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Software GNU is Not Unix

OSI To Crack Down On "Open Source" Abusers 379

munchola sends us word that the Open Source Initiative is getting tough on any vendors who claim to be open source despite not actually using a license approved by the OSI. In his blog post, OSI president Michael Tiemann writes: "Enough is enough. Open Source has grown up. Now it is time for us to stand up. I believe that when we do, the vendors who ignore our norms will suddenly recognize that they really do need to make a choice: to label their software correctly and honestly, or to license it with an OSI-approved license that matches their open source label."
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OSI To Crack Down On "Open Source" Abusers

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  • by AusIV ( 950840 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:34AM (#19592851)
    Is "Open Source" a registered trademark? If not, I don't think the OSI gets to decide which licenses are open source and which aren't.
    • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:41AM (#19592933) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but interestingly enough, not by OSI [uspto.gov]. OSI owns Open Source Initiative Approved License mark [uspto.gov] and the 'OSI certified' mark.

      IANAL, but I don't think OSI has a leg to stand on here.
      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:12AM (#19593239) Homepage Journal
        The trademark was applied for years ago, and then OSI abandoned it on, in my opinion, really bad legal advice (sorry, Larry, but that's how I call it). It's still a common-law mark. Maybe they should try to re-register.

        Bruce

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Unfortunately, registration gives almost automatic 'evidence of first use'. And with someone else registering it (for maybe a different, but still-related purpose), it looks very bad in court. Judges and juries don't know anything about the history of the term 'open source,' and when they have a bunch of paperwork in front of them saying someone else owns 'open source', and with other people using the term generically without OSI defending the mark, well...it looks bad. In the U.S., failure to defend a m
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by iminplaya ( 723125 )
          Well, maybe they can sidestep the whole lawyer/court thing by simply putting up a list of those that don't "comply" that we all can refer to. If the community is all it's cracked up to be, then it can use its economic clout to effect a change of behavior. No lawyers, no judges, just money...the way nature intended.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by grylnsmn ( 460178 )
          Then the solution here is fairly simple. Reapply for the trademark as it relates to software.

          Otherwise, they have no real basis to insist that anyone stop using the term "Open Source". Just because the OSI has published a definition of "Open Source" doesn't mean that it is the only possible definition, nor that they are the only ones who get to decide what is or isn't "Open Source".

          The FSF has published various forms of a definition for "Free Software" (although not specifically calling them "definitions"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Russ Nelson ( 33911 )
          In hindsight, you are correct. We were wrong to listen to Larry's advice in this regard.
          • Thank you. Can you fix it now?
            • One always hopes so, but the misunderstand of people here is rather depressing. It's as if your hard work and our hard work in promoting Open Source has vanished. We're like the scaffolding that created the arch. People look at the arch and say "Oh, how beautiful" and forget that somebody had to work hard to create it.

              Excepting, of course, that the analogy breaks down because people are trying to disassemble the arch and take it home, only without the scaffolding, there's no way to put it back together again. Break "Open Source" and you'll let the proprietary software vendors call ANYTHING open source.
              • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @10:29AM (#19594337) Homepage Journal
                Well, I suggest you not get too depressed about what you are reading here, because you have astroturfing from the badgeware camp, and the generally anti-Free-Software camp, and on top of that just plain ignorance. Remember that no age field is given on Slashdot postings, and this is not the community site we had in the 90's - it was morphed to a "Geek Culture" site to make more money by the admission of its own editors.

                There are lots of folks who appreciate what we have done and understand it a hell of a lot better than you are seeing here. They are in government, and industry, and everywhere. I do more public speaking than you (I'm in Europe for that at the moment) and see a lot more of them face-to-face.

                Bruce

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by augustz ( 18082 )
                  Also sad to see the Open Source mark go, I always that it nice and elegant, as Free Software was obviously out, we simply created a new name for things, and could define it.

                  The FairTrade commmunity has been very successful following this approach. A proper trusted description can be very powerful these days with so much "bogus" stuff out there. Once trusted a mark means a lot to people.

                  I notice there are a ton of commercial marks using Open Source as part of their name, many in overlapping fields. It would
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Looks to me like they should approach this by making an 'osi approved' sticker to stamp the software, rather than saying that 'open source' is the 'osi approved' sticker. I can understand their concern - as people tend to label open source as 'good' where there may be a clause in something that is claiming to be open which charges you loads of money..
    • I agree that OSI has very little ground to stand upon at this point, but it seems they are under the false advertising aspect which someone should stand up for. While they have a very strict definition of open source, there has been code labeled "open source" that I have wanted to get my grubby little paws on in the past and after an exhaustive search through the vendors site first then the internet in general have found no hits. Some of these solutions I began using strictly because they were open source a

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) *

        OSI may be wrong to assume they can push around vendors to adapt to a very strict sense of "open source"

        Well, if we don't have a strict definition, think of what would happen to you. Right now, you can use any software that is Open Source. As a just plain user, you don't need to read the license, you don't need to consent, you know that you can use it for any purpose because the Open Source Definition guarantees that. Now, if we loosen up what we call "Open Source", about the first thing that will happen i

    • by BVis ( 267028 )
      It seems to me (and IANAL, or, for that matter, an open source contributor) that the open source licensing model exists to specify the terms under which a given intellectual property may be used. If I write some code and make it publicly available, it's still automatically subject to copyright law unless I specify another licensing model. If someone takes that code and uses it without my permission, I have legal standing to sue based on copyright infringement, despite the fact that I made it very easy to
      • If I'm understanding this right, the OSI is helping the IP owners (and they DO retain ownership) pursue legal action based on the license violations.
        This has nothing to do with that. FSF does help folks with that, if they ask.

        This is about software with licensing that does not conform to the Open Source Definition, but claims to be Open Source. I think you can find the Open Source Definition on OSI's web site.

        Bruce

    • You make two mistakes here. I speculate that the first one, expecting a registered trademark, comes from you being European. In Europe, trademarks are granted by the government. In the USA, trademarks are granted by use, and merely recognized by the government.

      Your second mistake is to think that the law is everything. The market has a say in this matter as well. People expect "Open Source" software to have all the rights required by the Open Source Definition. If they don't, they will be surprised an
  • by Lilo-x ( 93462 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:34AM (#19592855) Homepage
    why should they force companies to stick to a license, isn't this just OSI nearing closer to the same type of control corporation impose on their software

    if there is a such a thing as true OSI then why do we need licenses? open source = you can see the source I don't think the definition should have to apply any further than that if companies dont want to
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mulvane ( 692631 )
      Wish I had mod points. I think you are correct in your statement. Its about someone having control. The license should be its own control mechanism and if a license doesn't live up to what its supposed to, the community as a whole will decide what happens to the code behind it. I don't need OSI to tell me that some company didn't live up to there standard of open source. That's my decision to make.
      • if a license doesn't live up to what its supposed to, the community as a whole will decide what happens to the code behind it.

        Well, the community you are talking about are mostly software developers and users. They don't, in general, want to parse licenses. They don't necessarily have the background. I've seen in court, as an expert witness, what happens when 99% of engineers try to parse licenses without legal counsel. They get it wrong, unfortunately.

        So, we thought we'd help you with the legal stuff. An

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nomadic ( 141991 )
          So, we thought we'd help you with the legal stuff.

          But how are we sure that you're going to get it right?
    • by essence ( 812715 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:14AM (#19593265) Homepage Journal

      open source = you can see the source I don't think the definition should have to apply any further than that if companies dont want to
      The word 'open' implies more than just being able to view the source. It implies what you should be able to do with it.

      We need some standards. Letting companies attach any meaning they please to a common term makes the term useless.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by WED Fan ( 911325 )

        The word 'open' implies more than just being able to view the source. It implies what you should be able to do with it.
        We need some standards. Letting companies attach any meaning they please to a common term makes the term useless.

        We need to restrict people to OUR version of Freedom (Note: RMS has requested that we call it GNUFreedom). Only by removing all other choices can we make others free from the needing to make a choice. Only by making sure they make the GNURight choice can anyone be truly GNUF

        • by fsmunoz ( 267297 )
          Your comment would bee funnier if this had anything to do with GNU or the FSF. RMS himself, and the FSF, has nothing to do with the term "open source" and actively distances itself from it, its usage and OSI. The counterpart in the GNU world of this "debate" is the confusion between "free software" and "freeware", and I don't recall the FSF calling for enforcement on the usage of the latter. It's about the licence, what one calls it is of little importance.
        • by fsmunoz ( 267297 )
          Just a clarification: this doesn't mean that Open Source software isn't Free Software, or vice versa. Just that the FSF main focus is on the usage of the latter, not the former.
    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:19AM (#19593321) Homepage Journal

      open source = you can see the source
      Sigh. I imagine you use some of this Open Source software sometimes. Please try to get your head around the fact that it would not be possible for such software to exist and for folks like you to benefit from it, unless it was developed. And it would not be developed without a developer community, and that community would not be able to do their work unless they had the right to modify and redistribute the software. Thus, Open Source must be more than just visible source code - it has to include the right to distribute and modify, and it also needs the right for you to use it. So, that's 4 things - source, use privilege, distribution privilege, modification privilege and there's a bit more. Years ago, I wrote down what was necessary for software to be Open Source, and OSI uses that Open Source Definition to classify licenses. It is not an arbitrary thing.

      Bruce

      • by CowboyBob500 ( 580695 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:48AM (#19593751) Homepage
        Years ago, I wrote down what was necessary for software to be Open Source, and OSI uses that Open Source Definition to classify licenses. It is not an arbitrary thing.

        Maybe I've missed something, but can you explain exactly where you and the OSI get the authority to define what the words "open source" mean?

        Bob
        • can you explain exactly where you and the OSI get the authority to define what the words "open source" mean?

          How do you think new words happen? People define them. So, I took that authority. And I helped to build a community behind it. And IMO, that community has a really strong interest in making it clear that anything that does not comply with the Open Source Definition isn't Open Source at all.

          Bruce

          • by CowboyBob500 ( 580695 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @10:15AM (#19594121) Homepage
            Sorry, but I don't recognise yours or the OSIs authority in this matter. Also, I agree with the grandparent, open source to me means that the source code is available, nothing more, and nothing less. The term does not define that certain freedoms are available with the source code, indeed it cannot given that even under the OSI approved licenses those freedoms vary wildly. In essence, the only constant I see amongst even the official definition is that the code is available - therefore that is what the term means to me (and I assume most other people outside of the "community").

            Bob
            • Well, it doesn't really sound like you've read the official definition, because it gives you several freedoms that are stated clearly and are beyond the simple availability of source code.. And I sure hope that not many people share your sentiment, because then "Open Source" will mean nothing and we will have handed a victory to Microsoft for no good reason.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Rycross ( 836649 )
                The argument is that he doesn't believe that OSI has the authority to define Open Source, and thus he doesn't view your definition as the official definition. In the absence of a trademark, the official definition probably defaults to whatever the community at large believes open source to be.

                I remember Linus catching flak for trademarking Linux, but it looks like he's vindicated now.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Hatta ( 162192 )
                What makes your definition the official definition any more than anyone else's? If you try to sue someone who's inappropriately using the term, a judge is going to ask you the exact same thing. You're going to need a better answer than "we got there first".
          • New words are created all the time, but that doesn't imply any kind of ownership or control over the definition.
          • Bruce, I hope that OSI has better legal arguments than "I took the authority" if it expects to have any legal backing to this effort.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

            How do you think new words happen? People define them. So, I took that authority.

            The problem with this idea is that the word "Open" already had a meaning within the computing community. It did not mean "you have the right to freely distribute". It meant that specifications and in some cases source code were open, and that interoperability was not only welcome but encouraged through this sharing of information.

            So a lot of us, myself included, object to this redefinition of the term. It's not like Open didn

    • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:19AM (#19593325) Journal
      open source = you can see the source

      Except that isn't alone the definition - as I understand it, this was a term introduced by the OSI, and not one which preexisted.

      Whether they have a legal right to enforce it depends on trademark law, but I don't think it's right for companies to use false or misleading advertising, by trying to pretend a term applies to their software, when it doesn't.
    • The parent post is very manipulative to the point of sowing seeds of confusion. Hang on a minute while I adjust my tin foil hat....

      why should they force companies to stick to a license
      Because if they don't, it's very easy for an asshat abusing whatever the OSI wants to enforce to tell a Judge, "Your honor, they have never enforced anything, so I'm allowed to abuse it." I'm paraphrasing, but the point is the OSI *must* enforce or the courts will allow asshats to sodomize whatever the OSI is attempting to p
    • I agree - I don't see how they can justify saying Public Domain [for example] code can't be listed as 'open source'. I think if they decide to enforce it on actually open code, they are going to find new terms coming in to replace them.
  • by mulvane ( 692631 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:36AM (#19592873)
    So my license I make up for the hell of it with my terms that still allows anyone to view and audit my code if not approved by OSI means I can't market open source? Even though my code is open? Am I missing something about the word open?
    • The summary seems to suggest that they're going after people who don't brand their software correct according to it's constituent parts. For example, if you include GPL code in your program, you can't release it as a closed source proprietary software.

      Legally they have no standing to say anything about software you wrote on your own without contributing code.

      Tom
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mulvane ( 692631 )
        No..They are saying that if I don't allow redistribution as 1 example, my code is not open source. I totally disagree with that. I may not want my code used elsewhere. I open my code up for audit purposes only. That is Open Source in my book with the intent of what my license allows. OSI is saying NO, we created the Open Source Definition (OSD) and you license violates that. I guess I need to market a new term.... "Open Code" just to navigate the bastardization of there definition.
        • by Benanov ( 583592 )
          "I open my code up for audit purposes only. That is Open Source in my book with the intent of what my license allows."

          Microsoft calls that "Shared Source"; try using that term instead.
        • You can call your software anything you want. They don't own the term "open source" as it's too generic. Hell, MSFT could call Vista "open source" if they wanted. It's not, but there is no legal body that regulates what is "open source" and what is not.

          Tom
          • Hell, MSFT could call Vista "open source" if they wanted. It's not, but there is no legal body that regulates what is "open source" and what is not.

            We need a solid definition and have it added to the Oxford dictionary. Saying MSFT is Open Source is like saying MSFT is made of fairy dust. Nothing can stop you from saying it, but doesnt make it true. But having a solid definition in language dictionary legitimizes it's usage in the language. So at least you can say they're lying and have a way of proving i

      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:09AM (#19593193) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, your comment doesn't make sense. This has nothing to do with who wrote the code, or the GPL. It has to do with the license of the code being compliant to the Open Source Definition, and the source code being available. If we don't demand that of people who brand their products as "Open Soucrce", anything - whether it has source code or not - will be called "Open Source".

        Bruce

        • Yeah, it'd be nice if people didn't abuse the words "open source" but nobody holds a monopoly on their usage. How do you enforce this?

          It's like saying it'd be nice if people stopped abusing the word "solution" when they mean "product," but who's gonna enforce that? Webster?

          Tom
          • How do you enforce this?
            I suggest that you and I and everyone else in the community make it clear that someone is lying when they say their software is "Open Source" and their license doesn't comply with the OSD. We need to be loud about it.

            Bruce

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tomstdenis ( 446163 )
              I gave out software as public domain calling it "open source," is that OSI blessed? Should I be shamed for not using a license?

              I make my statement by just not using software that annoys me. You won't find Windows on my desktop. You don't see a 360 by my TV, you won't see many Sony BMG CDs around my stereo, etc. I don't need a soapbox bigger than my posts to /. to comment on those that have business practices I disagree with.

              Tom
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) *

                I gave out software as public domain calling it "open source," is that OSI blessed? Should I be shamed for not using a license?

                There is certainly no shame in giving out public domain software. And I think that OSI acknowledges that public domain software with available source is qualified to be called OSI Certified Open Source, so this is moot anyway. However, making it stick that your software is actually public domain means using the right legal language, and a whole lot of people get it wrong. U.S. cop

                • re: copyright, yes you can declare software as public domain in the USA. You can't have copyright without public domain, that is, copyright is defined as materials not in the public domain [and vice versa].

                  re: politics, I let others make up their minds. I learned long ago people don't want to be told how/where/what to buy/use/do. And since I generally don't have an endless supply of friends I let them to whatever isn't wholly immoral. One of my friends has a 360. I don't call him "evil" or whatever for
    • by AusIV ( 950840 )
      For that matter, someone who simply provides the source to their paying clients might claim to be open source - and while I'm sure that's not OSI's definition of Open Source, I don't see where OSI has any legal standing to prevent someone from using the term.
    • You would be unwise to call it Open Source if it doesn't comply with the Open Source Definition. Otherwise you will confuse your customers. Most people expect that certain set of rights, and if they don't get them, they might, say, accuse you of fradulent advertising. Or worse, they might go to your competition.
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:37AM (#19592885)
    Not using an "approved" license doesn't mean that the program is not OS. That only means that the program is not Open Source by the rules of (insert the tyranic powers you like here). I can write a program and publish it with the source with the license "Do whatever you want with it but don't call me "Shirley"". And this IS an Open Source program like it or not.

    Politics sucks , but software politics sucks infinitly more. And don't get me started about software religions, of which Open Source is one of it's maximal exponents... ewwwkkk.

    • Actually, we're just trying to enforce our trademark on Open Source. If you don't like our trademark or our ownership of it, use a different term, like Shared Source, or Source Available. If you want to use the term that we have spent years and dollars promoting, then you have to do it under our terms (which are very reasonable).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nomadic ( 141991 )
        Actually, we're just trying to enforce our trademark on Open Source. If you don't like our trademark or our ownership of it, use a different term, like Shared Source, or Source Available. If you want to use the term that we have spent years and dollars promoting, then you have to do it under our terms (which are very reasonable).

        You don't have a trademark on Open Source.
  • Heh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikkelm ( 1000451 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:39AM (#19592893)
    So, they're all for open software and open licensing and open everything, but only if it's the kind of open approved by them?

    Apparently it's okay to attempt to monopolise a market, as long as you're convinced that your intentions are noble. "Open Source" is not a trademark or brand name. It's a philosophy that's free to be interpreted by anyone. Including the user.
    • "Open Source" is not a trademark or brand name. It's a philosophy that's free to be interpreted by anyone. Including the user.

      His point is that companies are labeling their shit as "open source" when, in fact, it is not. That causes confusion with companies and people as to what "open source" is. Complicates "open source" advocacy, and is generally a detriment to the "open source" market and community.

      I don't know if the companies that are mentioned are, or are not, open source, and that isn't *my* p
      • The article clearly states that he wants to lash out at products that label their "non OSI approved" licenses as "open source". Regardless of what the license says.

        "once every 2-3 months we'd receive notice that some company or another was advertising that their software was "open source" when the license was not approved by the OSI board"

        That is a very broad and general statement that doesn't in any way specify whether or not the license is actually "open" or not, but instead works to say "this whole open
        • The problem is that if nobody enforces standards for the "Open Source" brand, then anything, whether or not it even includes permission to modify the code or redistribute it, will be called Open Source. OSI acts to certify that software conforms to the Open Source Definition. This definition is available for anyone to read and craft a license to fit it. However, we certainly don't need more licenses - there are so many now that the combinatorial problem causes developer pain.

          Bruce

          • Then why not just make an "OSI Approved" logo, and license the logo to only be used in conjunction with software that is completely under an OSI Approved License? Then the OSI can associate said logo / "OSI Approved" mark with "Open Source" through conferences and other marketing...

            Because, honestly, if the OSI claims that my Java projects from my Data Structures classes (Which are Kopylefted, per Discordian whim) are not Open Source, I would be rather offended.

            Either that or make the Open Source license l
    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:55AM (#19593053) Homepage Journal
      Open Source software has licensing that conforms to the Open Source Definition and in addition the source code must be available. It is not just anything you think of. Long ago, OSI decided to abandon registration of "Open Source" alone, in my opinion on bad advice from their then legal counsel. However, it's still a common law trademark. But regardless of its trademark status, the community should not tolerate just anything being called Open Source, or you will find Microsoft using it for stuff that includes no freedom to modify, etc.

      Bruce

      • But why would we want an authority presiding over the definition of open source software? Because if we don't have one, the name will be abused? It's not like OSI could ever stop MS from calling Vista open source... and if it ever became able to do that, it would mean OSI has gained political power. Do you want that? Yet another incompetent, worthless, abusive, governmental (but I repeat myself) burden on your life?
        How about we let the industry sort his out, like it's currently doing, and quite successfull
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) *

          It's not like OSI could ever stop MS from calling Vista open source

          They could make it very clear that it was a lie, and I'd expect you and the rest of the community to help with that.

          it would mean OSI has gained political power. Do you want that?

          Well, I have political power. I just came back from helping the government of Italy with an Open Source bill, and am on my way to Norway where I regularly meet with their government committee on this, and I do similar stuff in the US and elsewhere. Do you want tha

    • Re:Heh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:22AM (#19593357) Journal
      You can't put a "Free meal" label on the front of your restaurant if you don't provide free meals.
      You can't put a "Open Source" label on your software package if you don't provide the source.

      This is not about trademark infrigement, this is about deceptive marketing. The OSI has a good position to make such attacks, but anyone could do so, on the same ground.
    • by roystgnr ( 4015 )
      "Open Source" is not a trademark or brand name. It's a philosophy that's free to be interpreted by anyone. Including the user.

      If it was a philosophy free to be interpreted by the user, nobody would have a problem with companies mislabeling their licenses. I would simply interpret those licenses to let me exercise the freedoms that have been defined as requirements of "Free Software" and "Open Source" for decades, and I would be happy.

      I don't think they would be happy, though. I think that they'd want to e
  • by EveryNickIsTaken ( 1054794 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:39AM (#19592899)
    Since when does OSI have power over *anything*? This would be like the American Peanut Council complaining that certain products said they "may contain peanuts," when they actually didn't.
  • Similar to the problem Google faces with people using the word "google" as another way to say "search", the phrase "open source" is widely accepted as meaning "source code available for use". The only difference is that "Google" is widely known as a company while "open source" has no meaning beyond the concept described above. This "open source initiative" looks like a way for somebody to make a quick buck - there should be no license necessary to categorize your software as open source. Sure some may tr
    • by AusIV ( 950840 )

      Similar to the problem Google faces with people using the word "google" as another way to say "search", the phrase "open source" is widely accepted as meaning "source code available for use". The only difference is that "Google" is widely known as a company while "open source" has no meaning beyond the concept described above.
      "Google" is a registered trademark. "Open Source" is not.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Russ Nelson ( 33911 )
      Well, that's a great legal theory, and it might have some weight with the court, but we established the trademark, and we promoted it, and you know what it means through our hard work. Now you're trying to take my work away from me? I don't think so. Open Source, when applied to software, means "software whose license complies with the Open Source Definition" as evinced by our listing of the license on our website.

      If you don't like that, take it to a court and see how far you get.
  • by sfarmstrong ( 1106577 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:55AM (#19593059)

    Open source is about exposing your code to the general public. This enables third-party developers to more easily analyze and make use of your software. It enhances the academic community's ability to experiment with, research, and just generally make "fair use" of software.

    Free software is about exposing the intellectual property contained within the code - the copyrights and patents attached to the code. It enhances the public's access to software, and hence their ability to take full advantage of their computers. More importantly, it prevents waste. For example, can you imagine the extra cost to the economy if every developer had to implement public key cryptography from the ground up?

    Free software implies open source; open source does not imply free software. Please, let's not confuse the two. It would be wonderful (and arguably sensible) if Microsoft made its code open source. It would be absurd for Microsoft to release its copyright of said code.

    • by AusIV ( 950840 )
      It bothers me when people (OSI and FSF) try to redefine words to further their agenda. I'm a huge fan of Free and Open Source software, but it bothers me when RMS tries to claim he gets to define "Free". Opera is "free", Trillian is "free", Adobe Reader and Flash are "free". It doesn't cost a dime to get any of them. They may not be FSF approved "Free", but RMS can't tell their vendors not to call them free.

      Same goes with Open Source. VBulletin is "Open Source" in that anyone who buys it gets the source a

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )
        You are just being obtuse. There is a real difference between free as in beer and free as in speech. We are just unlucky that in english they share a word. Think of libre vs gratis [wikipedia.org] in latin. RMS has to specifically define his words because our language fails us here.
    • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:25AM (#19593419) Homepage Journal
      When I wrote the Open Source definition, Richard Stallman approved of it (in a private email) as "A good definition of Free Software". He has not written his own definition at that time. Free Software and Open Source are both names for the same thing - software licensed a particular way, and the only way they differ is that they talk about it in a different way - Open Source is a campaign directed toward business people, Free Software is not. Even RMS agrees with me on this now (we were on stage in Italy two weeks ago talking about this) although he will of course always want to be identified as a Free Software person because he feels it's most important to talk about Freedom. Once upon a time Eric Raymond did try to differentiate Free Software from Open Source, and he tried to deprecate RMS in general. That was a mistake and does not matter any longer.

      Bruce

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by strider44 ( 650833 )
      The restrictions for open source include Free Redistribution and allowing derived works. You seem to be implying that Shared Source is an open source license, which is wrong. You should really read the Open Source Definition [opensource.org] if that is what you're implying.
    • Really, I'm flabbergasted by people's attempted repositioning of Open Source. It has *always* been a better name and better positioning of the SAME STUFF. Open Source is Free Software without the confusing two English meanings of "Free". Open Source is Free Software without St. Ignucius's religion and moralizing. The FSF says that you're unethical if you hoard your software. We (the OSI) don't judge you that way.
  • by dgr73 ( 1055610 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:57AM (#19593075)
    ..why not the other? I'll trademark "Closed Source", "Proprietary", "Confidential" and "Copyrighted". We'll see who'll bleed out of which orifice then.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:59AM (#19593091) Homepage Journal
    Badgeware, software that requires that you place a badge on your web site, is the problem. SugarCRM is one of the offenders.

    In composing the Open Source Definition, my aim was that there would be NO legal burden upon users at all. A user should be able to put OSI Certified Open Source software on a computer and go, without reading the license. That's one reason the OSD prohibited the then-popular "Educational Use Only" provision. Requiring the user to perform something - like transmit an advertising badge - is similarly unacceptable because it would place a legal burden on the user.

    In practice, issues like patents and even Sarbanes-Oxley create a legal load for some users, but that is not under our developer's control. We had a license back then that imposed an attribution-related legal load on distributors: the original Apache license required attribution in some advertising. It was awkward, there was no way to implement it automatically, and it would have presented a scaling problem if hundreds of authors required attribution in - for example - an operating system distribution's advertising. The community eventually convinced Apache to drop the advertising provision.

    That old Apache license has obvious parallels to more current "badgeware" proposals, but badgeware isn't a new issue for Open Source. Almost a decade ago, I reviewed the first Zope license for SPI. Zope's original submission required a web badge. I convinced their investor, Hadar Pedhazur, to make that a nice request rather than a requirement. Most people honored the request. The GPL contained an attribution provision, and still does. OSD was written to fit GPL. But the burden of the GPL's requirement was only upon developers, and it was the minimum necessary amount of attribution to communicate the author identification and the fact that the user had rights.

    A developer can be especially irked when someone else labels that developers work as his own. But protecting that developer's business and taking the commercial value out of such relabeling does not require attribution. It could be done using any share-and-share-alike (GPL-like) license that closes the ASP loophole. But it's still fair for a developer to want to be attributed. I think the minimal practical goals for attribution are:

    1) The developer should be able to find it.
    and
    2) The developer should be able to show to others.

    This does not mean that the developer should require others to blow his advertising horn. Some companies already use attribution that isn't visible unless you are looking for it - it's embedded in HTML comments. In contrast, the draft Affero flavor of GPL 3 closes the ASP loophole by implementing the minimal necessary requirement for a developer to preserve a visible message informing the user of their rights. The visibility is to implement a separate goal of FSF: that users appreciate their rights and learn to demand them. Should OSI approve this new Affero license, or should it ask that FSF - rather than demanding a direct channel to users, search for that information and present the result on its own sites?

    Bruce

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Thank you, Bruce. Like many here, I was trying to figure out what Tiemann found so objectionable about SugarCRM's license. Being based on the Mozilla Public License, it looks very much like a lot of open-source licenses out there. It took a while to spot the "badgeware" clause hiding down at the very bottom:

      However, in addition to the other notice obligations, all copies of the Covered Code in Executable and Source Code form distributed must, as a form of attribution of the original author, include on each user interface screen (i) the "Powered by SugarCRM" logo and (ii) the copyright notice in the same form as the latest version of the Covered Code distributed by SugarCRM, Inc. at the time of distribution of such copy. In addition, the "Powered by SugarCRM" logo must be visible to all users and be located at the very bottom center of each user interface screen. Notwithstanding the above, the dimensions of the "Powered By SugarCRM" logo must be at least 106 x 23 pixels. When users click on the "Powered by SugarCRM" logo it must direct them back to http://www.sugarforge.org./ [www.sugarforge.org] In addition, the copyright notice must remain visible to all users at all times at the bottom of the user interface screen. When users click on the copyright notice, it must direct them back to http://www.sugarcrm.com/ [sugarcrm.com]

      And suddenly that's no longer open source, because "open" doesn't just mean you can see it. It means you can use it and modify it for any purpose you want, including making new software for distributi

    • by smelroy ( 40796 )

      Thank you Bruce. Someone needed to explain the situation a little better.

      I've seen this problem for a while from my experience with SugarCRM. They use a modified Mozilla Public License Version 1.1 (SugarCRM Public License [sugarcrm.com]) that requires attribution with a logo on the bottom of every page. This was not the case initially but when SugarCRM was at version 1.5 a company used the Open Source license to create their own product (vTiger CRM [vtiger.com]) and it pissed off the people at Sugar so they changed the license [zdnet.com]. Now

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 )
      Wow, check that out. GPLv3-licensed software is not 'Open Source'. Since it doesn't allow the use on devices with DRM/etc, it creates a legal burden every bit as much as 'badgeware' does.
  • Not sure what their argument is. If vendor means creator then why would they have to use a license approved by the OSI? Authors are free to use whatever license they want. If they mean vendors who use open source software (Tivo, Linksys) why should they be forced to stick a label on each item "Linux approved" like people do with "Intel Inside" or "Designed for Windows Vista".

    It's all marketing crap. When it comes to a hardware device or commercial package using FOSS, all I care about is if they re-release

  • by mpcooke3 ( 306161 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:35AM (#19593573) Homepage
    I get really annoyed by a lot of people who claim they are called "Matthew".

    So here's what I propose: let's all agree-- citizens, press, governments, and others shall use the name 'Matthew' to refer only to people who I have granted an official MPC-Approved license and follow the official MPC approved "Matthew" practices.

    Otherwise, let's face it just about any plonker could call themselves Matthew, and we really don't want that.

    Yours,
    Matthew.
  • When all kinds of vendors were marketing fake cheese as cheese, the dairy industry got together and made up the 'Real' mark. I don't see this as anything different. I'm really happy with the 'Real' mark for dairy products, and I'm similarly happy with that sort of a mark for software products. If nobody decides that Open Source means something in particular, soon it won't mean anything at all and will be a completely useless word as applied to software.

    Today it happens to be the irritating and not hugely awful problem of badgeware. Tomorrow it will be some vendor that attacks something more fundamental like free redistribution.

    So, I'm happy the Open Source Initiative has taken this stand. It's the right thing to do. It's easier to monitor the reputation of one organization than it is to monitor the reputation of thousands. So we can all decide for ourselves if the OSI suddenly decides to refuse the use of the trademark to random companies that really are Open Source.

  • It seems to me that there is Open Source, and there is open source. If the source code is available, it should be called open source. If it falls under the umbrella of OSI's requirements, then call it Open Source. Frankly, I feel they are fighting a battle of semantics, and maybe should trademark a name that can be less confusing.
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime&cpphacker,co,uk> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @10:30AM (#19594347) Homepage Journal
    I'm really shocked at all the negative reaction to this announcement here. This is a *great* thing. It's ridiculous for people
    to take advantage of the term "Open Source" to market their products, while shipping something that isn't actually Open Source. And yes, I understand that some people quibble over whether or not the OSI definition is *the* definition of Open Source or not... hell, I may have argued that point myself in the past. But pragmatically, the OSID is the closest thing we have to a universal definition of what it means to be open source, and it's a good definition.

    Let's hail this move as a good thing, to help prevent confusion in the market. SugarCRM, etc. shouldn't be going around
    calling their stuff Open Source when it's not. Let them use a different term like "Source Available" or "Smart Source" or "Elephantine Lipitrude" or something, whatever.
  • They [the Palo Alto strategy group] used the opportunity before the release of [Netscape] Navigator's source code to clarify a potential confusion caused by the ambiguity of the word "free" in English.

    And in doing so, introduced ambiguity and confusion of the word "open". They replaced one problem with another.

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