Dear Fontana et al,

On 25 January 2013 14:53, Richard Fontana <> wrote:

> Would it be clearer to say:
>   I have some code written in a scripting language. Does that mean
>   it's open source by definition?
I think we should not limit the statement to "scripting" language because
(1) It does not matter whether the source code in question is a scripting
language or not, (2) newbie probably cannot tell the difference between
scripting language or source code for compiled language, and (3) the answer
applies whether or not you got source code for a scripting or compiled

I do, however, take Fontana's point that the use of phrase "source code"
can be itself problematic, because of the difference between compiled and
scripting language, especially to newbie who will understandably try to
split hair  on compiled and scripting

I think the key points here are (1) I have program code in text form that I
can read, and (2) You cannot consider it open source just because you can
read (or modify) the program code?

Assuming that the discussion is not about trying to get a description that
will satisfied source code for scripting and compiled program, can I
suggest that  we keep the question general, i.e. to something like "I have
the source code for a program, can I consider it open source?" then explain
in the answer that they cannot assume it is open source. May be explain
what we meant by source code, i.e. human readable. Then give a few
examples, including one for scripting languages, another for compiled
programs where the vendor supplied the source code and why vendor might
choose to do release the source code but not make it open source, e.g. to
help in debugging.

This is of  course presuming that most people is like me where I read all
Q&As that might be relevant, and for each Q&A, I read both the question and
the answer before deciding whether the Q&A is appropriate for me.

Best Regards,
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