Today Open-Source and FOSS share many elements, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. I'm curious what other people think is the major difference between Open-Source and FOSS.

Feel free to boost.

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I'm trying to gather some thoughts on Open-Source and FOSS and the strict guidelines shared between the two regarding what license is approved by either.


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My reason is, I'm trying to narrow down a topic for a research paper and to find a couple of burning questions to answer. One of my questions is, why are some licenses unapproved because they limit redistribution of software, but allow for the source code to be viewed by the paying customers? And, what effects this has on businesses, programmers, and the financial incentives of developing Open-Source software.

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@jordan31 On aspect that still lags is office software. Especially Excel and PowerPoint

LibreOffice and Open Office really donโ€™t hold a candle to these in terms of functionality. I do all my personal finances in LibreOffice Calc, but work really doesnโ€™t move without Excel

Same issue with PowerPoint. The multimedia capabilities are just hard to match

Good news is that Iโ€™ve switched all multimedia stuff to Kdenlive, Audacity, and darktable

@cypnk there is very few cases where I feel this is the case. But this example is true. Our office software just don't begin to compare to the likes of Office365. Though I'd argue the difference is in the funding.

@jordan31 Funding is part of it, but even more than that is just more human resources. MS Office teams are gigantic compared to virtually all FOSS office teams combined. Getting more volunteers to fix bugs alone is a huge help, but working on feature parity is critical to getting businesses weaned off Microsoft

Sooner the better

@cypnk but they have a issue drawing people to use their time to fix these issues or take on major feature tasks. So I say funding, but really its a incentive issue. Which funding could help solve.

Side note, I hope the open document standard becomes, well, standard and popular.

@jordan31 @cypnk LO is also *big* it's not easy to get going to fix something; I'm currently learning my way around the code to fix a pet (10 year old, now irrelevant) bug

@penguin42 @cypnk I bet it would take a while to wrap your head around a code base that big. I feel like it would take me forever, by the time I do grasp the code, we would be using another popular software haha.

@jordan31 @cypnk Yeh, I'm still in the process of wrapping; and I'm trying to understand one very specific corner - not the whole thing.

@cypnk @jordan31 It's not money, or numbers of people: There's plenty of indie commercial software, made by one or just a few people, with great user interfaces. Vastly less (basically none) in FOSS.

As I keep harping on, you have to have developers and designers who care about user experience. If the culture in a platform is "eh who cares about UI", nobody will bother.

@mdhughes @cypnk I can agree on that. But the difference between the indie commercial software and the open source software seems to be funding. Though I strongly agree about UX tends to be a very weak spot in Open-Source software. And that could be because its a cultural or philosophy thing. Or we all just suck and the good UX people work on Macs lol.

@jordan31 @cypnk The Mac people all went to WWDC and sometimes the road trip sessions, which has 2-3 design sessions every year. But web people learn about design, too, at all the web camps. So someone with, yeah, money, needs to start running FOSS Code Camps and teaching those classes.

@jordan31 @mdhughes @cypnk As an aside, I've always thought that whole "Macs have better UX" thing is, if not bullshit, at least highly subjective. I bought a MacBook Air for other reasons than the OS that came with it, and the UX has been the one thing about it I've disliked the most relative to Linux or Windows.

@stevefoerster @jordan31 @cypnk Someone raised in a cave and beaten every day, will not at first enjoy being taken outside and unchained.

@mdhughes @jordan31 @cypnk More like a bunch of people shining laser pointers in my eyes while shouting "Think different!" over and over.

But it's been three years, so I'm long accustomed to the differences.

@jordan31 my understanding was open-source is just publishing source code, without restrictions to forks. So an XaaS can write a new feature and not publish to source. While FOSS tries to make sure any forks of the source that are made are made available to the end-user and the original project.

Open-source is freedom for programmers (or companies willing to pay programmers), FOSS is freedom for end-users.

So I guess BSD license apologists are capitalists at heart. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

@cryptoxic I actually like the BSD style license, as they allow for programmer freedom as well. Though I recently have taken a fancy to the old Pine license.

I guess you could say BSD license is akin to capitalists, but that is OK. A diverse group of license for different situations is a good thing.

This is the old Pine license from University of Washington.

@jordan31 that was actually the first time I had thought of BSD giving more rights to programming person/orginization and GPL giving more rights to the end-users/community as a parallel to capitalism/communism. It might not fit perfectly. And I can understand wanting to preserve opportunity to get paid for the work on a project. Everyone has to eat.

There is something to be said for the brevity of that UofW Pine license especially compared to GPL3.

@cryptoxic The Pine license is interesting. My understanding it allows for everything except for sharing of modified binaries/source code.

There are a couple other license that I find interesting, basically allowing for viewing the source after payment for software but nothing else. Or viewing the source and modifying it after payment but not sharing. There are several ways these license can be worded to provide a suitable license for many companies and individuals.

@jordan31 @cryptoxic if I can't share the modified source it is not open source as we know it. I'm fine with that. Just call such licenses "source-available" or something to avoid confusion. Why is it so important to call them "open source"?

@jmehne that observation seems in line with the OP question. If company X can decide to *not* share modified source that it is distributing, it is not FOSS as we know it.

It might make sense that the FSF doesn't endorse a lot of licenses. They have to make sure that enhancements or derivative works be made available to the end-user. OSI would seem to have an easier time for endorsements. I mean the WTFPL is the best open-source license if you want to be license reader friendly.


@cryptoxic But sadly, many of these license are not approved by OSI or FSF or DSF. Thus, they hardly have been heard of by the masses and they are actually shunned by many people involved in the Open-Source and FOSS circle. I believe OSI is tying peoples hands behind their backs in this regard.

@jordan31 It might be just the influence of having read to many articles from FSF, but isn't the core difference that open source simply addresses the technical accessibility of the source code but FOSS is additionally putting weight on ethical and political implications of free software (or proprietary software in contrast)?

@jordan31 Additional, what might be an interesting question is the different sides standpoint towards public domain IMHO ๐Ÿค”

@hrodnand I'm assuming both sides don't care for public domain as much because it's limited by country. Or not every country recognizes public domain. But a license endorsed by Open-Source can be used through out every country.

@hrodnand As far as I'm aware the ethic part is only pushed by RMS. The license doesn't seem to restrict usage. So yeah it seems it's more of ideals that make them different.

free(dom) software is about users rights, open source is about authors rights.
isn't it? ;)
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