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'Open Source Media' vs 'Open Source Media, Inc' 136

Posted by Hemos
from the in-the-grim-future-of-hello-kitty-words-are-weapons dept.
Karl writes "Last week OSM (Open Source Media) launched to what some are calling an odd start. Most notably naming a controversy has ensued with Christopher Lydon's public radio show Open Source, a production of Open Source Media, Inc.."
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'Open Source Media' vs 'Open Source Media, Inc'

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  • by Scoth (879800) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:12AM (#14081241)
    Seems to me that "Open Source" is starting to turn into a buzzword used by people when they want the geek masses to take notice of something and proclaim it good. And it seems to work sometimes, but I guess we'll see how this goes. Some of the updates don't look promising. Could be neat though.
    • Not just geeks, others too. I can't imagine Microsoft would have launched their shared source initiative just to please the geeks (most of whom wouldn't be impressed by it anyhow). 'Open source' is a marketing word just as sure as 'innovative', 'intuitive', and, ironically, 'proprietary'.
      • The phrase "revolutionizing technology" returns 1.6 million results on Google... :-P
      • At work the managers have been talking about an open source repository of software at work. When I asked them what license it would bbe under, it turned out to be proprietary- it was going to be open only to internal developers (in other words, it was a place to share code withing the company). Still a good idea, but calling it open source is asking for confusion.

        But yup, when the PHBs start to redefine the term, its now a buzzword.
        • Once they understand the confusion that this causes, they should stop using the term Open Source, in order to prevent any confusion.

          If they openly accept and even invite the confusion, then they should also accept and invite the consequences.

          Oh, I posted all of our "open source" onto the Internet to help it get more widespread distribution.
    • Look at the claims of openness from SUN and others before. Open and Open Source has been a monstrous buzzword for years.
    • From what I gathered, "Open Source" was a buzzword to begin with. The various early proponents of it (ESR, Bruce Perens, etc.) came up with it when they figured that "Free Software" would not catch on with PHBs and investors. The term was designed to generate buzz. Before it was associated with Free Software, it didn't have a meaning, and thus took, and still takes on whatever meaning people attribute to it. If that doesn't fit the definition of a buzzword, I don't know what does.

      At least this is the way ES
      • Open Source (and Free Software, to a degree) have been retroactively defined. Google for "Open Source Definition", or "Debian Free Software Guidelines".

        For free software, you can just read fsf.org to catch up on how that's being redefined on a regular basis.
  • by BushCheney08 (917605) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:13AM (#14081248)
    Alright, just in time to coincide with the launching of my company, Free Software, Inc. I'll have a product list and pricelist available shortly.
  • by Pampusik (458223) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:17AM (#14081275) Homepage
    Anybody else notice that most of their "current headlines" come from China's propaganda agency, Xinhua News Agency?

    Odd start indeed...
    • Its pretty ironic for them to do that, especially considering China's history with banning bloggers. maybe they never noticed xinhua's general slant, or maybe its all because the news tips seem user sent. could their bloggers be in support of the PRC? either way I think its a cheap attempt to use a name to support a cast of second rate bloggers...
      • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Monday November 21, 2005 @11:16AM (#14081650) Homepage
        Its pretty ironic for them to do that, especially considering China's history with banning bloggers. maybe they never noticed xinhua's general slant, or maybe its all because the news tips seem user sent. could their bloggers be in support of the PRC? either way I think its a cheap attempt to use a name to support a cast of second rate bloggers...

        Or maybe the whole outfit is nothing but a front to promote wingnut propaganda for some corporate interests that have reasons for making nice with Bejing.

        It might just be a mistake in configuring their moreover feed, but their terms of use which try to prohibit quoting or satire are not.

        The site appears to be a carbon copy of the Huffington Post, only with right wing pundits instead of left and minus the reader comments. They have missed their moment for that, there is no shortage of right wing portal blogs without comments. What there is a growing shortage of is right wing fanatics wanting to endlessly debate why George W. Bush is absolutely right on everything.

        What would make a lot more sense would be to set up a straight news and politics blog which does not have an eggregious tilt to either side. The right wing blogs play the Fox news game of pretending to be straight while delivering GOP talking points of the day verbatim. The left wing blogs make no bones about being partisan, the stated purpose of DailyKos is to campaign for Democratic candidates, Americablog makes no bones about being gay rights activism.

        If you have any doubt about the right wingnut slant here just read the blogroll. Americablog? Kos? Huffington Post? Crooks and Liars? Nope. How about the commercial blogs, Salon? OK Slate, official blog of the WaPo? Nope, Nope. But pretty much every right wingnut blog you can imagine.

        The cleverest thing Matt Drudge did was to put links to right and left wing media and blogs onto his home page. A lot of people still use him as a portal because the links are comprehensive. Of course that started back in the days when Drudge thought he could be a bipartisan bottomfeeder

        So given the rest of the nonsense I don't see anything suprising about the deliberately misleading use of 'open source'. Clearly OSM is not open source, they don't even allow fair use of their stuff! (Like they have a choice).

        Christopher Lydon appears to be refering to a different, older definition of 'open source', a term used by journalists that means publicly available information, like minutes of congress, stuff published in other media, etc. But the wingnuts are clearly using the term in the geek sense.

    • Yes, I noticed some too. Not far from the "Bush Calls for Religious Freedom in China" headline.
      Damned Communist Propaganda! :)
    • by superdude72 (322167) * on Monday November 21, 2005 @11:54AM (#14081935)
      Anybody else notice that most of their "current headlines" come from China's propaganda agency, Xinhua News Agency?

      It's funny because they're right-wing and presumably anti-communist, but I expect this is simply lack of competence on their part. Xinhua is available with a lot of newsfeed packages and is very, very cheap. Might even be free. We used to get Xinhua when my company subscribed to a newsfeed a few years ago.

      Still, if they doing any filtering of their newsfeeds I wouldn't expect they'd let Xinhua flood everything like that.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:18AM (#14081278)
    Who is Christopher Lydon? More specifically, what contribution to the open source community has he made? His name doesn't ring a bell with me.

    • by dominux (731134) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:29AM (#14081332) Homepage
      hosts a jolly good current affairs/analysis podcast radio show. Search for Open Source in iTunes and you will find the podcast. Open Source refers to the openness of the production process and the source of the news rather than code. I found it whilst searching for podcasts about open source code, so the name was misleading to me, however the show has merit in it's own right and I am not bitter about having found it.
    • by metternich (888601) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:31AM (#14081337)
      He hasn't. He's just a talk radio host on NPR. They chose the name "Open Source" because they felt that the format of their show reflected simlar values to Open Source ideals. It's also a bit of play on words. "Source" in this case means a News source. So the idea is that anyone can be News Source for the show, hence "Open Source."
      • I think the term "open source" was used in the journalism and intelligence fields long before it was used in relation to software. Beyond that, I agree that they use the term because there is a Boston area (MIT, Harvard) geek-cred tie in.
    • by ivanski (89701) on Monday November 21, 2005 @12:03PM (#14082009)
      Christopher Lydon was the host on WBUR/NPR's "The Connection", one of the best radio interview/talk shows around. He left after a dispute with WBUR and spent some time at the Harvard Berkman Center, where he met Dave Winer and became a pioneer in podcasting by running a podcast interview show. His interviews are all available from his Berkman blog [harvard.edu] and they're consistently excellent (the breadth of the interviewees is substantial, including people such as Doc Searle, Paul Krugman, Larry Lessig, Jeffrey Sachs, Howard Dean, David Weinberger).

      His company, Open Source Media, and the radio show are both very much inspired by open source values (e.g., openness, cooperation and sharing):

      - All content is Creative Commons licensed (compare to OSM's obnoxious TOS [osm.org]).
      - They actively interact with their audience through blogging.
      - They involving the audience in show production (read How this works [radioopensource.org]).

      It doesn't seem like an unreasonable translation of the open source ethos to radio and media production within what's feasible.

      I think his trademark case is pretty solid; he has a live registered mark (meaning the examiners have accepted it so they have the benefit of the doubt if someone claims it's not trademarkable) on Open Source as applied to a radio show and commentary website, and prior use of the trade name Open Source Media. The potential for confusion (the big criteria in TM issues) is substantial. OSM LLC, meanwhile uses all kinds [osm.org] of weaselly wording [osm.org] to handwave around the fact that they use the phrase "Open Source Media" as an alternate name for the operation everywhere while implying they're just "OSM" so that makes them not really infringing (if I started RH LLC but had the name "Red Hat" plastered all over my site and press releases, do you think I could be in a bit of a bind?).

      I have no dog in this fight (except as a longtime fan of The Connection, which is not the same without Lydon), but there is really no contest IMO.
      • by sheldon (2322)
        Christopher Lydon was the host on WBUR/NPR's "The Connection", one of the best radio interview/talk shows around.

        Things must be really bad in Boston.

        They hired him here in the Twin Cities to replace Katherine Lampert when she left to go work with Al Franken. He was horrible. He lasted maybe a month before he was handed his walking papers.

        I say he was horrible, because he was clearly leading his interviews. That is, not just asking questions, but blatantly pushing the answers in a certain direction.

        That s
        • Such as hard leftist David Corn, of The Nation? He's one of the founding editors of OSM...certainly "off the reservation" already...
        • I say he was horrible, because he was clearly leading his interviews. That is, not just asking questions, but blatantly pushing the answers in a certain direction.

          This seems to be an approriate characterization of Christopher Lydon... (Albeit my characterization was that he is a blatant blaring asshole, possibly of the Goatse variety). I have been listening to Open Source (which I also thought would be a lwn.net-like publication) for the past few weeks.

          Not only does he lead his questions, he also uses

        • I found the connection (his previous show,alway on during my drive home) unlistenible. Tries to use "big" words and terminology sometimes ends up using them incorrectly. He left NPR when they wouldn't pay him enough money (its public radio?!). He didn't ask good insightfull questions during his interviews. Always trying to show the bredth of his knowledge when the show isn't about him.

          After a show where he had a folk singer on (for apparently no other reason than, it turns out Mr. Lydon was a huge fan!) I n
    • I listen to this show, and yes i was attracted by the name open source, i thought it was a linux/gnu show. It isn't, but they have an interesting format for doing their show, they do alot of interviewing and call-ins for the shows content, in fact you can suggest a show to them if there is something you want to hear a firsthand account of. If you want to hear a good one, listen to the one about craglist and nola.com and their role in hurricane katrina. http://www.radioopensource.org/craiglist-and-nolac o [radioopensource.org]
  • Full of themselves (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Army of 1 in 10 (931706) <{army1in10} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:25AM (#14081313) Homepage
    Despite the current controversy over their choice of a name, they downplay it. Take this excerpt from their website:
    Some OSM readers have expressed consternation over our new company name, so please let us take a moment to explain--in the spirit of full disclosure--the story of its origin. At the outset, we formed a company under the masthead "Pajamas Media," after that now-famous remark about bloggers being "just a bunch of people sitting around in their pajamas." Then, as the idea for the company grew, we cast about for a new name that would reflect our ethos long after the joke grew old. Some of the unsuccessful names rejected along the way were "Alpha Media" and "Jellyfish Media," so don't be so hard on us about "OSM"--it could have been worse.

    Not only did they launch themselves with an anti-open source attitude (prohibitive copyright terms [phillyfuture.org] which they've since removed from their privacy policy), they didn't do a simple google search to make sure that no confusion would occur as a result of their name selection. OSM should have stuck with "Pajamas Media"... there's nothing wrong with that and it pokes reverent fun at those who shrug off bloggers.

  • Oh, wow, we've never seen this before. A bunch of right-wingers attempt to co-opt something "hip" and "cool" and totally out of context in the effort to help sell their message. I'm shocked, shocked, that they would do such a thing.
    • "Hip" and "Cool"? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Petersko (564140)
      ...attempt to co-opt something "hip" and "cool" and totally out of context...

      Oh please. I'm as much a geek as the next guy, but I'm not going to pretend there's anything "hip" or "cool" about open source.

      I can see it now. "Hey baby. I'm hip. Check out my apache install. I'm so cool, I'm running linux. Now how about going back to your place? No? What... that guy? What's so great about him? Sure, he knows wines, plays tennis, and can dance, but seriously, isn't it cooler to know all the switches to the g
    • Personally, I think it's great that people with no grasp of what "open source" means are using it as a buzzword. You've arrived when what you do becomes a buzzword.

      Decades ago, phrases like "hi fi" (and many decades before that, "electric") were used as meaningless buzzwords. Hi-fi hula hoops! Electric combs! It's a natural cultural response to something that has made a big dent.

      X

  • Where's the money. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stumbles (602007)
    So the big question is.... who is financing these guys?
    • by shark72 (702619)

      "So the big question is.... who is financing these guys?"

      The startup capital is from the founders themselves -- several of them are well off, either from other blogosphere projects or from other media (Roger L. Simon writes novels). Going forward it's an ad-supported model.

  • If somebody will made a freeware - it is good. But if someone else will made a Open Source Software - it will be much better. Just wondering: how many of us use source files of Open Source Software? :) I - never (I am programmer). So, what about regular users?
    • How about all those Gentoo Linux users that have (nearly) everything on their systems built from source? (like me)
    • I'm not an OSS programmer but during the course of my computer use I have :

      I have fixed a few bugs in OSS for our business use (and reported them, naturally).
      I have used OSS files to read how a protocol works.
      I have read OSS files to see what files are being accessed.
      I have added a new feature to OSS and had it merged into the distribution.

      Meanwhile, I have been frustrated by CSS that said "file not found" or Software that assumed I had a C: drive and was unable to fix it.
    • Never? Then you're missing out. I have, a lot. Sometimes the quickest way to figure how to do something is grab the sources of a program that you know that does what you want and look at it.
    • One sector of OSS people tend to forget about is all the free software for web development like PHPNuke, PostNuke, Mambo/Jahhombala, and the countless others; large and small.

      You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a Gaming Clan Site based on phpBB or *Nuke. In nearly all those cases you could probably describe the webmaster as a "regular" OSS user. They're just the knob that got volunteered to maintain the site. They've likely had to patch their sites and at least install a template of some kind.

  • Thank you Yoda (Score:3, Informative)

    by CXI (46706) on Monday November 21, 2005 @10:36AM (#14081370) Homepage
    "Most notably naming a controversy has ensued with Christopher Lydon's public radio show"

    Wouldn't one normally phrase that as: "Most notably a naming controversy has ensued with Christopher Lydon's public radio show"?
  • It sounds to me like Open Source Media Inc. is getting upset because OSM Media, LLC is using a name which is similar but not identical to a descriptive name for which they've applied but not yet been granted a trademark.

    I can't see how this complaint has any legal merit at all. They haven't been granted the trademark yet, and given how descriptive it is I doubt that it will be granted anyway; and what they're trying to trademark ("Open Source") is not the same as what they're complaining about ("Open Sourc
  • that they don't even recognise what zope has to do with open source. Actually I think both side should get 20 whacks with the anti-trademark-abuse stick. A radio show and a blog talking about getting lawyers involved in a dispute over each using the words open source is about as pathetic as them fussing over one have the .com and the other the .net!
  • Background (Score:3, Informative)

    by cca93014 (466820) on Monday November 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#14081619) Homepage
    Interesting background on the creation of OSM:

    http://dennisthepeasant.typepad.com/dennis_the_pea sant/2005/11/the_certain_thi.html [typepad.com]

    Doesn't sound like their principles are very "open source"...
  • to find a unique company name it doesn't surprise me much that there was a naming collision.

    OTOH, I still can't figure out how the OSM site differs from many other sites that already exist.
    • My best guess is that OSM is an attempt by several right-wing bloggers to band together so they can a) hire reporters (I think they have one guy in Lebanon) and b) sell ads without giving a cut to Google/Yahoo.
      • OSM is an attempt by several right-wing bloggers to band together

        While that's certainly how it is portrayed (and the prominent members are generally conservative) It does seem to have a *few* left-of-center blogs and some completely non-political ones as well. Also, some of the ones called "conservative" don't exactly fall into the republican mode. The gay libertarian who runs "Classical Values" comes to mind.

        But I think you're right about the ads.
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Monday November 21, 2005 @12:00PM (#14081981)
    Long before "Open Source" meant software is was in widespread use in the military intel community to refer to publicly available information such as news and publications. In fact, it is still used that way.
    • Parent is correct, go look up Richard Steele [pbs.org], who heads something called Open Source Solutions (oss.net), and basically advocates that the U.S. spend a lot more time monitoring 'open source' info, instead of spending billions to get spy satellite imagery that tells us nothing about intent.

      Interestingly, he has given some speeches at hacker conventions, such as at H2k2 [h2k2.net] and the Fifth HOPE [the-fifth-hope.org]. You can download his speeches if you follow the links.

      I believe the press also uses the term "open source" to refer to a
  • One summer I worked at a startup, and sat in on the meeting to think up a good name for the product/company.

    There was me, the CEO, the VP of marketing, and my own boss. People tossed out ideas and the VP would Google the names right away. A simple and obvious strategy to avoid such a namespace collision.

    My own "net savvy" was useful as well. Someone suggested calling the product "stormfront" for example (for some reason, people in the tech sector like badass weather names) and I told 'em that stormfr

  • Language Log's take (Score:2, Informative)

    by h4ter (717700)
    Linguist Mark Liberman wrote about this the other day [upenn.edu]. Explains how OSM Media LLC took the Open Source name without any of the philosophy intact.
  • ...free of charge, free as in beer, gratis, free gift now!!

    Did I say it was free? Did I say gift? all in the same sentence?

    What tha f!!!!! heck!!!

    I can see open source as being used the same way in the near future. Just like the never-gets-old "buy it for $9.99". Stupid .99 cents is everywhere!!!

    Have a good one.
  • by tres3 (594716)
    Ok, I've quit replying to most of the slashdot stories but I can't pass this one up. Someone needs to ask if Open Source Media, Inc. licenses their content under an open source license. If not they need to get sued for fraud. They should seek remedial relief (ask for a remedy) and ask the judge to re-license everything they own under the Free Document License. Just my $0.02 worth.
    • I would be scared to imagine if Mirabilis had to sell flowers.....

      Or Apple had to sell produce...

      Or Sun had to sell solar systems.
  • The dumbest thing about this story is that neither OSM Media, LLC, or Open Source Media, Inc. or Open Source, the show, have anything to do with Open Source Software, a much more meaningful and established term.

    Quoth them: "We consider Open Source Media to be a description of what we are and do, not a trade name.", "We chose the name "Open Source" because it signals the way we produce radio and web content."

    Apparently "Open Source" now means blogging about politics. Who knew?
    • Quoth them: "We consider Open Source Media to be a description of what we are and do, not a trade name.", "We chose the name "Open Source" because it signals the way we produce radio and web content."

      Apparently "Open Source" now means blogging about politics. Who knew?


      Actually, if half the people here *had* a clue, they'd realize that "open source" is not something owned by hackers or anyone else. It's a *generic* term, for goodness sake! The fact that the crowd that hangs out here associates it with comp
      • Actually, if half the people here *had* a clue, they'd realize that "open source" is not something owned by hackers or anyone else.

        And this story isn't about two different groups trying to own the term?

        I'll conced that open source can be a generic term, but I have yet to see a reason why political bloggers, and the companies they form, should co-opt it. As it stands it seems more like shameless coattail riding than a natual choice. If they are offering transparent journalism or reliable reporting, why can
  • Someone here register that name, quick...
  • Ok, so I had an open mind and I thought "ok, I bet Open Source Media would HAVE TO BE fair and balanced!". I just went to the site and the first thing I notice is that EVERY article on the whole site protects the authors with blanket statements such as "Credit: The Orlando Sentinel, Fla." or "compiled by staff at SO-AND-SO NEWSPAPER". As a matter of fact, when people post stories to this site they are given credit at the top of the story as the poster when in fact they PLEIDGERIZED the story from an act
  • by Simon Brooke (45012) * <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Tuesday November 22, 2005 @05:47AM (#14088871) Homepage Journal

    OK, OK, maybe it's a bit strange to post this comment on slashdot.org [slashdot.org] , but the point at which I got really cross about all this was the point at which the pajama party adopted the domain 'osm.org'. The .org [wikipedia.org] top-level domain is, at least in theory, intended for non-commercial, non-governmental, non-academic use. By describing themselves as osm.org the pajamas are making an implied claim to be non-commercial, which is not true and is consequently false advertising. Yes, I know this applies to slashdot [slashdot.org] as well...

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