Open Source Software – Licensing Issues or Not


The Wikipedia Encyclopedia describes open-source as “practices in manufacturing and development that sell get right of entry to the quit product’s sources.” Before the label open source was coined, developers and manufacturers used a diffusion of terms to describe the concept. Earlier researchers used a technique like the available requirements to broaden telecommunication community protocols. Characterized using currently available supply work, this collaborative technique led to the beginning of the Internet in 1969. Its utility in software gained popularity with the emergence of the Internet. It is said that the open-source label came out of an approach consultation held at Palo Alto, California, in response to Netscape’s assertion that it deliberately released the supply code for its browser Navigator.


The politically accurate model clarifies a potential confusion resulting from the anomaly of the phrase “unfastened,” so that the belief of free software programs isn’t always anti-business, the label open supply (contributed by using Chris Peterson) stuck. The official model is to shed the confrontational mindset related to unfastened software programs inside and beyond and sell the concept on pragmatic, enterprise case grounds to the industrial international. Whatever it can be, Netscape listened and released their code as the open-source below the name of Mozilla. That changed into the beginning of the present-day open source movement, whose major champion today allegedly is the Open Source Initiative (“OSI”), making and maintaining a case for the available supply software to the commercial international. Consequently, we’ve seen the utility of the open supply philosophy in other fields, such as biotechnology. Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer who initiated the improvement of the Linux kernel, went as long way as saying, “The destiny is open supply the whole thing.”

According to the OSI, the case for an open supply software program is easy – loose right of entry to study, redistribute, and alter the supply code of a few software results in a fast evolutionary system that produces higher software programs. Open-source advocates argue that the software evolves when programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software. People improve it; people adapt it; human beings fix insects. And this can manifest at a pace that seems wonderful if used to the slow pace of traditional software improvement.

However, free software evangelists have been at pains to make clear that open-supply software is not synonymous with unfastened software. The philosophy of the available supply motion is based totally on practicality and not ethical concerns, while loose software program is based totally on freedom, no longer charge. Borrowing from Richard M. Stallman, “free software” and “open source” describe the equal category of software, more or less; however, they say different things about the software program and values. While the two aren’t synonymous, each has a commonplace enemy – proprietary software.

Critics of open source say that available supply fosters an ambiguity of a one-of-a-kind kind. It confuses the mere availability of the supply code with the liberty to use, regulate, and redistribute it. But open supply does not simply imply access to the supply code; the usage of an open-supply software program has to follow some of the redistribution standards, depending on the license beneath which it is distributed. Different charges require unique criteria. For instance, beneath the GNU General Public License (GPL) published by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for licensing loose software, any paintings based totally on the program or some other by-product work have to be licensed as an entire at no charge in any respect to all third events below the terms of the GNU GPL. In contrast, an Apache License does not require by-product works to be open source.

You can upload your copyright assertion to changes of a supply code beneath Apache License and offer extra or unique license phrases and situations to be used, duplicate, or distribute of your changes, or for any spinoff works as a whole, furnished your use, copy, and distribution of the paintings in any other case complies with conditions of the Apache License. Similarly, there is no requirement that any by-product paintings created under an Academic Free License (AFL) or a Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) License ought to be disbursed in any respect or for free if allotted. Further, any spinoff paintings want not to be loose, and it is easy to charge for it as you will for proprietary software.

The subtle licensing standards for open source and free software are further highlighted while you don’t forget that some licenses aren’t compatible. For instance, programs/supply code dispensed underneath PHP License isn’t well suited to GNU GPL because GNU GPL is a copyleft license. Which increases multiple licensing troubles:

(1) Why are there one-of-a-kind criteria below exclusive licenses for open supply software? Presently, there are about fifty-four licenses certified by way of OSI as open-source – a tribute to OSI’s philosophy – which many now see as a useless proliferation of rights, a problem that forced OSI to admit that – “OSI’s approach to the improvement and distribution issues worried constructing as many ones of a kind bridges as possible between developers and the corporate international. In doing this, we widely spread the proliferation of new licenses. This is a trouble because even though physical bridges between groups don’t intervene with every other, licenses do. Interference between distinct open-supply licenses is now perceived as a sufficiently serious problem that OSI has to end up as a victim of its personality in advance success.”

To deal with the problem of proliferation, OSI plans to take all present OSI-accredited licenses and organize them into three levels: (i) desired, (ii) recommended but now not desired, and (iii) not advocated. This is, in all likelihood, to create more confusion. One would then ask why an OSI-certified license would be an OSI “not endorsed” license. Would a ‘no longer endorsed’ tag no longer be deemed de-approval (though OSI says it’s no longer)? So it could be ‘prime’ now not to have certified such license as OSI accepted within the first vicinity.

(2) Why are a few licenses no longer well-matched with others? We can also properly recognize that compatibility goes beyond the problem of license proliferation. For example, the FSF considers all variations of the Apache License incompatible with Version 2 of the GNU GPL. About model 2. Zero of the Apache License, they are saying:

“The Apache Software License is incompatible with the GPL because it has a particular requirement that isn’t in the GPL: it has sure patent termination cases that the GPL does not require. (We do not think the one’s patent termination instances are inherently a bad concept, however, even though they’re incompatible with the GNU GPL.).”

Apache Software Foundation (ASF), which publishes the Apache License, has thoroughly answered FSF’s announcement, declaring that ASF does not share the identical goals as FSF. For the time being, the debate rages on. Compatibility is, in reality, courting trouble; the free software movement and the open-source movement can be likened to 2 political camps within the loose software program community. While it could be argued that GNU GPL is not well suited with some of the licenses because the philosophy behind GNU GPL is freedom – which proponents of loose software have cried themselves hoarse from the rooftops for decades now – GNU GPL itself publishes a list of free/open-source software licenses which might be GPL incompatible, distinguishing between non-copyleft and ‘no longer strong copyleft’.

Copyleft licenses like Xinetd have also not been spared and turned into held incompatibly. It restricts the redistribution of changed versions that contradict the redistribution necessities within the GPL. Don’t they have the same dreams? Yet the free software program motion has complained that being lumped together with open-source software is restrictive at no cost because open-source software allegedly has a much weaker criterion than unfastened software programs. Then, one may additionally ask, what are the criteria for determining compatibility with GNU GPL, even for copyleft-free software licenses? At least FSF doesn’t always intend to categorize appointments in the identical way as OSI – for now.

(3) Don’t some of those licenses assist a ‘one manner’ avenue attitude described by John Udell in the Open Source Citizenship wherein developers are endorsed to take and not give again to the network? Or it could be akin to the scenario described by Stallman where business developers invited to the “Open Source Developers Day” assembly in August 1998 said they need to make only part of their work unfastened software (or open supply) given that the point of interest of their commercial enterprise is on growing proprietary add-ons (software or manuals) to sell to the customers of the unfastened software program. According to Stallman, those builders asked that this have to appear legitimate, as part of the community, because some of the money is donated to unfastened software program development. Whichever manner you observe it, it’s miles a dangerous trend for the destiny of open supply software.

Open source beliefs and philosophy are threatened by the ‘marriage of convenience’ of open source with the economic international, which makes a sturdy case for the traditional loose software program motion. It is, perhaps, taking the adage ‘creating a case to the economic global’ in ways. Eventually, there can also be the sort of combo of the open supply movement and the commercial international that we cannot distinguish between 2. The enemy might have sneaked in unawares and made a game of all beliefs and philosophies of the open-source motion.