Open Path

by Chad Whitacre

Fair Source <> Software Commons

By Chad Whitacre ❧ Published on April 1, 2024
tl;dr Fair Source is about licensing. Software Commons is about funding. Let's do both ... separately.
Disclosure / advertisement: I work for Sentry.

Yes, it is April 1. No, this is not an April Fools Joke. This is a quick post to clear up a misconception about Software Commons that stems from the historical evolution of the name. If you weren’t there for it, then hopefully you aren’t confused by it, and this post will be stating the obvious for you. If you were, hopefully this helps disentangle what was admittedly a bit of a convoluted discussion.

“Software Commons” emerged out of work we were doing to find a name other than Open Source to label Codecov and projects like it, which are shared in meaningful ways but ultimately controlled by one company. Turns out it is better to name two separate approaches to balancing Sentry’s values of user freedom and developer sustainability:

I had initially tried to see these two aspects of sustainability—licensing and funding—as worth pursuing together. Now I see them as worth pursuing separately. Endorsing one does not entail endorsing the other, and neither one attempts to change the fundamental definitions of Free and Open Source Software.

Sorry for the confusion!