Introduction to Extending the Freedoms
of Free and Open Information
University of Aizu, Computer Arts Lab
Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima 965-8580, Japan
+81-242-37-2792, E-mail: email@example.com
brief history and overview of the impact of current information technology
and its decentralized nature are presented. The paper discusses the current
ideology to handle this new paradigm and extensions to that ideology with
respect specifically to hardware design and large computational structures
and generally to the future of computer technology in a socially conscious
free software, free hardware design, GNU General Public License, copyleft,
sustainability, environmental rights, human rights
1. From Paper to Digital Information Structures
materials and processes we use and experience daily create our culture;
in other words, our social structures, world views, ideologies and ethics
are driven by the materials, and processes that make up our daily lives.
This relationship is easily seen in the history of Japan. The amount of
seismic activity and the temperate forest and island ecology has dictated
Japan's wood based architecture, efficient use of material and resulting
aesthetics, culture, and laws, a functional relationship to its environment.
Technologies that change our daily experiences change our cultural view
and change our organizational and financial strategies. The car technology
has clearly created a car culture that is expressed in urban shopping malls.
Television technology has clearly expressed itself in the creation of a
global financial juggernaut based on the largest misinformation system
ever seen in human history called advertising. TV ads have created the
"consumer culture," that is fueling an environmental deficit. The Gutenburg
press information technology changed western civilization in very obvious
and not so obvious ways. Obviously, it vastly improved data storage and
access, i.e. the proliferation of books and libraries, on which our educational
systems are based. Not so obviously, it dangerously isolated us from direct
experience, observation and knowledge of the natural world and from the
oral traditions and wisdom of our ancestors . Mark Twain, the American
author and master captor of American culture, said, "I never let my education
get in the way of learning." The collapse of the printed word as our basic
information input in favor of television created the popular rock culture
lyrics in the West: "We don't need no education....We don't need no mind
is a matter of natural consequence of our learning process to associate
new materials and processes to previously known patterns that may be alien
to the new materials and processes. So, it is not surprising that we
have inappropriately applied the properties of paper and printing to digital
material. We have taken the low level data structure of paper and
transferred it to digital media. Paper data, in comparison to digital data,
is dead data, incapable of any self organization and processing algorithms.
One example is the difference between a line on a piece of paper and a
line in a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. The line on the screen
looks like the line on a piece of paper, but appearances are extremely
deceiving in this case. Unlike the line on paper, the line on screen is
a dynamic object that can be moved, divided, reassembled, used as a measuring
increment; it can actually become its own design tool. However, most engineers
persist in using CAD to mean Computer Aided Drafting with
all the associated paper drafting practices and standards,
complete with attendant handheld calculator. In relationship to the computational
power of the computer, the engineer using the computer as a piece of paper
is a point of irony lost on most people who have very little experience
with digital media and tools, but this point of irony underscores the misuse
and the lack of understanding for the digital media by much of the status
we try to imagine the world before digital connectivity and if we envision
humanity as a single creature, that creature would be made up of 6 billion
mouths, a gurgling baby, with limited ability to communicate
but a voracious capacity for consumption of
global resources. Now with large complex computer networks, the creature
is able to put a face with each mouth, interconnect, communicate and create
computational resources necessary for the development of global intelligence
and global self awareness . . . a child learning to talk .
2. The Power of Sharing - Global Openness of Information
in Europe and America, research universities have been funded by national
and military interests who were not particularly disposed to the giving
away of knowledge. However, only through sharing information did research
move forward at an efficient pace. So, there has always been this balancing
act between sharing knowledge to advance knowledge and the desire to protect
national security interests. The university's core value is the power of
shared knowledge, empirically understood by academicians for centuries.
2.1 Origins of the Internet
Where Wizards Stay Up Late : The Origins of the Internet by Katie
Hafner and Matthew Lyon, this contradictory partnership between academia
and the military is described. The book could just as easily been titled:
How Gifted Grad Students Created the Internet : The Military Industrial
Complex Pays Off to cop an apt description from one reviewer. The conflict
in this partnership expressed itself in the military's need for security
versus the students' need to share source code. Documents, code and other
material related to the research were kept behind locked doors and in safes.
The young programmers, who already had a reputation for taking or breaking
apart electronics in order to see how they worked, acquired safes and locks
and hacksawed them apart. One hacker went so far as to take a locksmith
course so that he could be licensed to buy global keys. Armed with the
knowledge of the locking mechanisms, they were able to access any part
of the research facility and share code among themselves. Hence, the term
hacker for a gifted and knowledgeable programmer. But more importantly,
the sharing of code was a fundamental catalyst in the making of the Internet.
2.2 Ideology of Hackers
All information should be free.
Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.
Hackers should be judged by their hacking not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.
You create art and beauty on a computer.
Computers can change your life for the better. 
In the digital culture, the term hacker is a compliment.
ideology of the Internet open-source culture (what hackers say they believe)
is a fairly complex topic in itself. All members agree that open source
(that is, software which is freely redistributable and can readily be evolved
and modified to fit changing needs) is a good thing and worthy of significant
and collective effort. This agreement effectively defines membership in
the culture. However, the reasons individuals and various subcultures give
for this belief vary considerably."
idea of hacking extends from literally hacking electronics to see
how they work to hacking locks to unlock them to hacking
a Chinese menu to order Chinese food by the young creators of the early
Internet. Here, the term hacker is used to describe an ideology
that comes from the essence of the experience of bootstrap programming,
i.e. trial and error method. To the hackers, digital information could
be viewed in the same way as the air we breath. Digital information is
the atmosphere, the life breath of cyberspace. To restrict information
is to restrict life itself.
of the GNU Project , Free Software Movement, principal author of the
GNU C Compiler and GNU Emacs, Richard Stallman recently posted the following
on Slashdot.org, the New York Times of the geeks "for stuff that matters."
ask people to think twice before using the term "piracy" to describe sharing
published information with other people. That word is a propaganda term
used by the owners of information to convey the idea that sharing is wrong;
when you use it, you aid their campaign. Unless you believe that sharing
information is the moral equivalent of attacking a ship and kidnaping the
people on it, please don't use the term "piracy" to describe sharing."
2.3 Free Software Movement
"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. " 
understand the concepts above, think of "free" as in liberty, freedom of
speech/information, not as in "no cost" with regard to price. In fact,
much "free software" is sold, sometimes for a substantial price, but the
important point is that this software is always "free" to be redistributed,
either with or without modifications, either gratis or for a fee for distribution,
to anyone anywhere - with no need to ask or pay for permission. This "free
software" is usually but not always licensed under the GNU General Public
License (GPL) , sometimes referred to as copyleft, because
the GNU GPL includes an important rule that says, when redistributing
the program, restrictions cannot be added to deny other people the central
freedoms stated above, thus protecting those central freedoms. The power
of sharing and the free software movement is spectacularly demonstrated
by the global development of the Linux OS and its attendant applications.
2.4 The New Animism and Global Retribalization
the Atomic Age of the Fifties, especially in the United States, there was
a widely held belief that the triad of science, industry and technology,
through centralized systems, would solve the world's problems. In the United
States and worldwide during the Sixties and Seventies, there was massive
resistance to and an ideological shift from this belief. This shift was
due to the fact that the triad had not answered the world's problems; in
fact, it had augmented many of those problems. During this period, the
motto of the young people in the United States was, "Don't trust anyone
over 30." They meant don't trust technology, definitely don't trust industry
and centralized systems, and to some degree don't trust science. For example,
with the advent of Rachel Carson's The Silent Spring  and the
subsequent banning of DDT in the US, Dow Chemical's slogan "better living
through chemistry" became a joke. Since this shift, there has never been
the same kind of trust and power given to science, industry, technology
and centralized authority. The power of the digital decentralization of
communications and publishing allowed a new generation to not only be aware
of the problems with centralized authorities but to directly effect them.
This emerging trend has been called a 21st century animism. As an example
of this trend, there are scores of young people risking their lives around
the world: living in tops of old growth trees (often as not with their
laptop), protesting on the high seas, or just living simply in their abhorrence
of environmentally bankrupted consumerism. They are monks of the 21st century
animism. Many of these young people tend, in general, to despise and distrust
computer technology, but many are equally savvy computer geeks/programmers/users,
and most have learned about and joined the movement through the Internet.
Because of the freedom to publish information on the Internet, there are
an amazing number of grassroots environmental websites. This is equally
true of human rights organizations. Furthermore, these local movements
are connected globally through the Internet.
in Seattle, Washington, against the WTO, should come as no surprise. The
new animists used the Internet to be informed, to organize and mobilize.
Such demonstrations are mistakenly referred to as an anti globalization
movement by the media, when in fact they are decentralized global movements
against money centered life styles, extreme poverty, and collapse of the
environment, ethics and human relationships, brought about by the consumerism
necessary to support the centralized economies of global corporations.
2.5 Free Hardware Design
together on hardware design and sharing information about hardware problems
is equally as powerful as sharing source code. An example of this is the
first free hardware design that took the world by storm, IBM's Advanced
Technology (AT) computer of the 1980's based on Intel's 86286 CPU, which
brought about the PC revolution and set the Industry Standard Architecture
(ISA) for PCs. Subsets of this specification are still in use today. Interestingly,
there has been no substantial free hardware design movement, which this
author believes is in part due to the need for an appropriate license for
free hardware design. Such a license will be addressed later in this paper.
Richard Stallman argues that free hardware design is not the same as free
software, because software is so easy to copy . This author submits
that it is the digital data that controls the production/replication process
of hardware. The power of collaboration is not diminished by how fast or
slow, easy or difficult the replicating process is. Stallman's other argument
is that to have a comparable GNU GPL license agreement for free hardware
design, one would have to use the patent process, and patents are expensive
. Currently, there is an international movement counter to the patent
process, which is viewed as an impediment to progress, promoting global
monopolies of the wealthiest and shutting out developing countries .
Free hardware design based on global distributed manufacturing and assembly
could easily route around such patent restrictions.
2.5.1 GNUbook Hardware Design
free and open hardware GNUbook  computer design is released under the
Greater Good Public License (GGPL) agreement, i.e. copyleft + human + environmental
rights (see GGPL section below). This design utilizes free and open software
operating systems and applications and has unique goals.
Unique features of the GNUbook:
A logical order of disassembly that reveals parts in order of need for access.
Elimination of screws and cables; therefore, tools are not required.
Metal case and wooden button providing for clean production processes and use. (Research has recently shown that plastics are biological hormone hazards.)
No cables used in self racking assembly of super computer clusters.
Implementation of "Green" IEEE, "Easy PC" and Wintel computer standards.
System bios is a thin client embedded computer as an adaptive agent.
Reduced size for a full desktop computer approximately 2" by 8.5" by 11".
goal of the GNUbook design  is a computer that can be used by anyone
in any country. The computer should be able to be taken apart and put together
correctly by a child in less than a minute. The GNUbook design envisions
that everyone should be able to have a computer, and it should not be a
throw away plastic design. Many areas of the world do not have the technical
infrastructure to support computers; therefore this computer is designed
in such a way as to be remotely serviced and supported through the Internet.
Furthermore, the computer must be able to be easily localized to language
and culture. Having two computers, one which is a self contained agent
and always able to be connected to the resources of the Internet, is a
must for remote support and an adaptive agent scenario (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: GNUbook assembly - The GNUbook components connect directly to each other, and the assembly procedure requires no cables or screws. The GNUbook takes a little under a minute to assemble, and the uniquely nested components assures that the GNUbook will always be assembled correctly.
The design goals are unique in that they try to eliminate manufacturing processes (Fig. 2):
Elimination of the the tools needed to assemble these parts.
Elimination of the machines needed to make the tools needed to assemble the parts.
Reduce the machines and manufacturing infrastructure needed to make the machines needed to make the parts and tools.
Lower the number and amount of necessary parts in inventory, inventory storage, handling, packaging and shipping.
Fig. 2: What to avoid.
2.5.2 GNUbook Clusters
assembly of clusters to make local and regional super computers from GNUbook
computers is accomplished by using a back plane cluster card that the GNUbook
plugs directly into. The cluster cards are in turn connected to the left
and right GNUbook ends forming a GNUbook shelf cluster. The left GNUbook
end is the signal end and the right is the uninterruptable power supply
UPS. The cluster cards, the GNUbook ends and the feet on the GNUbook computer,
all work together so that the GNUbook computers can be used to form a cluster
requiring no cables or special racks. The super computer clusters are formed
from GNUbook computers and the additional cost of the cluster cards, GNUbook
ends and available shelving. The GNUbook shelf clustering system avoids
the cost of labor, cables and problems in handling and installation of
a large number of cables and electrical connections, which we call the
spaghetti problem. Clusters are the key technology to universities becoming
computational research centers and large computational grids.
3. The Responsibility of Digital Power
3 illustrates the continual and relentless growth of digital power.
3: Faster than Exponential Growth in Computing Power. The number of
MIPS in $1000 of computer from 1900 to the present. Steady improvements
in mechanical and electromechanical calculators before World War II had
increased the speed of calculation a thousandfold over manual methods from
1900 to 1940. The pace quickened with the appearance of electronic computers
during the war, and 1940 to 1980 saw a millionfold increase. The pace has
been even quicker since then, a pace which would make humanlike robots
possible before the middle of the next century. The vertical scale is logarithmic,
the major divisions represent thousandfold increases in computer performance.
Exponential growth would show as a straight line, the upward curve indicates
faster than exponential growth, or, equivalently, an accelerating rate
of innovation. The reduced spread of the data in the 1990s is probably
the result of intensified competition: underperforming machines are more
rapidly squeezed out. 
computing power placed literally at the fingertips of a single person or
very small group has awesome significance. For example, this kind of computing
power has made it possible to map and understand the biological genomic
relationships ... and to effect those relationships for either good or
ill. In such a situation, the best security is a free and open environment
of research and collaboration, but is that enough? Do we need some further
agreement to a global platform that considers human rights and environmental
rights. Presently, such issues are not addressed by any of the open source
or free hardware design and software license agreements or for that matter
any proprietary license agreements.
3.1 Ethics of a Meritocracy
internet by itself is just a large storage container full of data, and
knowledge is not data. The academic process tries to turn data into knowledge.
Programming also attempts to turn data into knowledge, and just as in academic
life, a programmer is judged by his or her ability to process data into
needed usable knowledge. The value of the programmer is not based on the
exclusivity of the data/processing, but on the merit of his or her ability
to process, transmit/share the knowledge on a given problem at hand in
a timely manner. Exclusivity that would in anyway restrict data, knowledge
or the transmission of such will interfere with the effectiveness and accuracy
of the process and the result.
is very reasonable to say that the power of shared knowledge (shared source
code) is changing our ideas about ownership. In the digital meritocracy
it is unethical to not provide source code. The goal of computer processing
is reliable processing/knowledge and sustainable secure operations to meet
that goal. A simple program for which the source code is not available
can halt critical computer operations of a larger system. As we move to
reliance on computer operations and form large complex international systems
that are interlocked, the goal of "sustain-ability" of system operations
replaces the proprietary goal of "the bottom-line" profit.
3. 2 Greater Good Public License (GGPL)
The GGPL attempts to give legal standing to human rights and environmental issues, it attaches directly responsibility for human behavior to a powerful technology - at the same time, preserving the right to equitably share and develop that technology. The GGPL covers usage of software and hardware anywhere in the world. The human rights stipulations are a direct incorporation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights . The environmental rights stipulations are an incorporation of the principals of the Natural Step , an international organization, founded in Sweden in 1989, that uses a science-based, systems framework to help organizations, individuals and communities towards sustainability. Without environmental rights, that is the right to clean air, clean water, and pure food, there are no human rights. The digital rights are an incorporation of the GNU General Public License (GPL)  developed by the Free Software Foundation. It is understood that the GGPL has yet to be tested in any legal sense; at present, it stands as a consciousness raising tool. For the first time in human history, we have no place to go on planet earth. Countries can not off load their misery and environmental degradation through colonialization, though global corporations are still trying to sell us that promise. There are no vast uncharted territories, no vast untapped natural resources of extraction, i.e. oil, gas, minerals or even
. So, it is a matter of conservation, how to invest what is left, an
agreement to cooperate globally for the preservation of resources and the
development of benevolent new technologies. GGPL is a first attempt to
present a venue for that agreement.
and copyrights are a hidden tax on consumers; they fix unfair prices for
large capital gains. Without licensing agreements based on human and environmental
ethics, business continues its self-centered
approach to profit without
consideration for human suffering or long range negative effects to the
environment, case in point, the United State's refusal to sign the Kyoto
true openness that the GGPL agreement brings to the market place could
help decentralize the manufacturing process and make more locally produced
goods available at lower prices. It could also decrease the time it takes
to bring new technology to the market place. It reduces the cost of doing
business in under-developed countries and helps break up the large remote
capital based monopolies in those countries. Most people selling goods
or providing services do not own any patents or copyrights. If GGPL changes
the ownership from a few to all, it will not drastically change what people
do in daily business. They will continue to sell goods or provide services
and get paid.
4. Socio/Economic Structures
"At the same time, spectacular progress in information technology, i.e., the so-called "IT revolution," especially the proliferation of the Internet in the 90s, has had a wide-range impact on the fundamental functioning of the political, economic and social system. The greatest consequence of the IT revolution is information sharing among many people. It has made it possible for groups of voters, consumers, stockholders and employers to share the same information at the same time through advanced IT. In other words, the governance system based on monopoly of information has collapsed."
in this new environment of freedom of information, transparency and accountability
are important requirements for governments, business firms and educational
institutions. Satisfying these requirements will be absolutely necessary
for credibility with the informed and intelligent people who practice global
openness of information. The emergence of this new type of governance is
the essence of globalization.
4.1 The Role of Education
a computer on a desk attached to an Internet connection is larger than
any one university library. Publishing on the Internet no longer takes
the resources or time it did in the past. It does not take the approval
of a review by peers. Looking at the university's present library and informational
functions in digital terms, books plus professors and students are an analog
computational resource, but what role will universities have
in the digital future? The answer is: universities will do what they have
always done, act as a computational resource and archive for knowledge,
but these functions will shift from analog to digital. The robust, high-level,
independent digital data structures necessary for mathematical modeling,
synthetic simulations and digital archiving are just now being developed
through university research, such as the HyperFun Project . The author's
own experimental project into digital historical preservation of two temples
in the Aizu region of Japan illustrates the need for high-level digital
data structures and proposes the use of Functional Representation (FRep)
 and high level modeling languages like HyperFun, as a solution .
Thus, the role of the university would be to act as a nucleus for digital
computational resources sufficient for the digital archiving of knowledge.
4.2 The Role of Commerce
underlying process of market changes are changes in cultural values, such
as commonly held beliefs, ideology and ethics. With the IT revolution,
the rate and type of cultural change is a factor of the baud rate, freedom
of access and ability to process and search digital data through the Internet.
The GNUbook design reviewed in the first part of this presentation and
the GNUbook.org free software and free hardware design business strategies
are based on observed changes in cultural values described below.
emerging 21st century animistic views/beliefs, ideologies of hackers, and
ethics of a meritocracy are the basic foundations on which GNUbook.org
is developing its organizational and financial strategies. To understand
the GNUbook's design goals you must understand who GNUbook.org is designing
for. To understand its organizational structure is to understand the ideology
of the hacker. To understand its business plan is to understand the ethics
of a meritocracy. There are two essential interlocking key components to
the GNUbook's organizational and financial strategies. The novelty of the
hardware design tied to the GGPL agreement.
animism of the design expresses itself in several ways. The material finish
calls for raw unpainted steel and a raw wooden button that will show the
use and care given to it. It is to be taken apart with your hands comes
apart in nested layers. It is to have an extended life and is designed
be use and reused and not to be thrown away. The hackerness of the design
is its openness. It invites collaborative efforts, because nothing is hidden
and no tools are needed to take it apart; it has topological assembly logic
that is easy to understand. The design is the implementation of the GGPL
agreement. The GGPL agreement is the core of the GNUbook concept and offers
an ethical and responsible relationship to the development of new computer
technologies. The GGPL fills the gap in the difference between free software
and free hardware design, its manufacture and use.
4.2.1 Organizational Strategies
The GNUbook's business and organizational strategies based on unique collaborative efforts between government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and for profit corporations in the free hardware design market .
Academic institutions (AI) do R & D of free software and hardware design products and demonstrate proof of concept.
Nonprofit organizations (NP) are given loans and support from AIs if necessary to startup production with a for profit organization. NPs manage distribution and support of free software and hardware design products over the Internet.
role of GA is the same as it always has been - giving grants and guiding
research. However the unique difference is the direct funding of R &
D for free software and hardware design products. The government grants
will be given not only to advance knowledge, but for the protection of
"shared knowledge / source code", human rights, and environmental rights
for a sustainable future.
role of AI is not much changed - getting grants to do research and applied
research. The difference is more applied research in terms of free software
and hardware design development.
role of the NP is as a link and transition between the AI and FP companies.
NPs give the repetitive support and coordination of tasks that do not belong
in an AI and can not be trusted to an FP.
role of the FP companies in free software and hardware design products
is not changed from its role in proprietary products - continues to be
manufacturing, sales and service.
4.2.2 Financial Savings
The greatest challenge in the financial strategies of free software and hardware design products is the procurement of funding for the research and design, development, prototyping and startup costs of production. However there are some significant savings associated with producing free software and hardware design products using the Internet. Benefits one might expect to see:
Greatly reduced office and clerical costs from the automation of sales, distribution and support through the Internet.
Greatly reduced engineering and design costs from the collaborative use of the Internet and computer aided design programs.
media has created unprecedented individual freedoms and powers. These powers
will continue to grow exponentially. The impact of a single individual
aided by computer technology could have serious consequences for mankind
and the environment. Currently some organizations have started to grasp
and deal with the necessary social and organizational changes, but more
needs to be done.
work is being proposed with the Fukushima Libre Hardware and Software Initiatives
to produce both a turnkey educational system based on the GNU/Linux OS
and a computer programming and mathematical courseware application based
on the high level modeling language, HyperFun . An international collaborative
effort for the promotion of Web based educational systems is being planned
under the Greater Good Public License.
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