Open Source Trademark, or Am I Open Source or Not?

by Steve Mallett

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The Open Source Initiative has launched an "Am I Open Source or Not?" trademark.

Now, 'open source' is about a lot more than licensing. Let me stress... a lot more. But, the immediate and most pragmatic question most people have regarding it is, 'is this application open source?' In that context people want to know if the package of the software and accompanying license allows them all the privledges open source is meant to empower software and its users with. Yes or no? Simple right?

Not on your life. At least not until now. There are thirty two licenses on the list that conform to the open source definition. I don't know about you, but I have no interest in reading any of those licenses and I'm glad the board of OSI has. This trademark is a stamp of approval of sorts, but it is also a good way to answer the question before it is even asked. "Yes, this is open source."

So, instead of getting some funky license in your software package & trying to determine if it's something you want to develop or just use, check the license against the OSI's list. That's what having that new snazzy logo is for. If it's OSI certified, it's open source.

I love it when a plan comes together... How 'bout you?