Fwd: Freedom or Copyright? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Matthias-Christian Ott ott at enolink.de
Tue Feb 12 16:31:15 UTC 2008

"David Gerard" <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 11/02/2008, Matthias-Christian Ott <ott at enolink.de> wrote:
> > "David Gerard" <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > Er, what? Both are growing in the market, not just in a small world of
> > > predefined terms.
> > Come on, loot at it seriously - from the perspective of the average Joe.
> > He doesn't know what Wikipedia or Free Software is, he just knows that
> > Wikipedia is his first entry on his google search page.
> > Do you think he has realised the philosophical dimensions of Wikipedia
> > or Free Software and believes in it?
> No, and that's not what the original says either. But nevertheless,
> out-cooperating is their particular method of out-competing. Wikipedia
> never set out to out-compete Britannica, it just did. (Wikipedia's
> goal is *not* to run a hideously popular and expensive website ...)

I didn't say that it was Wikipedia's intention ((simply defined) they
wanted free knowledge that everyone can edit), but in the end the result
was the same. I got in touch with the (German) Wikipedia in early 2004
and saw it growing in Germany and promoted it. I know that it was never
it's intention to compete with Brockhaus or similar encyclopedias.
People just joined, because they liked the concept of Wikipedia - the
concept of cooperation (which is think is the most powerful tool you can
But when I talk to people about Wikipedia I often have to tell them,
that they can edit it, because they didn't (really) know (maybe they
heard it once or so, but couldn't imagine that it works). Anyway they
notice that Wikipedia is editable, but don't make use of it, even if
they claim the content is wrong.
Now consider the average Joe again: He just believes what mass media
tells him, hasn't heard about editing Wikipedia and so.
In the end Wikipedia will win this unintentional competition because of
its productivity and will form the base, but people wont be a Wikipedia
author anyway if nobody fills them with enthusiasm and tells them about

> Linux is not out to destroy Microsoft, that will be a completely
> unintentional side-effect. The end results are sufficient, the
> philosophical reasons are only useful if you want to understand the
> truck that just ran over your business.

The end results are only sufficient to change society of you really see
it very materialistic, because if you change the being of the people,
you change their consciousness. I agree but I think teaching is also
required. You can't give Free Software to people and wait until they
stumble upon the source code to tell them about the philosophy of Free
Software. That's simply ineffective.

I believe Free Software will at some point of time make the highest
ratio in terms of software, but by teaching people we could accelerate
this process.

For me it's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".

> - d.


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