I have a weird idea for how we could create an alternative to proprietary library collections like 'streaming services', and a certain swath of "web3" stuff

we make a standard linux filesystem directory for Free Culture

something like,
/usr/media

1/

The idea of "/usr/media" is that we could have a better basis to socialise the costs of publishing and hosting works of media while discouraging unnecessary restrictions like DRM or everything being always-online

for example, an ebook reader could use "/usr/media/epub"
and then people could create "distro packages" that install ebooks there without DRM

and readers could have the convenience of not worrying about managing individual ebooks the same way you get with proprietary ebook stores.

2/

Now, this example may sound a bit silly.
why would someone think it's not worthwhile to be able to download books or music files from wherever and put them wherever you want?
why would we think it's better that a public package repository holds our media and we install it to a standardised place? (even if we stipulate that place can never be fenced in with DRM?)

The answer is simple. the package repository is a digital Public Library. it could be very durable over time.

3/

In theory, linux package repositories are extremely future proof, especially if the internet is functioning.

Arch or debian has a solid system for cataloguing and hosting software and making sure it's all mirrored across the world, such that if anything happened to today's catalogues everything could be set up somewhere else.

But we don't have anything that consistent for archiving culture.
We have Internet Archive and Gutenberg and Wikitexts and nothing is really fully coordinated

4/

Follow

what if we had a world where Project Gutenberg was better,
and we had a search feature in our operating systems which was as good as a linux package manager, where we just "installed" a book

and as a result, all of us maybe better recognised the value of maintaining organisations that make sure we can access things such as self-contained books over the decades, without everyone /individually/ worrying so much about who will host or print every individual published thing and how

5/

I think this has been a somewhat big block for Free Culture.

if we want to publish something to everyone,

even under the assumption that some of us are doing just well enough to not have to worry about "affording" spare time to make art,

we still have to worry about who will "host" our webpages or ebooks etc, and how we can possibly run our own server all the time or pay for somebody else to run it

what if we simply had a "distro" to submit some of these things to?

6/

"But takumi, weren't you just talking about expanding git hosts? if both those and a 'Free Culture Distro' existed, how would I know which to publish to?"

yeah, most likely both would exist.
a 'Super Git Host' would hold the raw 'source' of a media package and past 'editions',
while a Distro would focus on a definitive edition comparable to a 'binary package'

so, for something like a new blog article you'd use a git host, while for your old defunct blog you could package it for the Distro

7/

the difference between a Super Git Host and a Distro could also turn into hair-splitting if git hosts were able to distribute fully 'compiled' installable media packages.

at that point a Distro could consist of just a thin layer of curation telling your "package manager" which git hosts to get packages from (perhaps which bad ones to never connect to) and which 'compiled' editions were definitive

but right now this level of detail is just speculation

8/

@Valenoern Plus there's the discovery aspect: I search my package repos for well-maintained software that's worth depending on. For apps designed specifically for elementary OS.

Sure package repos might not hold every great piece of software (e.g. Voice2JSON, yet), they do yield a higher signal-to-noise ratio than e.g. GitHub. We could have the exact same dynamic with free culture!

I'd contribute to adding freeculture to a package repo! Or creating a new repo for it!

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