[Chtechcomm] Open source beer

Terri Buckner tbuckner at ibiblio.org
Thu Oct 20 12:35:56 EDT 2005


In tribute to the committee's open source initiative......

 From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

Ale's What's Good for You
By AISHA LABI

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but free beer? That's 
another matter entirely, thanks to some students at the IT University of
Copenhagen.

Charged with applying principles from the free-software movement to
something tangible, the students devised an "open source" beer recipe in 
a workshop on intellectual-property and copyright issues.

"Beer seemed like the appropriate universal medium," says Rasmus 
Nielsen, a Danish artist who helped teach the course. "It's a university 
situation and beer is popular."

Vores Øl, literally "Our Beer," is a thick, malty concoction flavored 
with the caffeine-rich guarana berry. The recipe and downloadable labels 
are available on the beer's Web site (http://www.voresoel.dk), where 
would-be brewers are advised, "You are free to earn money from Our Beer, 
but you have to publish the recipe under the same license ... and credit 
our work."

Mr. Nielsen says the project was a knowing nod to celebrated statements 
by Richard Stallman, a pioneer of the free-software movement, and Linus
Torvalds, who designed Linux, the world's best-known open-source software.

"To understand the concept [of free software], you should think of 'free
speech,' not 'free beer,'" Mr. Stallman famously said. "I'm interested 
in free beer," was Mr. Torvalds's rejoinder.

Vores Øl may be free, but it is no ordinary ale. "It's about beer as a 
way of discussing copyright issues," says Mr. Nielsen. "Beer is not the
message. It's just the medium."





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