No More Mr. Open-Source Nice Guy

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2007-06-23 Print this article Print

The Open Source Initiative is striking back at companies it says misuse the term "open source" in describing their programs. (Linux-Watch)

For many years, the term "open source" has been subject to abuse. Despite efforts by the OSI (Open Source Initiative) to trademark the phrase, the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) claimed the phrase was too generic to be trademarked, thereby weakening efforts to guard against its improper usage, according to Danese Cooper, secretary and treasurer of the OSI board. Now, however, after much more frequent assaults on the phrase, Michael Tiemann, president of the OSI and Red Hats vice president of open-source affairs, is coming out strongly in its defense.
Click here to read about SugarCRMs decision to offer software under the Microsoft Community License.
What happened was that in the past year and a half, there have been numerous new MPL-based (Mozilla Public License) licenses appearing. Companies like SugarCRM, Socialtext, Scalix and Zimbra have all created their own derivatives of the MPL. Several of these licenses require developers to use "badgeware," a prominent display of the licensing companys chosen logo, if they use the code. In SugarCRMs case, thats a "Powered by SugarCRM" logo that must be at least 106 x 23 pixels in size. This, in turn, must link to the SugarCRM open-source Web site. Read the full story on Linux-Watch: No More Mr. Open-Source Nice Guy Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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