Re: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)

Subject: Re: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- oracle -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 14:11:47 +1000

On 11/06/10 01:24 PM, Edgar D' Souza wrote:
[snip]
>
> "there is an increasing demand for open source professionals"
>
> I feel I have gotten bogged down in the semantics of the expression,
> and am sidelining grammar. I consider the general definition of "open
> source" (copyrighted works - code, data, artwork, content - that are
> licensed under an accepted open source license) and how the two words
> relate to the following noun. "Open-source operating systems" seems
> obvious: a particular subset of operating systems that are, indeed,
> "operating systems licensed under an accepted open source license." I
> follow the same thought process for "software"/"technology"/"scripting
> languages."
>
> It's when I get to other nouns, like the last 3 cases, that my
> semantic check breaks down and I'm left wondering whether to hyphenate
> or not. Clearly, (IT) professionals are not themselves licensed under
> an accepted open-source license... :-( and yet, this seems to be a
> compound adjective followed by a noun...
>

We hyphenate "open source" when used as a modifier.
I think all of your examples should be hyphenated.

I suspect the last one is causing the most hesitation
because the sentence is worded awkwardly regardless of
whether you hyphenate "open source." (It would exhibit
the same problem if it said "There is increasing demand
for relational database professionals.") If you reword
the last sentence as "Demand is increasing for
professionals with experience in administering open-
source environments" or whatever, I think your problem
will disappear :->

-- Janice

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When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement): From: Edgar D' Souza

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