[Discuss] Another entry on the care label manifest!

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 29 15:33:24 UTC 2013

I see two variables with two possible

> values for each:
> Variable 1: Free/Libre/Open vs proprietary.
> Variable 2: Commercial vs non-commercial.
> So I think
> your statement "Some parts of open are closer to proprietary in that
> they are just businesses with a strategy" is confusing in that open
> cannot be close to proprietary because it is in fact its opposite, at
> least the way I see things.
> Cheers,
> Javier
Okay, that makes a certain amount of sense.

What I was referring to was the unstated thought that for a lot of
companies open software is just a way to share costs. It serves the exact
same purpose as strategic partnerships but with less risk of the most
powerful stakeholder taking over. So it's just part of their "gotta get
paid" strategy that they would have been doing without the open option.

My impression is that proprietary came first and the highest priority is to
maximize cost to the user. Free came next and, in direct opposition to
proprietary, attempts to minimize cost to the user. Those are incompatible

Open came last and serves as a compromise by shifting the top priority away
from money and towards technical excellence. Everyone can get something out
of a project that works well, so they can work together and then go their
separate ways when the money issue finally comes up, which is only relevant
after something works.

I'm not sure that commercial/non-commercial is all that useful as a
discriminator. If someone accepts pre-orders and does a bulk purchase of
their open circuit board, but just pays the relevant costs and doesn't
start a business or anything, then are they commercial or non-commercial?
Maybe profit/non-profit or professional/hobby would better capture the

It also seems like things can be open to varying degrees. Not only is there
ongoing disagreement on what public information actually counts towards
making a project open, but there will always be a variety of licenses in
which people state whatever combination of rights they are most comfortable
with. For example, if the general license a project is released under
forbids commercial use, but the project manager is happy to provide a
special commercial license to anyone who asks, then where does the project
fall in terms of open vs proprietary or commercial vs non-commercial?
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