[Linux-aus] Open source: time for a name change?

Arjen Lentz arjen at mysql.com
Wed Aug 20 09:29:01 UTC 2003

Hi Dan,

On Tue, 2003-08-12 at 19:41, Dan Shearer wrote:
> I think you are overlooking something here, and on reflection this might
> be part of Greg's original point: "Open Source" might not mean anything
> to the average layman, but to the average person who has to purchase IT
> (even with no technical skills at all) the word Open has been completely
> hijacked already. Open is a buzzword widely used to mean "good" in all
> sorts of ways including open standards, and many things are called open
> standards that are not open by any understanding of the word that you or
> I are likely to have. A government purchasing officer has seen the word
> Open used by just about every computing company there is, especially
> Microsoft.
> Which means that, in some golden future, there might be a term that is
> none of the common options and if not a completly accurate description
> (which is what Greg was seeking to open debate on) at least has no
> historic baggage. Aurgshjaksda, perhaps.
> I'm just pessimistic that such a thing is possible in the near term
> without risking losing the audience entirely. An unprecedented number of
> people are tuned in right now thanks to a coincidence of influences
> around the world. People with business interests based on this stuff
> aren't looking for it to change now.

Well there is practicality.
Any term with reasonable importance will face hijacking attempts by
interested parties. Either to slightly shift the definition to suit
their commercial wants, or to dilute the meaning of the term in general.

I don't think this can be prevented, in which case, why bother changing
the same thing to a new name every so often. That new name will in turn
be messed up too. It does not really solve the original problem.

I'll grant you, Open Source is a term now that gets abused, warped,
shifted, etc... but as a term it is fairly well known now. And that's
good too. I think that that -in this case- outways the possible benefits
of inventing to a new term.

Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
Brisbane, QLD Australia
MySQL AB, www.mysql.com

Sydney 29 September (5 days): Using & Managing MySQL Training
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