Sunday, October 29, 2006

Big Bad Stallman: One-Sided IP Reporting

Something's brewing when FORBES does a cover story on big, bad Richard Stallman. This article demonstrates just how powerful the open-source movement and the Linux operating system has become.

The article is a good overview of the dilemma facing the Free Software and Open Source movement in the next round of Linux licenses. What I find interesting is how the absence of a "intellectual goods knowledge ecology" counter-narrative to the Forbe's dominant narrative.

Forbes caricatures the Free Software programmers, led by Richard Stallman, as radical demagogues. While we don't have to agree with Stallman's objectively extreme position, Forbes intentionally omits how the Free Software movement believes human rights and issues of freedom of knowledge are involved.

We shouldn't expect Forbes to offer a Free Software defense. What is interesting is that the Free Software and Free Culture movement have failed in their communication strategy. There simply is no mention of their position that issues of access to knowledge or an "ecology of intellectual goods" is in play. Until that camp improves their PR strategy, we should not expect the Free Software movement to be painted as anything but extreme.

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