[Reader-list] [fscp] Introduction(s)

tripta tripta at sarai.net
Wed Dec 11 16:12:47 IST 2002

Dear all,

Free software in cultural practices is a list intiated by  Biella Coleman
<biella at healthhacker.com>  who is an anthropologist studying the cultivation
of ethics among free software developers (with a special focus on Debian) and
how ethical imperatives are being politicized among free software hackers
(and beyond) in a hacker "public sphere".

Below is the introduction to the list.

looking forward to participation, conversations and discussions to enrich the


p.s please send a mail to Biella if you want to subscribe to the list.

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: [fscp] Introduction(s)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 11:37:52 -0800
From: Biella Coleman <biella at healthhacker.com>
To: fscp at groups.onlinepolicy.net


I thought that I would write a small introduction for the free
software culture and politics list especially in the hopes of getting
people to introduces themselves and their work to everyone else.

I decided to create this list as I kept meeting all sorts of people
working on free software and open source looking at issues from a
socio-cultural, political, and activist perspective and thought that
it would be nice to give people a chance to potentially dialogue with
each other, share resources, and meet in person when possible.

One of the nice things about the
people on the list is that everyone is doing research in very distinct
places and on unique subjects: from FS in Tibet, to France and India,
as well as looking at it from the question of human rights, ethics,
and governmental policies. Others have coded really amazing software
to help manage Open Source mailing list discussion while others wear
hats as FS developers and activists.

I think that we all have a chance to refine and specify the social
dimensions of free software as we are looking at FS/OS from the ground
up and from the perspective of local conditions. By hinging the free
and open source world onto other questions, I think we bring into
relief the uniqueness (or not) of FS/OS and how it has been
transformative of local-trans local conditions and vice-versa. Thus,
the list can be a meeting ground, a resource center, a list which
intends to look at different aspects of free software, and that might
integrate a unique set of issues and questions into this domain.

The culture of the "fscp" might have more inward focus while the
"politics" emerges out of the this domain to look at any of the larger
political questions that free software speaks of and makes so visibly
present. There are many political questions peppered throughout but
some of the most pressing and obvious are those of information freedom
especially given the current political climate here in the US in which
access to information is being seriously curtailed by legislation, new
governmental agencies and programs, all heavily fortified by a general
culture of fear and mistrust. Free software, along with other domains
like the Indymedia Centers have acted as important buffers, making
sure that the question of freedom and access is not buried under the
name of corporate fear and security and they are domains that not only
purport to uphold in certain values but allow people to cultivate them
through practical and political engagement. There are many issues that
spill out from the practices of free software and how it is situated
in a larger social sphere especially the relationship and terms of
engagement with information, knowledge and authorship? Amidst all of
this what are the grounds for a politics of information and what are
different means to achieve this?

Anyway, I wanted to lay some introductory comments and issues (and
thanks Tripta for helping me with this!) but I think it would be
really, and I mean, really nice if people could write a small
paragraph on their interests/work and/or provide a link where all that
information can be found. In this way we can enlarge the scope of
introductory thoughts and question. I think that might be the best way to get
this list started! I know that this is not the best time of year to
get people to do anything on the side, but like I said, a link or a
couple of sentences would really add a lot. Also, please please use
this as a handy resources, posting links to papers, blogs, and
conferences of relevance.

Please pass on the list info to people you think might be interested
in participating too.


Biella Coleman: http://www.healthhacker.com/satoroams

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