Information wants to be free

Very often people ask why the SOT is free. Why are there no fees? Some people are even sceptical that it is free and wait for the “money-scheme” to ambush them.

There is nothing wrong with charging fees for services and SOT is actually funded by the fees we do charge to corporations for consulting. But, on the web, SOT is free and has been since it first started.

In 1995, the School of Thinking became the first virtual school on the internet as one of the world’s first 10,000 websites. Today the internet has more than 600 million websites.

In those first days the ethos of the internet was “Information wants to be free!” and SOT became the world’s first school for teaching thinking to anyone, anywhere and at anytime. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW puts it, “The spirit of the internet was not one of patents and royalties but of academic openness”.

STEWART BRAND spreads the “information wants to be free” meme at the first Hackers’ Conference in 1984 …

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”

5 thoughts on “Information wants to be free

  1. I fully endorse the concept of “freeing information” and as well salute Michael for this wonderful attitude of service to mankind. Money is not everything. We came to this world without money and when we leave we cannot take back a penny(this is from the Gita). But when we leave, people will not remember who all lived here. And they will not at all rememeber those who has only amassed money(there are plunderers all over) but only those who essentially worked for the mankind.
    Human history is a great testimony to that. We reverentially think of the Buddhas, Confuciouss, Platos, Aristotles etc. not the so many rich Kings and emperors who ruled the earth

  2. free information is a service to humanity. With internet we have seen more information becoming easily available to more and more people and it is increasingly changing peoples lives: in the way we think, we behave and acquire knowledge. I commend SOT for keeping this site free , you are doing a great service to those who like to think and innovate.

  3. With free information also comes the need for a respectful and responsible world that will not only accept free information from a positive and productive perspective, but also as tool to reinvent and improve. Free information is a great idea, having an open and honest forum for all things is a great idea. As a consequence, when do we start educating that it is ok to think differently and to react to differences of opinion in a rational and non judgemental approach? SOT teaches respect for difference and that there is no right or wrong only perspectives and ideals that have been culturally developed, promoted and reinforced over time. Can the world respect the rights of others to think and judge information, faster than we can promote or explore the concepts of free information without conflict? Let us all hope so. I for one, challenge all students to respect the rights of others to voice an opinion and to respond to others as they would have those others respond to them.

  4. To develop the World into Knowledge Society, it is must that information on internet must be free to serve majority-humanity. Hence, Information wants to be Free, Free, Free for Humanity at large.

  5. Have the newspapers become any better when they became available for free? Sometimes the “free” trap is reducing quality of information to a level where its value equals the cost………

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