Tuesday, May 05, 2009

 

Why I believe that the open source community is sometimes full of it...

I have talked to authors who say they don't care about people giving them credit, they just want people to use their code. Public Domain would make it easier for people to do so...



So, we all agree that being open is good then why are we still have stupid debates over licensing terms such as BSD vs GPL? The first thing that impedes being truly open is the need for feeding of egos. Authors typically don't want usage of the code restricted but they also want credit for creating the code which becomes its own impediment.

Likewise, since we open source developers allowed lawyers to participate and twist the understanding of what we wanted to achieve, we made it damn near impossible to do any release of code in a legally binding way. In the US all works are automatically given copyright.

So, if everything is important, what is more important? Use of code or constraint of how others use code? If you release some code into the public domain, anyone else can take that code, modify it slightly, and then release it under their own license, which can be as restrictive as they wish.

I wonder if we could get lawyers working on the problem of public domain where only a license prevents people from suing you if your uber-routine ends up killing someone's favorite dog...




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