[Discuss] Another entry on the care label manifest!

Javier Serrano Javier.Serrano at cern.ch
Fri Mar 29 16:31:54 UTC 2013

On 03/29/2013 04:33 PM, Matt Maier wrote:

> 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 priorities.
> 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 assume that you are describing how proprietary, Free and open source
*software* came about. If so, then I am afraid we have not read the same
History books ;) But I will not go there!

> 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 idea.

By commercial I mean an activity with the purpose of generating revenue
so whoever has done a fine job can feed and dress kids, go on holidays,
etc. In general I find unpaid labor to often be a significant risk for
open source projects, and I definitely avoid relying on it in my
professional activity.

> 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? 

There is an Open Source Hardware definition [1]. I am really thankful to
the people who wrote it, because the word "open" is as we all know too
often abused, and abusing it is much harder since we have this
definition. Paragraph 8 is about not discriminating any field of
endeavor. As I understand it, a license which bans commercial use does
not qualify as an open license.



[1] http://www.oshwa.org/definition/

More information about the discuss mailing list