Information Is Free

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This is part of the 3-line mantra propounded by Red1

 Information Is Free
 People Are Not
 Contributors Are Priceless

Why Is Information Free?

Without free information, Open Source becomes a mockery. This simple concept of Open Knowledge allows an Open Source application to achieve a greater adoption rate than otherwise, and gain the reach and brand-recognition that is well-deserved for the creators of such information and Open Source software.

Exceptions To The Rule?

There are no exceptions to the above rule with respect to the publically available interfaces of the software. This means all the knowledge on how to operate an open source application should be made available as Free Information. However the second principle, that People Are Not , does have consequences for the first.

When People Are At Stake

  • Any transactional or accounting information that relates to private parties in their transactions must be considered sacred and thus falls out of the purview of the first Information Is Free principle.
  • Information such as a business practices or formulas that a client or user does not wish to share, perhaps believing it offers them a competitive advantage, shall also be respected as private.
  • Finally, Security information that may expose a person or people to harm, danger or legal threat can also be looked upon as not free information.

Such cases are considered 'Private Data' .

Applying 'Private Data'

When Private Data exists within an application, it should be obscured (for example by substituting "*** Password " or "*** Place Your Formula Here ") in any public communications. In contemporary programming practice using meta-data can resolve the need to hard-code such data into an application. Thus a log dump that contains such Private Data can be kept private.

Other Open Policies

Anyone may suggest policies that contribute to the open source nature of this community, though only consensus will legitimate their adoption. Such policies should attempt to reconcile the primary principle of Open Knowledge, Open Business and Open Community against the secondary principle that People Are Not (free to be abused).


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Further Reading