Free Software Filk Song

Infinite Hands

Singing a part of the history of free software



small-overhead mirror of my site at

(also available for anonymous access in freenet -> freesite <- )

- Free Software version of "Finity's End"
  original: {lyrics: CJ Cherryh, music: Leslie Fish}.
- filked by Draketo aka Arne Babenhauserheide (capo 3).

Songtext for printing and passing on: pdf | odt (source) | txt
Sheet music: pdf | midi | lilypond source
Widgets for Embedding: HTML 5 | Theora Sea | Jamendo | Youtube
Audio-files: ogg | mp3



Infinite Hands - the song

C        a             D           a
Infinite Hands build a world to be free, 
    E       G            a
the digital space we all know, 
   C      (a)         D            a
unlimited use has the code that we write, 
    C             G            a
and freedom's the badge we all show.

     C                           D           a
The stuff runs our servers, our desktops and grids, 
     D                    a
by uncounted hands it was made, 
     a                     D         a
set out in the wild on the day it is born, 
        C             D           a
for our free running, long coding trade. 

    C             a          D           a
And no law shall bind us or keep us for long, 
       E       G                    a
for infinity's ours and infinity's free, 
     C          a           D             a
and no company owns us, and no land's our own, 
    C         G        a
for Infinite Hands are we. 

The companies thought that they'd pay us for lines, 
and have all the code for their own. 
"You're company people and company teams, 
your code will now serve us alone."

R.Stallman was only a student that day, 
and he said to himself, thinking deep: 
Farewell to a job, all my code shall be free, 
for what they don't own, they can't keep. 


The miracle came, he did not change his mind
and gathered around him a crew, 
and people could buy his free programs from him, 
sent by mail and his money got through. 

At times others came and they said, "We're free, too, 
you can take code as if in a mall. 
It will be only yours then, just say it's from us, 
and it runs and compiles where you call."

-Ref: But... -

Now Richard M. Stallman was vexed and annoyed, 
and he sent out the word as before: 
"All code must be free, free to use and improve, 
which our license ensures evermore."

But still many coders were lured from our ranks, 
now for Windows and Apple they strived, 
- spoken in background: And for Amiga, BeOS, IBM, 
  and many many more -
their call to wake up came from finland one day, 
as to GNU a free kernel arrived.

-Ref- (percussion)

We open our source as an act to be free
from chains of lock-ed down trash
but some people lost the philosophy
and started to see only cash. 

So the term "Open Source" became marketing slang
from people who seemed to be guides, 
but freedom, or social, or changing the world?  (spoken)
They talk about money, not rights. 

-Ref- (vocal)

"Then patent it all", came a call spreading wide, 
"for money is all you should see",
 - So noone but you can make progress bars, trash cans, 
   one-click shops, footnotes or spell checking... 
   ...except if that's already patented but not enforced - 
but Richard M. Stallman still sent out the word, 
that all code from now on must be free. 

So code would stay free and our teams did grow strong, 
but some loopholes remained in our side, 
which traitors like TiVo exploited to steal, 
so we needed a change in the right. 

- Ref-

... no words ... 

So our license reshaped by the people and GNU, 
for code contributed to trade, 
and orders be none to withhold us or bind, 
    C                       E          a
no law on our code but the license we made. 

      C             a           D           a
Just that law shall bind us and keep us for long, 
       E       G                   a
for infinity's ours and infinity's free, 
    C          a            D             a
and no company owns us, and no land's our own, 
    C        G               a
for Infinite Hands/Lines are we. 
    C       E        C           (G) a
are we, for Infinite Hands/Lines are we. 



This is a part of the story of free software, although it misses some details. While "Finity's End", which is the story the original lyrics told, was a work of fiction, this story really happened and happens today.
For additional information please refer to GNU.

Should you prefer prosa to songs and technical texts, you can also read the myth A tale of Foxes and Freedom on the same topic.

Besides: It was recorded on my Gentoo GNU/Linux Box with Audacity in a KDE environment using a guitar older than me :).

Contributions / History

Major contributions to Infinite Hands, ordered by date.

  • Leslie Fish and C.J. Cherryh wrote the original song (Finity's End).
  • Draketo alias Arne Babenhauserheide wrote the initial version of Infinite Hands.
  • Elb(en)land and Draketo performed it at the FilkCONtinental.
  • Alan Thiesen added some nice improvements, especially for parts where the english sounded a bit off. Also he got into contact with Leslie Fish for permission to license the song under free licenses (that's one of the biggest contributions I can think of (apart from writing the original song) - many thanks!).
  • Draketo recorded the 2007 version of the song.
  • gnu_reader added the open source verse.

Also there are some smaller contributions, ranging from "there's a typo" over "xyz sounds a bit strange" to "how about rather saying xyz here?". These contributions were very valuable, as they added to making the song polished. For all these I want to say: Thanks for your comments! They DO help.

And if you're missing in the above list, please tell me!


If you also want to contribute to Infinite Hands, please don't hesitate to get in contact!

Ideas for contributing are

  • Write verses about Treacherous Computing, DRM and SCO.
  • Do translations into various languages.
  • Use it in other free works (must use at least one of the licenses named below, should use all 4).
  • Create additional recordings.
  • Spread Infinite Hands (, for example by blogging about it and including the song widget from Jamendo in the blog entry, so your visitors can directly listen to it.

To make it easier to contribute, this whole website is available in a Mercurial repository - and uploads to the website happen when I push my changes, so the repository is always up to date.

Also everything written here is available under the same free licenses as the song - and anything which should go onto this website must be available under all of the free licenses.

Licensing and Copyleft

This song is free art available under the following four free licenses (for details, please visit Permission to filk her work freely was granted by Leslie Fish (cite: "Anything to keep the internet free: Go for it!" - she's great! - maybe you'd like to visit her? - she's got some of her works online - and some youtube fanvids!) and C.J.Cherryh (to say thanks to her, see the book links in the background section or look at her site).

  • GPLv2 or later or GPLv3 or later
  • Art Libre v1.3 or later
  • Lizenz für freie Inhalte v1.0 webstar

You can use any of those four licenses, because I can't yet know which license will make it to the general license for free art. Please keep all four licenses when you make changes, so we avoid licensing chaos. It doesn't use creative commons licensing, because cc does not protect the free avaibility of the sources (Just think LaTeX and pdf).

It was written by Draketo aka Arne Babenhauserheide, finished on 2007-09-28, improved by Alan Thiesen 2007-10-08.
Copyright © 2007 Arne Babenhauserheide.
It's first public performance was at FilkCONtinental2007 (A filk convention on the Freusburg in Germany)

If you liked the song, please pass it on!

Where you can find the song (sources and links)

Infinite Hands (or a link to the song) can already be found at the following places:

  • Freenet — Where noone can see your read.
  • The GNU Website — Which is the greatest of honors to me!
  • Theora sea — A portal for Ogg Theora videos, featuring a live recording.
  • Ogg sites — from the Play Ogg! campaign.
  • Neppstar — a free music community.
  • Jamendo — a p2p-connected music community.
  • Vuze — the BitTorrent media portal (previously called Azureus).
  • — a music website. This one also has a donation version of infinite hands.
  • — another music website. It has a donation version, too.
  • YouTube — Thanks to darkapitude!
  • — Thanks to Nitmeare!
  • Free Software Daily — a news site, thanks to akf!
  • Kontrollausschluss — a site about information privacy (german).
  • A mercurial repository — where I publish this whole website for distributed editing.

If you know another place, please tell me!

Widgets for blogging and similar

Direct embedding via HTML 5 tags

Using the <audio> and <video> tag you can very easily embed the song and the video yourself. If the browsers of your visitors support it, they can then watch the song and video without requiring any additional scripts. Please remember to remove whitespace and linebreaks within the src="..." links.

<audio controls="controls" src=""> </audio>

For the video widget, just use the code in video-done-right.html (html 4.01 version). It offers graceful degradation (you get the best format your browser supports) from ogg theora via the <video> tag over flash via youtube down to a simple download-link. It's adapted from video for everybody.

PS: The ogg theora video is just about 2.4 MiB, so it's a perfect fit for an E-Mail attachment *hint* ;)

Jamendo song widget

The artist platform Jamendo offers a widget with which you can directly embed Infinite Hands in your Weblog.

The widget looks like this:

When you use it in your weblog, please also add a link to And please read the notes about the widgets. You can embed it with the following code (valid html 4.01 Transitional as well as xhtml):

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="
album_id=29553&playerrefuid=30368&playertype=2008&refuid=30368" width="200" height="300"></object>

Theora Sea video widget

This widget is also available on Theora Sea. Please look there if the video below doesn't show. Also please remember to remove whitespace and newlines within source links (data="...")

When you use the widget in your weblog, please also add a link to And please read the notes about the widgets. You can embed it with the following code (valid html 4.01 Transitional as well as xhtml):

<object type="application/xhtml+xml" data="
v= Infinite_Hands-FilkCONtinental2008-only-song.ogv
&t=NaN&n=Arne Babenhauserheide ( - Infinite Hands
&p=" style="width: 420px; height: 360px;"></object>

Youtube video

Also you can include a youtube widget, if you prefer that.

When you use it in your weblog, please also add a link to And please read the notes about the widgets. You can embed it with the following code (valid html 4.01 Transitional as well as xhtml):

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="" width="425" height="350"></object>

Notes about the widgets

Before you ask: Yes, fixing the markup of the original widgets for Jamendo and Youtube was a pain (Theora Sea was quite nice, though) - but the "valid html 4.01" button at the bottom of the page is worth it :)

If you blog about Infinite Hands, please tell me, so I can add a backlink.

Note: For Jamendo the embedded song may only be used for noncommercial purposes (for giving more rights, the source protection of creativecommons is too weak - use the song under the four free licenses on this page instead, for example by using the Theora Sea widget).

Note 2: Yes, Jamendo and Youtube use flash. If you know a better way (without flash) to embed the song which is compatible with at least 80% of the browsers and works on GNU/Linux machines, please tell me!

Note 3: When embedding the Jamendo widget, there mustn't be a space between the question mark (?) and the next line.

Other stuff

If you want to make me happy, you can visit some of my other sites:

  • Secure Freesites (these will stay up, even when my server should die, and in freenet noone can see you reading)
    • Was sind Rollenspiele? - A styled one-page introduction to roleplaying with a multitude of links.
    • Freenet-Cards - Freenet-Cards are your real-life way to echange your ref (ID cards for freenet).
  • Sites on the insecure web
    • - Stories, songs, poems and strange ideas.
    • Gnutella For Users - Information about the inner workings of the Gnutella p2p network in easy to understand language.
    • Ein Würfel System - A free licensed pen-and-paper roleplaying system (at the moment only in German).


- 2010-10-14 - 23:42 -
Minor text polishing.

- 2009-09-28 - 22:06 - is now valid HTML5 and the included Ogg Theora Video is a new cropped version which takes only 2.4 MiB diskspace space -> perfect for spreading via Mail!

- 2009-07-01 - 01:18 -
Firefox brings the time of changes for online media with the HTML 5 <video> and <audio> tags, and since I like these changes, I added the HTML 5 tags to the widgets section. Now embedding video and audio works like a treat - if you have at least Firefox version 3.5 :)
This means, though, that my DOCTYPE isn't correct anymore, since HTML 4.01 doesn't offer these tags. I'm prepared to pay that price - though only for some time (I'll have to switch the whole site to HTML 5, I think).

- 2009-01-20 - 13:05 -
I just added a Theora Sea video widget with a live video recording of Infinite Hands, so you no longer need to use Flash for embedding.

- 2009-01-19 - 23:57 -
There are now a few more links to sites where you can find Infinite Hands. Also I updated the freesite url for anonymous reading via freenet. Finally there are the Jamendo song widget and the youtube video widget along with code for embedding them cleanly in Websites and Blogs. I don't like having to use flash, and I think Theora Sea will provide a viable alternative as soon as I get the time to switch to it.

- 2008-09-03 - 2:23 -
I did some restructuring to make this site more visitor friendly. You can always get the most up to date (but not cleaned up) news from its Mercurial repository which also offers an RSS feed.

- 2008-02-17 - 0:00 -
Infinite Hands is now also available from the free music community neppstar.

- 2007-11-26 - 12:06 -
I'd like to add a logo for Infinite Hands. If you created an image which fits (and which you want to publish under the same licenses as this song), please tell me!

- 2007-11-26 - 11:54 -
My mysql server just went down due to load, so the song is now published on this static site.



(yes, german Law requires that)
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   Arne Babenhauserheide, 
   Hirtenbrunnenstraße 20
   68229 Mannheim

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