[okfn-discuss] Open Definition forges ahead - get involved!

Mike Linksvayer ml at gondwanaland.com
Tue Dec 18 21:47:51 UTC 2012

On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM, Rafael Pezzi <rafael.pezzi at ufrgs.br> wrote:
> 1) I do not understand why software is formally excluded from the open
> definition. Since it is a definition it could very well embrace previous
> works. Isn't the open definition compatible with free software definition?
> It seems odd to me having a Definition of Free Cultural Works that excludes
> one particular kind of cultural work.

For historical reasons, free/open source software has separate
institutions, including licenses and license vetting standards and
bodies. Honestly, I think this is suboptimal, but will probably takes
years if not decades to change. I am glad that someone agrees with me.

OKD 1.1 notes "Software is excluded despite its obvious centrality
because it is already adequately addressed by previous work."

OKD 1.2 draft is slightly more informative "Software is excluded
despite its obvious centrality because it is already adequately
addressed by previous work, including the [Open Source
Definition](http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd) (OSD), upon which this
document is modeled."

> 2) Why not use an free version control system such as http://gitorious.org/
> for consistency? See this text by Ben Mako Hill for reference.

Glad you asked (having sent
http://mako.cc/writing/hill-free_tools.html to this list recently
myself, regarding a different thread). OKFN's numerous repositories
are on Github, and someone pointed to an OD repository there when I
asked about versioning the OKD some time ago. Because I didn't know
where it was versioned, I had thrown a proposed revision into a
personal repository on gitorious. Anyway, for now I'll mirror just the
opendefinition repository on gitorious at
https://gitorious.org/floss-docs-diffs/opendefinition in case anyone
wants to watch or contribute via a web interface with no proprietary
software involved. :)

In the longer term I'd guess discussion of the OSSD, noted in the
post, will include or provoke further discussion of the
appropriateness, value, irony, etc of OSSD-on-OSSD-[non-]conforming
services. But I hope such is fairly measured, as I think there's a lot
to discuss around open services and their relation to the
sustainability (in whatever way you want it to mean) of open data,
open government and the like closer to OKFN's core activities, beyond
slogans. ;-)


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