Monday, February 19, 2007

Open source beer...

Free, well I mean open source beer. Check out Harry Lanman's article from the February 18, 2007 Boston Globe about a group of students and artists that are producing and marketing the first open source beer.

They got the idea from discussions about open source software. Open source software producers maintain that customers live with software and use it regularly, so they should be able to tweak it and work out the bugs. Standford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, the champion of open source software has written extensively and eloquently on the subject.

The Linux operating system and Mozilla Firefox browser are two examples of successful open source software. Richard Stallman, who manages Linux licenses once opined "think of 'free' as in 'free speech,' not 'free beer.'" He and others understand that software costs money to make and that one should be able to recoup those costs to pay the bills. However, they maintain that the knowledge that went into it should be free and shared with the public.

When the students announced their open source beer, they called it "free as in free software."
Check out the full article here:


GenX at 40 said...

With respect, this is the biggest whack of hooey in all of beerdom. All beer recipes are unable to be copyrighted - instructions are not subject to the law as copyright protects only the expression not the idea. Inexpressive instruction manuals are, for example, excluded by the law. The reason are not shared due only to trade secret maintained by the brewers - think Coke recipe.

Plus the so called recipe is not a recipe at all as it leaves out vital elements. Here is the one reference to me ever in the New York Times when the story first was foisted upon us.

Lessig is having some weird lapse of his legal understanding in the face of this marketing bonanza for open-sourced-ness.

Happy 1st Session Day!

A Good Beer Blog

bostonbeerman said...


All points well-taken. I posted the article more for the collision of my beer geek and technology geek worlds. I manage podcasting, website, and other technology projects for a museum.

I find the article humorous, rather than providing any real intellectual contribution to open-source software.

Jonathan said...

I agree with Alan. To me the whole idea of open source beer kind of sucks the soul out of beer. Software is about compatability, but beer is about individuality. And plus the labels blow.