יום שלישי, 10 באוגוסט 2010

The most basic info re: Open Source

This is the shortest version of an intro to the very complex issue of Open Source:

   Posted by: "R. Ted Tieken"
   Date: Mon Aug 9, 2010 12:25 pm (PDT))

Building on the points made by a number of people:

There are many, many different forms of "free and open source software" or
FOSS.  There are at least 4 major types:
1) Public Domain - This isn't owned by anyone, anyone can use it any way
they like.  You can even sell the originals, but you can't prevent others
from selling originals.  If you modify it in any way, you get full ownership
of your modifications.  This is the rarest kind, I can't think of a piece of
software that exists like this.  Almost everything produced by the US
federal government must become public domain by law, for everything else it
doesn't enter the public domain until the copyright expires.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

2) GPL - This is the most common type.  You can get coppies for free, if you
modify it only for your own use you don't have to release the modifications,
if you distribute modifications you must also distribute them under GPL.

3) Affero GPL - This is a rare but important license. Unlike the regular GPL
if you modify AGPL code in any way, you must release the modifications back
to the community. Because of the inability to build any kind of trade secret
in AGPL software, it is avoided by most businesses.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affero_General_Public_License You can get
coppies for free, if you distribute modifications you must also distribute
them under AGPL.

4) MIT/BSD license - This is a major and relatively permissive set of
licenses.  You can get copies for free, you can modify it for your own use,
AND you can usually sell derivative works without having to open up the
entire work.  Businesses love this license.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_licenses,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_License

Many people assume that all FOSS opperates under the terms of GPL, which it
does not.  The differences in the licenses are enormous and important.
 Either read the license or hire a lawyer if you're going to use or build
upon these kinds of software in a buisiness setting.

There is a final important license in the "open source" or "copy left" arena
which is the Creative Commons Licenses.  These extend beyond code to written
works, photography, etc, and creative commons does a better job than all of
the rest at communicating what rights are reserved and what rights are
permitted "Non commercial share alike" vs. "no derivative works" vs. "Share
Alike."  Creative commons provides a non-opinionated license framework in
which you can set permissions, whereas in software you have to go to a
different license to get a different set of permissions. Creative commons
provides a wrapper for the GPL but doesn't have a special software license.



This message is licensed under CC attribution share alike http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

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