new licensing model

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Dec 19 01:28:33 UTC 2005

Matthew Seth Flaschen scripsit:
> From: Nikolai <n_k at>
> > Sounds like someone holds a monopoly on what open source is. If so, who 
> > is monopolist?
> Obviously, you don't know what a monopoly is.  However, it is true
> that OSI has established and trademarked the term "open source."
> The founders of the organization were the first to use the phrase.
> Thus, they have the right to say what they think it means.  It is
> alright for others to have different understandings of the phrase.
> The OSI, however, will continue to use the meaning enshrined in the
> OSD and will not change that definition substantially.  Most users of
> the phrase agree with the OSI's meaning anyway.

In fact, trademarks *are* monopolies, though fairly harmless ones,
because if "Phoenix" and "Firebird" turn out to be trademarked, you can
always rename your product "Firefox".

"Open Source", however, is *not* a trademark of the OSI or anyone else,
at least not in the U.S., for the same reason that "Apple" would be
unusable as a trademark for apples (though perfectly good for both music
and computers).  The OSI trademark is "OSI Certified".

Finally, using "open source" in a non-standard way doesn't help anyone;
it leads to nothing but confusion and annoyance.

May the hair on your toes never fall out!       John Cowan
        --Thorin Oakenshield (to Bilbo)         cowan at

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