"Open Source Constitution"?

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Sat Apr 9 18:45:11 UTC 2005

Bruce Perens wrote:
> Chuck Swiger wrote:
>> What is "commercial open source"?
> There is a tendency among some companies to view the Open Source 
> contributors as unpaid employees who will improve a company's software 
> without much logical economic reason, rather than as parties with whom 
> the company operates a quid-pro-quo. Most of these folks will want to 
> have a way to convert the work of Open Source contributors into a 
> proprietary-licensed product.

Indeed so.  Some developers are fine with the notion of people using their 
software in a proprietary licensed product, and tend to use simple permissive 
licenses, whereas others object strongly and tend to use a coftleft/reciprocal 
license such as the GPL.

Some people have just managed to persuade Linus to stop using BitKeeper, 
although it is not clear that the core Linux developers are going to be more 
productive as a result.  I've never used BitKeeper, myself, but if Linus feels 
that particular proprietary tool helps a lot, well, he's probably right.

Well, the BSD camp has it's own zealots.  Theo de Raadt is dropping support 
for a common SCSI adaptor in OpenBSD 3.7 because the RAID management tool is 
proprietary, even though the aac driver itself is under a 3-clause BSD 
license.  Breaking aac support in OpenBSD is a counterproductive action which 
hurts OpenBSD users who have that hardware [1], but apparently OpenBSD gains 
ideological purity as a result.

Those people [2] who see a strong distinction between Microsoft selling a 
product containing Open Source Software such as zlib and IPFW; Red Hat selling 
a product containing OSS such as the Linux kernel and a mix of GNU and 
BSD-licensed userland utilities; or Apple selling a product containing OSS 
such as the Mach kernel plus a mix of BSD and GNU utilities; are applying 
double standards.


[1]: The PERC/3 RAID controller series, found in Dell PowerEdges and the like.
[2]: This phrasing hopefully indicates that this comment wasn't directed 
specificly at you, Bruce.  :-)

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