Yes, Open Source Licenses DO have a purpose!

Posted by ender2070 on Aug 17, 2009 12:04 PM EDT
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I’ve been reading a lot of articles this weekend. I stumbled upon one called “Do Open Source Licenses Have a Purpose?” which is to be honest a rhetorical question. Ken Hess on Daniweb actually suggests we should throw away our 64 different license CHOICES and just give away our code public domain. I’ve read a similar opinion from other authors and they never suggested getting rid of open source licenses, they suggest trimming them down to a few licenses. While Ken Hess just thinks we shouldn’t keep ownership of anything.

His reasoning is simple and flawed, you’re giving your code away anways – why not release it public domain? Putting a license on it makes it closed and restricted. This is completely wrong, and where does he get this information from? The information he does provide, such as linking the OSI definition and saying “As you read through those ten criteria, would you think that a license is even useful? I personally do not.”.

If he asked an actual free software developer they would suggest a license such as the GPL to ensure the code stays free and is unable to be placed into proprietary products. Nobody anywhere said anything about allowing the code to be used without restriction either. The only restriction I see (in the GPL) is that you can’t steal the code and use it in your evil proprietary product. A lot of free software developers would agree with this and release everything they write under the GPL or another copy-left license that prevents code from being used in proprietary software.

A lot of the other licenses are slight variations of others or have different goals. Sun uses the CDDL, which prevents you from using the software if you have a patent suit against them. The more recent BSD license as far as I remember requires nothing more than the copyright notice with the authors name.

If authors placed their code into the public domain, that code can be taken and used in a proprietary product without attribution. Is this your goal Ken? Trying to convince people release all their code to the public domain so that evil corporations can get work done for free? I already know Daniweb itself is very pro microsoft (even going as far as suggesting Microsoft buy Redhat, ROFL). Another sneaky tactic? Or just more uninformed nonsense from Daniweb? You decide.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Debunking Ken Hess' nonsense caitlyn 3 1,081 Aug 17, 2009 1:53 PM

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