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Open source matters, but the OSI needs to go

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Drew,

I understand your point, however, I feel that you've failed to understand the Popper's Paradox of Open Source, if you will. The Open Source Definition fails to account for how outside influences of proprietary software can *abuse* the open source definition to push proprietary services and software.

ElasticSearch is an open source product. It was built that way from the beginning: The project was developed in the open. Amazon OpenSearch, of course, has an open source license, and ElasticSearch no longer does (according to a particular group we've somehow decided should decide the definition of the term). But I would argue that if you back OpenSearch, you are opposed to open source software.

The issue is, of course, that Amazon does not build open source software or solutions. OpenSearch is open source, solely because it has to be, and Amazon does not want to comply with Elastic's copyleft license. That's what the SSPL is: A copyleft license, that can be aggressive enough to deter use. So Amazon chose to try to launch a "more open" fork to pull community and support from Elastic..

This isn't because Amazon cares about open source, it's because it's preferable than the alternative: Sharing their source code. By a small investment in forking the work of a real open source company, Amazon is able to continue profiting off a predominantly proprietary service.

SSPL (or something very similar) should be considered an acceptable open source license, as it spreads open source software, and doesn't even require anything beyond the GPL for everyone but, effectively, Amazon. And open source advocates should want open source to succeed and spread, both as folks doing it for the moral reasons, and those doing it because it's a good business choice. But the OSI is not open source advocates anymore, they are open source Originalists, the Antonin Scalias of open source. There's nothing ultimately the OSI should do with its existence than fixing this flaw in the OSD.

The one case of open source use we should not tolerate, is that which is used to push proprietary solutions over open ones.

-- 
  Jacob Weisz
  inbox@jacobweisz.com
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On Sun Sep 18, 2022 at 5:55 AM CEST, Jacob Weisz wrote:
> I understand your point, however, I feel that you've failed to
> understand the Popper's Paradox of Open Source, if you will. The Open
> Source Definition fails to account for how outside influences of
> proprietary software can *abuse* the open source definition to push
> proprietary services and software.

See my prior writing:

https://drewdevault.com/2021/03/03/To-make-money-in-FOSS-build-a-business.html
https://drewdevault.com/2022/03/01/Open-source-is-defined-by-te-OSD.html
https://drewdevault.com/2021/01/20/FOSS-is-to-surrender-your-monopoly.html

Free software being "taken" by big corporations is a ridiculous myth.
They're just playing by the rules. Use AGPL if you want them to play
fair.

The SSPL is a mess and honestly I find it difficult to take it seriously
enough to argue against because of its crippling flaws. Yes, all
software should be free software, and the SSPL attempts to forward this.
But SSPL attempts to do this with a ridiculously ham-fisted method that
completely fails in practice because it fails to understand sublicensing
and license compatibility. It's impossible to meet the criteria set out
by the SSPL. The most famous and egregious example of this problem is
that if you run an SSPL'd program on infrastructure running Linux,
you're required by the license to release Linux under the SSPL -- but
GPL2 is incompatible with the SSPL so this is not possible.

It's a sham. The purpose of this license is to prevent cloud vendors
from being able to run the software and making the copyright owner the
only legitimate vendor which can do so. This is clearly an arbitrary
discrimination against field of endeavour and an unjust centralization
of the commercialization options for the product. It's clearly non-free,
in practice and in principle.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of the OSI, or the FSF for that matter.
But these definitions are well thought out and worth preserving.
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