Linux Party [warning political]

Maurice McCarthy Maurice.McCarthy at
Fri Mar 18 12:44:57 UTC 2005


I've listening in but not contributing as I'm too heavily engaged elsewhere.
However, after the post just in I thought you might like to see this (since
I've just completed it.)

>Subject: Re: Linux Party [warning political]
>Simon Morris wrote:
>>I like this idea. You need to spread the culture of Free software as
>>well as the end product (Linux and GNU)
>>A good hook here would be campaigning against the kind of practices
>>that Music companies employ to prevent our freedom (DMCA)
>I think what people are looking for is something like hipatia
>( which connects activists across Latin
>America/Spain/Italy and India. Hipatia generalizes from free
>software to 'promote freedom of (and free sharing of) knowledge,
>as  the right of all human beings to access, use, create, modify and
>distribute knowledge freely and openly'. It works as a pressure group
>and an NGO rather than a party.

Software is an art-form and therefore it could be against the
European and United Nations Charters of Human Rights to patent software.
This is on the grounds of an infringement of the right of free expression.
These Charters exceed the authority of TRIPS and so the case may be arguable
all the way to the European Court of Justice. This justifies my media
strategy of addressing cultural institutions to lobby their support in the
struggle against the swpat directive. 


Science and Art both bring forth ideas. The difference between them is that
the second embodies the idea in concrete form whereas the first leaves the
idea abstract. That is why speak of the 'state of the art' in technology.
Technology, too, embodies ideas in concrete form. Usually we think of this
as *merely* a metaphor or analogy but the genius of language is always more
intelligent than mere mortals.

If a man sails to the Galapagos and compares two birds on adjacent islands
he might find that they are both finches but their species are
differentiated by the form of the beak. This cognitive power of comparison
is what brought forth the whole idea of evolution in the mind of Darwin. The
kind of cognition used in the study of the comparative biological sciences
is the same kind of mental act as used by the poet and artist. (This is
elaborated by Kant in the Critique of Judgment.) 

Thus the faculty of comparison or analogy or metaphor, the seeing of
coincident form in particulars, is the same kind of judgment as artistic
expression. Comparison bridges the gap between science and art. It is a
*living* thinking. Software, because of its high abstraction, and its
embodiment both sit astride this same gap. At one and the same time software
may be considered both a science and an art form.

Software takes human ideas and embodies them in programs, protocols, device
drivers and the like. Software, too, has been evolved. Ideas seen as useful
are often used over so as not to keep 're-inventing the wheel'. Debugging is
where the aesthetics of software occurs. Code is modified to make the
expression more efficient; the order of execution altered to make a more
pleasing whole etc. It is the same process in crafting a novel or painting
an oil, change this or change that to make it look right.

However, because of its evolved, relational form every monopoly over an idea
is infringing the artist's right to free expression. It encroaches on all
sides the freedom of the human spirit. Eventually patent would lead to the
loss of the art-form all together. Freedom of expression is a political
right as much as an artistic one. 


Thus if software is patentable at all then a cultural body should be given
over-sight to make sure that it is in the public interest. This body should
love software for its own sake and not as means to economic gain. This body
should be FFII. Either this or it should be enacted that no form of software
is a technology in order to preserve the integrity of the Charters of Human


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