Yet another 'What License Is Best For Me?'

Ben Tilly btilly at
Fri Jan 19 04:25:52 UTC 2007

On 1/18/07, David Favro < at> wrote:
> Ben Tilly wrote:
> > That is also less than 100% open source.  Substantially less.  Check
> > clause 1 of  If this
> > conversation follows the last couple, we will now have several rounds
> > back and forth as you are slowly convinced that this clause means
> > exactly what it says - attempting to keep others from selling your
> > software makes it not open source.  You can certainly write such a
> > license.  But there will be strong objections to your using it and
> > calling it "open source".
> Actually, I accept your definition of the term 'open source' without
> (any rounds of) argument -- it's a phrase that was specifically created
> to express a given concept, so the creator(s) have the right to assign
> any definition they like; but I still don't agree about the use of the
> word 'free', which has a number of established and abstract meanings in
> the English language (70 according to
>, so enforcing one very
> specific set of conditions as the only valid usage is essentially
> hijacking an existing word, thus making it extremely difficult to
> express other concepts that normally would, in the English language, be
> articulated by utilizing this word -- but I don't want to quibble over
> words here.

This complaint is valid, and in fact is one of the reasons why the
term "open source" was introduced.  Namely it was because "free
software" was felt to be a very confusing term.  (Particularly since
many people disagree with the Free Software Foundation about what set
of freedoms are particularly important.)


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