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open source beer

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to open source technology in application development

Open source beer is beer whose recipe is published according to the same principles as open source software. The first open source beer was created by a group of students at the Information Technology University of Copenhagen. The idea arose from a workshop on intellectual property and copyright. Rasmus Nielsen, who was leading the workshop, wanted to extend the open source concept beyond the digital realm: "Why not take the legal framework, the open-source licenses, and apply them to analog products?"

The students created a recipe based on traditional techniques but added one untraditional ingredient -- guarana, a stimulant derived from a South American berry. The group published the recipe under a Creative Commons license. According to the licensing agreement, the recipe can be used and adapted by anyone. However, anyone that alters the recipe and profits from the product is obligated to publish their version and credit the original group. The group named their product Vores Øl (Danish for "Our Beer") version 1.0.

According to the official Web site, the Vores Øl group hopes that their product might some day become "the Linux of beers."

This was last updated in November 2006

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