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Re: [spox] Oekonux Conference article in Linux Magazine

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Thanks Christina,

This was my own little report, see below, did anyone see any others?



Extraordinary fourth Oekonux conference marks milestone for P2P
[image: photo of Michel Bauwens]Michel Bauwens
31st March 2009

 The 4th Oekonux Conference <> is over and
it was not just a terribly interesting one (not a single lecture I attended
was wasted time, and people were raving about the one’s I missed), but also,
I believe, a historical milestone of sorts.

First of all for the Oekonux community itself (really an interlocking of
several inter-related networks, one of them being the P2P Foundation). I
attended the second one in Berlin some years ago, but missed the third in
Vienna. An extraordinary maturation has occurred. The speakers, the
participants, the organizers, are no longer just discussing theory or
possibilities, but all are now practicioners, constructing the very world
and the very alternatives they are discussing. We are realizing how much we
already know about successful patterns of practice. Oekonux has also
definitely outgrown its historical basis in the free software community, and
has now fully embraced the full gamut of peer production, including the
recent but very clear move towards peer production in the physical sphere,
under the form of open design and open hardware. What is extraordinary is
also the diversity: people of all age groups, a sizeable condition of the
gender that is usually not very well represented in the FOSS community,
people from all kind of career backgrounds and domains of practice,
including a new breed of academics. It is altogether rare to find such a
natural ‘interdisciplinary’ mix. Though the ‘emancipatory’ strand dominates,
it also united people from very diverse political backgrounds.
For the P2P Foundation itself, which was co-organizing, the meeting will
have been instrumental in turning the Association of Peer to Peer
Researchers, hitherto a virtual association working through a mailing list,
into a real institution, which will be based in Hull, and should be of great
help in generating funding for peer to peer research.

We also have a much clearer idea about our underlying philosophy for social
change: to identify the various successful patterns of peer to peer
practice, including work on distributed infrastructures, into a coherent
whole. With the deep slump that marks the end of neoliberalism, and the
social rage that will grow in the coming years, the peer to peer movement,
uniting the three paradigms of open and free, participation, and
commons-orientation, will need to be able to point out to such successful
patterns, now that the’official’ left has become a mostly conservative force
hanging on to the previous achievements of the welfare state, and that many
alternative popular mobilizations, such as the recent ones in Greece, lack
the ability to propose alternatives. One of the conclusions of different
debates was about the need to find connection with progressive social
movements, showing them the how the possibilities of peer to peer practices,
hyperproductive as they are (also in generating liberty and equality), to
form the core of post-capitalist alternatives.

In conclusion, we have to thank the gargantuan task undertaken by Stefan
Merten, so instrumental in bringing this about, and the indispensable help
of the local Manchester helpers, such as Yuwei Lin, who made the meeting
‘physically’ possible. Stefan’s technique of using a set of specialized and
temporary mailing lists for attendees, speakers, helpers, etc… with the wiki
as cement, was very effective in ironing out the many problems that can
befall self-organized and under-funded events.

It would be unfair to point to any highlights, especially as I could not
possible attend all tracks (three per session!!), but here are a few of my
picks (most of them available

- A very coherent examination of the logic of the commons, by Christian
- A very inspiring insight into the progress of personal fabrication
efforts, by Smari McCarthy
- A very clear examination of the inter-relation between money and peer to
peer, by Raoul Victor
- A moving presentation by Marcin Jakubowski, on the open source ecology

But the highlight for me was the contribution by Franz Nahrada, because of
its insights in the dynamics of contemporary social change, centered around
the pattern identification approach.
Mathieu O’Neill (who himself gave an excellent analysis of online tribal
chiefdoms) chided the male contigent for not having attended a moving
presentation about gender roles in free software/peer production, by
Christina Haralanova, which I also failed to attend.

As expected, Vinay Gupta gave a stimulating, if provocative, presentation,
which I could not attend.

I had very convincing and enthusing talks on peer to peer policy with
Philippe Aigrain, but could not attend his presentation. Sorry that I missed
Athina Karatzogianni, Charles Collis, Diego Saravia, George Dafermos, Jacco
Lammers, Johan Soderbergh and
others<>I would
have liked to attend.

You will find the full list of presentations with audio recordings of most
of them, thanks to the local Indymedia people,
including the presentations I’m failing to mention.

On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 8:59 AM, Christina Haralanova <
christina.haralanova> wrote:

Dear Stefan, Yuwei, and all,

Herewith you can find a short article I am sending to the Linux magazine
( for their World News section.

Please let me know if there are factual mistakes, or in case you wish me
to change anything. I think tomorrow is the deadline, after that it will
be published.

Best regards,

@NT:The World of Peer Production in Open Source
@#:Christina Haralanova
@NL:More than 100 participants and 20 speakers attended the 4th Oekonux
Conference in Manchester, UK, at the last weekend in March. Under the
title "Free Software and Beyond. The World of Peer Production" the
conference brought together researchers, activists, students and


@NL:An enormous variety of sessions divided into three parallel tracks
could appeal to almost any curious open source and peer production
devotee. Some more theoretical presentations were related to virtual
communities and development process, leadership in open source
communities, women's participation in software development, peer
production based economies, as well as political scenarios and
limitations. In line with these, project and location based lectures
covered topics like open source car, free farming, open street maps,
free software in Latin America, indigenous communities and cyberspace.
The speakers invited came from Australia, Canada, England, Germany,
Denmark, Iceland, and Argentina.

@NL:“There is
 probably no other place on this planet where engineers and political
 people, thinkers and practitioners, scientists and activists come
 together in such an open and constructive atmosphere,” said Stefan
Merten, the main organizer and the founder of the Oekonux Foundation, at
the closing session.



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