Permissive and Copyleft Are Not Antonyms

Using the term “permissive” as an antonym to “copyleft” – or “restrictive” as its synonym – are unhelpful framing. Describe license reciprocity instead.

Assorted Empty Frames On A Wall

Some open source licenses implement a clever hack invented by Richard Stallman where, as a condition of the copyright license, anyone creating derived versions has to agree they will license the new version the same way as the original. In a play on words, this concept is called “copyleft” and many open source licenses implement this hack. Continue reading

Assume Good Faith

You feel slighted by a comment on a mailing list, or a forum post has failed to be moderated live. How should you react?

Wolf

A recent exchange on a user forum caught my eye, one that’s typical of many user interactions with open source communities. Someone with a technical question had apparently had the answer they needed and to help others in the same situation had posted a summary of the resolution, complete with sample code. When they came back later, the summary was gone. Continue reading

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.

Coade Stone lion in London

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 or indeed as globally free software. 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

The results are in, and effective April 1st (yes!) Simon has been elected back to the OSI Board by the Affiliates after a year off due to term limits. His platform statement is here.

OSI Election

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

Why Are Our Articles Free?

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.

We want to keep things this way. Please become a Patreon Patron! Visit Simon’s profile or just go straight to the sign-up page!