On licenses and the harm to open source

I recently made a post on forum about this image that I show you

With regard to free software and proprietary software, he is not without reason. But his vision of open source seems to me (in my opinion) exaggerated. First I am going to list the criteria that a license must have to be considered open source:

1) It should not restrict that anyone can sell or give away the software, nor require the collection of royalties in case of selling it.

2) The program must include the source code and allow its distribution in both source and compiled code (in the latter case, there must be a means to access the code and no more than a reasonable cost of reproduction).

3) You must allow modifications and derivative works and also allow these to be distributed under the same terms of the original license.

4) Must allow EXPLICITLY the distribution of software made with modified code. You can restrict such distribution SINGLE if the license allows the distribution of patches with the code for the purpose of modifying the program at compile time. It may require that the derived software have a different name or version than the original.

5) You must not discriminate against any person or group of people.

6) You must not restrict anyone from using the software in a certain work area.

7) The rights in licensed software should apply to anyone who distributes it to you without the need for extra licenses.

8) The license must not be specific to a product.

9) The license should not restrict any other software that is distributed together with the licensed software.

10) The license must be technologically neutral.

1) The prohibition of making commercial use of open source is a absolute ball, due to criterion 1.
2) Idem for the lack of guarantee of the modification of the code, due to criterion 3
3) Ditto for the "only sometimes" on sharing the original software, due to criteria 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7
4) About the lack of guarantee to share the modifications, that's when the license it is not copyleft, not because it's open source.
5) More than a comparison between free and open source software, it is a comparison between the GPL and any other non-copyleft license.

Remember readers well: The difference between free software and open source is the point of view. The first approaches everything from the point of view of freedom, the other faces it from the point of view technical-methodological.

And since we are, I'm going to put another article here but about licenses. We have already seen the requirements that an open source license must have. It goes without saying that a free software license requires that comply with the 4 freedoms. Usually a free software license is also open source and vice versa. And the same in reverse, if it is not free, it is not open source and vice versa. There is exceptions to the rule and are as follows:

1) The 4-clause BSD (also known as the original BSD). It is not open source since one of its clauses set advertising for the organization that wrote the code (violating criterion 8, in addition to GPL compatibility). The BSDs with 2 and 3 clauses are free and open source, in addition to both being compatible with the GPL.

2) La CECILL (CEA CNRS INRIA Free Logiciel) It is free and intended to be GPLv2 compatible but based on french law.

3) The license of cryptix (used in the cryptix project, known for its Java cryptography extension). It's the 2-clause BSD, but specific to the product.

4) Do what the fuck you want to Public License (The license of the do what you want with my code. It does not need more explanations) The reason why they did not put that it is open, is because according to Martin Michlmayr (who reviewed the only paragraph of the license) in Europe there is no Public Domain. By the way, the one who created it was Sam Hocevar, leader of the Debian project between 2007-08.

5) The license Netscape. An ironically free license that the FSF urges you not to use NEVER, For the DISCRIMINATION that radiates towards users. That is the main difference between that license and the Mozilla license (which is open source and free).

6) The license OpenSSL. This includes a advertising clause, mainly because it is based on the Apache license version 1.0 (not open) and not 2.0 (open).

7) The license XFree86. Same as 4 clause BSD.

8) to Reciprocal Public License. Unlike those already listed, it is an open source license but not free. It's like a GPL that obliges to publish any modification made by a company, although this one does it privately.

Now, there are also other questions about free and open source licenses, such as its compatibility with the GPL, if it is copyleft or not, or if it is approved by the general guidelines of Debian. Free and open source licenses that are not compatible with the GPL are Eclipse, Mozilla (versions prior to 2.0), Apache (same as Mozilla), IBM, LaTeX, PHP and Sun among others. Free and open source licenses that are not copyleft are BSD, MIT, Python, PHP and Apache and Artistic among others. And on the general lines of Debian, they reject the GNU Free Documentation License if the document includes invariant sections.

We can also talk about other restrictions allowed within free software, such as how strong copyleft has to be. The LGPL (weak copyleft) was intended so that modules that are part of a GPL (strong copyleft) program, would also be used in non-GPL programs (LibreOffice is licensed under the LGPL).

Another restriction is that of the patent retaliation, that is, your rights as a user of a certain program end when you go to court against the company that created the software for a patent issue. Guess which Free and Open Source license this measure includes, in addition to the Mozilla and Apache licenses.

There is also the case of licenses that consider hardware restrictions (such as the tivoisation). Version 3.0 of the GPL was created precisely to combat tivoisation, because TiVo uses free software for its machines, shares the code under the GPLv2, but does not allow the modified code to be executed, without authorization by means of the company's digital signature (something similar happens with Secure Boot). Linus is disagree with version 3, firstly because he considers that a software license should not be extended to hardware and secondly because he personally considers digital signatures as a beneficial security tool.

And I'm tired of writing. I hope this article is useful to nano for your Linux For Dummies presentation. For the next one I do one on how to commercialize free software.

Useful links:

Definition of Open Source: http://opensource.org/osd

Why the OSI does not accept the Do what the fuck you want to Public License: http://opensource.org/minutes20090304

RMS take on the Netscape license: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/netscape-npl.es.html


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  1.   Windousian said

    Where did that graph come from? It's a tremendous manipulation of reality to make the term "Free Software" the good guy in the movie. The GPL is an "Open Source" license, so this interesting comparison does not make sense.

    1.    msx said

      "The GPL is an" Open Source "license, so that interesting comparison does not make sense."
      Aha ... look at you ...
      GPL is the FSF license for FREE SOFTWARE.
      Free Software seeks to protect software development and make it open and shared since it has a social, philosophical and if you want utopian component.
      OSS is a directive to develop software in an open way, just that, that was born in response to the "restrictions" of the GPL.

      Look at Revolution OS and stop talking to the old fart, the net is full of good info.

      1.    diazepam said


        Licenses approved by the Open Source Initiative, because they meet the criteria already mentioned. Among them, the GPL 2 and 3. Ergo, the GNU GPL IS also an Open Source license

      2.    Windousian said

        As @diazepan points out, the GPL is a license that is part of the "Open Source" family. Therefore the graph lies when it says that commercial use is prohibited, because the licenses of free software fall within the OSI, they meet its requirements. And also icons are crossed out as they please, without criteria, adding malicious captions such as "not guaranteed", "only sometimes" and "limited". An absurdity with a clear objective: To leave the term "Open Source" halfway between free and proprietary software (something totally wrong).

        You can talk about open source or free software, but you cannot separate licenses into two baskets (one for the FSF and one for the OSI) because there are some that fall into both.

        1.    Windousian said

          The last paragraph is misleading. To clarify, the word "some" should be changed to "almost all". The FSF lists a large number of licenses as free software but only recommends a few (that's why I put "some" in without realizing it). There are also licenses that the OSI accepts and the FSF rejects (such as the NASA Open Source Agreement) but these are rare cases.

  2.   juanr said

    Good article. It is always worth clarifying these types of things so that confusion decreases, especially among new users. And yes, Open Source software is free, just a few small differences from what is accepted by the FSF.

  3.   Pavloco said

    It is good that you clarify it, I hope that your article ends with many of the absurd discussions that are had in many forums and blogs. Greetings and good post.

  4.   msx said

    1) The prohibition of making commercial use of open source is an absolute ballot, due to criterion 1. »

    Hahaha, what a turnip !!! xD
    That will have been _Your_ conclusion before informing you correctly 😀
    The F / LOSS never prohibited that it could be sold, in fact it * encourages * it to be profitable respecting the clauses of the respective licenses.

    Ahhhh -sigh-…. : facepalm:

    1.    diazepam said

      You are giving me the reason. I said that the prohibition of commercial use is a ball. Or don't you know what a ball is?

      1.    befa said

        what the hell is a ball?

        1.    diazepam said

          Bolazo: Goof off, nonsense. (River Plate term)

        2.    hexborg said

          Ball = Lie

          Bolazo = A very big lie.

          : )

          I don't know if it is used in other countries, but in Spain it is understood. 🙂

          1.    befa said

            Well but be more confused, in Argentina it is crazy nonsense and in Spain it means a lie? at the end which of the two definitions is it?

          2.    diazepam said

            They both snorted.

      2.    José Miguel said

        It seems to me that you should put more universal adjectives, since, at least in my land, we do not know the adjective bolazo, remember that this blog is widely read throughout Latin America and beyond.

        1.    diazepam said

          My fault. This is how we Uruguayans / Argentines express ourselves.

  5.   Darko said

    Are we going to continue diversifying the Open Source / Free Software community? Ombe, no! Right now a version of the free software more free than the free one will come out. Then the free will be evil and the "free free" will be the good. Are we like in the musical genres? What if Black Metal, Metalcore, Popcore ... look, compadres, METAL and period. If I were to get carried away by everything they say about free software, not free and all that theory, I'd better live in the country without any electronic device around to be completely free.

    1.    Martin said

      Hahaha, genius !! xD

  6.   RudaMale said

    Applause, the issue of licenses can be a bit confusing and it is always good to clarify the relationship between Open source vs Soft Libre, which as you say is "ideological" or "philosophical". The point that is not clear to me is that of the 4-clause BSD because I did not understand point 8 of the OSD "The license must not be specific to a product." What does this mean? And what does it have to do with: "one of its clauses establishes the advertising of the organization that wrote the code" of the BSD? Make the point clear to me. Greetings.

    1.    diazepam said

      Criterion 8 says that the rights of the licensed software should not depend on the fact that that program is part of other particular software. Advertising that particular software or the company that makes it violates that criteria. For example in the 4-clause BSD, the 3rd clause says:

      3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgment: This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.

      1.    RudaMale said

        So would it be like the "by" of creative commons licenses?
        Thanks for the clarification, it is a very important issue, we always look with sarcasm at those who do not read the Windows EULA, you have to start at home 🙂

      2.    Ares said

        How strange, I understand this criterion as it cannot be that «this module is free as long as it is used with and is part of all this software».

        Is there a part where what each point means is specified and those ambiguities are ironed out?

  7.   elav said

    As I said in the forum, it gives me the feeling that this graph is inverted 😀

  8.   Creeping_death said

    Does anyone know why the CDDL License is not compatible with the GPL, but it is recognized as a free license by the FSF

    1.    diazepam said

      The CDDL is based on the Mozilla 1.1 license. That version is not GPL compliant. In this link there is an explanation of the non-compatibility between MPL 1.1 and GPL 3


    2.    Windousian said

      When the FSF thinks that a license is weak copyleft, it is considered incompatible with the GPL.

      1.    diazepam said

        Not necessarily. The 2- and 3-clause BSD is compliant with the GPL, and is not copyleft.

        1.    Windousian said

          By weak copyleft I mean that it is a poorly formulated copyleft, that imposes restrictions that are contrary to the spirit of the GPL, or that it conflicts with its clauses by weakening the copyleft of software that includes both.

  9.   helena_ryuu said

    excellent article, knew the terms of these licenses ... .. but not so much so xD thank you very much!

  10.   gfretes said

    Che, but the GPL does prevent you from using the code for any purpose or purpose. Basically, it prevents you from making proprietary software with it.
    So we keep adding errors to the chart.
    PS: well there, making known the terms that we from the River Plate use. We have already made the «you're big, know it» famous… let's go for more 😛

    1.    Ares said

      It seems to me that this refers to using the Software (by the users) for any purpose, not the Code (by the programmers) for any purpose. In addition, a "freedom" that would end all other freedoms would be absurd.

  11.   NaBUru38 said

    The WTF PL translates as "Public License Do what you sing the balls." 🙂

  12.   Angel Samaniego Pineda said

    Today I will present a talk and your image seems very representative to me, quoting a saying "an image says much more than 1000 words", it should be noted that it will be used for educational purposes, with students from the University of Panama, within the framework of a free software fair, I will also place the link to your blogs to promote that they visit your blog, and the followers interested in the use of free software will increase, I reiterate my greetings and thanks,

    Professor Angel Samaniego Pineda