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Free Technology Academy

Selected Readings on Digital DIY

General introductions about digital fabrication technologies and how our societies are changing right now and in the foreseeable future:

  • Neil Gershenfeld (2005). FAB. The Coming Revolution On Your Desktop – From Personal Computers To Personal Fabrication. Basic Books. About FabLabs and How to make almost anything. Ebook. Neil's famous TED talk.

  • Hod Lipson, Melba Kurman (2013), Fabricated. The New World of 3D Printing. John Wiley & Sons. Ebook. About 3D printing - the promise and peril of a machine that can make (almost) anything.

  • Richard Sennet (2008), The Craftsman, Yale University Press. A historic view on the place of skilled craftsmanship in society, on the desire to do a job well, the blurring division of practice and theory, technique and expression, craftsman and artist, user and maker. Website.

  • Chris Anderson (2012). Makers. The New Industrial Revolution. Random House Business Books. Wikipedia. Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail, illustrates how the Internet has democratised not only the publishing of books, videos and media, but also of manufacturing real things. How such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody and how people are building success business as a result.

About the specifics of sharing knowledge of and for the production of physical objects we have the hacker movement, the FabLab network, the Open Source Hardware movement, the Internet of Things etc. Here's some reading material:

  • Julia Walter-Herrmann, Corinne Büching (2013). FabLab of Machines, Makers and Inventors. Transcript Verlag. Buy. Ebook. A multi-perspective review of the first ten years of FabLabs.. One of its articles is the following:

  • Peter Troxler (2013). Making the 3rd Industrial Revolution. The Struggle for Polycentric Structures and a New Peer Production Commons in the Fab Lab Community. Read Published in J. Walter Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLabs: Of Machines, Makers and Inventors. Bielefeld, 2013: Transcript Publishers

  • Alicia Gibb (2015). Building open Source Hardware. DIY Manufacturing for Hackers and Makers. Pearson Education. A hands-on guide on the entire process of designing and manufacturing open source hardware. Gibbs and chapter authors are active participants of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).

  • David Gauntlett (2011). Making is Connecting. Polity Press. Web. Buy. Ebook. Download chapters 1, 9 (CC BY-NC-SA) About: a critical analysis of fostering creativity, informed citizenry and making things by people in communities connected through the Internet.

  • Mark Hatch (2014). The Maker Movement Manifesto. Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers and Tinkerers. McGraw Hill Education. The author is CEO of Techshop, a network of open digital fabrication makerspaces.

About p2p/peer production and commons-based peer production, as the emergent production model that explains the dynamics of sharing knowledge and constructing knowledge commons.

  • Yochai Benkler (2006), The Wealth of Networks. How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Yale University Press. Online CC BY-NC-SA at benkler.org This work introduces the concept of peer production and commons-based peer production, as a third mode of production – apart from by the firm and by the state.

  • Michel Bauwens (2005), The Political Economy of Peer Production, In: CTheory. Published at CTheory.

  • The Foundation for P2P Alternatives runs an international research network and wiki with arguably the richest resource on peer production: http://p2pfoundation.net/

  • Open Source Ecology is building open source industrial machines that can be replicated locally to satisfy most needs of modern life: http://opensourceecology.org/
  • Appropedia is an online community wiki where people share knowledge to build rich, sustainable lifes: http://www.appropedia.org
  • Charlotte Hess, Elinor Ostrom (2007). Understanding Knowledge as a Commons. From Theory to Practice. MIT Press. Looking at knowledge as a commons – as a shared resource – allows us to understand both its limitless possibilities and what threatens it.

  • Eric von Hippel (2005). Democratizing Innovation. MIT Press. Download (CC BY-NC-ND). About: user-led innovation.

  • Jeremy Rifkin (2014). The Zero Marginal Cost Society. The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. Palgrave Macmillan. Website. About: a formidable new technology infrastructure—the Internet of things (IoT)—is emerging with the potential of pushing large segments of economic life to near zero marginal cost in the years ahead. The plummeting of marginal costs is spawning a hybrid economy—part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons—with far reaching implications for society, according to Rifkin. Near zero marginal costs will spawn an exodus from capitalist markets to the commons. Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring parts of their economic lives to the global Commons. Prosumers are plugging into the fledgling IoT and making and sharing their own information, entertainment, green energy, and 3D-printed products at near zero marginal cost.

About critical viewpoints of what some call “intellectual monopolies” we recommend the following works:

  • Richard Stallman (2002) Free Software Free Society: selected essays of Richard M. Stallman. GNU Press. Buy. Download. Wikipedia. About: the intersection of ethics, law, business and computer software in the Free Software Movement.

  • Armand Mattelart (2003). The Information Society. An Introduction. SAGE. Buy. About: A critical history of the Information Society.

  • Pekka Himanen (2001). The Hacker Ethic. A Radical Approach To The Philosophy of Business. Random House. Buy. About: hacking as a mindset, a philosophy based on the values of play, passion, sharing and creativity, that has the potential to enhance every individual's and company's productivity and competitiveness.

  • Eric S. Raymond (1999). The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Musings on Linux and Open Source by and Accidental Revolutionary. O'Reilly. Download (OPL license) Wikipedia. About: an antropological view of open source software communities.

  • Michele Boldrin, David Levine (2008). Against Intellectual Monopolies. Cambridge University Press. About: a critical analysis of the patent and copyright system, citing a host of research questioning its functioning in many sectors of the economy. More on: AgainstMonopoly.org and the Von Mises wiki.

  • Peter Drahos with John Braithwaite (2002). Information Feudalism. Who Owns the Knowledge Economy. Earthscan Publications. Ebook. About: how current intellectual property rules are more an outcome orf coercion by powerful corporations and rich countries than of democratic processes.

  • Lawrence Lessig (2004). Free Culture. How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. Penguin Press. Download (CC BY-NC) About: about the abuse of copyright to lock down culture and our freedom to create.

  • James Boyle (2008). The Public Domain. Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Yale. Download (CC BY-NC-SA). About: the range of wars of information age, a critical review of how intellectual property rights mark out the ground rules of the information society, and how today's policies are unbalanced and not supported by evidence.

  • Lawrence Lessig (2006). Code 2.0. Basic Books. Download (CC BY-SA). About: Code 2.0 is Lessig's updated version of "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace."

  • David Bollier (2008). Viral Spiral. How the Commoners Built a Digital Repubñlic of Their Own. The New Press. Dowload (CC BY-NC)