For Approval: Academic Citing License

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Sep 27 11:38:10 UTC 2004

Rick Moen scripsit:

> Hmm.  Searching the Trove database by licence category, one finds:
>   License
>       OSI Approved (55076 projects)
>       Other/Proprietary License (948 projects)
>       Public Domain (1524 projects)
> That's 1524 + 948 = 2472 counter-examples.

Only 948.  Public domain projects don't have OSI-approved licenses
for the very good reason that they aren't licensed at all.  But 
they are clearly Open Source.

> I used to believe what you said, too (as I'm sure you did when you said
> that), and so was surprised to get the above results in 2000 when I
> discovered it.  Just to save you the trouble, I brought the 
> matter to SourceForge management:  They very politely told me that it
> doesn't matter.

I investigated just a trivial number of those projects.  First of all,
some have (or claim to have) both OSI-approved and other/proprietary
licenses.  Filtering those out (manually), I found miscategorized
projects, projects with Creative Commons licenses, and idiosyncratic
but plainly Open Source licenses like the license of gnuplot (which
is BSD-ish but allows only patches, like the QPL).  So assuming that
all 948 are in fact under proprietary licenses is incorrect.

Principles.  You can't say A is         John Cowan <jcowan at>
made of B or vice versa.  All mass
is interaction.  --Richard Feynman

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