[Oberon] Introduce myself (on "public domain")

Michael Schierl schierlm at gmx.de
Fri Feb 22 21:14:52 CET 2019

Hello John,

Am 22.02.2019 um 16:24 schrieb John R. Strohm:
> There are three (3) categories, besides proprietary/closed source.

There are surely more than these 3 categories, but that is getting
really off-topic here...

> 1.  Free Software, as mentioned by Liam and defined by the Free Software Foundation.  Requires redistribution of source changes if changed binaries are redistributed.

Wrong. Free Software is defined by the FSF by the Four Freedoms (counted
from 0 to 3). None of these require any copyleft. The most popular
licenses authored by the FSF (GPL, LGPL, AGPL) do so (in various
degrees), but that does not mean that every Free Software license does
so, and there are countless examples that do not.

> 2.  Public domain

Public domain is indirectly "defined" by the US Copyright Law, and while
there are similar constructs in other jurisdiction, putting something
into the Public Domain is not legally possible everywhere on the world.
Constructs like Creative Commons Zero License try to work around that
and create a license that tries to grant the same rights to everyone
that a US citizen would grant by putting something in the public domain.

> 3.  "Open Source", as mentioned by you and "defined" by various people.

The term "Open source" is defined by the Open Source Initiative and
consists of a 10 point criteria catalog (counted from 1 to 10). While
those criteria do not directly match the Freedoms of the FSF definition,
in practice most licenses that are OSI Open Source approved are also FSF
Free Software and vice versa (including Public Domain and CC0).

> You really should familiarize yourself with the Free Software body of knowledge, and WHY Stallman et al insisted on doing it the way they did.  You also should look at why the various people pushing "Open Source" and denigrating "Free Software" are doing that.

Some people (not all) who participate in furious flame baits between
"Open Source" and "Free Software" point out that the main difference
between the two is not what you may do with the software (and what you
may not), but why licensing under these terms is beneficial.

While Open Source advocates tend to point out the positive synergy
effects, cost savings and the shallowness of bugs when the code is
available and can be tweaked by everyone, Free Software advocates tend
to focus on the ideology of having freedom to do what they want, and not
being oppressed by software authors who force them to use their own
(programmable) machines in ways they don't want to. So while the goals
are different, the means to achieve them are similar.

(It is also worth noting that these differences often result in Free
Software advocates tending to prefer copyleft licenses, while Open
Source advocates tend to prefer liberal licenses.)

I hope that this very short attempt of summarizing the two fronts'
opinions did not hurt any of them (I tried to be unbiased, but as
everybody I do have an opinion on that subject too and maybe that is
noticeable to the other side more than I wanted).



More information about the Oberon mailing list