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ZDNet: A matter of privacy?

May 15, 2001, 23:53 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Evan Leibovitch)

Though the issue of whether Apple truly embraced open source software would seem to be resolved, that opens up another question: why did the OSI decide to acknowledge Apple's APSL as a valid open source license while the Free Software Foundation maintains that it isn't? According to this column, the difference is in how each definition approaches Apple's requirements that an organization share all the changes in its code, regardless of intent to distribute publicly:

In the explanation of why the APSL is non-free, the FSF notes that many previous objections to the APSL have been dealt with by the current version, but that one deal-breaker remains. Clause 2.2 of the APSL requires you to publish (and register with Apple) not only code that you change and redistribute, but code that you change and only use internally.

The FSF says that this is an invasion of your privacy, and that you should have the right to keep private any modifications that you don't redistribute. The definition of "open source," however, doesn't say anything about privacy.

"The registration requirement is a real (though in our opinion minor) privacy problem," said OSI head Eric Raymond. "But the Open Source Definition was not written to address privacy problems." Raymond added that there is no current or foreseeable movement within the OSI to include privacy provisions, but "if there arose a general feeling that privacy issues needed to be within the OSI's scope, we would respond."

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