Subject: RE: Please add "Public Domain" to "license" list
From: "David A. Wheeler" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 14:02:20 -0800 (PST)

--- "Lawrence E. Rosen" <> wrote:
> > But the U.S. government can only be sued if the U.S. 
> > government allows it, and it can (and does!) produce public 
> > domain software. And people are allowed to give things away, 
> > even if a lawyer would advise them not to.
> This is the only really good reason I've heard to state that public
> domain is compatible with open source software.  But other than U.S.
> Government works and works that have entered the public domain by the
> passage of time, I'm still not convinced that there's ever a good
> reason for those who write software, or those who use it, to rely
> on a simple dedication of software to the public.  Use a license.  

Actually, I've looked over some of the OSI-approved licenses.
I'm still not convinced that there's ever a good reason for
authors of software to use some of those approved licenses either :-).

Now, I think the OSI has a very valuable side-effect: while
reviewing a license, the OSI can (and has!) given good general
advice not specific to whether or not it's open source.
But I wasn't aware that the OSI ever requires that all OSI
members "like" the side-effects of the release conditions - as
long as they meet the spirit & letter of the OSD, they
should be approved.

I'm not asking the OSI to RECOMMEND releasing software as public
domain, or to use public domain software.  Just a clarification
that public domain source code (if truly public domain)
is open source software.

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