I recently came across the software JW Player. It is a Flash/HTML5-based video player to use on your website. Oh, this looks great, I thought. Why haven't we used this at work, I asked myself? It is, after all, open source. Then I clicked on to the download page and I saw a piece of text that confused me at first.
By downloading, I agree to the non-commercial license.
How can a software be open source, but only for non-commercial use? That does not compute. I looked a bit further, and their free download (and source code availability) is covered by the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, which disallows commercial use.
Yet, if you look at the Open Source Definition rule number 6, it says the following:
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
To me, the incompatibility with the term "Open Source" and the CC-BY-NC-SA license is quite obvious. They are actively polluting the definition of the term "Open Source", as understood by the FLOSS movement, for their own benefit.
I wrote a comment on their forum asking them to either change their use of the "Open Source" term or change the license of their software. I'm not expecting much, as they locked down a previous comment about the issue without acknowledgment.
I'm hoping that someone with more klout than myself (hopefully someone involved with the Open Source Initiative) will carry the torch and put some heat on this company for their misuse and pollution of the Open Source Definition.
Comment from: Member
Udo: I'm glad you share my points of view. If you know anyone in the OSI, or can get in touch with them, I would be interested to hear what they have to say on the subject matter.
Comment from: Juan Carlos Visitor
I understand your point.
But this isn't the same case of red hat/centos? One commercial and the other open source?
Comment from: Member
@Juan: No, it's not the same at all. The Open Source Initiative says that an OSI-approved license must be open to all fields of endeavour (which means you can use it commercially). Creative Commons Non-Commercial fails that point. See more details on http://opensource.org/osd.