ZDNet article - why attribution matters

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Nov 28 18:32:28 UTC 2006

Quoting David Berlind (David.Berlind at cnet.com):

> I prefer to stay out of the debate of whether attribution makes sense
> or not and if it does, how much is enough. 

It is irksome to see interested parties such as Matt Asay and John
Roberts claim they seek merely to add software authors' attributions to
open source, when _technology-neutral_ attribution mechanisms (ref:
OSD#10) have been an integral part of open source since the very
beginning -- as several posters have already stated.

In (at least) Mr. Asay's case, his Alfresco "logo" clause has proven,
upon discussion here, to be quite deliberately not technology-neutral.
That is, I (ironically) tried to make the argument that the quoted,
slightly vague clause couldn't possibly be _intended_ as requiring that
all derivative works be graphical, as that's simply not reasonable for a
licence aspiring to be open source -- and, incredibly, Asay quickly
followed up by saying (paraphrased) "No, that's pretty much exactly what
we mean to require."

So, we have people trying to deliberately contravene -- among other
things -- OSD#10 and then claim that their licences should be considered
open source anyway because... oh, I dunno:  Because they're nice people
with families to feed, because Red Hat, Inc. doesn't itself publish a
guide to recompiling RHEL without trademark encumbrances, because they
hold careless and convenient misconceptions about "external service
agreements that surround GPL code that place extended limitations on the
use of GPL code within enterprises that buy commercial Linux
subscription contracts", because if they aren't accomodated they'll
invent an OSI-replacement consortium, or some damned thing like that.

And we're supposed to take this seriously because... and here, my
imagination fails.  Because we're gullible?  Because we're not very
bright?  I'm open to suggestions, in hopes of extending the narrative in
some plausible direction.

Or, in the alternative, we could do the totally unimaginative and return
to examining submitted licences per the Open Source Definition, and 
cease wasting time plowing through rhetorical bullshit.

Cheers,               My grandparents went to a planet with no bilateral
Rick Moen             symmetry, and all I got was this lousy F-shirt.
rick at linuxmafia.com   

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