is R-Quant OSD compliant?

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Thu Nov 15 02:55:12 UTC 2001

on Wed, Nov 14, 2001 at 02:13:08PM +0100, Ferdinando Ametrano (ferdinando at wrote:
> Hi all
> R-Quant is an application that claims to be open source. I doubt it is and 
> I would like to have feedback from this list.

It isn't OSD complaint.  A reminder that "Open Source" isn't a regulated
mark.  However, its use to describe software that isn't OSD compliant
could be generally construed as misleading.  There have been several
posts to this list in the past month or so regarding similar cases.

As I said then:

    [Is use of "open source" on non-OSD-compliant licensing a trademark
    infringement?  No, but...]

    From a PR standpoint, the question's more open.  Many people might
    take it that the organization is misrepresenting its licensing
    terms, is free-riding the OSI's OSD definition, or is just plain
    lacking in judgement (often spelled C-L-U-E).

    From this standpoint, it might be considered sporting to inform the
    organization that it's treading a grey zone, and one likely to make
    it rather unpopular.  For a similar recent situation, check this
    list's archives of the past few days.

    I'd definitely recommend a quiet, friendly, approach before I
    blasted out in the open, guns blazing, Slashdot unleashed.  Failing
    that, other approaches might be appropriate.  I've followed this
    track in a dozen or more cases of various free software compliance
    issues, including Microsoft, with a 100% success rate.  Copying the
    appropriate authority for a dispute (OSI for use of "open source"
    marks, Linux International for Linux trademark issues, the FSF for
    GPL enforcement) is recommended.

    Despite the lack of a legal claim to the phrase, its use should be
    made clear.  More importantly, people should realize that "OSI
    Certified" is the mark and "Open Source Software" is the statement
    of goods.  The usage is "OSI Certified Open Source Software" (thanks
    to Larry for straighting me out on this).  This usage should be
    strongly emphasized -- anything less is not the mark.

I'd start with a friendly note.

> Extracted from the R-Quant license agreement 
> (
>  > This software as well as its documentation or other related
>  > materials can not be used in any commercial application
>  > without written permission or official license granted by the author.
> Isn't this in contrast with the Open Source Definition (OSD):
> OSD ( paragraph 6:
>  > 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
>  > The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program
>  > in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict
>  > the program from being used in a business, or from being used for
>  > genetic research.
>  >
>  > Rationale: The major intention of this clause is to prohibit
>  > license traps that prevent open source from being used
>  > commercially. We want commercial users to join our community,
>  > not feel excluded from it.
> Besides I think that R-Quant is not free software as defined by the
> Free Software Foundation (FSF)
> (
>  > The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements
>  > to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
> Am I right?
> To paint the full picture: R-Quant links GPL software.

This could be a GPL violation.  Have you contacted the author(s) of the
GPLd software linked to?

> ciao -- Nando
> --
> license-discuss archive is at

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
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