[okfn-discuss] Open vs free/libre

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Sep 21 14:08:17 UTC 2007

On 9/20/07, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> My reasons are very similar (but obverse) to those cited for using the
> 'libre/free' term. Most importantly, I don't think that making
> information 'libre/free/open' is a *moral* obligation but is rather a
> question of pragmatics (or maximizing social welfare in economist's
> terminology).

Pragmatically, my problem with both "free" and "open" is that they
carry many existing connotations in the English language, and as such
are likely to be abused and misused. I have seen a lot of "free/libre
vs. freeware" confusion, but also a lot of mixing of so-called "open"
licenses. I like "libre" because it almost compels one to read the

As for the philosophical arguments -- I consider the ability to share
knowledge freely a necessary, but not sufficient, component of social

Toward Peace, Love & Progress:

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