(originally posted 2011-03-13)
When you surrounded by something, that something eventually becomes obvious, then it becomes assumed knowledge, and then finally it becomes invisible.
I have been involved in Open Source since the late 1980s, and it is sometimes hard for me to remember that is what is obvious and assumed by someone in my position, is not obvious to everyone.
Early this week, I received an email from a group who are literally half a world away from me, physically and culturally. They use Eucalyptus, and had a question about it. Specifically, they wanted to know if they could modify it, if they could add modules and features that they needed.
Like I said, what seems obvious to me, is not obvious to everyone.
I wrote back to them, and explained that Eucalyptus is "Free Libre Open-Source". Most of it is licensed under the GPL Gnu Public License. That means that they can download it for free, can try it for free, run it on as many machines, with as many users, for as long as they want, for free. And yes, they can also look at the source code, modify and patch it, add more code, and write new modules for it, without having to get permission from anyone.