Possible motto for the FSF Europe

Georg C. F. Greve greve at gnu.org
Fri Dec 22 12:29:46 UTC 2000

Hi guys!

I got something that is rather fitting with the whole christmas
concept, I'd say. Steven Johnson pointed some GREAT quote out that he
only knew the English translation and author of to the GNU Project. I
did a little research and here is what I got:

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    "Omnis enim res, quae dando non deficit, dum habetur 
     et non datur, nondum habetur, quomodo habenda est."

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."

(from Sigisbert Mitterer, Bibliothek der Kirchenväter, Bd. 49, München 1925)

This quote can be found in Book I, Chapter 1 "De doctrina christiana"
"Corpus Christianorum", "Series latina", Vol. 32, p. 6, lines 10-11. 
Written 397 AD by Saint Augustinus. 

It originally referred to the principle of giving and sharing preached
by Jesus but fits almost perfectly on the philosophy of Free Software
where one can share without losing. 

About Aurelius Augustinus:

 - born 354 in the Roman province town Thagaste (current Algeria)

 - studies of Philosophy, Grammar and Rethorik in Thagaste, Carthago,
   Rome and Milano

 - 386 AD found his was to Christianity

 - 387 AD baptized

 - 390/391 AD Aurelius Augustinus became priest and shortly after
   bishop of Hippo Regius (current Algeria)

 - important role in the African church and important factor in the
   solution of dogmatic quarrels

 - 430 AD Augustinus died when the Vandals besieged the town

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
found-father of the church.

Many thanks to 

 - Steven G. Johnson <stevenj at gil-galad.mit.edu> 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
   oldest picture of St. Augustinus from the Lateranpalace in Rome
   (6th century AD) 

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I think this quote fits really well with the Free Software philosophy
and it would definitely work well as a motto, I think.

Just wanted to share this with you...


Georg C. F. Greve                                       <greve at gnu.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe	             (http://www.fsfeurope.org)
Brave GNU World	                           (http://brave-gnu-world.org)
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