[Humanist] 27.411 corporate open source

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 6 08:47:58 CEST 2013


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 411.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Sat, 5 Oct 2013 09:01:18 +0100
        From: Daniel Allington <daniel.allington at open.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  27.410 corporate open source
        In-Reply-To: <20131005063820.79AA53AB0 at digitalhumanities.org>


> the brief story I'm telling here,
> which is about the capture of open source by the current corporate
> innovation system, and the battle for the alternatives that endure.

> For the rest see http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/corporate-open-source .

> Comments?

> Yours,
> WM

Interesting but also disappointing! Newfield's article has some good points to make, but seems confused about the nature of open source and the goals of the open source movement. The representatives of open source mentioned are Apache and the GNU project, neither of which has ever been anti-capitalist (especially not Apache; and never mind the distinction between 'free' and 'open source' that GNU would insist on). Newfield's real target appears to be not Microsoft but Coursera, which he uses as an example of 'corporate open source', but Coursera content is not open and, as far as I can make out, this is in any case a category error because what's at issue is not source code.

It's certainly true that there's been a change in the relationship between the open source movement and the hi-tech industries during the period that Newfield discusses, but there are only gestures towards an understanding of it in his article. I wish he had got together with a co-author who knew more about the history of software. Then, the article might have made a real contribution: perhaps something about the way in which the virtual meaninglessness of the term 'open' has enabled it to serve different ideological interests at different points in recent history (my employer is a case in point).

Best wishes

Daniel

Dr Daniel Allington
Lecturer in English Language Studies
Centre for Language and Communication
The Open University

www.danielallington.net http://www.danielallington.net

On 5 Oct 2013, at 07:38, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 410.
           Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                      www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist<http://www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist>
               Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org>

       Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2013 07:25:09 +0100
       From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk<mailto:willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>>
       Subject: corporate open source

Those for whom open source is a topic of interest may wish to read the
following:

Christopher Newfield, "Corporate open source: Intellectual property and
the struggle over value", in Radical Philosophy 181 (Sept/Oct 2013),
which begins thus:

I began to worry about open source when the corporate world stopped
worrying and learned to love open source. For me the turning point was a
drinks party in Paris in 2003, thrown by the wife of an American
advertising executive temporarily based in the city. First, a bit of
context for the party and its place in the brief story IÂ’m telling here,
which is about the capture of open source by the current corporate
innovation system, and the battle for the alternatives that endure.

For the rest see www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/corporate-open-source http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/corporate-open-source .

Comments?

Yours,
WM
--
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/ http://www.mccarty.org.uk/ ), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney




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