Use of "open source" in website name

Ben Tilly btilly at
Thu Jun 12 17:18:39 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:10 AM, Cinly Ooi <cinly.ooi at> wrote:
> 2008/6/12 John Cowan <cowan at>:
>> Ethically, nobody should use it in a way that could reasonably be confused
>> with the software term.  There are already such uses: in intelligence
>> work, an "open source" is a source of information that anyone can obtain,
>> like a newspaper.
> Is your example of intelligent work an example of "confusion" or  an example
> of other use of "open source"?

FYI when John said "intelligence work" he was almost surely discussing
the kind of work done by organizations like the CIA.  Which would make
it an example of another use of "open source" that has been around
longer than the software term, and quite possibly longer than the term

On the original question, as long as the use of open source for this
company in no way can be confused with the use of the same term in
software, I can't make objection to their using the name because of
the pre-existing software use.  If their use is intentionally
deceptive in some other way, there might be an objection on *that*
ground.  But not because there is a software term that looks the same.


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