Open source shareware?

David Davies david at
Fri Nov 9 07:18:20 UTC 2001

On Friday, 9 November 2001 11:50 AM David Johnson Wrote:

>> On Thursday 08 November 2001 08:05 am, Forrest J. Cavalier III wrote:
>> > Can someone point out the OSD violation of a shareware license such
>> > the following?  I realize it violates the spirit of the OSD, but I 
>> > cannot find where it violates the "letter" of the OSD.  The OSD is 
>> > silent on "use" and I think this illustrates the problem.
>> The OSD may be quiet regarding use, but the law is not. Since the law
>> grants the user the right to use the software, the OSD does not need
>> specify that.

A) I'm not sure shareware as described by Forest truly does violate the
spirit of the OSD.
Isnt the OSI meant to be pragmatic ?  
If source code of programs is made public (open) then the OSD is meeting
its stated and original objective.
If we try to make it say more we are hijacking the stated intent.
Perhaps we need to create the Free Software Inititive, but I think
someone already did something like that.  You don't go to McDonalds to
eat Pizza.

NOTE :  If the OSI is _really_ intended to to cover other issues then it
should clearly state so and thereafter avoid this periodic discussion.
Then we know they are now focused on serving Pizza and we can get our
hamburgers at Hungy Jacks instead.

B) The user has the right to use software sure but only software that
they OWN.
The term "OWN" may not be the appropriate word here as the relationship
between the User and the Software is far from being clear and no one law
applies throughout the world.
To OWN it they must first accept the terms of whatever licence (or
contract) is applied to it.
If the licence (contract) terms say I need to paint my cat red and that
is what I choose to accept then bad luck for the cat.
The key point is "choose to accept" i.e. I do or I don't and I am not
forced to accept it. Nobody is holding a gun to my head or a paintbrush
over the cat.

David Davies

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