Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Poll: Is it OK for n8n to use the term “Open Source”
14 points by janober 37 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments
n8n uses the term "Open Source (Apache 2.0 with Commons Clause)". Even though it is not correct according to the definition of the OSI as it is not Open Source anymore as soon as the Common Clause gets attached as some rights get restricted.

The reasoning for doing it anyway it can be found here: https://docs.n8n.io/#/faq?id=license

The reasoning against it here: https://drewdevault.com/2018/10/30/Its-not-okay-to-pretend-youre-open-source.html

Is it OK for n8n to use the term "Open Source"

34 points
13 points

No, it's not. If you're selling broccoli but you call it "peaches", taking a poll will not change peaches to broccoli.

Open Source has a very precise, clear, and widely-agreed-on definition. That definition is published at https://opensource.org/definition. Free Software is equally agreed-on and equally clearly defined: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en

Millions of developers and thousands of companies, governments, and other organizations agree on these definitions and have been using them consistently for decades now.

You can't make non-open-source software magically become open source by just calling it "open source". All you do is damage a widely-used term that people depend on (for example, my time was wasted when I clicked on a link to your project because the link said the destination was "open source" -- if it had been accurately labeled, then my time would not have been wasted!) Please stop damaging the language and wasting people's time. Your license is not open source; therefore do not call it that.

No. Not even close. Did you bother to actually read the Common Clause FAQ? Here are the first 2 FAQ entries:

"What is Commons Clause? The Commons Clause is a license condition drafted by Heather Meeker that applies a narrow, minimal-form commercial restriction on top of an existing open source license to transition the project to a source-availability licensing scheme. The combined text replaces the existing license, allowing all permissions of the original license to remain except the ability to "Sell" the software as defined in the text.

This Clause is not intended to replace licenses of existing open source projects in general, but to be used by specific projects to satisfy urgent business or legal requirements without resorting to fully "closing source".

Is this “Open Source”? No.

“Open source”, has a specific definition that was written years ago and is stewarded by the Open Source Initiative, which approves Open Source licenses. Applying the Commons Clause to an open source project will mean the source code is available, and meets many of the elements of the Open Source Definition, such as free access to source code, freedom to modify, and freedom to re-distribute, but not all of them. So to avoid confusion, it is best not to call Commons Clause software “open source.” "

Quoting my statement from the other thread:

> You're appropriating the language of open source ("free and open source" is also a key phrase people will recognize and make assumptions from) to describe software you know isn't. In order to know that this page is bullshit, you have to come here already knowing that "Apache 2.0 with Commons Clause" is not open source. The (awful) license apropriates the "Apache 2.0" name, which is a respected and well known open source license, and aporopriates the language of "Creative Commons", likewise respected and well-known to mean something entirely different from this. Someone who isn't informed about this problem could easily mistake this project for open source. You're deliberately taking advantage of this to gaslight the open source software community.

> Your software is source-available. Call it that. If you're ashamed to do so then maybe you've chosen a shitty license. You know that you're lying about "open source". You've admitted as much yourself.

> The authors of the Commons Clause themselves acknoweldge that it's not open source.

Do you have a source for that last point? In https://www.zdnet.com/article/open-source-licensing-war-comm... they seem to be defending it.

Edit: never mind, it's on the main page https://commonsclause.com/

Absolutely not.

Don't use terms with well-defined definitions in a way they're not meant to be in order to build hype for your project.

A project which, in its license, prevents people from offering paid-hosted versions of, and yet YOU plan on offering a paid-hosted version yourself. That's pretty shitty, not gonna lie.

I am not well versed in the different types of licensing for Open Source, but after reading up the links you have posted in favor and against, I think calling your software Open Source is misleading. Great work with the project though, I can understand why you would not want a big company to come in and use your hard work to make instant profit if it was all Open Source. I have no solution, but that is my observation.

The site for the commons clause itself states that it's _not_ open source: https://commonsclause.com/

Open source with commons clause is like a vegan lasagna with meat.

Absolutely not. This idiot simply used open source to get eyeballs. Great way to use other peoples' code, yet keep all the profit for yourself.


Hell no.

Fuck no.

And if anybody at my day job suggests using this because it's "open source" I will take them aside after the meeting and introduce them to Cluebringer.

I think "open source" has a very broad definition. Being an OSI-approved license has some extra meaning beyond just being open source.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact