Can we please agree not to call apples "oranges" just because we like how "oranges" sound, and we also happen to like apples?
These are different kinds of fruit, and calling one using the name for the other is simply misleading.
Same with "anti-capitalist licenses" being called "open-source licenses".
They're not. They're different. The difference matters - if it didn't, there would be no reason not to use open-source licenses!
@bookwyrm is not "open source" (doesn't mean bad!):
I am of two minds about "anti-capitalist licenses" that started springing up in random places.
On one hand, I understand why people feel we need them. I, too, take precautions against software I write being (ab)used by Big Tech.
On the other, I feel it might be counter-productive.
AGPL, I believe, provides enough protection against Big Tech using software licensed using them. At the same time, having clear rules of licensing compatibility is powerful -- it allows us to collaborate and build together.
Finally, all "anti-capitalist licenses" I've seen so far use very broad terms that can easily be interpreted in a lot of different ways. They likely do not offer the protection they claim to offer.
In the end it might turn out that by creating a myriad of "anti-capitalist licenses" that are incompatible with each other and with the larger body of FLOSS code, we handicap ourselves - by making it effectively impossible for different projects to be used together to build more complex and more useful systems.
To @bookwyrm 's credit, they do not seem to be using the term "open-source" anywhere on their site, as far as I can see. So, kudos!
Bookwyrm's license is *not* OSI-approved.
Again, that doesn't necessarily mean it's "bad". But it does, in fact, mean it's not open-source.
@dhfir @vyivel @bookwyrm and this is exactly the same argument that Microsoft and plenty of random techbro startups were making about their own "source-available" licenses, of which there were plenty (each worse than the previous one).
Either terms have meaning, or they don't. If they don't, we cannot communicate. If they do, then Bookwyrm is not open-source.
And yet again, this is not a value-judgement on Bookwyrm. We just need to have clarity when we discuss complicated stuff like software licensing.
Coming now and saying "I'm going to just start randomly using it to mean something else" is, well, not helpful.
There is a need for a term that refers to "anti-capitalist licenses". But "open-source" is not that term.
If you take the effort to come up with a new definition, bite the bullet and come up with a new term too.
@vyivel @bookwyrm plus, Bookwyrm's license also has plenty of conditions that are "absolutely unrelated to source code itself":
All the conditions around "individual person", "organization", "ownership", "educational institution", "law enforcement" in that license have nothing to do with the source code, after all.
@vyivel so let me get this straight:
1. you claim Bookwyrm *is* open source
2. you agree "anti-capitalist licenses" ≠ open source
Are you aware that Bookwyrm is, in fact, licensed under an "anti-capitalist license"?
If so, I am unsure how you can hold 1. and 2. to be true at the same time...
@vyivel so, all of the Big Tech "source-available" licenses that let you see the source code but not run or use it are "open-source", according to your definition.
Is that correct?
@Mia @vyivel no it doesn't:
"Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone and for any purpose."
Other sources of OSS definitions have been quoted in this thread already, if you mistrust Wikipedia.
@vyivel well if that is not the definition of "open-source washing", I don't know what is.
It's clear to me that we will not find common ground, just as it's impossible for me to find common ground with Big Tech and random techbro startups that insist that them making their source code available for inspection (but not use or modification) is somehow "open-source".
Language matters, terms have definitions. If suddenly "apple" can be defined as "orange-color citrus fruit", we have no way to communicate.
@vyivel these debates have been going on for decades. The terms that have been eventually agreed-upon, with reasonably clear definitions, are "free software" (if we're talking copyleft licenses), and "open source" (if we're talking non-copyleft permissive licenses).
You are insisting on calling an apple "orange", just because it sounds better to you. That is not a good way to have meaningful conversations. that is, in fact, a way to muddy the waters and make meaningful conversations hard or impossible.
nitpicking a bit here, @rysiek, free software and open source software are equivalently defined for the most part by the FSF and the OSI respectively. At least from the FSF side it is entirely correct to describe both permissively licensed and copylefted software as free, as both subcategories comply with the four freedoms. I do not read much materials from the OSI, but I’m pretty sure the OSD does cover copyleft licenses as well.
What you might mean was the permissive crowd usually referring to their software as being open source while copyleft and FSF worshipers like me insist on the term free software. Personally I’d use the word libre or the umbrella term FLOSS if I need to communicate with people outside of my circle though.
To @vyivel, I assume that you are arguing in good faith, but I find bookwyrm hijacking a term with a widely accepted meaning in the FLOSS community to gain validation and trust is a very deceptive act for a selfish gain, albeit perhaps not of capital.
@vyivel @rysiek @bookwyrm Technically, of course anyone can make their own definition of ‘open source’. But a definition only becomes meaningful in widespread usage if it becomes widely accepted. And it just so happens that OSI’s definition has been there since the early days of the term and is by far the most widely accepted; see their recent affirmation supported by many prominent organisations.
Granted, there’s nothing in the name ‘open source’ that points to this exact definition. Kinda like ‘free software’ could be interpreted as ‘free of cost’. But both of them have long had more precise fixed meanings, and I don’t think deviating from them will do anyone good.
But thanks for being the first person to f-bomb this conversation. It's an achievement, as heated as this thread got in a few places, nobody felt the need to throw around expletives.
@rysiek The anti-capitalist licenses are interesting. I think someone should make a similar license, call it "the coop license" and get it vetted by a copyright lawyer. If such a thing existed and carried real legal clout (i.e. could be used in a court case without getting laughed out) then this would be a more favorable tool against the status quo.
We definitely do need to be finding better ways so that BigTech doesn't keep stealing from the commons and grifting on our collective labor, and so that we can build up counter-organizations which are focused on real needs.
Or he might say, oh no, not him again, so maybe mentioning me is a bad idea. I don't know. But we never got into any disagreements...
Yeah, actually I like this better than kosher free software and open source licenses. Free software can't do nothing to avoid the big tech monopolies world we live in. Rather, it was an enabler. If you want to change that, you can't use the same set of tools. I hope it gets legally standardized, as Bob says.
It really feels like playing the "wack-a-corporate-ownership" game is a losing strategy (I'm skewed, worked too long for people investigating byzantine corporate ownership structures...).
At the same time, AGPL seems plenty effective against both Big Tech and techbro startups, is well-understood, vetted by lawyers, and has a huge body of code already licensed under its terms.
I also note that all "anti-capitalist licenses" I've seen so far curiously miss the single most anti-capitalist measure possible and available: a requirement to share back any modifications made.
Which is something I don't get. Clearly people who write them are opposed to capitalism. Can there be a better way to combat rampant capitalism than, well, sharing broadly?
Turns out knowledge is not the power source in capitalism. Of course, without knowledge free distribution, it gets worse. But in capitalism, capitalists have a huge advantage given the uneven distribution of material resources.
How does AGPL or any free software license prevent that?
Software is not knowledge. Software is a tool. By creating useful tools that are unusable by capitalists we build our common toolset and expand our abilities, without providing these tools to the capitalists to use against us.
Anti-capitalist licenses are trying to do the same, of course, but in a way that undermines this community-building.
@tagomago @aral @bob think about it: an "anti-capitalist license" would not have given us Linksys WRT-54GL OS's code, and thus would not have jump-started the ecosystem of projects focused on embedded devices, like OpenWRT and the like.
If Linksys had used code under an anti-capitalist license, the lawsuit (if any) would result in Linksys being forced to stop using the code and pay compensation to the original developers, that's it. No code would have been published. No common toolset made available.
Tools and tools' improvement are the product of knowledge, it's the same thing to me. Anyway, let's not turn this into a logomachy.
From what I know, I don't think AGPL is not usable by capitalists, it's just that they can't exploit any labor invested in the tool to sell it as an end, as a capitalist product by itself, but it can be used freely as a, well, tool, for their capitalist goals. Correct me if I'm wrong...
@tagomago @aral @bob technically it can. Practically it is so toxic to their business models that Google outright bans not just including AGPLed software in their own projects, but also bans their employees and contractors from even *having any AGPLed code on their machines*!
Straight from the horse's mouth:
> Do not install AGPL-licensed programs on your workstation, Google-issued laptop, or Google-issued phone without explicit authorization from the Open Source Programs Office.
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