It's not open source until the OSI says so

Summary:The Open Source Initiative is cracking down on the loosey goosey way the term "open source" is being thrown around. Triggered in part by this Dana Blankenhorn post OSI president Michael Tiemann outlines why the OSI needs to crack down on abusive use of the term open source.

The Open Source Initiative is cracking down on the loosey goosey way the term "open source" is being thrown around.

Triggered in part by this Dana Blankenhorn post OSI president Michael Tiemann outlines why the OSI needs to crack down on abusive use of the term open source. In other words, gently correcting folks isn't going to cut it. Tiemann said:

So here's what I propose: let's all agree--vendors, press, analysts, and others who identify themselves as community members--to use the term 'open source' to refer to software licensed under an OSI-approved license. If no company can be successful by selling a CRM solution licensed under an OSI-approved license, then OSI (and the open source movement) should take the heat for promoting a model that is not sustainable in a free market economy. We can treat that case as a bug, and together we can work (with many eyes) to discern what it is about the existing open source definition or open source licenses made CRM a failure when so many other applications are flourishing. But just because a CEO thinks his company will be more successful by promoting proprietary software as open source doesn't teach anything about the true value of open source. Hey--if people want to try something that's not open source, great! But let them call it something else, as Microsoft has done with Shared Source. We should never put the customer in a position where they cannot trust the term open source to mean anything because some company and their investors would rather make a quick buck than an honest one, or because they believe more strongly in their own story than the story we've been creating together for the past twenty years. We are better than that. We have been successful over the past twenty years because we have been better than that. We have built a well-deserved reputation, and we shouldn't allow others to trade the reputation we earned for a few pieces of silver.

Sounds like a plan to me because the term open source has become way diluted the term is thrown around so liberally. That said I doubt Tiemann can enforce his plan and the OSI as king motif is already getting panned in the comments to his blog.

For wayward vendors and folks looking for the definition, here are the OSI terms.

Topics: Open Source

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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