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[ba-unrev-talk] Open Source acronyms

I found the Blotlet today useful (which probably just shows my ignorance).


In Bootstrap Alliance our current choice of open source licensing is the Apache-style license. However, we have a open mind in so far as twice a year, this choice comes up for review, true to our evolutionary mindset.


Mei Lin


-----Original Message-----
From: bloglet@bloglet.com [mailto:bloglet@bloglet.com]
Wednesday, August 21, 2002 12:20 AM
To: meilin@ix.netcom.com
Subject: Daily Bloglet Update


Here are your daily Bloglet subscriptions:

Microcontent News - http://www.microcontentnews.com

Not so Open Source Blogging

Thanks to Sean 'Captain Napalm' Conner for his email about blogware and Open Source!

The GPL (short for GNU Public License) was the original Open Source licensing terms, and Captain Napalm was kind enough to translate the terms into English.  I was unable to resist turning his translation into bullet points:

  • I can sell [compiled versions of the software, aka "binaries"] for any price I want but I have to make the source code available to any third party for not more than distribution costs.
  • The recipients then have the rights to modify and distribute their changes (as long as you follow certain restrictions as outlined in the GPL license file)
  • [B]ut... their [redistributed] work also now falls under the GPL; the license is viral in that any derivative works *also* fall under the GPL.

Say you're the product manager for Microsoft Word and you want to use code that's been GPL'd... there's no way you can stick it in Word without also releasing the Word source code.  That's a sure way to get fired (and possibly whacked) by your boss, Bill Gates.

There's a more corporate-friendly open source license designed for that situation, called the BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution).  Captain Napalm to the rescue again:

  • I can sell the binaries for any price I want, but I don't have to make the sources available.
  • All my obligations can be fulfilled by stating that the program uses source code derived from the original distribution as copyright the holders of the program I use.

In other words, our Microsoft Word product manager could easily stick BSD'd code into Word with no problem, as long as she also stuck a copyright notice in there.  (Just to be clear, the GPL also requires a copyright notice).

What I've found especially interesting is that none of the Perl Publishing systems out there (GreyMatter, Movable Type, or Blosxom) are explicitly released under the GPL, the BSD, or any other three-letter open source licensing terms.

Captain Napalm took a crack at mapping the licenses of the various Blog Publishing tools to the GPL and the BSD:

The license used by Movable Type is perhaps more restrictive than either the GPL or BSD, and is even *more* commercially restrictive than the GPL.  The license for Grey Matter is similar.  Blosxom however, has a BSD license (or BSDesque).

I can see where Movable Type and Grey Matter are coming from (if someone can make money off this software, we want a cut) while the Blosxom creator(s) just want to make the software available with little restrictions (commercial or otherwise).

At first, I couldn't believe that these Perl Publishing programs weren't open source!  But I'm developing a theory as to why this might be...  perhaps this will be my next article.

(8/20/2002 12:23:49 PM)

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