Tuesday, April 10, 2012

OSS project is different from OSS license

OSS project is different from OSS license

Two things – the one is OSS license, the other is OSS project – are different. The most important difference is that "OSS license" is defined officially by Open Source Initiative (OSI).
On the other hand, "OSS project" is not defined by anybody at all. In other words, if your project applies either cathedral model or bazaar model (See also The Cathedral and the Bazaar), there are no relations about what is OSS license. And, while any OSS licenses describe "How to use software", these do not describe "What project makes software". For more details, please check these article by Phil Haack:

How about "responsibilities to respect the freedom of others"?

Many OSS Licenses have a paragraph about "responsibilities to respect the freedom of others". For instance, GPLv3 has this paragraph:
To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.
In other words, OSS license never limit our use in any reasons. But, IMHO, I guess this policy is only for OSS license, not for OSS project. My question is:

If OSS license is used for criminal purposes indirectly, OSS itself is not guilty. But if OSS project or its member deal criminal purposes directly, are those guilty or not?

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