Common knowledge

The discussion about Why software must be free is part of a more general idea. Software must be free because it is a form of common knowledge.

Common knowledge is knowledge that has been acquired and formulated by more than one author. Such knowledge should by default not be permitted to become private property.

An author who quotes other authors should get only the honor part of their work, not the revenue part (compare Copyright is a bug). The revenue part, the right to share this knowledge, should be a human right, freely granted to everybody.

For example when an end-user of a software asks a question about how to use this software, then she is actively contributing to the knowledge pool around that software.

Note the important relation between common knowledge and private data. Public data should be usable, private data should be protected 1. Disclosing confidential data to the public is a criminal act which cannot be undone.


“Öffentliche Daten nützen, private Daten schützen” is a slogan used by the CCC (Hackeretik)

“Weapons of Math Destruction” by Cathy O’Neil

EU citizens might get a ‘right to explanation’ about the decisions algorithms make