Subject: Re: Hal's new white paper
From: Russell McOrmond <russell@flora.ca>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 16:41:14 -0500 (EST)


On Sun, 28 Mar 2004, Laurent GUERBY wrote:

> The opposite of free software is proprietary software.

  Want to add something else to the "language sucks" category along with
the multiple meanings of the word "free"?

  When you move from the software world to the world of lawyers, I'm often
told that the word proprietary is going to focus on whether there are
owners, not how they exercise their ownership rights.  In this case the
opposite of proprietary software would be public domain software as any
software under copyright has owners.  While Public domain software is
often considered a special case of non-copyleft FLOSS, it isn't what we
intended to be considered the opposite of proprietary (although it is what 
Microsoft and SCO would love the world to believe ;-)


  I wrote about this a little while ago in an article: FLOSS is 
"proprietary software"
http://weblog.flora.ca/article.php3?story_id=480


  I mention this as we need to be more careful as we cross disciplines and 
speak with lawyers about what we are doing.  I've watched the progression 
of a few law professors through this new field and notices the problems.

A few common misconceptions:


  a) "Free Software" == "public domain"
  b) "Free Software" == "Copyleft", "Open Source" == "Non-copyleft"
  c) FLOSS == non-commercial, voluntary sector only.
  d) FLOSS == "non licensed" , when what they mean is "not monopoly rent 
     seeking" or "not royalty based".

...etc.

  It takes a while, but it is great when you can have more lawyers on-side
to explain things to other lawyers in language they will understand.

-- 
 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/> 
 "Make it legal: don't litigate, use creative licensing" campaign.
 A modern answer to P2P: http://www.flora.ca/makelegal200403.shtml
 Canadian File-sharing Legal Information Network http://www.canfli.org/