[conspire] We're home

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Jun 17 07:56:00 PDT 2007

Quoting Ross Bernheim (rossbernheim at speakeasy.net):

> Welcome back.


> All too often people respond to something without taking time to
> think and do some research first. Simply looking at the license
> and a quick check of the dictionary would have prevented his
> complaint.

The dictionary wouldn't help a lot (see below), as this is a technical
meaning (i.e., one in a software context) rather different from the
common one.  Essentially, people objecting to the usage either aren't
familiar with it, or think it's pejorative, or think the meaning is up
for debate.

Those who assume it's pejorative are thinking "Dan's software is
generously licensed; it's unfair to call it proprietary".  My reply to
them is "I didn't say it's bad, and I certainly didn't say it's
ungenerous; I just said it's proprietary".

> Many of us think we know what words mean and are quite often
> wrong. A simple check of the dictionary is often quite illuminating.
> My favorite dictionary is the Concise Oxford Dictionary. I have a
> copy at home and another at work.

You'll find that is probably says something like:

  proprietary, adj.  1. Characterised by the property of being owned.
  2.  Subject to restrictive conditions imposed by an owner that prevent
  wide access.

In other words, your dictionary almost certainly says nothing about the
word in its software context.  Context matters a great deal, here -- as
it often does.

(You seem to have dropped off the mailing list into private mail.  I
assume this to be accidental, and have redirected back.)

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