Open Source

One of the many possible Software Licenses.

Not the same as Free Software. The Open Source Initiative is a marketing program for free software. It's a pitch for "free software" on solid pragmatic grounds rather than ideological tub-thumping. The winning substance has not changed, the losing attitude and symbolism have.

They define what makes a software license open source and provide a list of compatible licenses. Eric Raymond provides an easier-to-read summary as part of his UNIX programming-culture book.

I wonder how much of the rise of Open Source was (a) the DotCom bubble making companies more comfortable with sharing/donating work on lower-level infrastructure, and then (b) ex-DotCom unemployed Hacker-s with time on their hands (continuing through the Jobless Recovery)? (counter: Geeks With Kids)

Pragmatic issues:

  • no Open Source license has ever been tested in the courts

  • At the moment I'm a little confused about how license restrictions apply when building a product on top of an Open Source chunk of code. Platform vs application? I asked about this for OSAF/Chandler.

  • requirements for releasing changes to code only seems to apply if you "distribute" the code. What if you use it for a WebApp?

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