- Jan 2017
I don’t want the culture of open source to be organized around a legal definition. I want to zoom out and look at the broader ecosystem (of which the legal definition is one, essential node). A friendlier, more accessible term would make it easier to discuss topics like sustainability, collaboration, and people involved. Those aspects don’t need to be included in the official definition, but they still matter.I still like the term “public software” because it allows more people (including those new to, or unfamiliar with, open source, even if they use or benefit from it) to quickly understand what open source software is and how it should be protected. It doesn’t change the legal definition at all; if anything, it enforces it better, because we would want to define and protect public software exactly as we would any other public resource.
I remember the term "Public Software" used several years ago from the Lula's initiative to migrate Brasil public software infrastructure to Free Software.
Now there is, again, and effort to discuss the term, this time from a Anglo-centric perspective. Native English speaking people, particularly in US have the trouble with free as in freedom and as in "gratis", meanings and being immersed in a "market first" mentality, usually they think first in price and markets instead of rights.
Dmitry Kleiner has addressed the problem of software as a commons and its sustainability with an alternative license (p2p license), that is not as restrictive as the Fair Software one, but it repolitize the capitalist friendly Open Source gentrification of the original Free Software movement, involving also a core concern of sustainability.
Would be nice to see a dialogue between Nadia's and Dmitry's perspectives and questions about software as a commons.