Gratis versus libre November 2020

I’ve been thinking about the Stewart Brand quote: “information wants to be free” and the latin that came before it: “Gratis versus libre” which roughly translates to “free without restriction”.

More and more over time I see the benefit to open sourcing things. I think for me that means open sourcing my thinking on this page, but also open sourcing the writing we do as a business. Over time, people are able to build up an accumulated advantage as a result of open sharing of information. The business already sees this, because we put our best advice on our blog, and our blog has seen a significant increase in traffic as a result of the relevance of the content. I think the same could be said of many things, it doesn’t have to be limited to software.

I have made similar arguments about governments doing as the US does and open sourcing drafts of new laws. While most people tend to ignore this, it would be nice to think that as technology becomes more accessible, more people will engage with open sourced thinking, software, laws and other media. I have even been thinking about how sooner or later, every database becomes public through breach of security or otherwise. If true, you would want to reduce the value of the data being shared, or normalize it’s sharing, rather than limit it.

I think in the future people will open source even more things, like their genome, past trauma and most fundamental values. Transparency seems to be a forcing function for good judgement, good code, clear thinking, balanced laws and fast communication. All very important things.

You can find the source code for this website here.