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On free knowledge

(parallelling our open software manifesto)

Networks of XOs with digital libraries will bring children and communities access to a world of extraordinary ideas, cultures, games, creative works, and scientific discoveries. They will be able to immediately take part in, explore, or simulate many of these. XO will also provide many new tools for recording one's environment and collaborations, and children will have original contributions to make. The production of new works, interpretations, and collections to match the diversity of the children themselves, will require providing them with the freedom to share and reuse what they learn and create.

For these reasons, and to uphold the principles which will guide the success of our project, content in the core OLPC Library should:

  • Include any source code and allow its modification, so that developers and children can change the software to fit an inconceivably diverse set of needs.
  • Include description of its creation, history, and contributors, and tools made to create it, so that children can come to understand the process by which content and tools are developed, and can learn to evaluate material based on its references and origins.
  • Allow distribution of modified or translated copies, so that the freedoms that current creators and collaborators depend upon for scalability and success remain available to those who stand on their shoulders.
  • Allow redistribution without permission -- either alone or as part of a collection -- as we can not know and should not control how knowledge and ideas will be reused. As children outgrow current knowledge, their libraries must grow with them.
  • Require no royalties or other fees for redistribution or modification, for economy and pragmatism in the global context of our project.
  • Place no restrictions on other content that is distributed along side it. Licenses must not limit the public domain, copyright, or copyleft content that can be distributed on the platform. An entire world of content should be open to children through this project, and they will need to be able to choose from all of it.
  • Allow these rights to be passed on to others. To this end, content should avoid licenses specific to either the OLPC organization or its children. While we are providing content today, the users of the laptops are the authors and librarians of tomorrow, and it is through them that this shared body of knowledge will grow and be passed on.
  • Support and promote open data and file formats that can be produced with free tools (e.g., editing and layout tools)
  • Avoid discriminating against persons or areas of study, either through inaccessible interfaces or through systemic bias.

In this way we may lay the foundation for a worldwide community of learners and creators, skilled in large-scale collaboration, designing their own projects and finding ways to play with and learn from those around them.

All material installed on the laptops will be in the public domain or available under a free license, such as the MIT License, the GNU General Public License, or the Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution/Share-alike licenses (Creative Commons No-derivatives and Non-commercial licenses are too restrictive and should not be used). Materials under other licenses may be included in school and regional libraries; see Contributing content.