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A simple test to see if it's Open Source

February 11, 2014 Benjamin Gray

 

I've devised a simple test to see if an Open Source project is actually open source. Give yourself ten minutes. Try and find the files for the source of the project, that's the Cad files or code that allow you to reproduce the work - pdfs of board layouts do not count - open software does not provide jpegs of code.

If you can't find them in that time frame then the project isn't Open Source. If the project says it's going to be Open Source in the future then it's not Open Source yet. It's closed. Then if it says it is open and you can't find the files, email the project lead and ask where to find the files they may not have been published due to oversight - apply Hanlon's Razor.

Where you can find them, are you allowed to use them without restriction other than you attribute and not close the product? If not it's closed. A conversation has already been started regarding non-commercial licences. In my opinion these only serve as "douche bag" enablers, the only people who won't use your software / hardware are people who respect the licence. Douche bags will use it and profit from it. You are giving them an advantage over the good guys.

Then what? That's the bit I don't know, there's a lot that claims to be open that isn't and I think that hurts the community.

 




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