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[liberationtech] When was the first campaign for computer users' freedom?

hellekin hellekin at cepheide.org
Wed Sep 12 17:47:27 PDT 2012


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On 08/12/2012 01:36 PM, Yosem Companys wrote:
> From: "Richard Stallman" <rms at gnu.org <mailto:rms at gnu.org>>
> 
> The free software movement, a campaign for computer users'
> freedom, started in 1983.
> 
> Do you know of any other campaigns for computer users' freedom
> prior to that?  I don't mean the same specific issue (free vs
> proprietary software), I mean any issue of freedom from unjust
> power, specifically in regard to computer users or computer use.
> 
> The reason I'm asking is that the free software movement might
> have been the first such campaign, but I can't sure yet.
> 
> -- Dr Richard Stallman President, Free Software Foundation 51
> Franklin St Boston MA 02110 USA www.fsf.org <http://www.fsf.org>
> www.gnu.org <http://www.gnu.org> Skype: No way! That's nonfree
> (freedom-denying) software. Use free telephony
> http://directory.fsf.org/category/tel/
> 
*** Hello,

I take the freedom to Cc Howard Rheingold, who might know something we
don't on that topic: I warmly recommend reading his Tools for
Thought[1] which provides a unique account of the history of computing
and the search for mind amplification and on-line communities.

I remember introducing you to the artistic work of Phil Morton [2]
called COPY-IT-RIGHT, in the early 70s, that proposed users to copy at
will the work and spread it as widely as possible as a mean to
re-appropriate technology coming from academic research, and most
notably the Image Processor (IP) of Dan Sandin (Cced) [3], from the
University of Illinois, Chicago (also mentioned by Ted Nelson in
"Computer Lib/Dream Machines", he embraced the non-commercial approach
and promoted freedom of education resources.)

Although not specifically about software, and not as free as in GNU
GPL (the COPY-IT-RIGHT license [4] suggested a donation to the
author), I think there's a direct relation in the political aspect:
Morton was promoting freedom of academic knowledge and allowed various
contributors to enhance Sandin's IP over the years, and he was
denouncing the asymmetry of power between the consumer and the
corporation, as well as promoting the use of media (video) and public
transparency as a mean to defuse that asymmetry.

Regards,

==
hk

P.S.: I apologize to Phil Morton and Dan Sandin for any imprecision.

[1] http://www.rheingold.com/texts/tft (Tools for Thought)
[2] http://copyitright.files.wordpress.com (archive about Phil
Morton's work maintained at the Chicago School of Art)
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandin_Image_Processor
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Morton
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