Help with an 'Open Source' Briefing

Alex Satrapa grail at
Mon Nov 11 22:25:42 EST 2002

Steve Jenkin wrote:
> Ted said he didn't know what it was [!!!] and he'd like a briefing on it.
> Anyone got anything firm [docs or links] that I could either pass onto them or use
> as the basis of a talk???

Be sure to point out that there are different styles of licence 
  - BSD-style (here, have this gift of software, do with it as you will, 
but make sure you mention it's copyright to University of California)
  - GPL-style (here, feel free to use my software, but you must pass the 
gift on)
  - Apache-style (similar to BSD)

Raise the arguments presented by Microsoft:

Point out how Microsoft's "Shared Source" is actually far more dangerous 
than the GPL licence (I agree that the GPL is dangerous for people 
trying to hide their "Intellectual Property") - because if you develop 
something similar, Microsoft will simply claim that you stole their 
code.  Microsoft don't have to win the case - they just have to suffer 
the losses until you go broke.

Perhaps use the analogy of Open Source being the car that you can get a 
workshop manual for, and "Closed" source (or Microsoft Shared Source) 
being a car that you're only allowed to drive, and then only on roads 
approved by Microsoft.

It's worth pointing out that the GPL is special because it gives the 
user the right to copy and distribute the software - that is, the author 
is granting the user rights they otherwise didn't have.  Commercial 
software licences tend to take away your rights - to the point that the 
company reserves the right to terminate your right to use the software 
at any time (read the EULA for any Microsoft product).


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