A set of founding principles reflect FKI’s thoughts and ideas as a basis for the free knowledge society. They help guide and articulate the institute’s priorities and work.
1. Sharing Knowledge
We share, create, stimulate and promote free knowledge in all its forms. Knowledge shared freely becomes socially valuable. It is available to everyone free of charge and can be used, adapted, modified, updated and translated without restriction.
Our work is based on scientific principles as we are committed to the scientific tradition, which includes sharing of knowledge for mutual enlightenment. Contributors share their work with the expectation that others will do the same when they build upon previous contributions. This principle of reciprocity is inherent in science and in Free Software, and it is the defining principle of Copyleft. The Free Knowledge Institute reflects this principle in its publications, software, and educational materials.
The term “free” in “Free Software” refers to freedom, and never to price. The Free Knowledge Institute applies the same understanding of “free” to all its materials, and allows commercial use by third parties.
4. Free Software and Open Source
Free Software was first defined on January 1989 in the GNU’s bulletins and, in 1992, “Libre Software” was proposed as a synonym based on this same definition. In 1997 Free Software was specified in the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) and, in 1998, the DFSG were used in formulating the definition of the term “Open Source”, which was proposed as a marketing term for Free Software, later resulting in the combined terms “FOSS” and “FLOSS”.
The Free Knowledge Institute speaks of Free Software for various reasons. Using the term that was first defined is good scientific practice. The term Free Software also refers to the defining criterion, which is freedom, and is thus better suited, in our view, to convey what we are about. As freedom is central to the FKI, we opted for “Free Software”.
5. Open Standards
Open Standards are the basis of interoperability, and fundamental for an unencumbered flow of knowledge and information as well as freedom of competition, as users no longer depend on formats and specifications that are controlled by any one company.
Free Software tends to use and help define Open Standards since it consists, by definition, of publicly available specifications, and the acessibility of its source code promotes open, democratic debate around the specifications, making them both more robust and interoperable.
The Free Knowledge Institute is committed to spreading knowledge about Open Standards.
We believe that educational resources should be freely accessible to everyone and our aim is guaranteed equal participation of teachers, students, parents, public and private institutions in the construction of educational materials.
We are a not-for-profit organisation with non-commercial objectives. Others, however, may benefit from our work, including commercially.
8. No political affiliation
We are not attached to any political party. The ideas of Free Knowledge, Free Software and Open Standards are shared by people of all political hues.
The Free Knowledge Institute welcomes financial contributions to carry on its activities. We do not accept funding that would compromise our ability to share, create, stimulate and promote knowledge freely, thoroughly and objectively.
The Free Knowledge Institute is composed by a group of people who share the founding principles of the institute and work together in order to achieve the Institute’s objectives. The FKI is guided by its Advisory Board, directed by its Board, while day-to-day management is performed by its Executive team.
11. High Quality
The Free Knowledge Institute strives to make available excellent materials, both by stimulating the collaboration of the best specialists in its network as well as by implementing quality procedures and mechanisms.
We promote transparency and inspire confidence by pursuing a proactive and comprehensive information policy.
We strive to decide through consensus and to understand each other’s points of view.
14. Development, Accessibility, Cultural Diversity and Multilingualism
We strive to make our work accessible to anyone, including physically impaired people and people in developing countries with technological difficulties. Our aim is to contribute to improve education about Free Knowledge in developing countries and to help their citizens reclaim their rights to technology and knowledge. Our endeavour is to provide Free Knowledge in as many languages as possible.