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

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

Microsoft & Linux & Patents & Tweets

Fact-checking some tweets about Linux Foundation’s newest member and their harvesting of other members’ money.

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Microsoft recently joined the Linux Foundation while still asserting its patents against the rest of the membership. As I found that odd, I tweeted some casually-calculated statistics  about Microsoft’s patent revenues that seemed to me to simply be the aggregation of common knowledge. But maybe people have forgotten the details; at least two respondents asked me to substantiate the figures. Having struck a nerve, this post is by way of explanation. Continue reading

The SEOscerers Apprentice

SEO can quickly get out of control if it involves gaming open source communities. Don’t risk your site becoming a jailbird.

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Have you ever considered hiring an “SEO expert” to “improve your Google rankings”? I don’t mean the type that advises you how to ensure all the express and implied metadata on your web site is correct. That seems a reasonable thing to do, and it shouldn’t take a magician to help you get it right, and can almost be automated. Continue reading

Wix and WordPress Explainer

When you breach the terms of the GPL, the best plan is to put things right straight away, not misdirect away from the problem and condescend to the authors.

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Many were surprised when one of the pioneers of the open web accused a competitor of theft1. Matt Mullenweg complained on October 28 that the new mobile app Wix has released uses a big chunk of code from WordPress, namely the WordPress Mobile Editor Component. Matt is the original creator of WordPress and now CEO of the company successfully monetising it, Automattic, Inc.

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