[permaculture] Why is permaculture more about selling books, DVDs and training courses?

christophe mckeon gonzalez de leon chromatophore at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 15:09:26 EDT 2009

just to chime in,

i don't think this is a black and white issue. there is something to
be said for both sides of the argument. on the one hand mutual support
is to be commended, on the other hand we are in a state of emergency
and the more quickly and the more freely (as in freedom) information flows
the better. i got into permaculture from downloading illegal copies of
permaculture movies off p2p networks. i would never have bought
copies and would probably never have become as interested in pc
had i not done so.

suraj brings up stallman and the free software movement, of which i am a
great fan and participant. it is interesting to note that they
generally have no
opposition to making a buck, and that freedom of information has been very
constructively decoupled from trade.

for those not in the know, what happens with free software is that the code
itself is 'copylefted', meaning any alterations to a code base by any party
must be shared with the community. what that means is that copyright law
is used to ensure that a collaborative project remains in the hands of the
community instead of some single party. this encourages collaboration and
sharing and has led to some amazing software being developed.

there are however no restrictions on commercial activity. if i want to
sell services
based on my knowledge of the software, or even sell copies of the
software itself i
can do so. most of the core components of apple's os x are free software
for example. lesson: commercial activity does not preclude freedom of
if the right business model is found, and the right legal structures used.

there are also copyleft schemes for documentation and media, like the gnu's free
documentation license, and the creative commons licenses, which i think could
offer permaculture some interesting possibilities. i do think however
that the key
concept here is collaboration, and that if enough people are involved
it no longer
becomes about somebody subsidizing somebody else, but about sharing information
for the greater good. what i feel is lacking right now is the
infrastructure to do so.


More information about the permaculture mailing list