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Copyleft-sticker from an envelope mailed from Don Hopkins to Richard Stallman in 1984, via Aymeric Mansoux (2017) Sanbox Culture, https://www.bleu255.com/~aymeric/dump/aymeric_mansoux-sandbox_culture_phd_thesis-2017.pdf
Copyleft-sticker from an envelope mailed from Don Hopkins to Richard Stallman in 1984, via Aymeric Mansoux (2017) Sanbox Culture, https://www.bleu255.com/~aymeric/dump/aymeric_mansoux-sandbox_culture_phd_thesis-2017.pdf
Copyleft All Wrongs Reserved, via Aymeric Mansoux (2017) Sanbox Culture, https://www.bleu255.com/~aymeric/dump/aymeric_mansoux-sandbox_culture_phd_thesis-2017.pdf
a Xerox Mark - Radical Software, Volume I, Number 3 (Spring 1971) http://www.radicalsoftware.org/e/volume1nr3.html
tools shapes practice shapes tools, by Open Source Publishing (OSP) http://osp.kitchen/
This poster is a publication of Constant. It was made with open source software (Scribus, Gimp on Ubuntu) and fonts (Bitstream Charter, Bitstream Vera Sans) - https://data.constantvzw.org/verlag/downloads//posterOCL.pdf
weld.eerie.garden, (screenshot 2020) https://weld.eerie.garden/
“kopimi ;P” + NPL + CNPL licenses, Thufie (2019) https://thufie.lain.haus/NPL.html
2764 journal, Kibi Gô (2020) https://www.u2764.com/
Intersections of Care, Florence Cheval and Loraine Furter (2019) http://www.intersectionsofcare.net/

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (a.k.a. F/LOSS or FLOSS)

Meet Richard Stallman



Open Source? Free Software?

Nearly all open source software is free software; the two terms describe almost the same category of software. But they stand for views based on fundamentally different values. Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement. For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, because only free software respects the users’ freedom. By contrast, the philosophy of open source considers issues in terms of how to make software “better”–in a practical sense only. It says that non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, however, non-free software is a social problem, and moving to free software is the solution. 

Richard M. Stallman, “Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software”, 2007

License Must Be Technology-Neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Open Source Initiative, The Open Source Definition

Free software movement was started in a capitalist society and has always existed in a capitalist society, there is no incompatibility between free software and capitalism. [...] We do not need to get rid of capitalism. Free software combines capitalist ideas, and socialist ideas, and anarchist ideas. It does not fit into any of those camps.

RT: Richard Stallman: We’re Heading for a Total Disaster, Online video (San Bruno: YouTube, 2012).

Four Software Freedoms

A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

   The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
   The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). 
         Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
   The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom 2).
   The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). 
         By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. 
         Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

A program is free software if it gives users adequately all of these freedoms. Otherwise, it is nonfree. While we can distinguish various nonfree distribution schemes in terms of how far they fall short of  being free, we consider them all equally unethical.


F/LOSS examples

What tools are we talking about?

  • Nextcloud
  • Unity
  • Ubuntu
  • Blender
  • LibreOffice
  • Inkscape
  • Gimp
  • Thunderbird
  • Firefox
  • VLC
  • BigBlueButton
  • Jitsi
  • Arduino
  • Bricklink
  • Audacity
  • Processing

Free Culture

Various groups of people, also artists and designers, decided to not blindly accept copyright, use different tools and let their practice be shaped by it.

Resulting in a messy culture of appropriation (open licenses, copying, collages, piracy, versioning, forking, etc) and free culture practices.

Some links:

F/LOSS design practices:


open licenses



Early open software licenses

  • GNU General Public License (GPL) - link
  • Old Berkeley Software Distribution License (BSD) - link

Special time for open licenses throughout different cultures

  • the OpenContent License (1998)
  • the Licence Publique Audiovisuelle (1998)
  • the Licence Association des Bibliophiles Universels (1999)
  • the Comprehensive Open Licence (1999)
  • the Counter Copyright notice (1999)
  • the Design Science License (1999)
  • the Free Document Dissemination Licence (1999)
  • the GNU Free Documentation License (1999)
  • the IDGB Open Book Open Content License (1999)
  • the License Publique Multimedia (1999)
  • the Linux Documentation Project Copying License (1999)
  • the Open Publication License (1999)
  • the Open Directory License (1999)
  • the Open Resources Magazine License (1999)
  • the W3C Document Notice (1999)
  • the Ethymonics Free Music Licence (2000)
  • the Free Art License (2000)
  • the Freedom CPU Charter (2000)
  • the GNU Free Documentation License (2000)
  • the Licence ludique générale (2000)
  • the Licence pour Documents Libres (2000)
  • the Licence Publique de Traduction (2000)
  • the Open Game License (2000)
  • the Trackers Public License (2000)
  • the Common Documentation License (2001)
  • the EFF Open Audio License (2001)
  • the HyperNietzsche Licenses (2001)
  • the Open Music Licenses (2001)
  • the Simputer General Public License (2001)
  • the Academic Free License (2002)
  • the CopID notice (2002)
  • the Mnémosyne Free Dissemination License (2002)

Excerpt from Sandbox Culture, see note below.

Creative Commons

  • BY (Contribution)
  • SA (Share Alike)
  • NC (Non-Commercial)
  • ND (No derivatives)

Link: https://creativecommons.org/about/cclicenses/

And then there is the CC0 (Public Domain).

More recently: conditional licenses

We will dive further into these conditional licenses later in the seminar.


Many useful links and references on this page are found in the PhD thesis of Aymeric Mansoux (2017) Sandbox Culture - A Study of the Application of Free and Open Source Software Licensing Ideas to Art and Cultural Production and used in the Not for Any* toolkit (2020) published by Varia.