[Air-l] M/C: 'open' issue now available

Felix Stalder felix at openflows.org
Thu Jul 1 07:34:28 PDT 2004

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 10:06:57 +1000
From: M/C - Media and Culture <mc at media-culture.org.au>
Reply-To: production at media-culture.org.au
To: mc at media-culture.org.au
Subject: M/C: 'open' issue now available


                         M/C - Media and Culture
   is proud to present issue three in volume seven of the award-winning

                               M/C Journal

             'open' - Edited by Felix Stalder & McKenzie Wark

Since the rebranding of Free Software into Open Source in 1998, "open" has
become the buzzword for all things progressive on and off the Internet.
Open Law, Open Hardware, Open Culture, Open Publishing, Open Access or Open
Archives are just some of the many concepts which are being retooled to
serve the more or less defined public good in the Information Society.

Yet, at the same time, multinational corporations have become major actors
in the Open Source Software area and commercial publishers are beginning to
seriously look into Open Access models. In the background of the recent
enthusiasm with "open" lurks the "Open Society" concept of Karl Popper,
whose political preferences for Margaret Thatcher's neoliberalism are well

'Open' takes a critical look at this concept of the "open". Is it a
temporary buzzword that signifies nothing but an astute sense of
salesmanship? Is it an alternative social concept, or just yet another step
in making capitalism ever more flexible? What is it that makes something
"open" and are some projects more "open" than others? Is "open" always
better than closed? How does "open" relate to areas where we might value
closure, for example,  personal privacy? Can we imagine an even more open
concept of social, cultural and economic life?

  Feature Article
Biella Coleman and Mako Hill
"How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun"

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has been adopted as a political tool
by leftist activists.  At the same time, it has been embraced by large
corporations to extend profits and has been criticized as an integral force
in late capitalism. It has been adopted by members of the growing Commons
movement as a model for limiting the power of capitalism. This essay
attempts to confront the variability of these relationships through a
cursory analysis of each field and through an look at FOSS philosophy and
practice. It argues that Free Software exists as a politically agnostic
field of practice - built on and through a broadly defined philosophy. It
analyzes the way that this philosophy is well suited for the spread of FOSS
technologies and its translation into the terms of radically different,
even oppositional, social and political movements.

Dale Bradely
"Open Source, Anarchy, and the Utopian Impulse"

The utopian impulse evident in the discourse surrounding open source
software development is addressed from the perspective that the liberatory
promises of its anarchy-inspired politics is undermined by efforts to
integrate its communal programming practices into existing market hegemony.

William Thake
"Editing and the Crisis of Open Source"

The Free Software movement that began in 1985 and the newer "open source"
movement, represented a serious threat to traditional methods of production
and distribution.  The idea of a non-proprietary method of cultural
exchange was and is a radical departure from traditional models that have
come to restrict creativity and free exchange. But contrary to the grand
proclamations of some, what we are witnessing is the capture and
transformation of elements threatening to capitalism, and a repackaging of
open source concepts to be useful in a new flexible labor environment.

Carol-Ann Braun and Annie Gentes
"Dialogue: A Hyper-Link to Multimedia Content"

This paper analyses an augmented chat space entitled Sandscript. The Web-
site evokes a world etched on shifting sands, erased with time, uncovered
by a process akin to the patient explorations of an archeologist. Key words
spontaneously typed in by chatters trigger the appearance of texts and
drawings in the chat space as well as in the surrounding frames. Here,
dialogue serves as a hyper-link to content. The augmented chat space is a
fluid "back bone" around which artistic content is articulated, prompted by
unsuspecting chatters.

Joseph Reagle Jr.
"Open Content Communities"

This essay sketches the characteristics of an open content community by
considering a number of prominent examples, reviewing sociological
literature, teasing apart the concepts of open and voluntary implicit in
most usages of the term, and offers a definition in which the much
maligned possibility of "forking" is actually an integral aspect of

Tony Sampson
"A Virus in Info-Space: The Open Network and Its Enemies"

Tony Sampson investigates the role of viruses in shaping the digital
environment of the last 25 years.

Paul Cesarini
"'Opening' the Xbox: Linux, Microsoft, and Control"

Paul Cesarini looks at the possibilities of turning the X-box into a low
cost multi-purpose computer.

M/C Journal 7.3 is now online: <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/>.
Previous issues of M/C Journal on various topics are also still available.
M/C Reviews is now available at <http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/>.
All contributors are available for media contacts: mc at media-culture.org.au.


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