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Sunday, October 7th, 2007, 3:18 am

Measure the Openness of Software

IT is becoming increasingly hard to tell apart Free software from what is enterprise open source software. The two are very different, yet the terms by which they are referred to are similar. There is no subtle difference here; it’s night and day.

So how does one measure “freedom” or “openness”? Assigning a number would be a subjective thing to do (choosing weighting for factors which some people consider more important than others). All in all, you could establish something similar to a troll test (troll-o-meter) and obtain a number on a finite scale. That number, which you then attribute to some certain scale/acid test, can be used to — let us say — sort/categorise/group projects for purpose X, based on its level of openness.

How you weigh the worth of redisribution, access to all code, programming language (e.g. open source project that is tied to SharePoint ain’t quite so, is it?) is debatable, and depending on who you ask and what interest (or software) that person has, you’ll get different answers. Just look at the anomaly and differences in the ESR/RMS/Linus perspectives. This could sometimes lead to flamewars, not debates.

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