Talk:Open Source Software

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Will fix article to differentiate Share Alike (e.g. Open Content) and Free Software (which is intersection of Open Source and Share Alike)

Many people believe that an "open source" program is "free software" if and only it's licensed under share-alike terms. This belief is false NorbertBollow 15:47, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Also here are some Problems with free software and open source models for discussion. Some of these might be addressed in the article to help shift the debate away from Linux vs. Microsoft and towards the actual legal fundamentals:

are these issues relevant to the topic to SourceWatch? In any case, I disagree with the views expressed below. NorbertBollow 15:47, 28 Sep 2004 (EDT)

1. issue - "No restrictions on field of use" means that software is explicitly licensed for military purposes, spying purposes, selling environmentally and socially destructive products, hiding activities of companies, and anything else that opponents of moral purchasing may want to do. There is no legal recourse. While there are few incentives to subvert operating system or database software, there are many incentives to subvert or gain advantage in the operations of online services - an issue the original FOSS movement never addressed. With no way to restrict these activities with civil court action, only technical means are available to subvert such subversion - wasting everyone's time in an arms race that is to no one's advantage. If people object to each other's use, they should do it legally.

2. issue - No party with power to sue. Under GPL and other free software licenses, "the community" is assumed to exist and have some powers of persuasion, but they have no practical powers to actually force the license terms to be met. What rights they have are not enforceable since they lack a self-funding model that would reward enforcers or even require cooperation from contributors whose work is appropriated. For example, most GPL abusers simply thumb their noses at the FSF, knowing they cannot possibly be sued given limits on FSF resources. They could settle out of court for less than theya re making from violating the license anyway, in the worst case, or agree to simply work around or re-engineer the software. By contrast: Consortium and private licenses, and some open source licenses like the BSD, specify exactly who can and must act to protect license integrity. And some like Java have proven successful even at shutting down Microsoft's attempted license abuse.

position Who wrote this above? This is simply untrue. There are many organizations who have invested in Free Software, and are currently defending it. Look at IBM and the Open Source Development Lab. There are currently 10's of million being put into legal cases to defend free software. They are investing in the defense of free software because it represents billions in revenues.
position - who trusts boards? no one should have the power to sue anyone regarding the license
position - some org should have the power to sue those who abuse the license terms. Anyone else might have the right to sue for harms done by that abuse, and the board should be obligated to provide certain help to contributors and supporters who only want the license enforced

3. issue bad copy problem - impossible to control variants

4. issue self-interested fork problem - anyone can create a variant with only greed as their motive - for instance, Microsoft can widely distribute its own Linux and point users at Microsoft resources and "upgrades"

5. issue bad user interface - inevitable since the developers choose what to do next, not the users, and there's no way to discipline their choices without putting together a commercial regime identical to commercial software to convey market intelligence to developers and pay them for doing the right things next.