[okfn-discuss] Open vs free/libre

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Sep 27 14:31:22 UTC 2007

Erik Moeller wrote:
> 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
> definition.

I take your point Erik though at the same time there is a cost to using 
a new and unfamiliar term.

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

Good way of distilling it. I think I'd have to then come down as someone 
who thought the ability to share (all) knowledge freely was neither 
necessary nor sufficient for social liberation -- even if I knew for 
certain what social liberation entailed :)


More information about the okfn-discuss mailing list