What Do We Mean By "Open"?

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Sept 19, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm rapidly losing patience with people who read my stuff for free and then complain that it isn't free enough. I've been writing and posting openly since long before there was even a Creative Commons, much less commerical publishers who want to redefine 'free' and 'open' as meaning they put up a fence around it and charge access. The Creative Commons license generator says to me "This is not a Free Culture License" and as Audrey Watters says "and that’s a whole other can of worms, a judgmental one at that." As she says, "I think the important thing is to recognize a continuum of openness and restrictions -- licensing, access, source code, transparency, reusability -- and to think about the context in which 'open' is invoked." As for myself, I'll continue to define the words the way any competent speaker of the language would: 'open' means anyone can get in, and 'free' means you don't have to pay. If you want to do something different, that's fine, just don't give me the attitude. For me, for my courses, "free and open" is the way I roll.

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