OPEN Source

Todd Premeaux rpremeaux1 at
Sat Dec 3 16:29:19 UTC 2005


Thank you for your generous detail and clarification.

Todd Premeaux
rpremeaux1 at

-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Tilly [mailto:btilly at] 
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:42 PM
To: Todd Premeaux
Cc: license-discuss at
Subject: Re: OPEN Source

On 11/26/05, Todd Premeaux <rpremeaux1 at> wrote:
> I am no lawyer but I do a little programming, and many times some of the
> application code used within my applications, come from open sources found
> available on the internet! My fundamental understanding of open source is
> the author of the source object I use, gets his credit as the author
> his object code and in the EULA or Readme file!

Danged right you aren't a lawyer!

The fundamental understanding that you need to have about open source
is that the author's copyright should be respected as that author has
requested.  Just because YOU would like to be acknowledged a certain
way doesn't mean that SOMEONE ELSE does.

> If I use his objects' within an application I developed and distribute for
> profit, then a portion of the profit should be sent to him for his time
> to his contributions. And most EULA agreements ask that donations be sent
> his or her objects are used.

If you borrowed Richard Stallman's GPLed code and then tried to offer
him payment in lieu of releasing your source code, you would get quite
an earful!  His lawyer would also politely but firmly explain matters
to you.

Richard's opinions may be found in more detail in essays such as  His lawyer's
attitude towards enforcing the GPL may be found at

I should also note that the open source world is not full of EULA
agreements, nor are people constantly asking for donations.  This
seems amazing to people who come from proprietary or shareware
cultures, but really, it is true.

> To me this is the whole meaning behind open source! Everyone deserves
> for their work and may want compensation for the time they contributed in
> allowing you to use his or her objects. There are many of us that like to
> just get credit for work done, and do not always view profit as the
> force behind writing something that everyone can benefit from as long as
> proper credit is given!

There are many people with many motivations.  I get the best results
when I try to treat each person in accord with their actual
motivations.  I've found that there is a wide variation in motivations
- wide enough that I cannot simply categorize them.

> Yes some do write for profit, and justly so because of the time it does
> to write, maintain and support their work, and if they stand behind their
> program!

It is odd but true that I've generally received _better_ support from
people who do not write for profit.  And their software generally
needs less support.

As Linus Torvalds said, "Programming is like sex, it is better when it is

> All of us now that many have written conceptual code in their past, that
> been stolen and or reverse engineered and is still used today, by many
> don't give credit to the original author. But this should not be discussed
> here!

Our definitions of "stolen" may differ.  But this is not the place to
discuss whether copyright infringement is theft.

Also note that many people prefer to use copyright licenses that allow
behaviour that you'd consider theft.  I'll let you speculate as to
their motivations.

> My opinion is OSI should always strive to make it understood, in as layman
> terms as possible what true open source code is, and try their best to
> assure proper credit is given to the programmers', just as any author that
> writes books or articles have to declare proper credit to referenced
> material, and if not be dealt with a plagiarists'.

My strong suspicion is that you are from the shareware world, not the
open source world.  I'd suggest that you get to know the open source
world better before saying how an organization that is trying to
represent that group should behave.


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