Puzzled . . @mako makes a clear pitch on "Free software production needs free tools" youtube.com/watch?v=U_nK6nP_RC
And is very clear on and (though says most code comes from solo not collaboration!). Yet not a hint of coop ownership of to keep tools honest & open (GitHub!). Surely tools today become platforms? And platforms require collaboration even if code doesn't? So why doesn't follow automatically, as we talk tools? How does libre not equal coop in FLOSS world?


@mike_hales Cooperative management of shared infrastructure is path to "libre." A more libertarian approach is decentralization and federation around fixed (or cooperatively managed?) protocols which deemphasize the need for shared infrastructure in some way.

If we believe that effective cooperatives will be limited in scale or scope, a combination of the two may be necessary. This is more or less what we have here at social.coop which is part of a larger federated network.

@mako So if I'm understanding . . the problem with GitHub wasn't that it wasn't cooperatively owned by users (and so could be sold for $7.5bn into corporate hands). But that it wasn't - as a *platform* (a system of tools in the cloud) - open (even though the code in the repository was). Wasn't distributed. Wasn't operated as (socially & operationally) federated nodes?

And if multiple smaller discrete instances of infrastructure is the model, the pivot is the collective 'ownership' of protocols?

@mike_hales I'm saying that there are two distinct ways of solving the problem of infrastructure run by organizations with little structural reason to act in the interests of their users: (1) Build new tech to decentralize tasks so there is less/no need for shared infrastructure. (2) Manage infrastructure cooperatively & democratically (and develop new/better ways to do this!).

Both approaches have limits and I think the best results involve pursuing both in parallel.

coop≠libre but coop⊂libre

@mako I'm getting it. But protocols are the 'infrastructure of infrastructure' that can't be decentralised? So (2) is the option here, at this fundamental level?

Sorry to be going over Anarchism 101! But as a Brit and a (libertarian) socialist it's harder to see this kind of thing than for, say, an American anarchist? ;-)

And option (3) would be, create infrastructure-owning organisations that DO have structural reasons to act in the interests of their users. Equals user-governed coops?

@mike_hales In terms of managing protocols, you're right that's turtles all the way down.

But I also think there's real autonomy to be gained from pushing things onto a lower turtle. ;)

Creating, changing, adding to the SMTP (email) protocol standard involves politics. And it has been coopted in clear ways. But the fact that it's a federated protocol by design means that we're MUCH better than alternative where everybody had to use GMail to send messages to each other.

@mike_hales More to the point, I also think it's better than if we all had use some cooperatively run GMail alternative.

Being able to choose between many federated coop-GMails feels much more flexible & resilient to me.

@mike_hales We should remember that although the consequences rarely involve being sold to Microsoft cooperative organizations also become oligarchic—e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law.

Peer production & Internet-based cooperativism is hardly immune: mako.cc/academic/shaw_hill-lab

@mako "Cooperative organisations become oligarchic"

Oh bugger! You mean they still have PEOPLE in them? Greed, ego, stuff like that? O shit! I'm going to bed. ;-)

Tomorrow I'll start work on a dhamma gene, to be compulsorily installed in all persons at conception. Now THAT's how to make democracy work. 😞

@mako @mike_hales By using decentralised models, keeping scale small and using non-hierarchical federal internetworking protocols the opportunity for capture of the organisation by oligarchs is severely limited.

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