and what was the point of that comment? Our formation as an NPO has nothing, what-so-ever to do with the license.
Well, no, but the fact that you use phrases like "open source" and "community owned" to describe a restrictive proprietary license does
. If you're going to talk the talk, maybe you should consider walking the walk as well; else, I humbly ask (practically beg
) Simple Machines to please please please
stop calling this license "open source". "Free" (as in cost) is okay, community-developed software is okay, but "open source" embodies a set of concepts that the SMF license deliberately avoids (in favor of protecting the "intellectual property" of the codebase from nasty thieves). If I buy a license for vBulletin, I get pretty much the same rights to that copy of vB that I do to my copy of SMF. Does this make vBulletin open source? Invision Board before 2.0 was distributed under a similar license but no longer is, does that make Invision Board 1.3 open source? If you're important enough, you can get access to Microsoft source code; therefore, is Windows open source?
(Warning: FSF zealot opinion below)
"Open source" itself is a euphemism for Richard Stallman's concept of free (libre) software, which is said to grant its users four basic freedoms (briefly: use, modify, distribute, fork). The phrase open source is supposed
to be devoid of the confusion inherent in the English word "free" but carries its own problems. In the 27 years since the founding of the GNU project, Stallman's original concept had been watered down from "Every computer user shall have these fundamental rights to their software" to "Capitalism is evil! Microsoft sucks!" (for users) and "We can get all this code without paying anything! But how can we avoid giving back?" (for developers and companies). I don't even like the phrase "open source", it's only a buzzword to me (kind of like one of those supposed concepts of "web 2.0", like "the cloud"), but since this is how people know Stallman's libre software, I have to go along with it.
But even "open source" has some semblance of a meaning attached to it, that somewhat vaguely resembles Stallman's original concept. By wrapping up a license like SMF's in an "open source" veil you're diminishing the overall perceived importance of Stallman's four freedoms (particularly the ones concerning distribution and forking). You're saying "Yeah, we're not technically
open source, but we're every bit as good as open source!" while only providing regular old proprietary freeware and not true F/OSS. Not only does it suggest that those last two freedoms aren't important, or that "no one ever needed them anyway", but it simply causes more confusion as to what the term is supposed to mean. This is harmful to those of us that actually do
care about something other than not paying for software.
I'm not asking Simple Machines to free SMF (although that would be awesome beyond belief). I'm simply asking that, if it stays proprietary, to stop misrepresenting it as open source.
I say this as a donating FSF member, free (libre) software developer and activist, and a SMF user for over 5 years.
But on a better note, glad to hear there's a proper non-profit structure being set up for the project. In any case, an NPO is better equipped to manage a community-centric project than a for-profit entity.