Glossary of terms


The term broadband can have different meanings in different contexts. In this document, broadband generally refers to high capacity Internet access.
The term’s meaning has undergone substantial shifts as advances in technology permit higher and higher capacities.


We support the commons as a meta-term that describes a broad, diverse class of communities that govern themselves and their resources for collective benefit. A commons attempts to provide equal access to the resource and to assure a basic social equity for all commoners. A commons also strives to honor participation, inclusion, transparency and long-term sustainability. There are rules and boundaries for managing commons collectively, and negotiated rules for governing a shared resource. Furthermore, the commons is valuable for enlarging our understanding of what constitutes “the economy” and that as the market could be supported by the governments (One idea, which has greater appeal in European countries, is a basic income for all citizens). The goal would be to recognize social production as an important source of value by compensating it financially. Another intriguing idea is to develop alternative digital currencies. The goal would be to recognise value that the official monetary system ignores.

Commons-based Peer Production:

Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the Internet) into large, meaningful projects mostly without traditional hierarchical organization (and often, but not always, without or with decentralized financial compensation). Often used interchangeably with the term social production, Benkler compares commons-based peer production to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).


A copyleft license is a free license that requires all further distribution with or without modifications to be made under the same conditions.


Education, in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.


Firmware is software that internally controls various electronic devices.

FLOSS (Free / Libre and Open Source Software):

Free Software:

Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Open Source:

Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

  1. Free Redistribution: The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.
  2. Source Code: The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.
  3. Derived Works: The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
  4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code: The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour: The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavour. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
  7. Distribution of License: The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
  8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program’s license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
  9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software: The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.
  10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Free Knowledge / Open Knowledge:

Free Knowledge or Libre Knowledge:
Free/Libre Knowledge can be acquired, interpreted and applied freely, it can be re-formulated according to one’s needs, and shared with others for community benefit. In today’s world, where knowledge may be captured and shared electronically, this freedom is not automatically preserved, and we elaborate this definition for explicit knowledge:
(explicit) Free/Libre Knowledge is knowledge released in such a way that users are free to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience it; to learn from or with it; to copy, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to share derived works similarly (as free knowledge) for the benefit of the community.
Representations of free knowledge must be conveniently accessible for modification and sharing. For example, using Free software and Free file formats.
“Explicit knowledge” is knowledge captured on some medium, usually in a form representable on a computer (e.g. text, sound, video, animation, executable program, etc.).
Users of libre knowledge are free to
  • (0) use the work for any purpose
  • (1) study its mechanisms, to be able to modify and adapt it to their own needs
  • (2) make and distribute copies, in whole or in part
  • (3) enhance and/or extend the work and share the result.
Freedoms 1 and 3 require free file formats and free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

Open Knowledge:

The Open Knowledge Definition sets out principles to define the ‘open’ in open knowledge. The term knowledge is used broadly and it includes all forms of data, content such as music, films or books as well any other type of information.
In the simplest form the definition can be summed up in the statement that “A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it”. For details read the latest version of the full definition.

Free Cultural Works:

“Free Cultural Works” are defined as works or expressions which can be freely studied, applied, copied and/or modified, by anyone, for any purpose. It also describes certain permissible restrictions that respect or protect these essential freedoms. The definition distinguishes between free works, and free licenses which can be used to legally protect the status of a free work. The definition itself is not a license; it is a tool to determine whether a work or license should be considered “free.”

Free/Open Format:

Free Licenses or Libre Licenses:

A Free License or Libre License is a license which grants users the freedom to read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience the particular work; to learn from or with it; to copy, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to share derived works for the benefit of the community.
Free licenses or Libre licenses include:
More on free licenses at Freedom Defined.

Free/Libre Resources:

A libre resource is a (typically digital) resource (such as text, source code, an image, sound, multimedia, etc. or combinations of these) represented on a device or medium in a free/open file format, which is accessible and modifiable with free software, and released under a license which grants users the freedom to access, read, listen to, watch, or otherwise experience the resource; to learn with, copy, perform, adapt and use it for any purpose; and to contribute and share enhancements or derived works.


Interoperability is the capacity of the information systems, and the procedures to which they support, to share data, export functionality and to possibility to the exchange of information and knowledge between them and their users.

Level playing field:

A level playing field is a concept about fairness, not that each player has an equal chance to succeed, but that they all play by the same set of rules. A metaphorical playing field is said to be level if no external interference affects the ability of the players to compete fairly. Although some may view “government interference” to slant the field in reality the level playing field is created and guaranteed by the implementation of rules and regulations. Building codes, material specifications, Open Standards and zoning create a starting point, a minimum standard, — a “level playing field”.

Net Neutrality:

See “legal demands” . C.

Open access:

Three initiatives in particular have helped grow Open Access – the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, – and are recognised as historical, defining moments in the growth of this movement. There are several definitions of Open Access, see for an introduction and an extensive overview. However, the main requirements for a contribution to be Open Access are:

  1. it removes all price barriers for the users to access it (given the user has an Internet connection) and
  2. it removes enough permission barriers to support all the uses customary in legitimate scholarship. The only constraints an author can pose should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. These requirements can be defined more precisely as follows.
Open Access contributions are those works that satisfy two conditions:
  1. The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship (community standards will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now), whether in print or online.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in an appropriate standard electronic format is deposited (and thus published) in at least one online repository using suitable technical standards (such as the Open Archive definitions) that is supported and maintained by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.

Open Educational Resources (OER):

OER are learning materials that can be freely used, modified and redistributed. They should be published under a free license, be available in an open standard format and be free of DRM or other restricting devices.

P2P (Peer To Peer):

P2P (Peer To Peer) refers to a network architecture in which each node in the network may communicate directly with any other without having to go through a central hub. The nodes may share resources such as disk storage space, processing power and bandwidth). One advantage of this architecture is the possibility of distributing the load when transferring many large files potentially to more than one destination in the network. Bottlenecks in the network are reduced as parts of files find their way to their destination(s) via different routes. The parts are reassembled on arrival.
“Peer-to-peer file sharing networks have inspired new structures and philosophies in other areas of human interaction. In such social contexts, peer-to-peer as a meme refers to the egalitarian social networking that is currently emerging throughout society, enabled by Internet technologies in general.”


Software Patent:

Software patent is a patent that covers with its claims any logic computer feature, idea or method in a way that partially or totally monopolizes it.

Computer Implemented Invention:

Computer implemented invention is any patent that has any relations to computers. There are several kinds of CII: computer aided inventions; software patents; computer implemented bussiness methods; computer implemented gaming rules; and, computer implemented mathematic algorithms.


In economics, a good is considered either rivalrous (rival) or nonrival. Rival goods are goods whose consumption by one consumer prevents simultaneous consumption by other consumers. In contrast, nonrival goods may be consumed by one consumer without preventing simultaneous consumption by others. Digital resources (or goods) are non-rivalrous.

Software auditing:

Auditing of software includes the revision of code, the modification of code, the compilation of code and the execution of the code. Auditing of software must include the auditing of the tools on which such software is based (compilers, libraries, operative systems on which it runs, etc.)


A non standard:

The specification is neither public nor ratified by any recognized national or international standardization body. It does not matter how widely used the format/protocol/methodology/process/etcetera is. If widely used, it is common to denominate it in slang language as “a de facto standard”, but it is not a standard.

Closed standard:

A specification normalized and licensed in any non free form indeed not public and not common for all the licensees (you have to negotiate with the owner of the IPRs). Specification itself could cost money but should be public (if not, it wouldn’t be a standard). ECMA should be included in that category, since during its specification process doesn’t warranty enough that Technical Committee members reveal its IPRs (patents mainly) covering the standard.

RAND standard:

A public specification normalized and licensed under terms that are public and common for all the licensees. Patent rights should be declared during the standardization process. Usually RAND terms is the minimum that standardization bodies ask for to grant a standard (ie. ISO and OASIS). Specification itself could cost money. ISO/IEC should be included in that category. Should be noticed that, contrary to what RAND stands for (“Reasonable and Non Discriminatory”), that RAND standards frequently discriminate to part of the industry or to some development models as FLOSS. Ie. FLOSS and other free distribution software are taken apart from the possibility to implement the standard just from the moment that the RAND license states a fee per copy, since it is impossible to account the number of copies distributed. Additionally, some RAND licenses include terms that explicitly discriminate to FLOSS and other development models that show the source code of the programs, by forcing to the implementers to close the code of the implementation of the standard.

Open standard:

There are various definitions of Open Standards, such as the definitions in the European Commission’s European Interoperability Framework (EIF), the motion B 103 of the Danish Parliament, the definition by Bruce Pehrens, the definition developed by the 4 SELF Consortium], the one by the Spanish Estandares Abiertos, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure’s recommendations on the EIF 2.0 and the Free Knowledge Institute. Orienting itself along the lines set of the above initiatives, we understand Open Standards as follows.
The following are the minimal characteristics that a specification and its attendant documents must have in order to be considered an open standard:

  1. The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties (consensus protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector or majority decision etc.).
  2. The standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge. It must be permissible to all to copy, distribute and use it for no fee or at a nominal fee.
  3. The intellectual property – i.e. patents possibly present – of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis.
  4. There are no constraints on the re-use of the standard.
  5. However, the first condition does not have to be fulfilled in the case that a complete reference implementation of the specification exists in Free Software (a.k.a Open Source or Libre Software), i.e. under a license approved by either the FSF or OSI.

Free/libre standard:

An open standard of which there is a complete free software reference implementation of the standard, and whose complete specification can be obtained for free and without any conditions.


Able to persist/continue on account of due attention to social, environmental and economic concerns

Technological Neutrality:

Technological neutrality is the right of the citizens and the administrations to not be discriminated because its rightfull choosing of IT applications when these applications use open standards to interoperate.