Minimum Viable Open Source

It was about 7 months ago I started to feel myself drawing a line about how I use the words “open source”. 7 months. Certainly in my copy, my writing, and my ideas for future projects (not just programming projects), these words infer meaning beyond what most people think about when they use them.

Originally, open source software was just a bunch of scientists sharing useful stuff. Now its a method of brand extension. How far we’ve all come. It used to mean the freedom to do what one thought was worth doing. Now it seems more synonymous with another word: shackles.

So I want to put it down here, a point in time, where people can see my progression. To call something open source, I expect that:

  • it’s IP/source is available freely without signup
  • it is moderated by the community of its own contributors, not one entity
  • it is maintained separate from other commercial product/service lifecycles
  • does not share the identity of its benefactors  consent
  • does not contain EULAs that non-technical and non-legal persons can understand

I have no problem with companies who want to use “open source” to their brand advantage, but to not respect these few core principals is to be ‘half in’ and very transparent in its intent.

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