Interesting note on attribution and OSD #10

Rick Moen rick at
Thu Jan 4 19:11:36 UTC 2007

Quoting Ben Tilly (btilly at
> The original definition under which the phrase "open source" was
> promoted and popularized did not include OSD #10 or anything
> resembling it.

Because nobody had yet remembered and accounted for that particular way
of subverting OSD's _unchanging_ intent.

The Open Source definition is an attempt to formalise -- to set down in
a series of concise and definite rules -- the core notions of open
source:  right to fork, right to use for any purpose in any area of life
without fee, right to redistribute, public existence of source code of
the existing work, right to create derivative works.

However, at long intervals, someone comes up with yet another way of
seeming to meet OSD's form while substantively withholding part of its
substance.  At that point, OSI's Board says, "Oh, right.  Forgot about
the implied need for technological neutrality, as that clause requiring
notification via telegram is looking pretty silly about now."

Point is:  OSD #10 was always a _necessary_ implication of the core
notions.  I just hadn't been formalised for a long while.  

Thank you for clarifying the importance of AAL's spot in the timeline,
anyway.  Isn't it amazing how all that weaseling and special pleading is
quickly falling apart, under scrutiny?

> Most of the community is blissfully unaware of OSD #10 and I don't
> remember its addition being widely publicized.  Therefore one can
> somewhat legitimately question how much OSD #10 is part of the popular
> understanding of "open source".

Non sequitur.  The popular understanding of "open source" is a bit fuzzy
for the simple reason that the public (too) doesn't spend a huge amount of
time trying to work out imaginative ways to subvert the concept.

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