Re: What is Open Source?

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From: Dave Winer (
Date: Fri Sep 15 2000 - 13:10:36 PDT


I think terminology is as important as license agreements. I am not a
"closed-source developer", a term that I consider perjorative and negative.
I create both commercial and open source software. The least interesting
aspect of my commercial software is the source that I don't release.

Now that that's out of the way, I like your story, what project are you
managing in a bazaar-like way?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles S. Kerr" <>
To: "DaveNet email" <>
Cc: "John Perry Barlow" <>; <FoRK@xent.ICS.UCI.EDU>;
<>; <>; "Dirk Ackerman"
<>; "R. V. Guha" <>; "Marlene Long"
<>; "Don Clark -- WSJ" <>; "Pat Meier"
<>; "Jo Ann Mandinach" <>; "Laurie
Girand" <>
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2000 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: What is Open Source?

> Hi Dave,
> I wanted to comment on your DaveNet piece, "What is Open Source"?
> There seems to be confusion equating the Bazaar model with OSS:
> ``So when the open source rage came along two years ago, I went
> on an investigation. I couldn't imagine how a software project
> could work if anyone could check-in any code they wanted.''
> You later correctly decide that OSS != Bazaar, and your definition
> of OSS is pretty close to, so
> everyone seems to be reading from the same page. Yay!
> But the cause of the confusion of OSS vs. Bazar I think comes from
> a lack of context: ESR's gone on the road talking about open source,
> and you're a closed-source developer, so that's understandable.
> (As usual the media's not much help either.) The thing to understand
> is that ESR's is a Unix guy. His paper didn't propose the Bazaar as
> an alternative to closed Windows/Mac source, but to Cathedral model
> OSS projects, which Unix had in abundance. 386BSD and gcc are two of
> the bigger Unix cathedral failures: they released so infrequently, and
> were so closed, that eventually [Net|Free]BSD[1], and egcs[2] sprang up
> to route around them.
> The Bazaar is partially about amplifying the user/developer feedback
> loop in two ways: (1) Release constantly, so that people will always
> have something new to play with, and (2) make the latest source available,
> so that people can mail in patches along with their bug reports.
> User feedback is nothing new, but these are two worthwhile variations.
> A few weeks ago, I committed some some buggy code to CVS right before
> goign to bed. When I checked my mail in the morning a user had already
> reported the bug. When I got to work, a different user had posted a fix
> to the mailing list. After looking it over, I committed the patch and
> added both the users to the CREDITS file for that release. My users are
> great. :)
> IMHO that's closer to the Bazaar model than the media's distorted view,
> or the straw man in the Lotus article.
> cheers,
> Charles
> /* Disclosure: I work on a GPL'ed GNOME app[3]. I don't always agree
> with ESR, RMS, or DW, but I don't have an axe to grind against any
> of them either. I don't get Dave's nastiness towards ESR. */
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]

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