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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: [OT] What is OSS [was: Cocoon Stammtisch]
Date Tue, 20 May 2003 06:58:27 GMT
on 5/20/03 1:22 AM Matthew Langham wrote:

>>If I buy a product, that comes with source code (plenty of them), but not
>>allowed to re-distribute/resell, is this Open Source Software??
> Yes. 

WRONG! IT IS NOT! Open Source != "I get the source code to look at".

1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the
software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing
programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a
royalty or other fee for such sale.

> The ("I can use this any way I want") term does not say a thing about
> what you can then actually do with the stuff (or even whether you had to pay
> for everything in the first place). A common misconception.


> Today it is used very "flexibly" and the only "fact" you can read out of the
> use is that you get the source code.

The term "open source" is used flexibly only by those who don't know
about it, but OSI does not approve licenses 'flexibly' at all.

>>FYI, OpenSMS portray in their material "OSS license", but I got
>>the news today
>>1. The product cost Euro 30.000.
>>2. Comes with source
>>3. Not allowed to resell the product, only the Value-Add.
>>4. Not allowed to redistribute the source.

This is not even close to be "open source" software. It violates point
#1, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8 of the OSI definition.

> The truth is in the licence (see also:

well, the truth is in the definition, not in the licenses. those are
simply the licenses that *pass thru* the definition filtering.

> However, even in this case, being able to purchase the source may also be an
> advantage when compared to a commercial product that comes without the
> source.

True, but the term "open source" (even if semantically very weak, I
admit) is *much* more than having access to the source code and this is
because having access to the source code *alone* does not allow a
community to build around a codebase.

>From that POV, OSI guarantees that your licensing scheme can allow your
software to be a petri disk for community building around it, basically
guaranteeing the individuals enough freedom (yes, freedom!) to keep the
software going even if the original dies out or is shut down.


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