Free Software, Free Society: Yes We Can! Yes We Will!

Stefan Merten


Discuss the slides on their Wiki pageRemote link.


In many respects Free Software is an interesting phenomenon. If we want to know what Free Software may mean for society we need to look at Free Software as implementing a distinctive, new mode of production. The talk describes the mode of production of Free Software and why it is desirable as a fundament of society. The talk then explains how change comes about generally and where Free Software stands today. It closes with an outlook into an Utopian future where the principles of the production of Free Software have taken over.


The Oekonux Project

A virtual project

Yes, we can: Free Software as a mode of production

What is a mode of production?

Examples for modes of production

To give you an idea of what mode of production means

Free Software as a new mode of production

What is special about Free Software then?

Yes, we can!

What is Selbstentfaltung?

  1. Having fun individually
  2. While maintaining a relationship to society

Other examples of this mode of production

Change we can believe in: Free Software as a germ form

So far: Potential by a new mode of production

Now: How it is going to happen

What is a germ form?

The five step model

  1. Emerging of the new
    • First appearances of the germ form
    • Think: Free Software in 1984
  2. Crisis of the old
    • Slump of the old forms
    • Think: Crisis of classical Unices on midrange servers
  3. Disseminating and expanding
    • Germ form becomes important in the old process
      • Think: Free Software today
    • Key question: Does the germ form keep its germ form features?

4. Achieving dominance

5. Restructuring of entire system

Change we can believe in!

Where do we stand today?

Capitalism as a germ form phenomenon

You may ask: Are there prior examples?


Yes, we will: A peek into the future

The Utopia

How will society look like after restructuring?

However: predictability is very limited

But on an abstract level things can be said

Free information goods

Free material goods - the practical approach

Free material goods - the theoretical approach

Wrap up


Thank you