De-Finest De-Finitions De-Ficient?
by John Adams
Related link: http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php
While working on this weblog entry, I needed to look up the Open Source Definition, so, having a poor memory, I googled it.
If you google define:Open Source, you get this worthy collection of definitions, from a good plain language summary:
When the source code of a computer program is made available free of charge to the general public, it's known as open source. The basis of open source software is to produce more useful and bug-free products for everyone to use. The concept relies on peer review to find and eliminate bugs in the program code, a process which commercially developed and packaged programs do not utilize. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) reviews then certifies open source programs. They have a stringent list of criteria that include making sure no one collects a royalty on the software and no person, group or field of endeavor can be denied access to the program.
to my favorite:
Software built by programmers who think technology should be distributed without charge.
(I turned into one of those programmers, just last night.)
None of them, however, are the Open Source Definition.
Out of the twenty-five definitions Google serves up, five do reference the Open Source Institute or the Open Source Definition. This HP link itself links in turn to the OSD--I think HP deserves a gold star!
|GNU||3, plus one gnu.org website|
|AIPS++||1 (it was new to me, too--but interesting!)|
|php||1||These last two? I just report 'em, okay?|
What does define:Open Source Definition bring up? Try it--or just believe me when I tell you it brings up nothing, nada, zip, a verbal 404.
So, how do you get to the Open Source Definition from Google? Why, the obvious way, of course: "Open Source Definition", which will bring you this link to Dictionary.com, and then, finally, to the Open Source Definition.
Quite a romp! Isn't it odd that the define: syntax in Google doesn't find the Open Source Definition?
Do you consider this entry to be about "search" or about "natural language"?
Hardly earth shattering, or even surprising
Google can't pick definitions from any old arbitrary site for their define: functionality, the spider simply indexes a bunch of known "dictionary-like" sites. There are many, many terms, particularly domain specific ones, for which Google will serve up no or no useful definition.
Actually, there are two different things Google is doing here.
Ok. here is a
Concise Definition of Open Source and Free Software
A Concise Definition of Open Source and Free Software Movements.
In the last six years information technology vendors have adopted techniques and resources from two existing movements geared toward the construction of software. The newer open source movement, represented by the non-profit Open Source Initiative (OSI) corporation, emphasizes the licensing of software in a manner which encourages its collaborative development in an open environment. The older free software movement, represented by the non-profit Free Software Foundation (FSF), focuses on the ethical issues surrounding the licensing of software. The free software movement emphasizes freedoms which are often taken for granted outside of the field of software: the freedom to use, study how something works, improve or adapt it and redistribute.
LGPL used to be called the "Library GPL", but is now the "Lesser GPL" for reasons detailed here: