compatibility and the OSD

Rick Moen rick at
Wed Sep 29 17:32:26 UTC 2004

Quoting Henry Pijffers (henry.pijffers at

> I only said that legally speaking anyone can use the phrase 'open 
> source' for anything they want to. I didn't say it was either right or 
> wrong, did I? That's only your (wrong) conclusion.

If you weren't trying to make the usual sort of "If we can get away with
it, it must be OK" argument, then I did you a mild disservice, which I
regret.  However, Marius referred to related discussion on your Yahoo
list as "counter-arguments" to OSI's normally assumed primacy on the 
meaning of "open source", so I responded in reliance on his

Now, while Chuck Swiger respects your opinions deeply and resoundingly,
I think you guys have been studiously ignoring an obvious ethics
problem, and that your excuses have seemed wholly disingenous -- but I
see no reason not to be civil.

[about your group's proprietary licensing qualifying as open source if
explained very thoroughly:]

> It can, in certain cases, in certain circumstances. But I'm not going to 
> try and explain that to you, since obviously you're not a person that 
> can be reasoned with in a normal manner, without reverting to strong 
> talk and trying to make the other look like an idiot.

Poison the well much?

If so moved, you could assume I'm evil and not worth talking to, but
give at least quantity one (1) example for the _rest_ of
license-discuss's benefit.  Or you can stick to that passive-aggressive
excuse thing.

> Personally, I still don't see the misuse. The only place the term 'open 
> source' is mentioned is on the group site, which says:  [snip]

Wait, you _don't see_ your Web site's front page?  Can I offer you an
open-source Web browser?

> Well, all members are open source developers (which isn't intended to 
> mean that all they produce is open source software!). What's the 
> problem? 

Et voila.  Disingenuous excuse-making about the bait and switch, for all
to see.  I could think of no clearer example, and think further comment

> Please stick to the subject yourself, thank you.

Evasion of the complaint, check.

> Black and white all over again. Just because our licensing/software is 
> not open source (which in certain cases and circumstances remains open 
> to debate) doesn't mean it's proprietary. 

1.  Stop evading the actual complaint.
2.  Just for your information:  Proprietary is conventionally defined
    as the obverse of open source.  Deal.

> Proprietary software: any closed-source material which fundamentally 
> means that the user does not control what it does or cannot study or 
> edit the code.

That is simply not correct.  But you are still evading the actual

> With our software, one can study the code, one can edit the code, and 
> one can control what it does.

Yes, basically yet another shareware collective.   We've seen those before.
The use restrictions are what make it proprietary.

> Last, if you quote me, would you please quote me in full? 

No, of course not.  Only sufficiently to be fair within the context of
the topic at hand.

> "I myself am for [example] not using open source at all."

It makes perfect sense that you aren't:  You're yet another shareware
guy, part of a group trying to take a free ride on open source, and
making bogus excuses when people complain about its mispresentation of
the latter.  But the nature of what software you use simply wasn't
relevant to the topic.

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube,

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