FREE BEER released

FREE BEER Nope, it’s not that FREE BEER you see in the small picture, it’s a book called FREE BEER, that has been released now. FREE BEER is a collection of texts written by speakers at FSCONS 2008 and based on their respective talks. Here are authors and text titles of the copylefted book:

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen: From Consumer to Creator
Mike Linksvayer: Free Culture in Relation to Software Freedom
Stefan Larsson: The darling conceptions of your time
Ville Sundell: A utilization of Jabber Instant Messaging
Henrik Moltke: RMS on FREE BEER (Interview)
Jeremiah Foster: Creating Debian packages from CPAN
Rasmus Fleischer: Kopimi
Johan Söderberg: Hackers GNUnited!
Victor Stone: Unexpected Collaborations
Denis Jaromil Rojo: The Wever Birds
Smári McCarthy: The End of (Artificial) Scarcity

I read Söderbergs (quite long) article, where he wants to »look at hacking from a trade union perspective«. First, he re-read the Luddites rebellion not simply being a machine-destroying movement, but as a militant movement improving their bargainig position by threatening the productive means of the raising capitalist class. Then he compares the Luddites with modern hackers or crackers threatening an unobstructed functioning of software industries, mostly operating from inside and not from outside of the companies.

Söderberg extends this picture with the free software movement, which from his viewpoint also improves its bargaining position by making all secrets of the software production process open — except of their own personal knowledge and experience, which then can be sold at a higher price. On the other hand proprietary software developers are bound to the proprietary means (tools) of development and thus are more dependent on the employer, which results in a weaker bargaining position when it comes to salaries.

Nice hypotheses, which though require empirical investigations, as the author concedes. Unfortunately, Söderberg wrote nothing about the consequences for new unionist strategies in the field of software development, which may follow from his thesis. And he said nothing about trancending the capitalist framework as a whole. Waiting for part two, Johan 😉

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