[cc-licenses] OT: clarifying terms [was Re: NC considered harmful? Prove it...]
luis at tieguy.org
Wed Mar 7 23:52:15 EST 2007
Apologies for the OT digression; I thought this was worth clarifying
for Drew, lurkers, and the archives, but many here may not find it
On 3/7/07, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:
> On Wednesday 07 March 2007 10:19 pm, Luis Villa wrote:
> > On 3/7/07, drew Roberts <zotz at 100jamz.com> wrote:
> > > > > Huh? You have lost me there. Can you explain and give examples? Isn't
> > > > > this impossible by definition?
> > > >
> > > > I use the term 'open source' loosely here; not OSI-approved, but
> > > > rather in the broader family of source-available software copyright
> > > > licenses, some of which are similar in spirit to NC.
> > >
> > > Now I understand, but I would suggest that this might not be the best way
> > > to go if you care about Free or Open Source projects.
> > Could you elaborate/explain what you mean here?
> Sure. I can try at least.
> I am finding people using open source and copyleft and other terms in ways
> that are less than accurate. I think this is going to lead to extra
> confusion. I don't think it is worth doing.
Using "open source" precisely is impossible because no one really
knows what it means. To quote OSI's own definition page:
"[T]he term [open source] has become widely used and its meaning has
lost some precision."
So, yes, you're correct, there is no such thing as an OSI Certified
(TM) non-commercial license, but there are many licenses with various
non-commercial clauses which are open source within the general, more
widely used meaning of the word.
For a recent discussion of the problems with the definition of 'open
source', you might want to read
You'll find that I use the term Free Software with an almost religious
fetish for accuracy. This is possible because the term has both a
clear written definition *and* a long and strong tradition of specific
usage which conforms with that written definition.
Tangentially, I think in your journal entry you confuse copyleft with
FSF Free Software licenses; the concepts are related, but as the FSF's
copyleft page notes, "[c]opyleft is a general concept; there are many
ways to fill in the details." The key to copyleft is not the specific
freedoms guaranteed, but rather the use of copyright to force further
redistribution under specific terms. So the CC-SA family (inc. NC) are
copyleft licenses. In the future, you might want to link to
http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses#Copyleft as a definition of
copyleft; it is more clear and concise than the FSF or wikipedia
P.S. I was slightly miffed that you seemed to imply that I didn't
understand what open source meant, and/or that I didn't care. On
re-reading, I realize this is probably my own fault for misreading
what you said, but you might want to be more clear in your own
language when it might be construed to be condescending to others.
More information about the cc-licenses