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How Open Does Open Source Need to be? 147

Posted by timothy
from the there's-no-pleasing-some-people dept.
mjhuot writes "Doug MacEachern, CTO of Hyperic and creator of mod_perl, responds to criticism by Tarus Balog, a maintainer of OpenNMS, that his company's recent open source announcement is nothing but a marketing ploy. It is starting the debate on whether or not just releasing some code qualifies an application as 'open source.'"
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How Open Does Open Source Need to be?

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  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:34AM (#15540358) Homepage

    Open source means you can read the source, much like an "open book exam" means you can read the book. The correct term for software that belongs to the community is Free Software. With Free Software, you are guarenteed to have the four fundamental software freedoms. With "Open Source", there is no such guarentee.

    By my definition, even Windows is Open Source. In principle, I can view the source code to Windows. It's difficult and I have to sign a whole bunch of documents but I could do it with sufficient patience. This is why I don't like Open Source as a term; it is far too misleading. In fact, it doesn't actually mean anything other than the fact there is a mechanism by which you can see the source code that doesn't involve getting a court-order.

    In contrast, the term Free Software has a very precise meaning and really should be trade-marked by the FSF. Then the FSF could only issue licenses to se the trade-mark where the software is licensed that protects the four freedoms. This way, companies couldn't profit from the name unless they labelled their products correctly.

    Simon

    • Wouldn't copylefting it be better?
    • If you have to sign documents then it is not "Open". It might be available, but not Open. In technology Open means that it is made freely available for all to see. Such as ISO. Any standard that is published with ISO is concerned Open. Unless anyone can take the Windows source freely, it is not Open.
      • > Such as ISO.

        Have you ever read any "Open" document from the ISO? Please do try to do so and you will see that to read that "open" document you have to pay about 100 chf (~ 65 eur or 80 usd).

        Of course, you can read most of them by downloading them with your favorite .torrent (or emule) client. It is very likely that nobody will sue you for doing so, but still it doesn't make it legal.

        Free Software if Free Software
        Open Source is proprietary name for quasi free software and it is a name made up by proprie
        • I can use ISO 9660 completely for free. It is an Open standard and I do not have to pay to use it. Can't you use ISO 9660 just as freely as I can?

          Having a membership fee to support the organization is a bit different than M$'s lawyer's determining you aren't a hostile threat to them.
    • by eln (21727) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:52AM (#15540523) Homepage
      Open Source is basically FSF-lite and was invented to make the whole Free Software thing more palatable to businesses. Unfortunately, as with many things made more appealing to business, the actual ideals of Free Software were utterly lost in the process.

      Free Software is about sharing. Open Source is about curiosity. I can do what I want with a truly Free piece of software, including repackaging and selling it. With Open Source, all I usually get to do is look at the code (curiosity), and if I see anything I want to fix, I usually have to give my fix back to the original owner.

      The power of Free Software is the idea of community development. When you force everyone into restrictive licenses to see your code, you are not only missing the point, but you're losing the single biggest advantage in opening your source code in the first place. At that point, it becomes a marketing scheme and nothing more.

      Unfortunately, most software companies are built around Intellectual Property. Trying to sell an idea to them whose central tenet is giving that Intellectual Property away without a lot of restrictive licenses is not going to get very far. So, in order to placate them, we come up with this Open Source idea, which may win the battle but loses the war.
      • With Open Source, all I usually get to do is look at the code

        Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. -- From the Open-Source definition [opensource.org].

        The difference between Free Software and Open Source is a matter of philosophy and intended goals. The difference between Free Software and Open Source is not what you are permitted to do with the software. Open Source Software is just as redistributable and forkable as Free Software.

        • One problem is that there are some liars [hydrairc.com] who claim their code is open source just because you can see it, while still violating nearly every point [hydrairc.com] of the definition [opensource.org] (points 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, and some of the rest are made ineffective by these violations. it used to also violate 5 by discriminating against the US government, military, and all employees thereof - that's been changed without noting it.) This is a source of some confusion.
      • I would have to say that every software company is based around Intellectual property. First there's knowledge of the code, and then there's the knowledge how to support and use the sotware. That is all any of these companies have. If Google open sourced all their code, how long would it take because some other company (MS perhaps), bought a bunch of servers, and started hosting a search engine that worked just as well as Google's. How long after MS open sourced (for real) their Windows code, would some
      • Or: How a large piece of text automatically gets modded up, no matter the nonsense.

        >Open Source is basically FSF-lite and was invented to make the whole Free Software thing more palatable to businesses.

        Ehm no. BSD or MIT for example was not created for the FSF, and existed well before the FSF.

        >Free Software is about sharing. Open Source is about curiosity.

        Ehm no. So you're saying all the fine non FS open source projects are not about sharing? This is the first time I've seen -this- definition

      • Open Source is basically FSF-lite and was invented to make the whole Free Software thing more palatable to businesses. Unfortunately, as with many things made more appealing to business, the actual ideals of Free Software were utterly lost in the process.

        I agree completely with you (and RMS) that the ideals of Free Software were lost when Open Source was formulated, but I also think that true Open Source, that provides the advantages which ESR suggests it should, is actually closer to GPL3 (and maybe

      • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @03:35PM (#15542767) Homepage Journal

        Free Software is about sharing. Open Source is about curiosity. I can do what I want with a truly Free piece of software, including repackaging and selling it. With Open Source, all I usually get to do is look at the code (curiosity), and if I see anything I want to fix, I usually have to give my fix back to the original owner.

        There are something like 60 OSI-certified Open Source licenses [opensource.org], so discussing all of them as if they were the same only leads to confusion. In fact, the GPL is an OSI-certified Open Source license.

        Also, Stallman's arguments about the GPL providing more freedom than other licenses aren't shared by everyone. The BSD license and other academic licenses have no reciprocality requirement. In that sense they are more free than the GPL, which has a strong reciprocity requirement. One interpretation I've heard is that the GPL reinforces community freedom, while the BSD license reinforces individual freedom.

    • In contrast, the term Free Software has a very precise meaning and really should be trade-marked by the FSF.

      Actually, "Free Software" is just as misleading in the vernacular. Just as anyone who doesn't know the technicalities of "Open Source" might assume that they have unrestricted public access to any source code with that label, many people assume that "Free Software" means free as in beer.

      "Rights Free" might be a clearer term, or "Freedom Software"... nah, that opens up another can of semantic wor

    • The problem with the term 'Free Software' is it's very hard to hear the difference between a capital F and a lowercase f. And the FSF will never, ever get a trademark on 'free software' because there is absolutely no reason not to call zero-cost software 'free'--in English, anyway. If anything, they could go with a term like 'freedomware.'

      BTW, you're using the RMS definition of 'Free' but your own definition of 'Open Source.' By picking and choosing which definitions I'm going to use, I could just as easily
    • "Open source means you can read the source, much like an "open book exam" means you can read the book... By my definition, even Windows is Open Source."

      Actually, the term Open Source has a clear technical definition, which is available on the OSI website:

      http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php [opensource.org]

      In my opinion it is not as successful a definition as the 'four freedoms' used by the FSF, but Open Source is a less misleading term than Free Software for most people.

      For one, it has the advantage of actually so
    • Open source means you can read the source, much like an "open book exam" means you can read the book. The correct term for software that belongs to the community is Free Software.
      That's like saying that the correct term for a potato is "carrot". "Open Source" is not an incorrect reference to "Free Software", it refers to a completely different philosophy.
    • The de-facto definition of Open Source is defined by the open source initiative (OSI): http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php [opensource.org]
    • There are degrees of openness. Just releasing a DRM'd binary is more open than a purely hosted service. And many GPL projects don't allow anonymous write access to their CVS. "FSF kosher" is extremely open.

      The software's openness is governed by its license. We now have several standard licenses defining degrees of openness. I'd like to see one for each possible degree, with a trademarked name and logo (eg OSS-0, OSS-19) backed by tests in court. But we'd also need standard definitions of open projects, not
    • Then you'd get into a situation where truly free software (public domain software) could not be called free, interesting indeed...

      Copywritten software can never truly be free, true freedom exists only in the public domain.

    • Free Software means you don't have to pay for the software, much like "free beer" means you don't have to pay for the beer.. The correct term for software that belongs to the community is Open Source. With Open Source, you are guarenteed to have the four fundamental software freedoms. With "Free Software", there is no such guarentee.

      By my definition, even Windows is Free Software. In principle, I can get Windows for free. It's difficult and I have to sign a whole bunch of documents but I could do it with su
    • Open-source is an industry buzzword. It means nothing. They've taken free software, lost our idealogy and the four freedoms, and our now selling it.
    • Have you ever read the Open-Source Definition [opensource.org] ? This is basically a rebranding of the Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org].



      This stupid Open-Source vs. Free Software rethoric get us nowhere. Please get over it already.

    • Open source means you can read the source, much like an "open book exam" means you can read the book.

      That's not true. Open source means much more than that, and you know it. There are plenty of proprietary software that is distributed with source, sometimes as a necessity, as in the case of scripting languages, or cross platform compatability. (Proprietary UNIX programs have frequently been distributed as source, since that was the only way to ensure the program could run on the users' actual hardware.)
    • sorry for the rant....but...

      I hate the term "free software" cause if I tell my mom I can install "free software" on her computer to save her the $500 MS Office fee. she thinks that the only reason this software is worthwhile is cause of its cost.
      using the term "free" stupifies and blinds people to the real beniffits of "Libra/freedom" software.
      it makes people believe that if then can get a "Freeware/shareware/warez" version of there current software, then there is no need to use libra/freedom software.
      but t
    • False. Open Source means the same as Free Software, it's just a marketing term to avoid confusing the suits since they might otherwise think "free" means "costs no money".
  • Starting the debate? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ronanbear (924575) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:35AM (#15540361)
    I thought that one has been ongoing for years.

    There isn't one open source license. Some are more restrictive than others. Some are more open than others. People need to be more cautious in their use of terminology and should not use GPL interchangably with open source.

  • Once you give it to the community, your say on it need not be honoured. You relinquish 100% of the rights on it and developers should be able to do whatever they want. Build products or SELL services etc without being sued.
  • but not free. They don't claim that they are free (liberal) either.
  • by gentimjs (930934) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:38AM (#15540392) Journal
    If its "Open Source" than I, either a paying or non-paying customer, can get the source and re-compile it on my own.
    If its Free -and- Open Source, than some anonymous 12 year old can get the source, and re-compile it, without any licensing fees or issues.
    If its BSD/GPL-style-free, than said 12 year old can also re-distribute without sending in signed forms or paying anyone.
    Where is the confusion?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If its "Open Source" than I, either a paying or non-paying customer, can get the source and re-compile it on my own.

      If you check with the guys who actually coined the term open source (www.opensource.org), you would notice that modification and redistribution is a "must" in their book.

      If its Free -and- Open Source, than some anonymous 12 year old can get the source, and re-compile it, without any licensing fees or issues.

      Same as above, but this time we also have to look at the FSF due to the term Free

    • If its "Open Source" than I, either a paying or non-paying customer, can get the source and re-compile it on my own. If its Free -and- Open Source, than some anonymous 12 year old can get the source, and re-compile it, without any licensing fees or issues. If its BSD/GPL-style-free, than said 12 year old can also re-distribute without sending in signed forms or paying anyone. Where is the confusion?

      When you use than for then. Then you understand that this is better than that.
    • Got bored and reading Slashdot for the first time in ages.

      Open Source doesn't mean you can get the source code. If it did, then Windows, QMail, PocketPC, Pine, etc. would be Open Source. They're not.

      Open Source is defined by the Open Source Definition.
  • Example? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WinEveryGame (978424) *
    Can anyone give an example of a successful open source project which spent a good chunk of its early years as a completely proprietary software?
    • Re:Example? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ugh? Mozilla (Netscape), OpenOffice.org (Staroffice) ..
    • Open Office? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jbeaupre (752124) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:46AM (#15540460)
      I believe it used to be called Star Office (and still is), created by a German company and bought by Sun. Someone is sure to correct me.
      • created by a German company

        You're right, the german company was StarDivision [wikipedia.org]
    • Netscape (Score:3, Informative)

      by zlogic (892404)
      Netscape->Mozilla->Firefox
      Quake 1,2,3 (although not mantained anymore)
      Google's AJAX toolkit
      • Believe me, Quake 1, 2, and 3 are maintained -- just not by iD. In fact, the problem with those programs is that there's too many forks and not really any "definitive" version!
      • Quake code source is not only maintained by separate 3rd party project, as other slashdotter mentionned,
        it is also upgraded and new engines are build on top of it, like : Nexuiz [alientrap.org] witch feature additionnal eye-candy built on top of the Quake Engine.
    • There's a lot of stuff that BEA Systems produces that has been made open source and is extremely successful as open source.
    • Solaris, MySQL...
    • And don't forget Quake, and other id games.
    • Blender is one of the best examples. Read how they raised 100,000 EUR to BUY it from the old company and then turn around and GPL/Open Source it.

      Blender History [blender.org]
    • A very successful project that started as a in-house proprietary tool is the 3d modeller Blender.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blender_(software) [wikipedia.org]
    • Other have mentioned good examples, I'll add Xara LX to the list.
    • I heard that Linux started out as SCO Unix and was completely ripped off by Linus and then released as "Open Source".

      And if you believe that, I believe the guys at SCO have a bridge they're looking to unload at a low, low price to raise some money to pay their lawyers.

    • Can anyone give an example of a successful open source project which spent a good chunk of its early years as a completely proprietary software?

      Can anyone give an example that didn't? (where "successful" = "regularly used by people who've never even heard of open source")

      VLC, Gaim.. Gimp? I stuggle to think of as many as the other way round, and those that I can think of aren't as popular (as eg firefox) :-/

      Which brings up a theory -- open source is great at building on top of things and adding featur

      • Yep.

        The Cathedral and the Bazaar [catb.org]

        See the section titled "Necessary Preconditions for the Bazaar Style".

      • I stuggle to think of as many as the other way round, and those that I can think of aren't as popular

        Linux kernel : (unless you beleive Alexis de Tocqueville) it was built as open-source from the start. And is very widely used in embeded hardware. A lot of people (who don't even know what an operating system is) have xDSL modems/routers at home that use an embed Linux.

        Samba : MacOS X standart way to interoperate with Windows environnement (OK, bad exemple, maybe not a lot of people use macs, so it fails the

    • Can anyone give an example of a successful open source project which spent a good chunk of its early years as a completely proprietary software?

      I think the question goes the other way around - why would a successful proprietary software open up its source? You own the whole source, there's no cheap knockoffs or rebrands... alright there's a few pros and cons but for the most part, selling services around an open source product is a lot less profitable and a lot more cut-throat than carving your own niche wh
  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@COLAdantian.org minus caffeine> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:41AM (#15540412)
    It's really easy to know whether "releasing some code" qualifies: read the definition [opensource.org]
  • Here we go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOsPAm.optonline.net> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:43AM (#15540429) Journal

    So, two heavyweights(?) in the OSS community are going to start having a little war over what "open source" really means, eh? Must be a slow news day.

    Open Source is what it is, and how "open" you want your software to be is your business. You can throw the whole thing open to anyone and let talented people take up the challenge to adapt and improve your code, or you can have one set of "open" code and one set of "closed" code, the former being available to anyone, the latter available for a price. No one is under any obligation, in either case, to use your software. If you want to charge for the "closed" version so you can actually make a living, where's the harm in that?

    In an ideal world, there would be no secrets. All software would be open and free to roam the Earth. We are a far cry from an ideal world; commerce dominates and servers and bandwidth cost money. Whether your OSS is "open" or "slightly open" doesn't matter much -- if you can't scrape up the cash to keep the lights on and the servers running, it doesn't much matter how cool your software is. All I can say is, leave it alone.

  • What's in a name? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:43AM (#15540435) Homepage
    If only there had been some sort of definition of open source [opensource.org] then maybe we wouldn't have to have to start this debate now.
  • by B3ryllium (571199) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:44AM (#15540445) Homepage
    "I know! Let's name him Taurus Balrog!!"

    "No honey, that's too cruel ..."

    "Okay .. er .."

    And there you have it. Taurus Balrog would be a cool name, though :)
  • Shareware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob_Warwick (789939) <warwick@applefri[ ]r.com ['tte' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:46AM (#15540457) Homepage Journal
    I don't get why he's upset about Shareware.

    Finally we come to the "shareware" model, which is now really starting to draw my ire. Popularized by SugarCRM, it is a "model" where some of the code is open, but to get the full featured version you have to pay, and the full version is not open. Remember shareware? You download a little app for free that does some things, but if you want to unlock all of the features you send the guy ten bucks? If this software was so good, then why hasn't a community sprung up around the free version and made it better?

    Shareware is a limited or expiring version of an application made available for free with the idea that you should be able to try the software before purchasing it. It doesn't have a thing to do with open source, it's just another way of selling your closed source software.

    If he wants to be irritated at software that claims to be open source but charges for advanced features, that's fine. But he doesn't need to get annoyed at shareware.

    • Most of the shareware I used back in the day was much more open and non commercial than it is now. There's a huge movement to bring out limited software and leverage its popularity to persuade people to upgrade. Software like Easy CD Creater, Quicktime, Realplayer etc. all attempt to recieve extra income by witholding features that are not expensive to implement.

      This is an important issue for Free Software. There should be no feature restrictions in dual licenced software. A good example where its done w

      • I'm sorry, I really don't see a lot fo difference between removing features from (say) Office Professional and selling it as Office Student Edition, and removing fonts from StarOffice and giving it away as OpenOffice.

        In both cases, you've taken a full product, removed some features, and make it available at a lower cost.
      • > Most of the shareware I used back in the day was much more open and non commercial than it is now. There's a huge movement to bring out
        > limited software and leverage its popularity to persuade people to upgrade. Software like Easy CD Creater, Quicktime, Realplayer etc.
        > all attempt to recieve extra income by witholding features that are not expensive to implement.

        Back in 'the day' there used to be something called the Association of Shareware Professionals who defended the original defination of
    • Re:Shareware (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geobeck (924637)

      Shareware is a limited or expiring version of an application made available for free with the idea that you should be able to try the software before purchasing it.

      That's what the term has come to mean today, but that's really a demo, not Shareware. In the old days, when software was distributed on BBSes, Shareware was fully functional, and included a notice something like "If you find this useful, please send $X to the creator."

      With Shareware becoming Demoware, today that model is sometimes called

    • Actually Sugar isn't open. Read up on the SugarCRM vTiger dispute, and read the FULL sugar license. If you ever decide to subscribe to the Enterprise edition, you are then forbidden from ever running the Open Source version again, and you cannot import the Enterprise data into the Open Source edition. They originally released under the Mozilla Public License (which they renamed to the SPL, or Sugar Public License), then threatened legal action against the vTiger folks when they removed all the branding a
  • by Anonymous Coward
    After starting http://www.proclanmanager.com/ [proclanmanager.com] I wasn't expecting hordes of people to help but I did expect at least a few. I have got a few people that have helped out but in my experience it usually goes down like this:

    1) Some guy emails me and says he is interested in the project and would like to help out
    2) I email him back with my copy & pasted response welcoming him and telling him about the mailing lists, source code, etc.
    3) I never hear from him again.

    I've been running my open source project sinc
    • I quickly found out that even employers are not interested with open source work you have done on your CV.

      This is pretty contrary to my experience.

      All of my prospective employers have been intrigued (during interviews) with my work on opensource projects, and that experience definitely weighted things to my advantage.

      I've started three small open-source projects. On all three of them, I've received patches, code, miscellaneous contributions(e.g. .spec files), and suggestions from random people; actual

  • by Godji (957148) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @11:52AM (#15540525) Homepage
    The term "open source" has an official definition right here: http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php [opensource.org]

    Whether some software is open source is equivalent to whether it conforms to all points in this definition. There you have it, debate settled.

    It is an entirely different issue if this definition can be legally enforced; it cannot, as far as I know. So there is no mechanism preventing companies from making noise by falsely using the term. That is why one shuold always take an "open source" or "free software" claim with a grain of salt, and verify the claim carefully.
  • If said software can be embodied into the existing body of open code, without changing it's existing freedoms of use, then said code is open enough!

    If strings are attached, then it's not open.

    Done, next.

    • Oddly enough, a quick search of your blog reveals that you have, in the past, referred to Linux as "Open Source". Granted your opinion may have changed since you characterized it as such, but by the definition you give in the above comment, GPL software is not Open Source.

      If I have an existing body of BSD-licensed code, I can't take a piece of GPL code and add it to my code and then release it under a BSD license.

      Maybe the problem of defining "open source" isn't really as simple as you glibly suggest it

      • I guess I had moved beyond that. Clearly that's just not the case. IMHO, I'm more in line with the GPL version of open because it keeps things open.

        BSD is open too, but can be closed again at some point.

        Open Code, really doesn't do us that much good if it isn't growing. The whole GPL pool of code appears to be doing that nicely --and it's gonna stay open. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a BSD basher or snob at all. I run it on a server or two and it's top-notch actually.

        For me, the GPL open is the better o
  • I remember when Open Source meant you could download the source with the binaries, change the source, and recompile the app yourself - if you knew how. You could then redistribute the new binaries (with the changed source)and any additional documentation you wanted.

    Ah, childhood.
  • well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by revery (456516) * <charles@[ ]2.net ['cac' in gap]> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @12:19PM (#15540781) Homepage
    How Open Does Open Source Need to be?

    [Haj] You know... open.
    [Pin] But how open? It's not a black and white issue.
    [Haj] It should be open, like a door.
    [Pin] That makes no sense, Haj.
    [Haj] Sure it does. A door is either open or closed. There's no in-between there my color-blind friend.
    [Pin] Are you kidding me? Look at this door. It's closed. But if I pull it just a little, is it open?
    [Haj] Yes. It is open.
    [Pin] How about now, if I pull it some more, is it more open?
    [Haj] You can't be more or less open Pin... That's my point.
    [Pin] Look at the %^%@#@%# door Haj. Does it look MORE OPEN to you?
    [Haj] Well that's a different question isn't it. Does it "look more open"?
    [Pin] ...
    [Haj] I mean what if my eyes were closed?
    [Pin] Haj...
    [Haj] What if I was blind, Pin? Huh, what then?
    [Pin] ...
    [Haj] Now you're totally stumped, aren't you buddy? Stumped by my rhetorical questions.
    [Pin] ...
    [Haj] [in a girl's voice] What if I was blind?
    [Haj] I can't believe you don't have a response dude... Pin? whatcha doing with that ice pick?
    [the screen goes black and there is the sound of terrible things being done to someone's eyes]
    [Haj] I just want you to know, if you ask "does the door ~feel~ open", I'm not going to answer you man...
    [Haj] Pin... Are you still there? Hello? Anybody?
    • Can you acquire the sourcecode anonymously/without signing anything?
    • Can you compile the sourcecode into a full version of the binaries?
    • Does the sourcecode reference only same-level or more open sources?
    • Can you modify the sourcecode and deliver to others?
    • Can you submit your changes to the original/current authors for inclusion?
    • Can you redistribute/resell the sourcecode? Your modified binaries?

    Sticking to an earlier philosophy, sourcecode is just a list of steps to create a certain effect. By sharing this re

  • an analogy (Score:4, Funny)

    by acvh (120205) <geek@mscigar s . com> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @12:29PM (#15540902) Homepage
    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!"
    "Why shouldn't I?" he said.
    I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"
    "Like what?"
    "Well ... are you religious or atheist?"
    "Religious."
    "Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"
    "Christian."
    "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
    "Protestant."
    "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
    "Baptist."
    "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
    "Baptist Church of God."
    "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
    "Reformed Baptist Church of God."
    "Wow! Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"
    "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"
    To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.
    • That is a good one. I think it explains the FSF and OSS movement to a Tee. Much of the internal fighing over Open Source is really on very minor issues.

      A company releases the source to their App. You can view it and change it for your own use but not distribute the
      App to anyone else, without permission. Vs. You can view it and change it for your own use and if you want you
      can distribte the app without previous concent


      If you want change you well need to evoke small changes not huge one. No matter how well yo
  • by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @12:40PM (#15540980) Homepage

    Well, that's fun. Tarus basically gets on a soapbox and starts lecturing about how he & his company have been doing Open Source for, like, years. That young rascal Doug better listen to Tarus!

    Tarus is arguing from authority, if you know what that old debate tactic is. And to be honest, I give him some credence.

    But then Doug posts right in the comments, and basically explains that he's been doing Open Source for at least a decade -- before the term existed. And he explains that they're going to follow a GPL model, but they're going to do it on their own timetable, not Tarus's.

    Fun.

    Having said that, they're both getting things wrong, IMHO. Tarus is ascribing way more to Open Source than he should. For example, he says that a community must exist, contributing actively to the code. This is a fallacy on two points. First, that would immediately disqualify 90% of the projects on SourceForge, which are maintained by a lone hacker. But second, that's more of a Free Software, you-must-develop-software-the-RIGHT-way line of thinking. Open Source does not have these burdens -- it's just a flag people raise to say "you can get this source code." No more.

    And Doug clearly jumped the gun. If they're going slow & sure toward the goal of GPL, that's great -- just don't say you have something that you don't yet offer.

  • Semi-Open Source (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zephos (877875)
    I have to say I agree with the author a bit about certain projects that are "open-source" but then have more advanced closed-source versions yet champion how open source they are and how great for the community that is. The given example SugarCRM is a perfect example.

    SugarCRM does offer an open source version of their software and it seems to be pretty solid. However if you look at it versus even the lowest paid closed source version very important functionality has been removed; namely Outlook support a
    • Have a look at vTiger CRM - a truely Free and open fork of the SugarCRM codebase.

      DG
    • Re:Semi-Open Source (Score:3, Informative)

      by Coeurderoy (717228)
      Actually although I do strongly believe in the "pure GPL" model, I also think that Outlook users and actually any Microsoft "freebe" user DESERVES to pay.
      There is no acceptable reason to use outlook or outlook express, and by using them people do help making the internet a less nice place.
      Making them pay is good.
  • Has anyone actually used HQ before bashing their move to open their source. I am continually annoyed about how people will slam a product becasuse they are trying to do something good for the community. Hyperic at the end of the day has to make money, however, they believe in the community that it is built around and are trying to meet the best of both worlds. So before one slams their product, try it. As I have had experience on monitoring software from large installations to very small installations HQ i
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:39PM (#15541532) Homepage Journal
    It is starting the debate on whether or not just releasing some code qualifies an application as 'open source.'"

    I haven't seen anyone else mention this so far, but wasn't that debate ended some time ago? I thought Bruce Perens' Open Source Definitition [opensource.org] was the final word on the matter.

    If it conforms to the definition, it's open source. By definition.

    If it doesn't, it's something else.

    This is not complicated.

  • Ultimately, it's the ability to fork a project and take it away from its original creators that is responsible for the positive qualities of open source software. If you can't (realistically) fork the software, it isn't "open source" in any useful sense.

    One can have a lengthy debate about whether the term "open source" should still apply to such source-available software, but people who are trying to (mis-)apply the term to such software are simply trying to mislead potential users.

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