Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Nov 2006 21:39 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "I am a linguist by training. Long before I delved into free software and was snagged by the quagmire of marketing, I pondered the marvels of morphology, the grimness of grammar and the splendor of semantics. It is only natural then that my wrangling criticism of industry-speak, in both technical and literary modes, is informed by ingrained linguistic sensibilities, descriptive and proscriptive. Given my background, I find it vexing when open source is used as a verb."
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hmm...
by helf on Sat 4th Nov 2006 21:59 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like how people that write articles such as this make it a point to use as many big words as they can. And try to sound as smart as possible. ;)

Reply Score: 5

verbing
by Cloudy on Sat 4th Nov 2006 22:09 UTC
Cloudy
Member since:
2006-02-15

weirds language

-- Calvin

Reply Score: 5

Oh dear
by Philby on Sat 4th Nov 2006 22:17 UTC
Philby
Member since:
2006-11-04
What?
by PowerMacX on Sat 4th Nov 2006 22:29 UTC
PowerMacX
Member since:
2005-11-06

"[...] snagged by the quagmire of marketing, I pondered the marvels of morphology, the grimness of grammar and the splendor of semantics. It is only natural then that my wrangling criticism of industry-speak, in both technical and literary modes, is informed by ingrained linguistic sensibilities, descriptive and proscriptive.
[...]If, after my proscriptive linguistic harangue, you still insist on posing predicates with open source as a verb, at least refrain from using it transitively."


I googled for... oh crap!

Reply Score: 3

About open sourcing time...
by the_trapper on Sat 4th Nov 2006 22:42 UTC
the_trapper
Member since:
2005-07-07

It's about open sourcing time someone pointed out how open source-diculous using open source as a verb is. Open source is open source-tacularly misused all the time these days.

In all seriousness, the English language is extremely flexible and fluid, and new words are being created all the time. Google is now considered by many to be a verb, as have many other terms long before it. Basically, open source can be a verb if we want it to be one, and if it gets used enough as one, it will become one. Personally, I think it's already there.

Reply Score: 5

RE: About open sourcing time...
by jbrader on Sun 5th Nov 2006 00:31 UTC in reply to "About open sourcing time..."
jbrader Member since:
2005-11-12

You took the words right out of my mouth. I hate this kind of crap. Languages evolve, if they didn't we'd all still be pointing at things and grunting.

Reply Score: 5

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"[...] we'd all still be pointing at things and grunting."

Exactly that is what we are doing in GUIs, except that we are clicking instead of grunting. :-)

Reply Score: 5

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Heeeey.. I'm still grunting (especially when clicking the wrong place - like close button instead of minimize button - or opposite).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: About open sourcing time...
by flypig on Sun 5th Nov 2006 01:05 UTC in reply to "RE: About open sourcing time..."
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

It's more than likely I misunderstood this article: I'm no linguist (I still spend a lot of my time pointing and grunting!) ;)

But it seemed to me that this article wasn't really about language at all. Rather it was about what open source software is. The talk of verbs and nouns was just a ruse to bring the subject up.

As far as I could tell (??), the point the author was making was that it's not the code author who chooses to make a piece of software open source. Software only becomes open source when it's been accepted by a community.

Reply Score: 1

Geoff Gigg Member since:
2006-01-21

Exactly. And therefore "open source", if it is going to be used as verb, should only be used in the intransitive way according to this view of genuine open-sourced (adj. the quality or degree to which a software product adheres to principles of open source) code.

But for those developers who program open-sourcedly (adv. in the style or manner of open source), and release their code, I simply thank them for open-sourcing their work, however it's done.

"A compound verb is usually composed of a preposition and a verb, although other combinations also exist... an adjective+noun compound ... becomes a verb through zero derivation... Compound verbs with single-syllable modifiers are solid, or unhyphenated. Those with longer modifiers may originally be hyphenated, but as they became established, they became solid".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_compound

Reply Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

That's my impression too. It got somewhat political in the middle of it all - somewhat disturbing when you had expected a (meaningless) rant on verbs.

Reply Score: 1

I disagree.
by rcsteiner on Mon 6th Nov 2006 23:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: About open sourcing time..."
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

A program which is released to the public under an open source license and which is not snapped up by the FOSS community *still* has serious advantages over a program which is released without any source code:

(1) Someone can choose to legally view the code behind the program if they want to figure out how it ticks, and they know they won't be encumbered by various IP issues for doing so.

(2) Anyone is free to extend the program for their own use, and they are also free to release the new extended version to the public.

(3) Anyone is free to use the program as the basis for a new software project.

(4) If a bug is found, someone can legally make changes to the source and release a new version.

A program which is released as binary-only doesn't have any of those things in its favor.

In other words, FOSS doesn't *REQUIRE* popularity in order to be superior in some respects to non-FOSS software. A community is nice if you want a FOSS program to become a lever against other forms of software, but it isn't a hard requirement. IMO.

Edited 2006-11-06 23:03

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: About open sourcing time...
by Blorgo on Sun 5th Nov 2006 21:18 UTC in reply to "RE: About open sourcing time..."
Blorgo Member since:
2006-02-03

"...pointing at objects and grunting..."

And if the continued degradation of the expression of complex meanings keeps getting dumbed down, we'll be doing that again in a few short generations.

Like.

Edited 2006-11-05 21:21

Reply Score: 1

That sort of fluff isn't creepy at all
by Get a Life on Sat 4th Nov 2006 22:43 UTC
Get a Life
Member since:
2006-01-01

Open Source is a magical bird bestowing heightened states of consciousness upon the enlightened recipients of its organic perfection. Come join the Earth mother and foster a community of growth around your software under its OSI license, so that you to may say that you open source.

I don't know, was there a point to this other than some vague denigration of various source code release/development strategies that are happily enjoyed by some of the more important projects in development? Qt is dual-licensed and unless I am grossly mistaken there's probably an order of magnitude more software centered around its free version than its commercial releases, even if the latter is where Troll Tech obtains its funding. The Netscape Whatevermajig release is hardly central to Mozilla's development. Proprietary Eclipse bundles are not the central player in its development, either.

If you want to convince people that open source development is a cult and not a strategy for creating software then kudos. Maybe next time you can be even more condescending about development styles, so the reader can just give you the finger and retain source code under the thumb of proprietary licensing.

Reply Score: 5

Too much free time
by jayson.knight on Sat 4th Nov 2006 23:24 UTC
jayson.knight
Member since:
2005-07-06

Bill Weinberg apparently has way too much free time on his hands, as well as an overused thesaurus.

Readability:
Passive Sentences: 6%
Flesch Reading Ease: 45
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.5

Translation? This guy is trying too hard.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Too much free time
by bubbayank on Sun 5th Nov 2006 01:20 UTC in reply to "Too much free time"
bubbayank Member since:
2005-07-15

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.5

Translation? This guy is trying too hard.


He should really just strive for the third grade or so for this site, eh?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Too much free time
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 5th Nov 2006 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Too much free time"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

There is middle ground between third grade level writing and going out of ones' way to use esoteric words just for the sake of esoterica.

Reply Score: 1

Two kinds of linguists
by sadangel on Sat 4th Nov 2006 23:29 UTC
sadangel
Member since:
2006-11-04

There are, in fact, two kinds of linguists: prescriptive and descriptive. The former attempts to throttle the natural evolution of language that has taken it to the point it is now and has facilitated communication for centuries and direct it where they see fit. The latter recognize that this effort is futile. Language belongs to the people. European and Asian dictators have learned that even in a totalitarian government, you cannot regulate how people speak. You can look down on them, spread slander about people who speak other than you would have them do, but you will never stop the development of language. This means nouns will become verbs, words will be mashed together, and words that were nonsense a decade ago will come into common parlance. Just because someone wraps himself in the title of "linguist" is no reason to pay him any mind.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Two kinds of linguists
by Doc Pain on Sun 5th Nov 2006 00:06 UTC in reply to "Two kinds of linguists"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Language belongs to the people. European and Asian dictators have learned that even in a totalitarian government, you cannot regulate how people speak. You can look down on them, spread slander about people who speak other than you would have them do, but you will never stop the development of language."

This different in Germania tooday. We newspeak now and consult 25 edition "Duden" dictionairy. Government plus book publisher`s ownn rulez, all different in fedderal staates. Authorrs no resistunnce. Reader's no komplayns. If wort not invent make new wort. Per law prohibit misuse standard language - order is use newspeak. Oldthinkers unreallyfeel plusgood if not use new worts. Tourkin layk speeking, inkloode diearleggt.

Welcome to 1984. :-)

"This means nouns will become verbs, words will be mashed together, and words that were nonsense a decade ago will come into common parlance. Just because someone wraps himself in the title of "linguist" is no reason to pay him any mind."

You're right. The more people use specific terms, the more it gets accepted. If I use opening sourcing, it's my right to use it. It simply depends on consence. Every "real" linguist will tell you this.

If the author has the opinion that "open source" may not be used as a verb, he should not use it as a verb. Allthough, he will recognize its use as an verb and he'll understand - I hope. So where is his problem?

(BTW: In Germany the Federal Court on Constitution - the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" - made a decision in 1997 by which any individual has the constitutional right to write as he / she wants to. No rules anymore. Communication and interaction using (written) words now depends on consense more than ever.)

Quoted from his final statement:

"The fortunate among us can say, "our product/project became open source." The enlightened can say, "we open source." Can you?"

Surely I can. :-) Unfortunately, there's no good german representation for "open source", so this discussion is for english language only.

Edited 2006-11-05 00:06

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Two kinds of linguists
by helf on Sun 5th Nov 2006 00:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Two kinds of linguists"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

newspeak? sure thats not AOLspeak? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Two kinds of linguists
by dodongo on Mon 6th Nov 2006 06:13 UTC in reply to "Two kinds of linguists"
dodongo Member since:
2005-12-07

As a linguist (no need to pay me any mind), I would take exception to the idea that prescriptive and descriptive form a dichotomous pair.

Specifically, we actively deride the prescriptive approach: "prescriptive grammarians" vs. "descriptive linguists".

Or, at least, that's the bias I was taught ;)

And while the article was well-intentioned, I think couching it in this stupid noun-verb deal is ridiculous. To be a total blogwhore, I recently ( http://www.tobede.us/index.php?itemid=64 ) a little bit about why Google's verb-quashing is total crap.

So, too, I think the idea that "open source" can't be used as a verb is positively ridiculous. Its meaning is right there on the surface: "to open the source (code) of X". The political argle-bargle in the article is well taken, but the construct for discussing it is ridiculous.

Reply Score: 2

cheezlbub
Member since:
2006-07-17

Derivational morphology is the study of semantic shifts in lexical items. These can have both realized and unrealized surface indicators.

For instance, the word 'bitch' used to have as its primary meaning 'female dog,' now it has multiple senses - verb, noun, adj, adv, you name it, it's probably there.

Does this mean that 'bitch' isn't a verb? no. It could be argued that bitch(n) isn't the same *word* as bitch(v), but not that bitch(v) isn't a word.

Reply Score: 2

Stupid Linguists
by egarland on Sun 5th Nov 2006 04:31 UTC
egarland
Member since:
2005-08-05

"I cant believe [commonly used word/phrase] is commonly held to mean [commonly held meaning of said word/phrase]. That's incorrect!"

When the hell will they learn that if a word/phrase has a commonly held meaning it is BY DEFINITION correct language. If the rules you attribute to the language say that it is incorrect then it is THOSE RULES that are wrong. Sorry. That's how language works. Get used to it.

"ZOMG. Radar should be all caps and with .'s inbetween. Modem, raid, bears, oh my! The rules should be what I say they are! Stop breaking my rules."

You don't control language. Sorry.

If a linguist hates the way language is adapted to suit the needs of those who use it, they should pick a new career.

(Yes.. I used "they" as a singular gender neutral pronoun. It has that meaning now. Get over it.)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Stupid Linguists
by cheezlbub on Sun 5th Nov 2006 04:50 UTC in reply to "Stupid Linguists"
cheezlbub Member since:
2006-07-17

hey now, don't lump us all together with this guy.....

There are "rules" to language, there are things that are possible and things that are impossible. In the realm of things that are possible there are more and less probable things. For the most part, the meanings of individual words don't really matter - what matters are grammaticality judgments of native speakers.

if you ask a native English speaker if:

"Sun is going to open source java this week"

is grammatical or not, I betcha they'd say it was.

You can 'verbify' any noun, really - and in the present or future tense, it might not take on a marker signifying that in english (we're a tad on the syntax-y side of things. lots of other languages would tack a verb marker onto it and call it good.)

(one could also nominalize verbs, but that's a little different)
EDIT: added "with this guy"

Edited 2006-11-05 04:53

Reply Score: 1

(This Is A Joke!)
by iangibson on Sun 5th Nov 2006 04:37 UTC
iangibson
Member since:
2005-09-25

I've got a message for all those who don't use appropriate grammar - 'your loosers!'

Reply Score: 2

What?
by Phloptical on Sun 5th Nov 2006 05:24 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

And here I get all upset when I hear some schmuck utter the word "irregardless". <buzzer> No, I'm sorry....you are an idiot. Making up nice sounding words like this, no matter how badly you want it to exist, still shows you failed grammar class in 6th grade.

"Regardless" is a word, "Irregard" is a word....."irregardless" is basically like a double negative. Like saying "no nothing", it makes no sense.

Next time someone you know tries to sound all edjamucated and smart-like by using the term, drop my little explanation on them. They'll eventually thank you for it.....if they're not too much of an idiot.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What?
by cheezlbub on Sun 5th Nov 2006 05:34 UTC in reply to "What?"
cheezlbub Member since:
2006-07-17

"non-standard" != "not a word"

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: What?
by remiss on Sun 5th Nov 2006 08:39 UTC in reply to "RE: What?"
remiss Member since:
2006-01-24

Funny..

"The term nonstandard was introduced by linguists and lexicographers to describe usages and language varieties that had previously been labeled with terms such as vulgar and illiterate."

http://www.answers.com/nonstandard

Edit; Btw, I can't understand why he even cares that some people use the word as a verb? If it's meant to be it will be, let people use the language as they please. However, I'm guilty of correcting people myself sometimes, even if it's just grammatically corrections, and yes, i know there's too many commas in this sentence.

Edited 2006-11-05 08:43

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: What?
by Phloptical on Sun 5th Nov 2006 15:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What?"
Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

Using the term "open source" as an action is about the same as using "google" or "xerox". These words (nouns) have made it into the lexicon and since they're so universal, everyone knows what you mean when you say it.

I guess "nonstandard" doesn't bother me. Although I can't think of a situation where I would need to use it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: What?
by cheezlbub on Sun 5th Nov 2006 19:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What?"
cheezlbub Member since:
2006-07-17

"The term nonstandard was introduced by linguists and lexicographers to describe usages and language varieties that had previously been labeled with terms such as vulgar and illiterate."

right... the statement *then* goes on to say: "Nonstandard is not simply a euphemism but reflects the empirical discovery that the varieties used by low-prestige groups have rich and systematic grammatical structures and that their stigmatization more often reflects a judgment about their speakers rather than any inherent deficiencies in logic or expressive power. Note, however, that the use of nonstandard forms is not necessarily restricted to the communities with which they are associated in the public mind. Many educated speakers freely use forms such as can't hardly or ain't I to set a popular or informal tone. Some dictionaries use the term substandard to describe forms, such as ain't, associated with uneducated speech, while reserving nonstandard for forms such as irregardless, which are common in writing but are still regarded by many as uneducated."

Which simply means that nonstandard forms are not part of the prestige dialect. No where does it suggest that they aren't words.

If we take apart 'irregardless' it seems almost like the speaker is trying to make a stronger form of 'regardless' especially if we look at the context in which it was spoken.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What?
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 5th Nov 2006 17:22 UTC in reply to "What?"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Do you mean to say that "for all intensive purposes," "by enlarge," and "trust-wordy" are not examples of proper English?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: What?
by cheezlbub on Sun 5th Nov 2006 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE: What?"
cheezlbub Member since:
2006-07-17

The goals of grammarians and of linguists are different. Linguists study stuff that happens in language, not so much what is "correct" or not. The author of the story in question presented himself as a "linguist" and then used his training in linguistics for the justification of grammaticality judgements. That is ... wrong.

What you're talking about have been recently coined "eggcorns"

Check out http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/ and follow the link to 'language log.' I think you'll get a kick out of it.

Reply Score: 2

the more people make (mis)use,
by trinitrotolueen on Sun 5th Nov 2006 06:47 UTC
trinitrotolueen
Member since:
2006-10-03

some words automatically become legitimate.

Reply Score: 1

I am linguisticing everything I write
by pfortuny on Sun 5th Nov 2006 10:16 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

Sure, or should I say I am Bill Weinberging everything?

We should billweinberg our texts before open sourcing them. oops.

Reply Score: 1

This happens all the time
by Jody on Mon 6th Nov 2006 03:49 UTC
Jody
Member since:
2005-06-30

I googled it and found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_(verb)

"The verb 'Google' was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) on June 15, 2006"

So dictionaries don't create new words, they document them after the fact. Just becasue open source is not a documented verb today does not mean that it won't become one later on.

Reply Score: 2

Sfunny
by orfanum on Mon 6th Nov 2006 18:42 UTC
orfanum
Member since:
2006-06-02

(Edited - can't type...)

I only know a few real programmers in my field (information and knowledge management) but disproportionate amount of them appears to be made up of (ex-)linguists...

I think a lot of you are missing the point, and hacking at the plywood language springboard while the diver is already getting to the bottom of the pool - the nature of open source and how linguistic possibilities may obscure or obfuscate what really does and can go on in the world of software development when claims of 'open sourcing' are bandied about.

Just my 2 pennies worth

Edited 2006-11-06 18:43

Reply Score: 1

Yawn
by Jon Dough on Mon 6th Nov 2006 20:56 UTC
Jon Dough
Member since:
2005-11-30

Well, I +1'd a couple of comments, but my reaction to the article is, "Waaaaaahhhh!" American English isn't nearly as structured or strict as programming languages are.

Reply Score: 1