ZDNet article - why attribution matters

Matt Asay mjasay at gmail.com
Tue Nov 28 19:06:49 UTC 2006


I'm doubly interested in this.  I'm an OSI board member, and I work for
Alfresco.  However, because of the latter (or, rather, the former), I have
recused myself from the formal OSI decision.  I do feel obligated, however,
to ensure that the discussion is measured and informed.  Pointing fingers
and saying things that have been "proven" because you agreed with yourself
doesn't help.

As emphatically as you believe that attribution doesn't meet OSD#10, others
(like me) believe that it does.  There is a genuine issue up for debate.
Declaring "victory" one way or the other is premature.

I'd also appreciate it if you didn't paraphrase what I'm saying.  I prefer
my words to your parsing of them.  They somehow don't sound like mine
anymore after they go through the Rick Translation Machine.  I didn't
comment at all on whether derivative works should be graphical.  To be
honest, I hadn't considered that, and your comment has spurred me to think
it through.  I'd like to continue considering your position without the
noise that surrounds it.  Please don't misrepresent my position in the

> From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 10:32:28 -0800
> To: <license-discuss at opensource.org>
> Subject: Re: ZDNet article - why attribution matters
> 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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