Public Domain vs. Open Source

Ok, I promise to slow down on the use of X vs. Y on this blog, but after this post. CNet has an interesting blog post by Stephen Shankland essentially asking is public domain software open source? A very interesting question.

This little bit of information from Richard Hipp, founder of SQLite, I found to be particularly interesting:

“…The consensus there seems to be that ‘public domain’ is valid and is a proper subset of ‘open source’–except in France and Germany where the concept of ‘public domain’ is not recognized…”

In my opinion, as long as the project stipulates that all contributions be released as public domain (defined as intellectual property not owned or controlled by anyone, and available for use by anyone for any purpose without restriction) for perpetuity, I think that in itself is an open source license. It’s also the cleanest and most easy to read.

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