Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sorry, But it's The Euston Manifesto

We're going to look back on this momentous week in awe, I tell you. Twenty brave souls in a London pub working to change history. Ignoring such distractions as nascent civil war in Iraq, the war of words and sabre rattling over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the American Generals lining up to denounce the Bush administration's handling of Iraq and allegations that American and UK allies in the form of Shia militias are causing as much death and destruction as the Sunni insurgents; ignoring all this, the Euston Twenty have their attention on far weightier matters.

We are talking, naturally, of the soon to be legendary Manifesto, which will, without a shadow of doubt come to replace in terms of historical significence the seminal 1989 document The Paddington Manifesto For Change(Marxist-Leninist-but-definitely-not-Trotskyist-ho-no) which even now informs almost all contemporary comment on the Left despite being the work of three drunk students working on the London School of Economics Rag Mag.

This is not to undermine the critical importance of the Euston document, however. In its admittedly less than exciting style, it manages to reach the crux of the critical
global political and humanitarian issue of today. I refer, of course, specifically to section 14 of the Statment of Principles:

14) Open source. As part of the free exchange of ideas and in the interests of encouraging joint intellectual endeavour, we support the open development of software and other creative works and oppose the patenting of genes, algorithms and facts of nature. We oppose the retrospective extension of intellectual property laws in the financial interests of corporate copyright holders. The open source model is collective and competitive, collaborative and meritocratic. It is not a theoretical ideal, but a tested reality that has created common goods whose power and robustness have been proved over decades. Indeed, the best collegiate ideals of the scientific research community that gave rise to open source collaboration have served human progress for centuries.

Amen to that, eh, my geeky friends? And don't worry your nerdy little heads over all the other complicated stuff. Just sign on the dotted screen.