Public Domain Software – Better Than Open Source?

Descriptive Quote from the OSOpinion editorial: “Open source and free software were founded on the idea that all information and knowledge should be made freely available for the benefit of all, and what is software but the embodiment of knowledge? Unfortunately, much of today’s open software is not free in one important respect. The use of copyright and the General Public License (GPL) restricts its commercial exploitation.”Our Take: Personally, I object. While the Public Domain license feels and sounds more “liberal” than GPL itself, it has a very dangerous legal catch. Sometimes people use the term ‘public domain’ in a loose fashion to mean ‘free’ or ‘available gratis’. However, ‘public domain’ is a legal term and means, precisely, ‘not copyrighted’. And when you release software on the wild, under a Public Domain license (not copyrighted and without any accompanied warranty that is), the state can file a lawsuit against you if they wish, for any (even small) bugs they may find. This is why there are ‘public domain’-alike licenses around (truly liberal), but without the catch: the BSD license for example.

42 Comments

  1. FooBar 2001-11-13 2:10 am EST
  2. bkakes 2001-11-13 2:45 am EST
  3. Anonymous 2001-11-13 2:56 am EST
  4. Jerry Ponko 2001-11-13 3:29 am EST
  5. Mike 2001-11-13 4:59 am EST
  6. Ungoliant 2001-11-13 5:56 am EST
  7. Harbinger 2001-11-13 6:06 am EST
  8. Brian Matzon 2001-11-13 8:53 am EST
  9. KAMiKAZOW 2001-11-13 9:43 am EST
  10. David Bruce 2001-11-13 10:36 am EST
  11. David Huff 2001-11-13 2:30 pm EST
  12. Jeff Darcy 2001-11-13 3:53 pm EST
  13. WattsM 2001-11-13 4:08 pm EST
  14. Nathaniel Downes 2001-11-13 4:20 pm EST
  15. bkakes 2001-11-13 4:44 pm EST
  16. Chris Dewey 2001-11-13 5:17 pm EST
  17. David Bruce 2001-11-13 5:18 pm EST
  18. xxx 2001-11-13 5:52 pm EST
  19. Jerry Siebe 2001-11-13 7:18 pm EST
  20. bkakes 2001-11-13 7:51 pm EST
  21. bkakes 2001-11-13 7:52 pm EST
  22. Eugenia 2001-11-13 8:05 pm EST
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  24. bithead 2001-11-13 9:31 pm EST
  25. Sam Trenholme 2001-11-13 11:26 pm EST
  26. David Bruce 2001-11-14 12:09 am EST
  27. bkakes 2001-11-14 12:57 am EST
  28. bkakes 2001-11-14 12:58 am EST
  29. bkakes 2001-11-14 1:17 am EST
  30. David Bruce 2001-11-14 1:49 am EST
  31. bkakes 2001-11-14 2:38 am EST
  32. mlk 2001-11-14 6:27 am EST
  33. David Bruce 2001-11-14 11:17 am EST
  34. bkakes 2001-11-14 3:50 pm EST
  35. clone304 2001-11-14 5:37 pm EST
  36. Mike 2001-11-14 8:25 pm EST
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  38. Mike 2001-11-14 8:30 pm EST
  39. bkakes 2001-11-15 12:58 am EST
  40. bkakes 2001-11-15 1:41 am EST
  41. Mike 2001-11-15 8:16 am EST
  42. bkakes 2001-11-15 7:44 pm EST