Re: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?

Subject: Re: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?
From: Rachel Rawlings <rachel -at- scrivovivo -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005 06:38:42 -0400

Bonnie Granat wrote in response to Bruce Byfield:

>>The emphasis is on knowledge being free. If you think of the academic
>>ideal of free exchange of ideas, you'll be close to the outlook.
>Would you mind providing the meaning of "free" that you're using in the
>above two sentences?
The classic line from Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman
is "Free as in speech, not as in beer." Meaning that secrecy,
exclusivity, and dishonesty--not the marketplace--are the enemies of an
open exchange of ideas expressed in the form of source code. Open source
programmers are certainly not averse to money, but nearly all of them
are averse to things like software patents and, to a lesser extent,
trade secrets and non-disclosure agreements.

And what they really object to is having the work they intended to share
with others as peers capitalized upon by anyone who would steal it for
monetary gain without compensating the original author and/or closing
off the feedback in ideas that open source in meant to generate. This is
why all open-source software is copyrighted and licensed. It is not
placed in the public domain. Rather, the authors use their copyright
power in a way some might see as counterintuitive: to ensure that anyone
can copy a work so long as they do not misappropriate it.

The extension of open source (and shareware-style licensing) principles
outside the software world is what's led to the Creative Commons
project, which was developed at Harvard and Stanford. Using a CC
license, any creator (a blogger, for example, or a photographer) can
grant an open license to use their art in derivative works, by anyone or
only for non-commercial purposes, or even require that a work must be
cited verbatim. It's both an effort to express intent in ways a simple
copyright symbol can't, and to protect the fair use doctrine eroded by
the DMCA and recent court decisions.


Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one
pole is a vision of total control — a world in which every last use of a
work is regulated and in which "all rights reserved" (and then some) is
the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy — a world in which
creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to
exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation — once the driving
forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection
equally — have become endangered species.

Creative Commons is working to revive them. We use private rights to
create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the
free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and
community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work
to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while
encouraging certain uses of them — to declare "some rights reserved."

Thus, a single goal unites Creative Commons' current and future
projects: to build a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face
of increasingly restrictive default rules.


See for more information.


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