Für eine freie Gesellschaft eintreten

There is much more to software than being trustworthy (being "Open-Source"): what really counts is the freedoms you get over it. Can you learn from it? Can you build upon it? Can you distribute it? That's what we refer to as "free software".

Ich erfinde neue Wörter, Phrasen, Analogien und andere interessante Dinge in der englischen Sprache, und andere Leute paraphrasieren das, was ich gesagt habe, und machen Geld damit, über manche der Dinge zu sprechen, über die auch ich gesprochen habe.

If I try to lock down what I talk about and write about, the same way as a proprietary software company does, then the whole industry of speaking, writing, media, would be overly litigious, and transaction costs would be prohibitive.

Don Marti, Interview 2005

Kein verrücktes Konzept

It sounds peculiar to many users that software should be free as in freedom, since none of Microsoft's products are. Yet our society works with many free things in it, for example:

  • Kein Koch würde je verbieten, dass man sein Rezept verändert und Variationen davon kreiert. Die Lebensmittelindustrie blüht, obwohl es per Gesetz vorgeschrieben ist, dass die Zutaten auf den Packungen deklariert werden.
  • A fair law court system permits anyone to read through all the trial hearings and arguments. Not only the result (the final deliberations), but also the process is fully open.

Free software is free as in "free speech", as in a "free market": all are necessary for a free society. Unconvinced? Let us look at proprietary software a little closer.

Was proprietäre Software anrichten kann

The limits of proprietary software go beyond the security issue (see our article on source code): today proprietary software interferes with the spread of culture and information. This happens mainly through two technologies:

Digital Restrictions Management 1 (DRM)

The main idea of DRM 1 is to restrict access to files. Users encounter this when, for example, they purchase music through iTunes, and then can only play their music with one player, from one brand. With this method, companies fight copyright infringement, but they also severely restrain users' access to their files.

DRM bedeutet Kontrolle über Inhalte

Except that the control is not in the hands of the end-user. The original purpose of DRM is understandable, but the implications over the flow of information and culture within a society are frightening.

  • Stellen Sie sich ein Buch vor, das sich von selber zuklebt, sobald Sie es einmal fertig gelesen haben.
  • Stellen Sie sich Dokumente vor, die sich selber zerstören, wenn Sie den Raum verlassen.
  • Stellen Sie sich Telefone vor, die nur dann funktionieren, wenn die angerufene Person die selbe Marke und das selbe Modell benutzt.

Tönt das verrückt? Hier kommt das "Trusted Computing" ins Spiel.

Trusted Computing (TC)

Trusted Computing (sometimes more accurately called "Treacherous Computing") means a computer can only run "Trusted" Software. It is meant to be an uncircumventable protection against nuisances (like viruses or spyware) and copyright violations (people copying proprietary software).

Trusted Computing bedeutet Kontrolle über den Computer

The critical thing about Trusted Computing is that you cannot decide what is trustworthy and what is not. For example, your computer might refuse to run programs that are not certified by the software company –programs that could enable you to take documents out of the office, or play your neighbour's DVD, or send your essay to someone not using the same program.

A whole range of possibilities opens up for companies that benefit from restricting your computing (such as proprietary software and recording companies). It is suddenly possible to rent DVDs that only play two times, or music you can only listen to during September, or information you can read but can't save or copy. All of a sudden, Trusted Computing and DRM enable remote control over content.

Trusted Computing, in effect, enables the publisher to write their own copyright law.

Weitreichende Folgen

Viele Kulturprodukte treten jetzt „dreifach geschützt“ hervor: nicht nur durch Urheberrecht und Quelltext, sondern auch durch Verträge und Lizenzen, für die die Benutzer alle ihre verbleibenden Rechte aufgeben müssen.

Zunehmend wird das Urheberrecht von durchzuklickenden Endbenutzerbestimmungen für digitale Inhalte ersetzt, die das Vertragsrecht nutzen um an das absolute Besitzrecht zu kommen, welches den Herausgebern ursprünglich durch das Urheberrecht hätte entzogen werden sollen.

Rosemary Bechler, Unbounded Freedom

Computing is not just about calculations anymore. We use software to communicate: to share information, ideas and culture. Software is in our phones, cars, media players, TVs, and gets to govern just about every new device around us.

Software is increasingly used to enforce rules. Rules that may or may not be the law. Rules that may or may not be fair. If the software is not free there will be no space for the user to influence these rules.

Trusted Computing and DRM pave the way for a society in which culture and information are not simply turned into products (they are right now, and that is fine), but into consumable products.

Code is power. Most of today's work documents are written and encoded with secret algorithms in proprietary software. What will be of tomorrow's books, photos, films, essays, animations, music, news? Proprietary programs such as Windows have no transparency. A free culture and a free society cannot grow from such software.

May we suggest you switch to GNU/Linux?

  1. ^ Note that DRM is often referred to as "Digital Rights Management", although it has little to do with rights – "Digital Restrictions Management" is a more accurate name.

Mehr lesen:

Das Recht zu lesen

Wie sieht die Welt des Trusted Computing aus? Dies ist eine Kurzgeschichte von Richard Stallman, die die Konsequenzen für uns alle beschreibt.

Der Trugschluss von DRM

A very well constructed article about DRM by Tim Jackson, and on which we based the present article.

Freies Wissen benötigt freie Software und freie Dateiformate (engl.)

An engaged article by Jimmy Wales, who co-founded the free encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Trusted Computing (engl.)

Eine kurze Videoanimation von Benjamin Stephan and Lutz Vogel. Eine prägnante, überzeugende Argumentation.

Warum Software keine Eigentümer haben sollte

Ein zentraler Text der Free Software Bewegung von Richard Stallman. Er widerlegt Argumente und erklärt eine Menge grundsätzlicher Ideen.

Warum "freie Software" häufig falsch verstanden wird

Mehr zu freier Software auf dieser Webseite.