ZDNet article - why attribution matters

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Tue Nov 28 18:00:43 UTC 2006

On Nov 28, 2006, at 8:00 AM, David RR Webber ((XML)) wrote:
> I think this cuts to the point of - what is the purpose of open  
> source?

The purpose of OSI Open Source is to make better software available  
to everyone.

While there are lots of ways of writing, publishing, and maintaining  
software, the experience of the BSD community back in the 1970's, and  
later that of the FSF & GNU project starting in the early 80's [1],  
is that by making the source code to software publicly available and  
permitting people to make their own changes to the code and to be  
able to share these changes with everyone else, results in better  

> The person publishing the source has very clear reasons why they  
> are doing that and how they expect people to use that source.

I would agree that people who publish their source code usually have  
clear reasons for doing so; I would disagree that most people writing  
Open Source software place expectations as to how others should use  
the software.  People who place restrictions into the software  
license on how the software may be used generally do not comply with  
the Open Source Definition, and such licenses typically are rejected  
by the OSI board.

> Other people then wish to retroactively bend that into something  
> different - usually without the permission of the author, or  
> perhaps as an unintended or unanticipated action beyond what the  
> author original envisioned!  This generates friction, or sometimes  
> pleasant surprises - but not always!  ; -)
> The job of OSI is to mitigate that and provide clear guidelines and  
> boundaries for people to operate in so that they can anticipate and  
> expect reliable and consistent results when they release their open  
> source in a particular way.  This ultimately fosters a healthy and  
> thriving community of practice.

Do you not find that the Open Source Definition provides clear  
guidelines and boundaries?
Is there some part of it which you find unclear?


More information about the License-discuss mailing list