[Linux-aus] Who defines Open Source?

Leon Brooks leon-linuxaus at cyberknights.com.au
Wed Feb 8 11:05:02 UTC 2006

On Wednesday 08 February 2006 08:42, Senectus . wrote:
> If the source is open then the software _must_ also be free, of
> course people _can_ pay for it if they want it compiled or package or
> supported (even if they just feel like paying for it to be nice).

Much confusion of terms. I said Free, you said free. Hereinafter, these 
are defined as libre (as in, liberated) vs gratis (as in, no money 
changes hands) respectively.

Three separate concepts:

 * Free [Libre] Software - source is available with right to use
   and must remain so;

 * Open Source - source is available with right to use but
   derivatives may not be so bound (e.g. BSD style licence);

 * Freeware - pay nothing for it (and often get full value for
   aforesaid money), source availability and right to use same
   are not relevant here.

Libre and Open typically imply Gratis but Libre explicitly does not 
require it, and nor does "merely" Open require Gratis. Libre requires 
Open, Open does not require Libre. Gratis does not imply either Libre 
or Open.

The identification of Libre with Gratis is becoming more common as 
companies decide that charging for Libre is too much like hard work, 
and simply charge for peripheral services such as support and 

There are also "mixed" models like MySQL, in which the software is 
available Libre-and-Gratis under the GPL, or non-Gratis if you want to 
lift the "curse" of the GPL from it (i.e. if you want a proprietary 
fork, and good luck keeping it alive and separate). Arjen, please 
correct me here if I got any of this wrong.

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Member, Perth Linux User Group
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http://linux.org.au/            Member, Linux Australia

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