Open Source Decision Models

Kevin Hunter hunteke at
Fri Mar 5 00:26:44 UTC 2010

At 5:47pm -0500 Thu, 04 Mar 2010, Somik Raha wrote:
> [ want to release my code as open source.  However ... ] Most of 
> this work is in the form of Excel models. [Excel is a proprietary
> product, so I can't use a an open-source license ... What do I do?]

There's a distinction of which to be aware: just because Excel is a
proprietary does not mean that documents written /in/ it are
proprietary.  If it did, that would be akin to Microsoft owning your
data because you chose their product to write it, which is patently
false.  Thus, the easy answer is that you can, in fact, open source your

Where it sounds like it gets tricky is that your product may use /other/
code, macros and VBA scripts, that you don't own.  If you do, then you
are at the mercy of those scripts.  If any of those scripts are
proprietary, then you have some thinking to do.

Also, be aware that the issue only really manifests itself if you become
a /distributor/ of your code.  Meaning, that since you haven't
distributed anything, you could have a mish-mash of open source and
proprietary codes in your product.  The minute you distribute something,
however, that's when most of the open-source licenses rear their heads.

Of note, as well, is that explaining /how/ to do something is not the
same thing as distributing it.  You could distribute the parts of the
code that you can distribute, and also tell folks what proprietary parts
they need to install themselves.

Somewhat tangentially, is this something you might consider investing
time translating to an OASIS document?  For example, could it be made to
work with OpenOffice?



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