February 13th, 2004


Open source is NOT public domain

I don’t often rant here, but right this moment I’m so furious at something that rant is all I really can do.

I work on, in my spare time, a web-game called Legend of the Green Dragon. It’s hosted on SourceForge and there are quite a numerous servers for the game running (such as my server and the Central Server)

Up until about 5 minutes ago, there were bug trackers set up on the sourceforge project for bugs, feature requests, patches and such. Specifically the one for patches was meant as a place where other server admins out there could post code snippets to help extend the game.

Over the past couple of months there have been no less than 10 instances where someone posted a code piece there and where the original author of said code piece came through, saw it and asked that it be removed because they had written it and were NOT the person who posted it there, nor did the person who posted it there have their permission to do so.

One of these authors even started a forum thread about it, saying that they planned on contributing it back to the project but weren’t ready to do so *yet*. This is *perfectly* fine.

Today, two things happened within reasonably quick succession. One, someone posted a comment in the thread just mentioned about ‘well that’s why they call it open source’ and second someone else stepped forward to mention that a piece of code which had been contributed to the patches was their original work and wasn’t released by them nor authorized to have been posted yet.

A pox on all people who seem to think that just because you are allowed to see the source code that you are allowed to do whatever the fuck you want with it.

[A side note to this rant, the GPL applies really poorly to web-based game scripts such as what is being discussed here -- ask me privately if you want to know why or if you have a license which might work better to preserve the fundamental openness of the code while preserving the rights of the authors to have the code used in the spirit they desire.]
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