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From Andrew Savory <>
Subject RE: [OT] What is OSS [was: Cocoon Stammtisch]
Date Tue, 20 May 2003 08:28:26 GMT


On Tue, 20 May 2003, Matthew Langham wrote:

> > WRONG! IT IS NOT! Open Source != "I get the source code to look at".
> >
> >
> >
> Of course you are right in that is how OS is defined "by the book". I was
> only implying that the actual term is often used very differently (and
> wrongly)!

This confusion is why the die hard advocates say "don't say Open Source
say OSI Open Source", since various marketing organisations co-opted the
term "Open Source" and it can't be trademarked properly to protect it.

> > 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.
> Yes OSI says this - correct. I was not implying differently. In particular I
> was not implying that the mentioned use of "open source" conformed to
> anything.

Better yet is the definition "Free Software", and the Free Software
Foundation definition at 4 points is far more readable than the OSI
definition at 10 (!). Given that most definitions are derived from the FSF
one, it's a good starting place.

The term Free Software refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of a

* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.

* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.

* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is
a precondition for this.


Andrew Savory                                Email:
Managing Director                              Tel:  +44 (0)870 741 6658
Luminas Internet Applications                  Fax:  +44 (0)700 598 1135
This is not an official statement or order.    Web:

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