Public Domain Is Not Open Source

Open Source and Public Domain are frequently confused. Here’s why it’s a mistake to treat the two terms as synonyms.

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Plenty of people assume that public domain software must be open source. While it may be free software within your specific context, it is incorrect to treat public domain software as open source. That’s not a legal opinion (I’m not a lawyer so only entitled to layman’s opinions) but rather an observation that an open source user or developer cannot safely include public domain source code in a projectContinue reading

Give Generously! Seven Ways To Help Open Source

Should you donate money to the open source projects you use? Or is there a better way to help?

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Your business most likely depends on open source software. But are you playing your part to make sure it will still be there in the future? For that to happen, the projects where it is both maintained and improved need to flourish. Continue reading

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We don’t paywall the articles we post here, we don’t pack advertising around them and we share them freely with OpenSource.com and others. Why do we do that? It’s because of support from our readers via Patreon.

Small investments make big returns

Patreon Patrons pledge to pay a small amount — as little as $1 — every time we publish a new article here. They keep control of how much they pay and how often, but their support means we can simply write and publish freely — without editorial interference or pandering to advertising keywords.

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7 Rules For Engaging Communities On Legal Matters

When you need to discuss a license, a legal document like a CLA or a governance rule with an open source community, what’s the best approach to take?

Squirrel pops up behind log to check things outHaving watched a fair number of people attempting to engage both the Open Source Initiative’s licensing evaluation community and the Apache Software Foundation’s legal affairs committee, here are some hints and tips for succeeding when your turn comes to conduct a discussion over legal terms with an open source community. Continue reading

4 Lessons From Watching Governance Games

Even near-perfect governance like Apache’s can get gamed by a determined and well-resourced player. What lessons can we learn from their experience? 

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I’ve previously written about the fact the Apache Software Foundation offers an exemplar of large-scale open source governance. Even with those supreme qualities, things can still go wrong. Apache offers some of the best protections for open source contributors but its mature rules can be manipulated by skilled politicians and/or determined agendas. What can we learn from their experience? Continue reading