Subject: Re: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: "David A. Wheeler" <>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 08:59:44 -0800 (PST)

--- David Johnson <> wrote:
> I don't think anyone has brought this up yet, but the OSI only
> approves licenses. Public Domain is not a license.

Okay, if you wish to view things this way, then please clarify
that source code in the public domain also qualifies as
open source software.  The problem is that some people may not
understand that source code in the public domain is open source

Something like this could be under the "public domain" heading:


Technically, software in the public domain has no license at all.
Any software source code in the public domain also meets the
conditions of the open source software definition.

Some software, such as unclassified software written by U.S. government
employees as part of their official duties, is automatically
in the public domain.

Note that there are some legal issues and questions when trying to
place software into the public domain.  Most developers, instead of 
placing software into the public domain, choose to licence
the software under a different license (the MIT/X and BSD-new
licenses are common choices).

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