compatibility and the OSD

Rick Moen rick at
Tue Sep 28 18:47:19 UTC 2004

Quoting Marius Amado Alves (amado.alves at

> I'll try. FWIW, my *personal* position in the SDC discussion is to drop 
> "open source". But we're a group. The issue is under discussion. 
> Publicly. That the terms "proprietary", "open source" can be and often 
> are used with a wider meaning than OSD's seems to be the main 
> counter-argument.

You are welcome to relay to the proponents of same "counter-argument"
my assessment that it is a transparently bogus smokescreen, as it relies 
on willful and ultimately intellectually dishonest ignoring of context.

1.  Claims that "open source" have other established meanings evaporate
    when you realise that those are in wholly different fields such 
    as intelligence-gathering by spy agencies and others.

2.  Claims that "proprietary" means "subject to claim of ownership" 
    evaporate when you realise that that is the _generic_ meaning 
    outside the discussion of software.

OSI literally invented the usage of "open source" as meaning compliant
with the principles expressed by the Open Source Definition -- and 
established "proprietary" as a (by intention) non-pejorative description
of its obverse.  So, groups like yours that intrude on the public's 
understanding of "open source" create problems and will keep on hearing
polite requests for correction.

Frankly, I have little respect for people who claim the term "open
source" is "often used with a wider meaning than OSD's".  The claim
reflects either profound and persistent ignorance or a lack of
intellectual integrity.  (Determining which explanation pertains 
among proponents within your group isn't my problem, but is something
you might want to think about.)

So:  Please correct that error, at your earliest possible convenience.
I am sympathetic to your problems of political process, but the problem
your error creates persists regardless of your procedural obstacles -- 
and should be corrected without delay.

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