movement which seek alternatives, making possible another world.

1.4 What is not Free software

It's not just an array of techniques, technologies and tools. It's not just a set of trademarks.

[See table "Evolution of Free Software" in original, p. 91]

Any software can be distributed under free legal mechanisms (or licenses), even those from software monopolies. It just so happens that some of these monopolies decide on not liberating their software.

It's not an array of determined economical or industrial products. Free Software economy is not based on software products, but in non-monopolist services. We can have different scale Free Software enterprises: small, medium and huge. Software is always available, what can be hired are people's services to install, configure adapt or even create it.

It is not a monopoly or a sole program. For each need there are different communities that create programs. For example, for operative systems you have Linux or BSD, for postgres or mysql databases, for desktops KDE or Gnome, etc, etc. ... These communities compete or collaborate based on the needs.

2 Human Rights

Hipatia in its second Manifesto [Hipatia: SM-04]_, claims for freedom of knowledge.

The construction of a society where people's dignity is respected requires for knowledge to be spread in a solidary way.

And demands Human Rights [DUDDHH] to be particularly respected:

  1. the right to free culture (see point 4 in the "Everything is Settled" section),
  2. the right to education (point 5),
  3. the right to free communication (point 6),

rights where its execution is prevented - in the array of knowledge societies, with their new technological basis and communication mechanisms - by in-force normative patents and copyrights systems. The growing preponderance of said normative systems facing Human Rights must be limited, given public interests and its social functions, to avoid restraining human kind progress.

We must build a solidary and sustainable knowledge society.

Correspondent is a legal system modification, adapting it to reality, to society's convenience and the new usage and ways of the network, putting into practice the right to knowledge freedom, according to what is established by [DUDDHH].

In this manner, consolidating ethical principals that allow people to spread their knowledge, to help themselves, help their community and the whole world, with the goal that society becomes more equal, free, sustainable and solidary.

Regarding this, Hipatia:

2.1 What happens with authors?

The three aforementioned human rights: culture, education and communication, (as well as others) have preponderant value regarding the normative from copyright law 4 to benefit from their own creation, found in paragraph, clause c), article 5 on [PIDESC] and paragraph, article 7 on [DUDDHH]:

"Every person has the right to moral and material interest protection regarding scientific, literary or artistic productions on which they have any authorship."

The enforcement of this right is limited by public interest and social function, which is confirmed in the quoted documents.

Rights regarding knowledge don't limit other human rights, particularly the right to privacy established in article on the [DUDDHH]. Knowledge freedom does not force anyone to spread certain information, nor makes it publicly available; it just gives those who know it the right to spread it, not the obligation.

Knowledge freedom allows a person to exercise a kind of solidarity that has been lost today. By default, if the author doesn't pronounce, based on public right today, the expressions of the ideas of a third party cannot be diffused. With freedom, the expression of a known idea, if the source does not expressly pronounce against it, can be diffused.

Knowledge rights are deeply related within themselves because it's impossible to exercise them individually, or report without knowing, or knowing without having been reported or educated. Education for today's highly sophisticated society means having access to all available knowledge, unrestrictedly, from the first formative stages, with contents and abstractions that belong to each level. This is unachievable if diffusion is prohibited.

2.2 it is necessary to modify the law

Legislation on copyrights, patents and all legal monopolies over intellectual creations must encourage knowledge diffusion. Technological changes made systems that encouraged this diffusion to restrain it today. Today's enforced legal frame, consolidated in the industrial era with the aim of favoring diffusion of information and knowledge, today becomes anachronic and unfitting.

Impediment on the flow of a certain information, which activates every time someone who has access to it tries to spread its expression freely, harms people and society, and benefits only a minority's particular interests (that don't necessarily match the authors').

2.3 This is all stated in:

  1. the 984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights ([DUDDHH]),

  2. the International Pact of Economical, Social and Cultural Rights ([PIDESC]),

  3. the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights ([ONU:PIDCP-66])

  4. paragraph clauses a) and b), article 5 on [PIDESC] and paragraph,

    "every person has the right to take part freely in community cultural life, enjoy the arts and take part in the scientific progress and the benefits derived from it"

  5. article on [PIDESC] and article 6 on [DUDDHH]

    "Every person has the right to education. Education must be free of charge, at least regarding elemental and fundamental instruction...;"

  6. paragraph, article 9 on [ONU:PIDCP-66] and article 9 on [DUDDHH]

    "every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,; said right includes not being bothered because of personal opinions, the right of researching and receiving information and opinions, and spreading them without frontier limitations and through any means of expression.'"

  7. paragraphs and 8 on [PTCIDH]

  8. paragraph on [R2000SPPDH] and paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 on [R2000SPPDH]

  9. [DUPCTP], [ONU:DDD-86] and [UNESCO:DPC-66].

3. South America

In these South American colonized territories, where colonizers and colonies both continue the unending quest for freedom and independence, Free Software has penetrated into the imagery of many minds with the strength of its illusion and fantasy.

Cells scattered throughout the subcontinent learn and contribute, form their first virtual communities and local, national, regional and universal groups.

They organize themselves, integrate and constitute social movements to spread their ideas in a militant manner.

Convince Governments, companies, organizations of all kinds. Install, migrate and sometimes also fail.

Work, earn, donate, collaborate, like little ants that as Viglietti would sing, build and build without stopping.

In the space of Free Software many can participate: programmers, promoters, philosophers, politicians, writers, designers, organizers, lawyers, musicians, painters, everyone can take on a role and earn a place.

3.1 Politics and community

Those visiting find social and political content in South American Free Software Communities surprising, in comparison to those of wealthy countries.

There are still few and small technical basis in our countries.

There are still few strong national organizations.

There are few and not very numerous user groups in the different cities of the Sub-Continent.

There are few development projects based or originated in South America. But all the Governments that are actually betting on Free Software are South American.

There are international organizations promoting freedom of knowledge originated in South America (Hipatia).

3.2 governments

There are at least two Governments that consider Free Software strongly: Brazil and Venezuela, at the moment the only two National Governments in the world. Venezuela officially and Brazil with great political support. Probably the country with most technical abilities is Chile, the only South American country with more than 100 people registered for every million, (106) in the Linux counter (April 006). And probably the country where Free Software is least politicized. Uruguay follows in the counter with 60.

The Venezuelan case is paradigmatic. Considering the sabotage against the Government carried on during the oil stoppage, President Hugo Chavez decreed (3390) that in the term of two years all the Government had to work with Free Software allowing technological sovereignty.

Hence, endogenous development is encouraged, investing enormous resources in the country and in Venezuelan informatics workers that in the past went to multinational software monopolies.

4 Society

4.1 Democracy or Dictatorship in knowledge societies

From a note in "Sete Pontos" [Saravia:DDS-03], also see: [Saravia:MH-01] , [Hipatia:SW], [Varios:Art].

The combination of informatics with communications interconnects human beings allowing the creation of organizations that were before unimaginable. We find ourselves before an unprecedented technological, communicational, social and human revolution previously unknown in history.

The new developing human, economical and political organization, or "Knowledge Societies", is being defined. The ethics we agree on, the rights we grant ourselves, the norms we will institute and the communion we achieve, will in great measure define and shape human culture for the next few centuries.

Internet kick started the revolution that conjugates phones with mass-media, the power of processing and digitalizing information. The libertarian spirit that impregnated this, shadowed in Universities, gave origin to a community of hackers and created Free Software. Philosophy and technology grew sheltered and connected to the web, feeding it along the process that still defines the space and cultural tools of the young Society of Information.

This process is causing a strong reaction. Some industries, as is the case of editorials and record companies, are destined to disappear or change radically. They are ceasing to be necessary. Anyone with a computer and a broad band connection can act as a distributing center, building up common knowledge.

The process is irreversible. Just as automobiles took the place of carriages, P.C.s and Internet will take the place of editorials and music companies. Early illustration pioneers, are today anachronic. But they're still powerful corporations, capable of exercising this power. The reaction can impose some regulations that could constitute a totalitarian and controlled centralized world, delaying the progress of humanity. Some Governments and corporations wish for the Internet to be a mechanism to reinforce their former business-making ways and their power. On the other hand, citizens and organizations wish for internet to be a phenomenal means of communication that will change our way of relating and decentralize economy and planetary control.

4.1.1 The "exclusive appropriation" of knowledge

The establishing of property production means defined industrial society. The central discussion in 'knowledge societies' takes place under the publicity slogan: 'intellectual property', which pretends to join three different concepts: copyrights, patents and trademarks. If one shares an apple every person has the right to just one bit, if one shares an idea every person has right to the whole thing. Mechanisms such as copyright were specifically designed to generate the economic structures that support the flow of ideas. But this occurred when information was firmly attached to the physical mount that contained it. Today, the medium can be completely separated from the content. Digitalized information is uncountable and ubiquitous and its marginal reproduction and distribution cost is inexistent. Once created and digitalized, an intellectual work can be copied, distributed, accessed, and enjoyed by millions of people at the same time, without any difference showing between the original and its copies, and without even a marginal cost produced by this enjoyment. The aberration of distributing binary formatted software and referring to this abject practice and its humanly incomprehensible 'content' as 'intellectual work' and protecting it with copyrights and even patenting it, made things even more complicated.

The strategies used to delay the unavoidable flow of information are:

  • Global Marketing campaigns to label the sharing of copyrighted information as 'piracy'. Laws are passed to criminalize Internet practices.
  • Encouraging peer accusation in different ambits, reminding us of the worst practices in fascist regimes.
  • Trusted Computing Group (TCG), former Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA), develops a concept of Fisable Informatics (or Traitor Informatics, depending on how you look at it). Technologies created to take control and appropriation of people's computers, with the intended purpose of preventing content copying.
  • Youngsters who are able to explore these mechanisms are 'criminalized' instead of recognizing their talents.
  • Artificial mechanisms are developed for the restriction of idea-sharing by regions, times, usage instances, etc.

Life, freedom and intelligence always find their own way. The problem is not the end, for some hacker will find a door to let the light of knowledge in, the problem is in the process and what we might lose along the way.

4.1.2 Free Society vs. Controlled Society

The attempts of the old information industry to subsist in the new era of knowledge only become possible through imposing a parody on the Information Society. They must be able to control every program running in every computer in the world. This way, they destroy the very spirit of the new era. To achieve this, they must develop physical mechanisms and special components that answer to their interests and take away command from the computer's owner. Every computer must execute only what it is authorized. When everything is handled with programs, even elections, the resulting society will be democratic or totalitarian. Today, while there is still an action realm, we must ban this. Or at least avoid it being imposed by law.

Only with freedom of program running, Free Software and depenalizing file-sharing, we will have universal access. Thus, the four liberties that define Free Software comprise the basic rights of the Information Society: freedom of execution, knowledge, communication and creation.

Without knowledge freedom, education as a right becomes impossible, as becomes putting and ends to the 'digital gap'. It is not only a matter of eliminating the digital gap informing poverty, we must eliminate poverty resting on Free Knowledge.

The specific battle we must fight:

  • avoiding centralized control of our computers,
  • putting an end to any attempt of patenting software,
  • avoiding any type of penal laws such as Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) http://anti-dmca.org/ and especially preventing it via FTAA.
  • continuing the development of the structure and use of Free Software.

The result of these quests will determine the future profile for all humanity. The information society was born free and grows to the vibrant beat of humanity. Keeping it this way (free) we will establish the right to access, information, knowledge, communication and education for all human beings. We will build a free, fair and solidary society.

4.1.3 Alternative Ways

Today, before the posed challenges, humanity has three ways for consolidating the liberation of cyberspace, the informatics revolution and popular globalization:

Political

Promote changes in copyright legislation, even eliminate it 5, avoid DRM, and penalizing copies and most definitely in Internet. Banning the establishment for a development not marked by shortage, in an ambit where this is possible. Dictate laws on usage and creation of Free Software in Government, along with laws to administrate the State's intellectual works. Promote executive decrees and migrations in Government, or the educational system. Participate in meetings and events at any level anywhere in the world. Process Microsoft for its monopolist actions.

A primary matter is if Governments should use Free Software or if they should favor it or if they should choose case by case [Romero:OPT-05] , [Saravia:SLA-03], [Saravia:NT-05], [Saravia:GAS-05].

Criminal [Lanier:PF-99]
Using software illegally, copying music from the Internet. This is the way of most of humanity , and it deals with the habit of ICT use in the planet. Illegal but usually admitted. Not recommendable and a big mistake in the long run. As Bill Gates once said [Gates:ESA] and was also quoted by Amadeu [Microsoft:ASA-2004], users first use software for free and illegally, then they sort of become addicted, ... we'll find a way to have them pay. Curiously the law attempts to change the commonly accepted use, instead of trying to organize these habits.
Alternative
Develop Free Software. Erecting a new building. The path or plan proposed by Richard Stallman (rms). An alternative for every application. Another world is possible.

Software patents and "DRM" can destroy this path and in this sense the political course must not be abandoned. Patent and "DRM" universalization constitute the plan of software multinationals and editorials.

Regarding other forms of knowledge, things are more complex. The result of the battle for Free Software will determine in great measure other battles in the quest for knowledge freedom.

Today there is a big alternative movement, which gives everyone powerful fighting tool to create a different world, not only already possible but in the process of being built, turning computers and minds into trenches.

4.2 Voting Technologies

Each time someone makes a choice [Saravia:GI-04], they are voting for markets (or for non-markets and for rights), each time a technological option is exercised, one is voting for it. Network administrators in American Universities voted for the Internet and with this decision imposed the web as a worldwide one. Elections were lost by IPX to Novell, SNA to IBM, Net-Bios to Microsoft, etc.

Now is the time for Software, every vote counts, every choice defines the battle for Software freedom.

It is also the time for file-sharing, every new developments that allows music and 'content' sharing leans the scale towards a better more prosperous and free world [Rehermann:NMP].

This way we will have more intellectual prosperity in the Free Knowledge world [Saravia:REC-04], [Saravia:DDS-03], [Saravia:EI-03] as opposed to an enclosed privative one.

4.3 Fundamental contradictions

  • During the industrial revolution the fight was between private property and common property in production means.
  • In the informatics revolution and knowledge societies, the fight is between private and free knowledge. Private property or freedom of knowledge for its means of production and/or creation.

4.4 Knowledge societies: towards a new socialist project?

Combination of local work, informatics sovereignty, collaborative global development, digital liberties and technological transparence determine that Free Software is part of the means to build knowledge societies in the XXIst Century's socialism (6).

This does not stop Free Software from also being part of other political projects [Solar:SLP].

5. Academics

Free Software is dysfunctional to traditional methodologies in education, and the academic field has not proven useful for its propagation, at least for now in this Sub-Continent 7 . It is yet to be seen if massive educational methods gain more presence with the popularity of Free Software. Today people learn through the internet, via local groups and virtual communities. Without a doubt one of the top achievements of LUGs is the dissemination of technical knowledge required for Free Software. LUGs' millitance has been one of the strongest points of resistance to corporative propaganda and publicity. Militancy vs. Commercial Marketing.

Some have opted for certification as a means to formalize this area.

A writer cannot be formed without having access to literature. Informatics cannot be taught without access to the source code. Universities and academies that only use licensed software are of questionable academic level.

6. Economy

6.1 Proprietor industries

The promise of Free Software competes in Latin America with the promise of the development of the Licensed Software Industry, which offers things such as regional call centers for technical support, or software 'sweat shops' where software is manufactured quickly with cheap programmers and abundant importing of multinational licenses.

In some countries such as Uruguay and Argentina to some extent, governments have bought this idea and have granted important imposed exemptions. The 'export' amounts are always made public, but rarely are those of the imports which nourish them or each countries global balance regarding software.

6.2 Companies and Profit

In many private companies, even multinationals, Free Software has penetrated silently with some outstanding examples in the region today. They don't seek or wish for publicity, but he who wants to see them, will.

In some companies and also in Government, Free Software strengthens the inner strength of technology information, because they can reduce expense and increase their staff and capability of technologic control. In the 'outsourcing' debate there are those proposing Free Software from both fields.

6.3 Fair commerce

Fair Commerce is a kind of commerce that emerges form a free, direct and honest (not fraudulent) new relationship between three new economical subjects: producers in impoverishment process, solidary consumers and non-profit intermediaries.

6.4 Free commerce and Free software

Few times have we stopped to consider the revolutionary implications in knowledge freedom in the business world.

One of the permanent assertions in Stallmanian philosophy is the question of "free does not mean costless". And in firm defense that software freedom must contemplate the possibility of making free business.

Free Knowledge has the particularity of allowing free commerce, but avoiding monopoly. For this it is a crucial base for abilitating Free Commerce on the Internet.

To go deeper into these matters one must differentiate between "creation" and "production" of knowledge, one means thinking up and creating the original and the other means the massive reproduction of it.

In the digital world creation has its cost and it cannot be recovered through production, hence it is a typical example of a good element that cannot have an exchange value, thus, its creation must be financed or paid for.

For this purpose we have governments, patrons, universities. And organizations and mechanisms that allow many to contribute a little. There are also organizations interested in creating a determined knowledge for their own use, and in this way recovering some of their investments.

What characteristics does this "business" freedom have?

  1. Being free material, there is no means of establishing monopolies and by this the generation of corporations and mega multinationals is avoided
  2. By making work and commercial exchange easier this allows people to live from knowledge related activity. Everyone in equal conditions for knowledge is free.

From the merging of both characteristics we get that, in the intellectual work field, the principals of knowledge freedom easily solveone of the great economical debates of the past centuries.

People may have means of production, but these cannot be exclusively owned. There is right to work and make a living freely and formation of classic monopolist capitalist structures is avoided.

That is to say, freedom of knowledge allows moving towards societies beyond capitalism and/or with socialist perspective, at least in this array of intellectual work. Real workers can live form their work, and monopolist structures that take over appreciation cannot be formed.

Is commerce harmful then? Is the nonfree market of current day monopolies the only possible market? One criticism to capitalism doesn't rely so much on the concept of open markets, but in the fact that it naturally leads to the creation of monopolies. To everyone according to - their work has a guarantee in the 'copyleft world', where it is not possible to build a 'to each one according to their wealth'. 'Knowledge Freedom' isn't opposed with "to everyone according to their needs".

6.5 Creative commons

We have to be very cautious with licenses such as "Creative Commons" with options that foresee a "non-commercial use", where people are invited to distribute material restricting its "commercial" use, which particularly sets aside private or paid public schools (many subjects in institutions are financed with state grants), block fair commerce, or impedes at-cost redistribution of contents in environments where these should be sold.

Creative Commons stimulates the authors' right to free choice more than knowledge freedom. Creative Commons does not forsee its use for software.

6.6 Infinite capitalism of ideas, or Knowledge capitalism. abundances andscarcities

Taken form a conference by Diego Saravia in Montevideo, Uruguay, August 2003, written by Verónica Xhardez.

The World, is finite. There must be 10.000 km between here and Paris, I think. It is finite. It can be measured.

Economy is the science of scarcity. Knowledge is not scarce, hence, it is not part of economy, it is not property. And if we turn it into property we face a great danger, that those who own that which is infinite become the owners of all that is finite.

That is why when they tell me that the U.S. lost 30.000 million dollars [because of ilegal license use], or that Bill Gates has 60.000 million dollars [I think] It's a lie! Those are jokes. Because there is no reality, there is no world... the world cannot hold all this. There is not enough oil to hold this, there is not enough water, not enough forests, not enough food, not enough earth... Economy is finite, and making proprietors own infinite wealth can only result in them keeping everything that is finite.

That is why it is a big mistake to assign economic value to ideas, because ideas are infinite and those who wrongly start owning these, are really starting to own things that are finite. All this knowledge is going to be worth more than the whole ORU, which is finite, Uruguay has a finite space, but there are infinite ways of copying Word or Windows or whatever. [All of Uruguay wouldn't be enough to pay off the knowledge being copied in Uruguay.] So, we must fight the idea that ideas are a property.

There are rights. If somebody writes something they have a right for having written it. What is that right exactly? That which society grants the author. A programmer, just like anyone, has a right to charge for his work. I design a program but I must eat, I have to charge a certain amount of money every month. But I did it step by step: I worked one, two or three months, then I charge three months. Sounds honorable, reasonable and logic.

It is unreasonable that I work for one month, create a program, and because 100.000 million copies of this program are sold I get 100.000 million dollars. This is not fair. To top that off, it isn't fair that it's not the programmers who own the companies. Because Bill Gates doesn't program, he pays a salary to his programmers. He pays one, two or three month's worth of work, but sells 100.000 million copies of which the profit goes to his pocket.

Thus: we must be careful with this. It's not the authors who are cashing the profits, they just charge a monthly salary like all of us or most of us.

7. Some Debates

There are some Free Software related debates, some of which are internal to the community, others involve third parties.

7.1 open source vs. Free software

Must Free Software be defended because of its technically more efficient development model or because of its liberties and ethical principles?

This debate hasn't had too much impact in South America. In fact Solar [Solar:SW] has formalized the idea of defending it for both causes and included that into its constitutive principles [Solar:P].

In spanish, the problem of confusion between the words 'free' and costless doesn't exist, whereas in English it does with the meaningd of the word 'free'. The expression "Free Software" can be used by both tendencies and the debate is reduced to its real importance and not in defining the community's identity.

7.2 Politization

There are other debates that affect the Latin American Movement more directly that are related to Free Software Politization.

Some still resist the principle installed more strongly by Free Software in the Continent, which is the ideological involvement with Governments and Political Parties. Nevertheless in both the, decree 90 in Venezuela [Venezuela:DSL-04], as in the beginnings of Free Software in Brazil, - Porto Alegre -, there is a strong political and ideological presence of socialist left-wing.

In general, all segments in the left wing that are involved with the movement, acknowledge Free Software as and idea that is strongly attached with the ideology and don't usually look down on right wing segments reinforcing their positions on Free Software, though this has happened in a few cases.

Right wing segments usually defend depolitization. The politization of Free Software is theoretically two laned, in practice one laned, and has been and continues to be resisted by some conservative groups which speak of not getting involved and not letting Free Software "be stained" by other fights or struggles. Others question if this politization is favorable at a given time and unfavorable when there is a change in office, as was the case with Porto Alegre.

This debate on politics often blends with the debate on economical development, on profits and companies, and on giving priority to technical issues.

"Politizicers" often bet on Free Software not being an objective in itself but a means for building a better world, while the "immaculate" sustain that the only objective in their struggle is Free Software.

In essence, the debate expresses the matter of if "all quests must unite", linking the social movement of Free Software with other movements, or if a solitary victory should be seeked without getting involved with other quests. Many people who think this should be an isolated movement don't even acknowledge themselves as a movement and see themselves as technical communities, in many cases only constituted by users. Tendencies which strengthen in South America, because there are not many software development projects to add value to the technical structure of Free Software.

7.3 FUD -Fear, uncertainty and doubt: freedom of choice, technological neutrality, fundamentalism

In the ideological array of diverse social movements, Free Software opponents, to fight it, have introduced the idea of freedom of choice, opposing those of us who say that Licensed Software is unethical and should not be artificially created by law.

So they say everyone should be able to choose, choose in this case to limit themselves regarding their rights. In our view, the rights citizens should have regarding the software they use derived directly form the human rights stated in the international convention.

We believe that people should be able to know the technology they use, should be able to modify it and share it without legal limitations.

And we believe that giving private companies the legal empowerment to keep people from knowing the language that describes what software does is building an enclosed and obscure world, mostly when software is more and more used to control human and material activities.

Licensed software emerges from a legal fabrication, from incorporating binaries as intellectual works in copyright laws. Changing this law would disappear the fabrication and the problem. Maintaining licensed software in these terms is like maintaining the right of one human being to enslave another.

"Pro-liberty of choice" parties [ISC:SW] blame those who preach Free Software as an ethical matter of being "fundamentalists". Occasionally, sectors that defend Free Software and who don't see this position as contrary to Licensed Software, have the same opinion. Their usual position is that there is place for everyone. Others see Free Software as another way of making business and the ethical position in occasions bothers or limits them.

On the other hand this position grants all power to the authors, and in practice to the editorials and software multinationals. Hence, the only true freedom for choosing within the framework of copyright (license writing) rests in their hands.

Regarding governments, opponents preach for technological neutrality [Saravia:NT-05], contradictory phrase, under the idea that one must choose software only for its technical capacities and not based in legal, economical, social and political advantages derived from it's free usage.

Technological neutrality is a slogan or publicity watchword in licensed software campaigns. Anyone can free their software and compete in equal conditions. It is the distributor's decision. Governments and organizations cannot be attached to loyalty contracts, they must be able to establish better conditions. This is a problem that derives from the existing monopoly, which is coming to an end.

7.4 Foundation Debates

From Ontology in Knowledge Freedom [Saravia:OLC-05]

We will identify at least four concepts, ideas, approaches or doctrinarian sources to support or oppose knowledge freedom. In the analysis of these we find the root of most of the debates the Free Software community holds within itself and with its opponents.

These concepts part from different analytical categories and this is why it is complicated to analyze and structure them without having a previously concealed ontological stratum.

It is interesting to see the interrelation between analyses based on concrete interests, from where ideologies can emerge, or general interests that might structure ethical discourses. Others may take these foundations as morals [GAUEE:SW], [Boff:EM:03], [Gutierrez:EMT], which can also be founded in suitable interests [Odum:AES-80]. Each of these analysis can apply its own reasoning and, to a certain point, its scientific tools.

In such way, these conceptual categories: ideology, morals, ethics, and the interests which intertwine with reason, science, consensus and debates to build up a rich discursive space that connects with discussions on knowledge societies, while economical, social and political realities define the future of humanity based on software and other fields of knowledge.

[See table "Kinds of arguments and counter-arguments" in the original, p. 106]

8. rights and standards

This document can be used by anyone under GFDL terms. Does not contain invariant sections;

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