The most unappetizing analogy, open cola and free beer

Lawrence Lessig:

“Proprietary software is like Kentucky Fried Chicken. Open source and free software is like Kentucky Fried Chicken sold with the “original secret recipe” printed in bold on the box.”

Found via Infotopia by Cass R. Sunstein. On page 165 he mentions this comparison as “illuminating”. In my eyes it’s only offensive if anything.

Sunstein himself uses a better example of proprietary product: Coca Cola and and its open source embodiment — Open Cola.

Open Cola is a proper product of the Open Source Age. But there is more — Free Beer — a true gift for those who followed free and open source discourses for the last 15 years and know by heart Richard Stallman’s glorious analogy When we speak of “free software”, we’re talking about freedom, not price. (Think of “free speech”, not “free beer”.)
Lessig writes about it in his blog:

We’re now at the stage where (at least some) the RMS conception of “free” is clear enough so that even “free beer” is “free as in free speech” such that a price running with the free beer seems (again, to a select set no doubt) perfectly natural.

However the Free Software Community is still waiting for a GNU tent on Oktoberfest.

Ein Prosit der Gemutlikeit

One Response to “The most unappetizing analogy, open cola and free beer”

  1. Master Grape Says:

    I just wrote a brief article that talks about how products like wine might get affected by the Free Content/Culture Movement… it’s a little more complicated than publishing a recipe. Thought you might like it!

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