Free Software philosophy in the fourth century
(Book I, Chapter 1 "De doctrina christiana" "Corpus Christianorum", "Series latina", Vol. 32, p. 6, lines 10-11. Written 397 AD by Saint Augustinus.)
- English translation:
"For if a thing is not diminished by being shared with others, it is not rightly owned if it is only owned and not shared."
- German translation:
"Denn jede Sache, die durch Mitteilung an andere nicht verliert, besitzt man nicht, wie man soll, solange man sie nur selber besitzt, ohne sie wieder an andere weiterzugeben."
"Denn jede Sache, die durch Weitergabe an andere nicht verliert, besitzt man nicht, wie man soll, solange man sie nicht an andere weitergibt."
The context of the quote is the sharing of knowledge through teaching and writing. So it almost perfectly fits the philosophy of Free Software.
About Aurelius Augustinus
Due to his role in the dogmatic controversies and his far-spanning work, Augustinus has been seen as the theological authority in the medieval ages. Nowadays he is held as the most important latin founding-father of the church.
Many thanks to
- Steven G. Johnson who pointed this great quote out to us.
- Dr. Michael Becht (head of faculty, library of the theological faculty, University of Freiburg i. Br., Germany) who helped me with my research and made the original quote available as well as providing all the additional info. He also supplied the picture of St. Augustinus from the Lateranpalace in Rome.