Why Software Should Not Have Owners

Administrator | June 14th, 2006

Richard Stallman

An extract of the GNU philosophy.

“The copyright system grew up with printing—a technology for mass production copying. Copyright fit in well with this technology because it restricted only the mass producers of copies. It did not take freedom away from readers of books. An ordinary reader, who did not own a printing press, could copy books only with pen and ink, and few readers were sued for that.

Digital technology is more flexible than the printing press: when information has digital form, you can easily copy it to share it with others. This very flexibility makes a bad fit with a system like copyright. That’s the reason for the increasingly nasty and draconian measures now used to enforce software copyright.”


Administrator | June 7th, 2006

Construisez un livre comme un corps se mouvant dans l’espace et le temps,
comme un relief dynamique dans lequel chaque page est une surface contenant des formes,
et chaque page tournée une traversée vers la prochaine étape d’une structure unique.

El Lissitzky, 1920


Administrator | May 3rd, 2006

Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on arm.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on mips.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on m68k.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on s390.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on alpha.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on hppa.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on powerpc.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on mipsel.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on ia64.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on sparc.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on amd64.
Package has a Depends on scribus-ng which cannot be satisfied on i386.

Fonts and Letters

Administrator | April 8th, 2006

Ascii fonts and Ascii art.
Through the most simple elements of language.
Related to Perec’s contrainte technics,
the ability of raising another meaning through text.
The layout reduced to it’s minimal grid.
Combinations, metatexts.
Fonts done by fonts.
Minimal, monospaced.
The grid.
The meaning pushed over the seeming.

Procedures & Protocoles

Administrator | April 7th, 2006

So far, A.I. has failed to deliver the practical proof. Instead, outside of its stated goal it has produced interesting technological and cultural by-products for fifty years, such as the programming language Lisp, or the GNU project that was initiated in the MIT artificial intelligence lab. (Florian Cramer)

GNU laws for Free Softwares:

1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
2. 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.
3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
4. 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.

Three Laws of Robotics – Isaac Asimov

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Special Event! Kommando Otl Aicher

Administrator | April 5th, 2006

On Tuesday, the 25th of april 2006, 14:00,
at the Jan van Eyck Academie.

Alexander Negrelli’s lecture:

Kommando Otl Aicher

When graphic designer Otl Aicher was nominated as main commissioner for the public image of the XX. Olympic project in Munich, this was no coincidence. At this time he was directing the HfG Ulm design school. In one of its first meetings, the Olympic Committee’s design council decided that the communicated image should be “dynamic, unpathetic and free from ideology”. It should be the “cheerful Games” with a high priority on a carefree and serene environment. Any association with a nationalist or military image should be avoided.
But on the 5th of september 1972, when the terrorists of the »Black September« organisation kidnapped a group of Israelian sportsmen, the public image that Aicher and his team had worked on for years changed within very little time.
“Kommando Otl Aicher” is based on a chronological compilation of facts, and is trying to illustrate this tension, taking a closer look on the “image” of the games.

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Jan van Eyck Academie
Academieplein 1
6211 KM Maastricht
The Netherlands

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for informations

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In the beginning was the word

Administrator | April 5th, 2006

In the beginning was the word and the word was god and has remained one of the mysteries ever since. The word was God and the word was flesh we are told. In the beginning of what exactly was this beginning word? In the beginning of WRITTEN history. It is generally assumed that spoken word came before the written word. I suggest that the spoken word as we know it came after the written word. In the beginning was the word and the word was God and the word was flesh… human flesh… In the beginning of WRITING.

Animals talk and convey information but they do not write. They cannot make information available to future generations or to animals outside the range of their communication system. This is the crucial distinction between men and other animals. WRITING. Korzybski, who developed the concept of General Semantics, the meaning of meaning, has pointed out this human distinction and described man as ‘the time binding animal’. He can make information to other men over a length of time through writing. Animals talk. They don’t write. Now a wise old rat may know a lot about traps and poison but he cannot write a text book on DEATH TRAPS IN YOUR WAREHOUSE for the Reader’s Digest with tactics for ganging up on dogs and ferrets and taking care of wise guys who stuff steel wool up our holes. It is doubtful if the spoken word would have ever evolved beyond the animal stage without the written word. The written word is inferential in HUMAN speech. It would not occur to our wise old rat to assemble the young rats and pass his knowledge along in an aural tradition BECAUSE THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF TIME BINDING COULD NOT OCCUR WITHOUT THE WRITTEN WORD. The written word is of course a symbol for something and in the case of hieroglyphic language writing like Egyptian it may be a symbol for itself that is a picture of what it represents. This is not true of an alphabet language like English. The word leg has no pictorial resemblance to a leg. It refers to the SPOKEN word leg. So we may forget that a written word IS AN IMAGE and that written words are images in sequence that is to say MOVING PICTURES. So any hieroglyphic sequence gives us an immediate working definition for spoken words. Spoken words are verbal units that refer to this pictorial sequence. And what then is the written word? My basis theory is that the written word was literally a virus that made spoken word possible. The word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host… (This symbiotic relationship is now breaking down for reasons I will suggest later.)

From The Electronic Revolution. by William Burroughs,
Soon the full lengh pdf text will be available on the Ressources page.
Painting by Byron Gysin

Pythagore + Knuth = LaTeX

Administrator | March 17th, 2006

The idea that beauty materializes in numerical proportions according to mathematical laws continues to be popular in scientific and engineering cultures, too. Since the early 1970s, Donald Knuth, widely considered the founder of computer science as an independent academic discipline, published his textbooks under the title The Art of Computer Programming. He understands “art” as the formal beauty and logical elegance of the source code. The software TeX which he wrote to typeset his books correspondingly implements a classicist post-Renaissance typography whose notions of beauty are embedded in Knuth’s algorithms for line spacing and paragraph adjustment. At MIT, Knuth initiated a project God and computers whose results were an exhibition of Bible calligraphies and, in 2001, a book Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About. In this book, Knuth remembers how as a student he read a computer program code that he found “absolutely beautiful. Reading it was just like hearing a symphony.” This was how he “got into software,” teaching it as an art rather than a science. The hacker credo put down by Steven Levy in 1983 that “you can create art and beauty with computers” has its roots in Knuth’s teaching. It ultimately means that a program is not a transparent tool for creating beauty—like, for example, a graphics program—, but that it is beautiful by itself. Both schools, highbrow academic computer science and more underground hacker culture, perpetuate a Pythagorean, classicist understanding of art as formal beauty. This concept blatantly lags behind modern concepts of art. Since romanticism and 20th century art, aesthetic understandings of art were not just about beauty, but included the sublime, grotesque and ugly as well. The same is true, implicitly at least, for the Greek and Roman antiquity whose highest art form, tragedies, were about violence and despair.

Code, Culture, Imagination
Florian Cramer

In case of doubt, put “work” instead of “shop”

Administrator | March 11th, 2006

Fontshop logo guidelines.

S & M

Administrator | March 7th, 2006

The meaning and the seeming *

Everything becomes so defined
That in the end there’s no definition
They do not mean a thing
They do not tell a story

We communicate more and more
In more defined ways than ever before
But no one was got anything to say
It’s all very poor it’s all just a bore

Someone has got to make the difference
Between the seeming and the meaning

The seeming over runs the meaning

* Dedicated to all the junk media

From Peng!, Stereolab, 1992.