[TOS] Guidelines on launching an open source project?

Kevin Mark kevin.mark at verizon.net
Tue Jun 26 07:56:21 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 08:51:40AM +0200, adam hyde wrote:
> ok..just to throw some off the wall stuff into the conversation. i
> think license and technical infrastructure are not the answer to
> your question. im pondering this a lot recently and hoping to write
> an article titled something like "free licenses do not make free
> software". Trite perhaps but I'm trying to articulate that licenses
> have very little to do with what comes after. An organisation can
> employ a free license but act like a proprietary vendor - that will
> not invite participation involvement, or in some cases, even use of
> the code.
> The value and consequently the interesting and challenging
> opportunities that 'openness' presents lie elsewhere. They reside in
> the need to determine what "openness" means to your organisation.
> What exactly do you mean, for example, when you say "maintain
> control in the statement "maintaining control of the "official"
> version."
> The license and technical infrastructure are the easier issues to
> address. What you want after that is something you should spend some
> time thinking about and asking if you really know how to achieve it,
> and if not what are you going to do about it...
> probably thats not useful...
> adam

I think you make a good point. There are examples like
Staroffice/OpenOffice/Libreoffice, Firefox, Scratch, DrGeo, busybox as some
projects with different kinds of control.

Another distinctions is the type of freeness:
BSD-types vs GPL-types are 2 general catagories that are popular. The BSD-types
want folks to be able to open or close the code at will and not have the same
type of 'community support' as the GPL-type. The GPL-type want to always have a
community able to access the code and dont want it closed.

Firefox is one example where they wanted to only allow the name 'firefox' to be
used on 'official version' and this made Debian use its own name eg. Iceweasel
to follow policy.

There are also some projects like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qmail#Frequency_of_updates
Some software distribued as source from upstream and any downstream had to
apply many patches to make it work for them. Thus upsteam didnt allow collaboration.

> On 06/26/2012 07:59 AM, Allen Tucker wrote:
> >Hi T. F.,
> >
> >A popular  and simple approach is to set up a Google project at code.google.com, which you can configure with a Mercurial repository and control access in the ways that you identify below.  (Before setting up this project, you would need to create a Google id for yourself if you don't have one already.)
> >
> >The code in your Mercurial repository can then can be cloned over to this new repository for others to access and your committers to maintain as they do now.
> >
> >Let me know if you need help with any of the details.
> >
> >Best,
> >Allen Tucker
> >
> >On Jun 25, 2012, at 11:55 PM,<pawlicki at cs.rochester.edu>  <pawlicki at cs.rochester.edu>  wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>   I been asked to help take a fairly extensive body of code and
> >>release it as an open source project.
> >>
> >>I'm wondering if someone can point me to some resources that
> >>might guide us along this process?
> >>
> >>My collaborators have a body of code used for physics simulation.
> >>It's all under Mercurial for internal management. They want to
> >>distribute it under an open source model, while maintaining control
> >>of the "official" version.
> >>
> >>  Any pointers, guidelines, or advice would be appreciated.
> >>
> >>T. F. Pawlicki
> >>Dept. Computer Science
> >>University of Rochester
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> >
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