Quoting Ciaran (cj at nologic.org):
> It is proprietary AND open-source.
What we mean when we say open source is the _antonym_ of "proprietary",
of course. The standard Open Source Definition (on-line at
http://www.opensource.org/osd.html) comprises several guidelines that,
among other things, guarantee users & developers that the codebases in
question can remain living projects, and can never suddenly become dead
projects at the hands of the copyright holder.
And this is why qmail is, and always has been, a proprietary package
(and thus not open source): If Dan Bernstein dies or loses interest
in the package tomorrow, _nobody_ will have the right to resume
maintenance and development (with the right to distribute that work),
from that point onwards. Permanently and incurably. Forever.
At that point, qmail becomes a dead project. Kaput. Mechuleh.
Pinin' for the fjords. (Yes, you could continue to distribute source
patches against the last version. But be serious.)
We call this a denial of the right to fork, a matter that I'll return
Also, unlike the case with an open-source package, it's so impractical
(because of the licence restrictions) to regression-test multiple
third-party patches against one another. So it never happens.
And there are other nuisances, some related to it being proprietary, and
others just plain Bernstein-isms: http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/#djb
And it's proprietaryness is in my mind a
> good thing, because it means that modified versions won't be distributed.
That's what we always hear, from fans of proprietary software:
Restricted developer rights = good. And it is precisely the _rejection_
of this old tune that was and is the foundation of open source.
> i.e. no mention of licencing in the source code distribution anywhere.
Thus, proprietary by default. That's what happens by default action of
copyright law: Key rights are automatically reserved to the copyright
holder by statute, including the right to fork the codebase, which is
a vital safety-valve, and a defining trait of open source.
More about that, here:
Cheers, "That article and its poster have been cancelled."
Rick Moen -- David B. O'Donnel, sysadmin for America Online
rick at linuxmafia.com
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