16 August 2007

Not So Au Courant

This piece from The Courant is like the coelacanth: not very pretty, but fascinating for its atavistic traits:

Unlike copyright-protected software, such as Microsoft's Windows, open source software is available either as a free public-domain offering or under a nominal licensing fee.

Well, no. To be strictly open source, software must have an OSI-approved licence. Such licences generally (always?) depend on copyright law for their enforcement. So, by definition, open source software uses copyright as much as Microsoft's Windows, just for different ends.

This was a common confusion when free software started appearing in the mainstream, but it's quite surprising to see it popping up nowadays.

2 comments:

Gnuosphere said...

And after botching "open source", the funniest line in the article soon follows...

"At first glance, it might seem confusing."

glyn moody said...

True.