Open Source Policy

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At LibreCube we have a clear opinion on why we want to stick to free and open source software and hardware.

The main goal is to allow everyone to get involved. We want to eliminate the barriers that are created by proprietary tools and file formats - therefore we promote the exclusive use of free and open source software (FOSS). Learn more about FOSS here.

If we would develop our hardware and software projects with (usually expensive) proprietary tools and then make those files openly available, it would counterfeit the purpose. Only a few people could then access the source designs; namely those with enough money at hand. And although there are many software tools available that do not cost anything (free as in ‘free beer’) or offer free trial licenses, we do not advocate the use of such tools. An important aspect of FOSS is freedom (free as in ‘free speech’). That means, you should be able to know what the software is doing (by looking at its source code) and to be able to modify it to your needs.

That is not to say that we rely on software tools that are of inferior quality. Many times, there exist FOSS tools that are of equal or even better quality/security than their proprietary counterparts. That is achieved through massive peer review of their users, who can freely inspect the code and find bugs. Find some more convincing arguments here. By sticking to FOSS, it also doesn't mean that we are not willing to financially support the development and maintenance of such software tools. The opposite is true: when one starts benefiting from a tool that was given for free, people tend to freely donate to it as a reward and to keep the project going. A good example is Wikipedia, which runs solely on donations.

The same applies to software as a service (SaaS). There are numerous online web services that provide free accounts. A prime example is GitHub for hosting git repositories. It is a paradox that the majority of open source projects are hosted at GitHub, while GitHub itself is a closed-source project. A good alternative is GitLab, which is fully open source. Apart from the rather philosophical question of whether a SaaS is open or not, the use of open source web services also bring the practical advantage. It makes you independent of the service providers, as in any case you could host the service locally at your own machines.