While these influential proposals are, as such, very inspiring and path-breaking, they seem to bypass too quickly one element of political economy: that of the ownership of the material means of production. As Paul A Taylor (2006) points out “…the history of hacking has shown that its knowledge was all too readily co-opted by a capitalism fast enough to recuperate oppositional techniques. Hackers were vulnerable to such a reversal and their eventual fate as microserfs because they were always too intimate with the technological object of their affections; celebrators of flux should avoid the same fate in relation to theory.”
Celebrators of flux or prophets of cybercommunism: hackers still need to eat and need electricity for their machines of immaterial labour. If we analyse the current trends in some of the crown-jewels of the free/open source movement, such as GNU/Linux development and the Wikipedia, we quickly notice that not only is a new ethics or mode of knowledge production initiated but also very old-fashioned trends of profit-making and colonialisation of knowledge are reasserted. Consequently, for a more full definition and a more precise critique of cybercommunism, we need to pay attention to the various levels of freedom that self-organising knowledge work is conditioned by. Here a comparison to the conditions and constraints of freedom in media and education may be helpful.