Talk:Proprietary software/Archive 3

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The interwiki's are a complete mess. -- penubag  (talk) 10:24, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I've fixed most of them. The Japanese, Arabic, and Russian duplicates will have to be done when I have more time (or by someone else). --Gronky (talk) 12:07, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it wasn't that hard. Done. Thanks for having pointed this out. --Gronky (talk) 12:11, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
No problem, thanks for fixing them -- penubag  (talk) 16:33, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


From the first paragraph of the article:

  • Proprietary software is computer software with restrictions on copying and modifying placed on it by one of its legal owners.

Does anyone else think it's strange that most open-source software is considered proprietary software? I actually kind of like it, but I'm fairly sure it wasn't intended, and surely this would be unusual terminology ("gcc is proprietary software" would sound strange to most, since gcc is released under the GPL). Should this change?

CRGreathouse (t | c) 18:12, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Good point. Fixed now, I think. --Gronky (talk) 10:01, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, much better. Now it fits the generally accepted definition, I think, and also clarifies the roles of the two major open/free software movement. CRGreathouse (t | c) 13:44, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Feb 29th: Removed refimprove, fact tags sought

I've removed the refimprove tag that was added in November 2007. There are currently no "citation needed" tags, so I guess any problems of unreferenced dubious statements have been resolved. If anyone does find existing unreferenced dubious statements, please add {{fact}} tags to those statements - this is much more helpful than putting a generic tag at the top of the page. --Gronky (talk) 09:48, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Wow, that looks like a lot of work. Thanks! WalterGR (talk | contributions) 23:37, 19 March 2008 (UTC)


Freeware is in need of a mention; this is important to make clear the difference between "commercial" and "proprietary". -Wootery (talk) 02:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Scientific Data Integrity

Interestingly, the decision to keep software closed-source is not always based on profitability: one example is Folding@Home code not made available "[t]o ensure the validity of the work calculated". I think inclusion of science- and public safety-based closed-source justifications would help round out this article. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 03:43, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. Another example was the Seti@Home client. The research team at Berkeley chose to not disclose the source code to the free client not because it is impossible to hack a binary (checks were put in to ensure the server was talking to a valid client as well) but more because they didn't want to make it easy to simply modify the source, recompile, and fake client data. The team still received invalid client data and several measures were necessary to detect and correct for this. However, the research team felt the rate at which invalid data was being reported was much lower than if they had disclosed the source code. Open Source software advocates counter that this is simply security through obscurity and that is no security at all. On the other hand, obscurity is another layer of security albeit not the strongest. In general, some vendors do not opt for an open source solution due to security concerns, valid or not. Ronald Joe Record (talk) 22:35, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Just for the record and somewhat off topic, hacking a binary isn't impossible, but the checks are quite good. As for the actually topic, it's embarasing that it even has to be mentioned, and i'll make sure any mention that it is purely for profitability are removed, no need for people to be pushing there childish agenda here. Which is ironic consdiering the page name is chosen purely to push that same agenda, but we can always try to minimize it. - Jimmi Hugh (talk)

Image of software categories

Software Categories

I thought the free image to the right would help illustrate the nature of proprietary software in relation to other categories of software. User:Jimmi Hugh thinks otherwise and removed the image with the edit summary "Removed Heavily Incorrect Article". I think he meant "Image" not "Article". However, I don't see how the image is "heavily incorrect". Perhaps the line describing "Free Download" should intersect rather than encompass the area demarked as "Shareware" as it does every other category since all forms of software can be offered as a free download. But that's the only thing potentially incorrect i could find in this diagram.

Do others feel this image adds value to the article ? If so, should it be restored ? Ronald Joe Record (talk) 21:45, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, sorry, i did mean Image, i hate when you've just clicked Save, and know there is no chance to change it, so you just have to sit and accept it. As for the picture, even if it is used on an article titled "Proprietary Software", labelling a section "Proprietary" in the way you have is incorrect, as this is not what Proprietary Means. All of the Other categories on the image can be Proprietary, so that's a prety far off categorisation. Closed Source, is also therefore not all Proprietary, though it seems incredibly likely, it is possible for a group of individuals to work on Source without releasing it and without express Private ownership being invoked. Once again, relating to the actual definition of Proprietary. Shareware, can also be Any kind of source as you mentioned, and is a monetary aspect unrelated to source availabilty. Shareware is about the request for money, and just because it can be compiled out of open source software does not mean it can't be shareware. Especially if we take Open Source as a general term and don't limit ourselves to the strict definitions of the OSI (or FSF if we are talking Proprietary software, however neither of there defintions should rule this article as it is about a concept, not their definitions). In those cases, licenses may prevent such recompilation while allowing all users access to the source code. Not precisely a matter of free, but as i said, that is the public definition of open source as opposed to the limited term controlled by the OSI/FSF in their respective terms.
Free download is once again a soley Monetary Issue, and while the labelling is correct, it makes about as much sense here as having a label half touching all categories that claims the software to use Red coloured toolbars. Yes, it is possible for all categories to contain software featuring such a toolbar, but i don't see how it relates. Free Software, and Open Source, no new reason for them being incorrect, however given my previous points it's pretty obvious they are a little off considering the seemingly spurious collection of topics these labels come from. Public Domain is incorrect purely because you chose to label with both the terms free and open source, limiting the image to the terms as constrained by their respective proponents and not to the public concept of Open Source which of course would include Public Domain. Copylefted, once again slighly off topic, a psuedo-legal concept that is quite general in a collection of specific terms, however that's probably the most accurate wording. Having the GPL, and XFree86 don't make sense as they seemingly attempt to draw attention to those specific Licenses when there is nothing special about them. Especially, as the GPL Software is by Defintion Free Software, whereas mentioning some Proprietary Licenses would offer something new to the image, instead of trying to push some agenda. Just my thoughts, not a bad idea for an image though. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 22:06, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Note, i've just seen the source of the article (apologies for assuming it to be user created). Yet another reason this image is no good, and of course to my realisation, the obvious reason why all of my points exist, this is a FSF image, whose bias is undoubtable. Personally I don't think using an image from someone with such a public agenda, especially one that has serious conflict of interest on this article (considering the fact there definition has replace the existence of a closed source aritcle, much to my dismay) is appropriate to label the entire topic, and definetly not considering the wide strethcing number of topics it crosses. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 22:16, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I am not heavily invested in this image and feel that, although it does add value and may help others understand the various software categories, its inclusion here may not be consensually desired. However, your reply above indicates that we do not agree on the definition of proprietary software so perhaps some form of further elucidation is necessary. You state that "All of the Other categories on the image can be Proprietary". That's just not the case. Some software licenses allow derivative works to be licensed under a proprietary license. Others do not. But, even software licensed under say a BSD style license is not proprietary - it's simply the case that it can be taken proprietary. Same for public domain. On the other hand, GPL software is not proprietary and cannot be taken proprietary.
Further, just because an image or other source originated or is hosted by the FSF does not mean the source is incorrect. It may indicate POV. Still, this image can be evaluated entirely without POV. Anyway, I'll defer to other editors and whatever consensus develops here. In the mean time it would be good if we could agree on what proprietary software is. Ronald Joe Record (talk) 23:13, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps you missed the beginning of my rather long response, sorry... I specifically made the point that i was discussing the word proprietary, not Richard Stallmans term proprietary software. Note, the use of the word proprietary is a huge mistake on his part and has no relation to the actual definition. So, that points a little void. Off topic, I don't agree with the article being titled Proprietary considering that the entire concept of closed source outside of the FSF's little world is completely lost, hence our misunderstanding that Open Source can be Proprietary, while Closed Source doesn't necesarily have to be. However, lets not go there, as you'll see above my views were completely thrown aside in light of the fact that the GNU defines it as Proprietary and we must all listen (Yes, that may have been slightly biased on my part :-P) and there is no real point in us arguing it again. As for the source of the image, i had no problem with including a completley biased and POV image, i only said that i wouldn't agree with making it the master image of this entire article. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 23:22, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

The image only seems to complicate things, not clear them up, and leaves out at least as much categorization as it includes. I think removing it was the right choice. RossPatterson (talk) 13:05, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Definitions revisited and Richard Stallman's Bicycle Shop

The term "proprietary software" was in widespread use long before Richard Stallman may have employed it. I've been working professionally with computer systems since 1969. We often referred to systems from IBM as proprietary and the phrases proprietary hardware and proprietary software grew out of those early days where everything was proprietary and most of it from IBM. In fact, the term is apt and closely fits with the definitions of the words "proprietary" and "software". Assuming we can all agree on what "software" means, one of the definitions of the word proprietary as given by Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary is "something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker; specifically : a drug (as a patent medicine) that is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture".

In this sense, proprietary software is like Tylenol. You cannot empty a bottle of Tylenol, pour the pills into another bottle labeled Mylenol, redistribute it and resell it. You can't even take some Tylenol tablets and study them in your chemistry lab then reproduce the process of production to make your Mylenol. Note this has nothing to do with closed source, the FSF, Debian Free Software Guidelines, the OSI, or any free and open source advocates definitions or feelings. It's just a straightforward definition of legal rights of property pertaining to a product - in this case, software.

The stuff in the intro about Stallman, Debian, Moglen, the OSI, et al should be moved down to a separate section on "Proprietary software critics" if it is included at all. The intro should simply explain what proprietary software is. Finally, the beginning of this talk page is hilarious. I really love the "For more information on cars, see Richard Stallman's Bicycle Shop". This article, although improved, continues to reflect a primarily free software advocate pov. Ronald Joe Record (talk) 23:59, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree that "proprietary software" was first used as "proprietary" + "software" and that Stallman and others have modified it for their own purposes. I'm a little concerned about your example, though:
  • Tylenol is just acetaminophen in a pill; anyone can sell it.
  • Marketing acetaminophen as "Mylenol" might be illegal, but only because the name is confusingly similar to Tylanol.
  • Reverse-engineering software to create similar or compatible programs is explicitly legal in the US: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. v. Connectix Corporation [1] would be an example. Most reverse-engineering is prohibited by an EULA. Sample wording: "You may not reverse engineer, disassemble or decompile, or attempt to reverse engineer or derive source code from, any portion of the Software."
But I agree with your conclusion, that the specific organizations'/peoples' definitions should be moved down to its own section.
CRGreathouse (t | c) 17:00, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I've reorganized the topmost section to frame proprietary software as a concept that exists independently. The contrast between proprietary software and free software now exists in subsections. White 720 (talk) 19:20, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
We had a slight edit conflict on your last: you slimmed the 2nd paragraph and combined it with the first, and I split it off again (though also slimming it). It didn't seem to run together properly: it went from a sentence on restrictions to a sentence with alternate names, then back to restrictions. Feel free to modify again to suit. CRGreathouse (t | c) 19:31, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
OK. I made those changes again to the second paragraph, but I didn't merge this time. White 720 (talk) 20:34, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
On your third point - Say I install the program "MegaSuper Happyfunbar" which pops up a EULA which denies me the right to reverse engineer. I don't agree with this, so I click "Cancel". Then, I proceed to do a quick "reverse engineering" process on the installer to change the button/checkbox/whatever necessary to proceed with the install to say "I do not agree". What has happened to the EULA? I've always found this an interesting concept. I know this page is about proprietary software but from a non critical point of view it may be worth incorporating something regarding the pointlessness of these agreements. EyeExplore (talk) 10:14, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
It would be illegal for you to reverse engineer the installer if you are in a country where it is illegal to use software without a licence. If you live in a country which permits you to use unlicensed software, then you never agreed to the EULA and are therefore not bound by it. --Joshua Issac (talk) 18:25, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Removed paragraph

The section "Reasons for" has a paragraph which gives one reason why software should cost money, instead of giving a reason why software should be proprietary. These are separate issues. Both free sofware and proprietary software can be charged for money. To say that sofware which costs money increases funding for development is an argument neither for nor against software being proprietary. Leschatz (talk) 12:47, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

I've restored the paragraph. The key word here is "required". While it is possible to charge for free software, it is not the norm, in that traditional retail models can be circumvented by permission of the licence. In the context of the statement, it is true to say that the Microsoft model provides funding where the free software model would not, in that nothing would compel vendors to pay to bundle a free operating system or office suite (which is Microsoft's main revenue stream). Some discussion of the specifics in paying for free software may be appropriate in a footnote, I suppose. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 13:17, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Open source does have business models:
  • Contract programming
  • Development-as-advertising (a la Red Hat), where the actual product is support or compilation services
  • Donationware
  •  ?
but none seem to allow traditional software sales.
CRGreathouse (t | c) 16:53, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Not necessarily, you could sell cds or dvds with the software on it, many linux distributions do this as it can be more convenient to buy a cd than wait for a large file to download, additionally some people will buy the software in order to get a nice looking cd and cd case. Consider it similar to buying creative commons works on physical media, such as purchasing a book even though it's contents is released under a creative commons licence and it is available for free on-line. Some people are even attempting to make money by selling open source software. Jason Rohrer is attempting to make money from his game sleep is death, even though he has released the source into the public domain, by selling a download to it. Obviously people may legally circumvent this by downloading it off of a filesharing site, but I assume Rohrer is hoping that these would have been the same people that would have pirated the game anyway and so there is no loss to him. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all pans out. Obviously, Jason Rohrer is a very unique case, as he has some very devoted fans and is creating a very niche product, but just wanted to point it out.--WikiSolved (talk) 15:46, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


This article is written from the perspective that the GNU/FSF use of "proprietary software" is somehow the one true definition of the phrase. My first impulse was to make major edits talking about the meaning of the word proprietary, how it applies to software, the fact that GNU and other open source software has owners who control its use and distribution by license, that public domain software is the only software without any owner, and so-on, but I expected that would have started an edit/revert war with GNU zealots. This does need to be clarified, though, because this is a widely used phrase with a history that predates the "free" software movement. One possibility might be to name this article "Proprietary Software (GNU definition)" and to have a main "Proprietary Software" article with a general explanation of the fact that there are various conflicting long standing uses of the phrase, and referring to the GNU page among others. (talk) 19:30, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Or you could just suggest edits to this one, instead of making big claims of bias which nobody is likely to pay a great deal of attention to. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 19:47, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
It's not so much bias in the sense of sounding opposed to what this article defines as proprietary software. It's that only one point of view has been covered here, one definition of a widely used and very old expression. For instance, Windows 7 now refers to your contacts, documents, downloads, etc.. as "libraries," and while that use of the word may be worth documenting, it would be bizarrely POV to limit any coverage of the word "library" in a CS context to that definition. I think this is comparable.
Also, this article is a fairly good article for the purpose of documenting the GNU/FSF definition of proprietary software, which is a subject that is easily worth documenting.
I see what you're saying, though, and here are some changes that make sense to me:
The article could state that there are multiple definitions, it could list some popular ones and provide a frame of reference, such as historical context and who uses the phrase that way.
Also, contrary to popular belief in the "free software" community, software released under the GPL still has an owner, that owner having allowed some rights for the public, and having disallowed others, as defined in the GPL, and many vendors have made money in various ways by publishing software under the GPL, just as vendors have made money by giving away "freeware." I think that's easily worth noting here as such software is a textbook example of being "proprietary" in the sense of being "privately owned and operated for profit" to quote
I mean, in at least my own opinion, the GNU/FSF definition of the phrase "proprietary software" is misleading and inaccurate, and while it's certainly valid to document their position on the subject, the current tone presents it as the definition. (talk) 03:28, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, no. Little red book could theoretically apply to any book which happened to be both little and red, but that's not what the article is on. Similarly, software which happens to be proprietary is not what the term "proprietary software" refers to, and that the meaning on "proprietary" is different to that which the FSF assigns it in that context isn't really important. Same with free software; yes, you could technically call any software that you didn't have to pay for "free software", that's not actually a term in common use - whereas freeware is. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:05, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Similarly, software which happens to be proprietary is not what the term "proprietary software" refers to - who says? you? richard stallman? advocates of "free software" may have made this phrase into a slogan, and that's fine, but it isn't the only definition. this phrase has a long history dating back to far before GNU was even conceived, and other usages are easily noteworthy. if it weren't for GNU/FSF rebranding of the phrase, this article would be documenting something else. so obviously there is a history and definition of this phrase that warrants coverage, even if richard stallman and others would like their branding to be presented as the only valid use of the phrase. keep in mind that this is supposed to be an encyclopedia, and it's not appropriate to omit noteworthy information in order to try to control public perception. (talk) 18:18, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Also, on the subject of "free software," try a google search. The first hit and majority of hits are using the phrase in a way that is not consistent with the GNU concept of "free software." (talk) 18:23, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
Again, you are failing to understand that Wikipedia does not assign equal weight to "subjects with a given title" and "a random juxtaposition of words which happens to match that title". Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:04, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
You're not addressing anything I've said. My point is that there is a standing, noteworthy history of this phrase that does warrant coverage. This article would exist even if Richard Stallman hadn't chosen "proprietary software" as a slogan. Though, in that case, it would probably be a neutral and inclusive article rather than an exercise in language dominance by zealots. That is, as it currently stands, all alternate information is being censored in support of the FSF, whether noteworthy or not. (talk) 16:04, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Please provided some sources to back up your points, and I will gladly rewrite this awful article. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 18:20, 10 December 2008 (UTC)


This article is clearly written from the perspective of one group of people. Do any sellers of "proprietary software" use the phrase "proprietary software"? Perhaps the intro should be re-written along the lines of...

Proprietary software is a phrase used by free software advocates as an epithet to promote their cause...

That would at least be a start. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 21:58, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't proprietary just mean "owned by" someone? Does it always mean that someone has set restrictions? And if it does mean all software that includes restrictions, doesn't that include "free software" too? GPL software has restrictions (must release source of public binary releases, must maintain GPL license, GPL applies to any non-GPL linked software, etc). By our current definition, why is GPL software not considered proprietary? AlistairMcMillan (talk) 22:03, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
Long story short, Richard Stallman says so, and zealots seem to feel some entitlement to impose RMS's branding on Wikipedia. (talk) 16:05, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Hi everyone. I changed some stuff, feel free to revert, I'm new to how wiki editors operate so don't kill me. I changed the first paragraph, I feel like the new version states the facts pretty clearly. I cut the reasons for and against sections... I know its wiki policy not to turn articles into forums, how is having those two sections not make this article a debate piece? And WTF is semi-free software? We don't need to mention it here...? Chrisofgenesis (talk) 21:52, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course developers outside of the "movement" do not use the term "proprietary software" to describe closed source software. The term proprietary software is a specific implementation of the idea of closed source software as pushed by the FSF. While the terms open and closed source software are pushed by the OSI, in that case the terms are correct, and identified the same meanings long before the debate. However, the term proprietary literally just means to own. The only case that is different is in medicine where the negative connotations have become a part of culture. The only reason this term would become the same would be if we continued to leave this as the article name, and highly embarrassing as it is, we would help to shape the term instead of reflecting reality. While some may note that the specific terms "Closed Source Software" and "Proprietary Software" have specific and somewhat distinct meanings when applied to the OSI and FSF respectively, the point of this article is to reflect the concept, not publicise incredibly specific agenda. This is of course made apparent by the fact that the term closed source points here and not to a separate article on the topic.
While the new definition accurately reflects the actual meaning of the term proprietary, it simply serves to create excessive definition of the word proprietary and to lessen the presence of the idea of closed source software. It would be better to rename this article, with mention of the terms, and have it be a cold reflection instead of this FSF biased article we have now. Good work on the technical rework of what we have, but now we simply don't have a real opening definition of closed sourced software, or even "Proprietary software" as Richard Stallman would have us put it when it's not Subjugating him. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 00:06, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to move the article, given not only my points, but the fact that it's unwise to leave the page as such a contradiction. It currently correctly defines the meaning of the amalgamation of the terms proprietary and software, but at the expense of the definition of closed source (or even "proprietary software" as defined by the FSF). I have decided against simply redefining it, because it is not our place to push this specific term over the more generic term, and all specific points should and will be reflected in the article. Any problems with the move should obviously be addressed here; it would be a shame if the first opposing arguments to this discussion came in the form of an edit war. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 18:41, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I am inclined to agree with arguments above that open-source software (including GPL'd software) also has a proprietor. However, I think the term "proprietary software" has been around for a while (1970s) and the term has taken on a meaning different to just the separate words "proprietary" and "software". This is similar to the way that "operating" and "system" means something different when used together. Of course that's just my opinion and original research should be avoided, so here is some evidence for the term:

Given the wide usage of the term in scientific literature, academia, and news sources, I think arguments for change need to be substantially stronger and verifiable before changes are made. Otherwise it will be original research. pgr94 (talk) 19:28, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

If you can provide a single source that the term "closed source software" is original research and not a more generic term I'll revert the move I'm about to make. While proprietary software is indeed a term that refers to exactly what you think, as stated above, it still represents the FSF philosophy and not the generic idea. More importantly, use of the term like that is still localised and has not changed the meaning of the word proprietary even in the way that th FSF would like. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 19:30, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Given that we will probably need an admin to make the move, and my wish to not turn this into an argument, I'll wait longer for some actual discussion. However, this can't wait long, the current definition is indeed correct for the generic amalgamation and therefore the very concept of this article is incorrect. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 19:35, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If no one other than "GNU zealots" and "FSF fans" use the term "proprietary software", then why shouldn't we have an article about it? That's like saying jargon shouldn't be on Wikipedia because it's specific to a group/topic. --wj32 t/c 07:15, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Verifiable? Closed source as a means of protecting trade secrets

Does anyone have a reference that says closed source is a means of protecting trade secrets (algorithms, protocols, etc.)? It seems obvious to me but it would be good to have a source. Thanks. pgr94 (talk) 10:24, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Given the commonness of this argument, I can't imagine it would be difficult to find a source. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:52, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

I added one.

Donovan, S. (1994), "Patent, copyright and trade secret protection for software", Potentials, IEEE 13 (3): 20, "Essentially there are only three ways to protect computer software under the law: patent it, register a copyright for it, or keep it as a trade secret."

Is that verifiable? --Ashawley (talk) 04:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Requested move

I've requested this move in order to solve the problem of conflicting definitions and FSF bias in the article. The current title, used only for the negative connotations of the incorrect definition is in complete contradiction to the article which is about the correct definition of the term "proprietary". Due to this split in understanding of the term, we currently have no article that actually discusses closed source, we simply have a biased title attached to a definition that has nothing todo with the concept. It seems fair to select a title that actually reflects the purpose of the article, and that is to inform on the topic of closed source software. Obviously both the FSF and OSI specific terminology, and their meanings should be given places in the article, but the primary content should be on the general idea. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 18:08, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Keep There is substantial evidence for the wide usage of the term that should be taken into account.
  • Given the wide usage of the term in scientific literature, academia, and news sources, I think arguments for change need to be substantially stronger and verifiable before changes are made. Otherwise it will be original research. pgr94 (talk) 21:00, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
    • No one is denying usage of the term... I'd even support the idea that it is used in the context which you claim. However, how does that change any other point? Closed source software, is still not original research, you're still making that up, still haven't given one reason against the points I actually made, as opposed to your assumptions, and you're still making far from subtle insults that embarrass your argument. If you read my actually reasoning, you'll see I quite clearly state the necessity of a section dedicated to that term and it's meaning as invoked with the negative connotations by the FSF. The reasoning for the rename of course still remains completely un-refuted, which is to neutralise the article, and nobody in their right mind would argue that I made up the term closed source software; except for you of course. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 14:11, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Closed source software, is still not original research, you're still making that up: If you read my comment again, you'll find I have made no claims about "closed source software". My comment above applies to proprietary software only. Your accusations are pure fabrication and unhelpful. As it stands, closed-source software redirects to this article, proprietary software. If you want this article renamed, Wikipedia has some excellent guidelines on using verifiable evidence from reliable sources, which is far more objective than your or anyone else's personal preference. Finally, if the FSF is making incorrect claims about proprietary software, you can add that to the article providing you have reliable sources. So far you haven't provided sources for *any* of your claims. Please see WP:V, WP:RS and WP:SOAPBOX. pgr94 (talk) 14:37, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually, if you read your comment again, you'll notice you made the precise accusation, that "it will be original research". As my only proposition was to rename the article closed source software due to it's neutral definition and the fact that everything else you've said has nothing todo with that proposition, then, yes you did infact claim that was original research. I don't actually see the point of me wasting time providing sources that have absolutely nothing todo with the rename. If you really want sources go back and look through the 10 conversations in the archive on that matter, but right here, I'm discussing renaming the article, not the validity of the term proprietary software, which remanins a point of conflict, and obviously the solution is in no way original research. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 14:43, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep Proprietary software seems to be the more commonly used term. --Regent's Park (Boating Lake) 17:40, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep This software IS proprietary, there is also the possibility of showing the source code and keeping the restrictions, proprietary software is the right definition and it was in use way before Stallman came, (Refer to the top of this discussion page). I think the attempts to change it with a less bad sounding word is more biased than calling it with this name, which a lot of people do already. Just make a Closed source software page and make it redirect here. (talk) 17:46, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Perhaps, however, this article is about the idea of closed source software. Obviously, if you'll want to retract that stance as open source software can also be proprietary. I'm also, as everyone seems to be making up, not accusing the term "proprietary software" of being imaginary, it's just a biased term, obviously. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 17:42, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep Per the argument of IP and others. Jimmi, if there is bias in the content of the article, then that needs to be addressed. But you have not provided a compelling argument for why proprietary software is in and of itself a biased title for this article. Even if it is, it accurately reflects the most common name used to refer to the topic of this article. --Born2cycle (talk) 18:36, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
    • The bias in the article isn't the problem I'm addressing. There's a 50/50 split between the definitions of the term "proprietary software". As the only one of those definitions that actually relates to the article is intended for it's negative connotations, and not used by those it addresses, the name change would resolve all conflict. Replacing it with an equally common term, which is used *exclusively* by software developers, in Britain at least, and while still allowing the term proprietary software room on the article. Also, I'd retract agreement with, that's entirely wrong, free/open source software is equally capable of being considered proprietary. It's also possible in group colloborations, like those in many hobby projects, that closed source software, can not be proprietary. Obviously I'm not arguing against inclusion of the term "proprietary software" for it's separate definition, but this article is about the closed source definition, not about ownership. I love how you'll use both contradicting arguemnts in desperation to push this term, when I'm looking to simply use a completely generic one. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 17:58, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Change... or do something. I think there are quality and bias issues with this article. From the naming perspective, the issue is linkage of closed-source to propietary software. This page seems like a big and shitty disambiguation page. The issue of open-source based propietors, who own some aspect of their open software which they use to draw revenue, complicates matters. Red Hat comes to mind. Thus I think we should make a closed-source article that talks about the challenges of disassembly, and legal issues. This article should focus on people and companys who make software in the search for profit, no matter what the source agreement, and the history of software-for-sale. We can cover less profitable licenses here as well, but the focus should be on the intuitive definition of a "propieter" as a profit-seeker, and the software they make. Chrisofgenesis (talk) 19:30, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Keep. Per WP:NAME, an article's title is not an endorsement. This is the most commonly-used term for the subject, so that's what the title should be. That other things exist which are also called "proprietary software" is not a valid reason to rename this one any more than the existence of hats which are red is reason to require disambiguation where there is an obvious primary use. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:55, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
    • The title however, is not the only possible one, not the most common in all circles, has at least two equally represented and questionable definitions and also holds negative connotations. I don't deny use of the title to represent the topic, but at current we don't really have an article on closed source software, under any name, and that is what this article is meant to represent. I wouldn't question the use or definition of "proprietary software" when mentioned here, but just because it's not an endorsment, does not mean a more suitable name is not available. At current I see us as having the exact opposite problem as to the airplane/aeroplane article. They had two conflicting equally valid titles... we have two equally valid definitions, can you think of a better title to compromise the ideas? - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 23:48, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

What I'm hoping is a simple question...

Do any of the companies that sell "proprietary software" actually use the term "proprietary software"? Or is the term just used by people who either oppose or compete with seller of proprietary software? AlistairMcMillan (talk) 20:29, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

No, they don't use it. So what? Just because they don't use the term doesn't mean we can't have an article about it! --wj32 t/c 07:19, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
However, we can have the topic, with a neutral name. And of course no closed source developers use this term, except when they have strong Free software influences, are trying to intentional appease those members of the software community, or for it's straight definition, it'd be childish to claim otherwise. I'd also like to point out, after having looked through many FOSS articles on Wikipedia, despite the stubborn lack of discussion about an obviously equal term here, the term closed source is often used interchangeably when using "proprietary software" wouldn't make sense (Due to syntactical facets, not semantic ones) all over the place. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 15:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not objecting to having an article called "proprietary software", I'm objecting to the fact that the article is heavily slanted towards one POV. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 21:54, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
But that is the only POV. If the only other POV is to object to the term "proprietary software" (as used by FOSS advocates) and possibly the FOSS community in general, then we shouldn't include the other POV. --wj32 t/c 02:44, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
There is also the fact that there are two opposing points of view. The "proprietary software" developers one, which in a horrible choice of naming, is the one that the article is actually meant to be about, but which doesn't feature in the article; making this article nothing but open source propaganda of sorts. Not only do we have that obvious slant, but the choice of name also brings about a second POV in the quite common believe that the term doesn't even mean closed source software, and whether it is used that way in a hundred academic papers or not, there will also be equal belief in the usage of the term to mean proprietary.
If we take proprietary software as a topic, then we can't possibly feature any other POV, because proprietary software is used only for it's negative connotations, purely by the FOSS community, and is not invoked by proprietary software developers, so there is no way to be neutral. However, if we feature the term in an article with a more generic topic name, then we can easily present a completely rounded NPOV on both sides to the same idea. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 08:50, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, due to AlistairMcMillans recent edits, mixed with early discussion and open source advocacy here that had the closed soruce software article merged and pretty much forbid as being separate topics, without even attempt at discussion, we now have no article on closed soured sofware, and a website covered in use of the tern proprietary in places where it's not being used to be prejorative. Way to be neutral, you biased children. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 08:54, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
But the whole point of the article is for FOSS advocacy (and I'm being serious here); what "proprietary software" POV do you want the article to have? That's my question. I don't really see how this article can be written in a way that isn't biased towards FOSS advocacy - the only other option is just stupid because the majority of people use the term "proprietary software" in the FOSS sense. --wj32 t/c 11:05, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
What? The whole point of the article is to advocate on behalf of FOSS? Please read WP:NPOV. "Proprietary software" is a loaded term used by one side to push their agenda. The article needs to say that. AlistairMcMillan (talk) 12:07, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think he meant "on behalf of FOSS", he means, like you, that this articles purpose is to cover ("is for") the negative term, not the closed source concept. In which case, are there any serious, non-advocating objections to me starting a generic closed source software article? I won't be so childish as to create one purely for the positive connotations instead of having a singular topic on the whole idea as we should, so it will simply cover the actual idea of closed source software, generic, OSI, and FSF. I hope to start by undoing the old merger then if it's at all possible and will try to bring it up to a quality this will fail to achieve. - (Jimmi Hugh) (talk) 15:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I've read WP:NPOV, and it's very boring. But I found this in the first paragraph:

All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources.

Clearly, most "significant views that have been published by reliable sources" means the FSF and FOSS advocates, since the term "proprietary software" is mostly used by them. What you are saying is that these reliable sources are biased against non-FOSS developers/companies. I don't think WP:NPOV can resolve this issue. If you write from your proposed "NPOV", that's not very neutral, since it's not a significant view published by reliable sources. If you write from the FOSS POV, that's "neutral" but then it's biased. --wj32 t/c 21:21, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
May I point you to the definition of the word encylopedia? An Encylopedia lists topics, not terms. There is a far more significant amount of coverage concerning closed sourced software, independent of the terminology, even if it's rational and not advocacy. I also submit that there exists an equal presence of usage of the term closed source software, as it is used often synonymously in many places where the name itself is not being pushed (for example on many Wikipedia articles where it used in many sections due to lacking syntactical constraints on the incorrect term "proprietary software".) So no, it is not clear that most of the significant views published by reliable sources are FSF and FOSS advocates, and I can't even begin to comprehend how that makes for an argument on why the actual definition of the term (even with this title) should not be included. Also note that NPOV says "representing fairy" and "all significant views"... it states no where that the topic with the most numbers should overrule other equally valid points. Of course, I once again believe you're talking about the terminology and find you are completely lost in your understanding of the fact that the text you quoted refers to concept. Your final statement is absurd gibberish, you'll have to rewrite that, I can't possibly understand where you derived that comment or where you found the definition of the word neutral, which is the lack of bias. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 21:53, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

(indentation reset) The term "closed source software" isn't "proprietary software". They're two different things. If there's many people using the term "closed source software", then create an article about it. How do the two relate to each other? "So no, it is not clear that most of the significant views published..." - what "views"? I'm talking about the people using the term "proprietary software" - most people using that term are FOSS advocates. I'm not talking about views on FOSS software vs. closed source software. I think you misunderstand my position on this. I think that the article should state that this is a term used by FOSS advocates. And, I'll clarify my last statement:

  • The majority of people who use the term "proprietary software" are FOSS advocates.
  • WP:NPOV suggests that "neutral" means the most common usage. I agree with the "fair" bit.
  • If you write from the perspective of an FOSS advocate, then that represents the most common usage. That's what I meant by "neutral".
  • However, a FOSS advocate is... an advocate. So they're biased against closed source software.
  • If you write from the perspective of a closed source advocate (and I'm not suggesting you are), then that doesn't represent the most common usage. That's obviously not what you want.
  • So, what is a neutral point of view then? I think the article should state that this is a term used by FOSS advocates (it already does, actually). On an unrelated topic, I think that "Examples" needs to be shorter - it contains too much crap about other kinds of software.

--wj32 t/c 04:48, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I think perhaps, and I don't mean to attack your understanding, that there is a confusion in the discussion between topic and naming. NPOV is a policy concerning the discussing all points of view with equal merit, within the context of a topic. If we chose the title "proprietary software" to represent all closed source software then we should give all views equal and unbiased standing. However, if we are discussing terminology, then indeed you are correct, the term proprietary software when applied to a concept (I actually use the literal meaning, which isn't an encylopedic topic, more often) does have a negative connotation. This however, isn't really what we were discussing before this point. So I agree, even though proprietary software is a well defined subset of the idea of closed source software, that this article should be entirely about the term as used by the FSF. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 20:21, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Pejorative ?

It seems I stepped into a already heated debate, but using the sentence: "Proprietary software is a pejorative term used by critics and competitors of closed source computer software" in the header was not backed by any source, which made it clearly POV. I tried to rewrite this header just to summarize the first paragraph. Plus the term is widely used, and not only by free software advocates (see here or even here for example, a few of many where the term is used in a completely neutral way), so this first definition seems dubious to me. Hervegirod (talk) 01:45, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I just read the discussion thread before. I really don't think that "proprietary software is used only for it's negative connotations, purely by the FOSS community, and is not invoked by proprietary software developers, so there is no way to be neutral", judging by the numerous sources that can be found on the web that contradict this view. The Proprietary Software term may be used by free software advocates, but it is also used by independent sources. Another example from The Economist: [2]. Please note that they don't quote Open-source advocates in this article, they just use the term "proprietary software" as "not open sourced". Of course, this term is often used in the context of "open source" / "closed source" debates, but it's completely normal IMHO, because there's no need to tag a software like that except in contexts when this classification is useful. Hervegirod (talk) 01:52, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Very simply put, just because a neutral party adopts a biased term, that does not remove the bias. Closed source developers (and I use the term lightly as someone who rationally releases both open and closed source software personally and in business) do not adopt the term, because they understand the definition. In the example of CNET, they use the term because the articles are related to FOSS-advocacy and therefore the choice of term was clearly correct. I can just as easily pick random article that do the opposite, the first from a generic magazine as in the case of your economosist [3] link above, one from CNET [4], in context as above, and the other two from the BBC [5] [6], a generic news statation with a proffesional technologist and highly liberal open source advocate using the term. I even purposely ignored the articles that use the term closed source software in defining it over ones that were newsworthy to show there is existant outside of the obvious references too. This term is pejorative, and it is meant to be, the FSF adopted it for that usage in this context, and the only time it is used neutrally and without FOSS context, it actually applies a different definition. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 02:05, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
If I were famous and made an anti-put subject here word that lots of people started using, Wikipedia wouldn't talk about it as if put subject here were bad, unless it was widely proved to be so. Can you give proof that closed source software is bad? Sure, there's debate about it (I'm a FOSS advocate). That's why we need to talk about the subject of the term in a neutral way. We can't just assume the subject is bad just because the creators/users of the term think it's bad. --wj32 t/c 04:57, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
"closed-source" or "proprietary" did not exist at all before the invention of the notion of "open source" or "free software". Before that, I don't think that anybody had clear notions of what was proprietary in software, maybe because these did not make a lot of money (see for example [hacker culture declines|here] in wikipedia for example. Using this article as a (primitive) weapon for or against open-source or closed-source software would be an encyclopedic mistake. I personally find it much much more interesting to try to understand how and when the very notion of "proprietary software" (take it without any hint of pejorative meaning here) began to exist. And I think that you see only what you want to see when saying that this notion is only used in a pejorative way. Just take an example: The term "communism" was used by Barack Obama yesterday, in a pejorative way. The same exact term is considered in China in a very positive way. Just that some people are using a term with a pejorative connotation does not mean that the term is only that, so the header is clearly POV as it is now. Hervegirod (talk) 00:05, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Erm... how does one really respond to such fictional and unsubstantiated claims? Well I didn't have to respond, so I hope I do a rather good job anyway. If you were to look up the word proprietary, you'll find it may have just existed for a tiny little bit before the invention of the idea of the concept of the computer. Closed source, as a combination has a perfectly valid and semantically correct definition as a combination whether coined to be unique or not. Everyone was of course well aware of what was proprietary, given it's defintion, longevity of use, and the fact it's obvious... and as for closed source, Hacker culture developed from the closed source nature of early UNIX, and Richard Stallman himself if you're refering to the later open source advocacy, was well aware and happy being a proprietary developer before that. So your next comment about the removal of the negativety surrounding proprietary is pretty null considering that IBM and Bell Labs were already producing "proprietary software", and closed source lived alongside it as a fact. It was only the terminology that developed through "advocacy", but hobby software development produced "open" software before the terms. I wanted to ignore your comments on China, but that's just silly, ask the majority of the citizen class in China what they feel about communism and I know you won't hear a positive response. More importantly, you're incorrect in the assumption that the term is used postively to mean the same thing. The only time the term proprietary software is a positive thing, like when I use it in daily life, it has nothing todo with the term covered here, and definetly makes no stipulation on the source availability of the software in question. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 19:33, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you see what you want to see here. As for the "communism" comparison, you clearly did not understand what I was trying to say. More simply: Try to compare the view about communism expressed by the U.S. president to the Chinese official view about communism (And we don't really know what Chinese people think about communism - beware I'm not talking here about the Chinese regime itself). Now shift focus and try to compare what Open source advocates think about Proprietary software, and compare it with the view expressed by any company which makes its living by developing and selling proprietary software. And why needing to tag part of my comment as "silly" ? Try to moderate your language next time ;-)
And another thing: hobby software does not compare AT ALL with Open Source. Where did you get that ? It looks to me very much WP:OR ?. Hobby is (see wikipedia) a spare-time recreational pursuit, it has clearly nothing to do with making money. But developing software as a hobby does not imply at all that the source code will be made available to others. By contrast, Open Source software is about offering accessibility to the source code, but individuals / organizations which develop this kind of software can make money with it, and even sell it. Making this comparison IS pejorative. Hervegirod (talk) 23:07, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I am not expressing a view, so there's nothing to see, I simply pointed out a few facts you can easily check, like the fact that ownership existed long ago, and was labelled proprietary in dictionaries before your great grand parents, grand parents were imagined. Now, ignoring the bad comparison to communism that you chose to continue, despite the fact I was quite aware of and accepted your premise... The article is not saying "proprietary software is a negative thing", it quite clear states "proprietary software is a prejorative term", so this isn't about opposing views on closed source, I like closed source. It is about a term, which is *supposed* to be negative, and is taken as negative by both sides. I called them silly because you quite clearly said, whatever your retrospective intention that communism "is considered in China in a very positive way". You made no mention of the government, and as someone who actually does know the chinese view, and has friends who quite literally escaped the regime many years ago, I consider your ignorant comments on the topic to be "silly". Which to be honest couldn't be a much more moderate term, how could I have put it lighter? Finally, I am quite aware that the concept that you took from my comments, incorrectly, is not true. I develop software as a hobby that you'll never see the source to, so yeah, it's pretty obvious. What I actually said, though you really could simply have read it the first time, is that hobby software developers produced open source software. Specifically I was talking about a time in which you deny the existence of both open source and proprietary software, but that doesn't change the fact that I never once claimed any comparison between the two, and that you are now a liar. I hope that's a moderate enough term, it is factually correct, and I'd hate to offend someone who thinks "silly" is extreme language.
EDIT: On your later added comments. Alot of which I agree with entirely, you should probably research previous argument. Yes, source availability and monetary decisions are entirely separate business devisions, that's the reason I argue the case for this article to be replaced by closed source software, as it describes a source concept using a term that simply means "to own". Your accusations of original research are pathetic, and I cannot believe I wasted my time on these arguments believing you to at least be rational, when you're making things up to support minor libel. I don't know how your monetary comments actually relate to that, and you really are just talking gibberish now, especially your meaningless conclusion. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 23:26, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Insulting people like you are doing now is not acceptable. I quote your words: "you really are just talking gibberish now" "Your accusations of original research are pathetic" "I cannot believe I wasted my time on these arguments believing you to at least be rational". If you don't apologize for this behavior (which I'm still inclined to consider as the result of a once "post-without-thinking" thing), I will be obliged to report this behavior to an administrator. Wikipedia is not a place to talk like that. I will further say that the way y intend to treat people like that is not a way to make them hear your arguments. Period. Hervegirod (talk) 00:44, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Hahahaha, if you honestly think that makes me sound like I'm not perfectly calm, you'd be in for a shock if I felt "obliged" to responding to your completely uncivil accusations of original research. My comments that what you said were gibberish were entirely substantiated criticisms of conculsions that made no sense, even based upon the facts you were taking out of thin air, as opposed to what I actually said. This comment was a waste of time, and at least my previous one, which was not at all heated (I was qutie mellow, and didn't infact feel anything) made comments about the topic. If you don't have a rational come back to the actual comments I made and an apology for accusing me of bad faith, then I will ask politely that you move along. Also, I find it absurd that you would warn me that I have anything but perfectly reasonable behaviour, especially considering the fact that anyone who has tried completely irrational editing with me knows that my rudeness is far more severe, yet here I've no even felt the tone of conversation that would drive me to anger, never mind felt the use for bad language. So now, with a smile on my face yet again, I call your claims absurd, your conclusions gibberish, and the very idea that me, without swear words, is not "cool", silly. It is a sad day, that during an accusation of civility, I am in the right, when I am the first person to admit that I just immediately to excessive attack when even slightly out of mood. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 00:54, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, you edited that at the last minute, clearly because you are the one who needs to cool off, with sudden demands of apologies that I didn't see the first time round. As a man who does not wish to offend someone who completely ignored his comments on the actual article, I will happily address these off topic comments with nothing but contempt for you. I didn't at first insult you, mostly I insulted your comments, until you fictionalised comments from me and attacked me faith. Your quotes both related directly to comments about your messages, so I don't see what position you have there. You claim I post without thinking, yet twice now you have changed substantial points after the event, because you need to calm down and stop posting off topic. I of course did not make any comments about your arguments until after you made blatant lies about my comments and therefore your final point is meaningless. Now for the apology. I am sorry you don't possess the intelligence to read my argument without feeling the need to fictionalise what I say. I am sorry you then still fail to make a rational conclusion, based upon comment which you made up in the first place. I am sorry you want an apology you won't recieve. Most of all though, I am sorry that you're a complete hypocrite, and I hope one day you can see that, and change. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 01:01, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

←I came here after Hervegirod (talk · contribs) posted a comment on my talk page, I'm yet to find out why. This conversation is based around changing one sentence right? That's not worth you two falling out over. I recommend you both take some time out of this topic, try and cool off and stop throwing insults at each other. Hervegirod, if you came to my page looking for me to take some sort of action, I can't since I'm not an administrator, and I'm not in charge of either of you. If you have concerns about Jimmi's civility (which, btw, I can't see anything wrong with, he's discussing just like you), then you should take it to WP:WQA. If you want something more productive for this article, you could request a third opinion from an editor who know something about this topic. Kind regards. —Cyclonenim (talk · contribs · email) 07:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Sort of echoing Cyclonemnim, I came here after seeing Hervegirod's ANI thread. Like so often happens, people who have strong opinions about things can become annoyed when the other party says something a little snippy, and will respond with something slightly more snippy. Et cetera. Soon, you've got an incivility spiral, and the subject matter is lost in a sea of "you made a personal attack" and "no, you made a personal attack". I will comment that Jimmi seems to have reacted rather more aggressively than Heregirod; but it doesn't really matter as long as the spiral stops. Can I suggest that, to get back on track, you both make an extra effort to recognize that a slightly thicker skin can stop such a spiral in its tracks? Cyclonenim has an excellent point as well that you have probably reached the point where you aren't going to convince each other of anything. I suggest finding an applicable Wikiproject and neutrally asking for more eyeballs. --barneca (talk) 22:40, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

While I thank you both for your input, I don't see how continuation of this off topic conversation is much help. I don't get much time to edit Wikipedia, and I prefer to spend it improving content. I'd love for either of you to add something to the actual topic instead, because, even during my last post in that above discussion I was perfectly cool, and infact indifferent to the conversation beyond the minor irritation that we were no longer on topic; the fact that people are now entertaining the idea that the above was an argument is simply annoying. We didn't throw bad words around, and while the editor directly insulted my good faith by accusing my of making things up, despite him having fictionalised the concepts which led to that conclusion, I had no intention to insult him, swear or turn it into an argument, therefore, It'd be nice if other editors didn't encourage the idea that there was anything but civility from me, when I was quite clear about staying on topic, until the other editor tried to turn the situation into a personal argument. Again, thanks for looking into it, even if you didn't read the actual conversation in detail, it'd be nice to hear some input on the topic, I dislike constant off topic petty arguments. Jimmi Hugh (talk) 23:35, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Civility warning

Jimmi, if you want to stay on topic, then please try using a more civil tone in your edit summaries and Talk Page comments. Stop making a distinction between insulting someone and insulting someone's opinions. Both are still insults and thus violations of WP:CIVIL. Hervegirod may have a thinner skin than some other Wikipedians but there are many, many Wikipedians and the goal is to avoid insulting any of the ones you run across according to their standards of insult, not yours. You may deem this to be unreasonable but there it is. In my preparation to my Request for Adminship, I asked for comments via an Editor Review and one of the comments was that I was "borderline incivil". I can tell you that my "borderline incivility" was a lot less uncivil than your comments to Hervegirod but it had the same flavor of snippy, snarky snideness using words like "silly" and "nonsense" to characterize the opinions of other editors. I learned to tone it down.

Try being more collegial and collaborative. It will help you spend more time on topic rather than in these long discussions about the tone of your comments. (P.S. Your uncivil language above is just this side of blockable. If this is a regular habit of yours, I'd be inclined to block you which is an admin action that I rarely use.)

Hervegirod, I commend you for not edit-warring. However, I would suggest that you get a thicker skin. You have wasted a lot of time feeling offended by Jimmi. If you can't engage him in a civil discussion, then I suggest you disengage and spend your time and energies elsewhere on Wikipedia. It's just not worth the time and emotional energy to fight over whether or not he is uncivil. If he can't see your point, then move on.

--Richard (talk) 17:54, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations, you managed to not only enter and continue conversation that clearly wasn't going to continue, but you were completely ignorant of the facts. I didn't once claim to insult the editor's opinions, as that would indeed be an insult to him. What I did was quite civilly criticise reasoning which didn't make rational sense. Had he come to conclusions I didn't agree with, based upon facts that weren't made up, then I would have not made such valid criticisms. My tone was of course in a "civil tone", words like absurd when applied to absurd comments are completely neutral of any tone, and the word silly was undoubtedly cheerful in light of the comment it responded to. I maintain the fact that I was completely reasoned and without emotion or tone throughout the discussion, and apart from my final comment, which I happily admit was insult, nothing else I said was in any way an attack upon him. If you had bothered to read the discussion, you would also know that I was collaberative all the way through the discussion. Not only did I provide sources, ignore insult and attack and explain all the faults in the reasoning, but I also stayed on topic and made sure that Hervegirod was well aware for my distaste of moving away from the actual discussion. I am of course glad someone as lazy as yourself is not an admin, I'd hate to have to waste more time making sure you lost those powers after blocking someone who is certainly not in a position to be blocked. If you wish to be an admin, may I advise three basic attributes that will be helpful. Firstly, reading through a discussion before commenting, is very useful to make sure you are actually aware of what you are talking about. Secondly, being aware of policy. Hervegirod made a number of violations of our civility policy, that you didn't notice, and which were far in excess of my insult to his intelligence (the only insult I actually made during the entire discussion). Thirdly, don't assume the person doing the complaining is in the right. Simply because the editor complains he is being attacked, does not make it true, as is clear in this case, where my attack came long after his threats, insults and rudeness. Thankyou for your input, though unneeded, unwanted, and far too after the event to be of any use. Could I also ask, just because it is the sole thing in your message that annoyed me, that you read up on the comment I used "silly" in response to. That was not an opinion, it was not reasoning, it was not the users character. Your claim that I was snide is absurd in light of the fact his comments deserved far greater response. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 03:22, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, I hope the situation is getting better now and that you and Hervegirod have learnt from this experience. However, offenses such as am sorry you don't possess the intelligence to read my argument or I am sorry that you're a complete hypocrite should not be used again... Comment on the contributions, not the contributor. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 05:04, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Not only used by the FSF

Did you guys even Google the term for "proprietary software"?

The first hit right now is this page.

The second HIT is the FSF.

The next one is from CNET in defense of proprietary software (and using it as an antonym of "open source").

After that, MIT, again using it as an antonym of "open source".

Another defense of proprietary software, this time from ZDNet.

Several more hits using it as an antonym of "open source".

I think you FSF-hating people need to find another tree to bark up or else convince us that the FSF has exerted such dominant mind control that MIT, CNet and and ZDNet have all been brainwashed into using a term that never meant what the FSF thinks it means, and that everyone who uses the term "proprietary software" believes it to be unethical and evil. Swap (talk) 06:41, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Usage of the term doesn't change the facts on the matter... no one claims it doesn't have a high usage, and infact that fact has been discussed numerous times in above discussion. Adoption of a term doesn't change it's meaning, and the FSF, who promote the terms definition specifically claim it to be negative. I agree, CNET use the term as an antonym on that one page, just as they use closed source in another, it's still used negatively by critics, and is meant that way. Then you attack editors who made these, rational, sourced, and discussed claims, by accusing them of being FSF haters, and to that I tell you to get lost if you're going to make unsubstantiated, false accusations in the very first post. I don't know what the rest the things you were saying were saying were meant to mean, but I assure you they have no bearing on the article, and the article doesn't need MIT, CNET or ZDNet to be brainwashed, it still makes perfect sense. If you'd like to source some claims and not attack peoples good-faith, please do. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 07:47, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
It's spelled pejorative... not prejorative... and I know that arguments in Wikipedia are won by whoever has the most stamina to keep on braying at opponents, and reverting changes or making new ones that are slightly different, not by the person who is right. I don't have the stamina to keep arguing over this page, and since your hate-on for the FSF and its ideals is obvious, and you're gonna keep on saying that the term is "prejorative" no matter how I showed you the first few Google hits where people are *praising* proprietary software and saying how necessary it is for our economy, then there's no point in continuing talking to you. You've been working quite hard to turn this page into an attack of the FSF, and I imagine you probably have had a personal run-in with RMS. Have fun reverting this page and braying over what you think the term means, not by what the first few Google hits show that it means.
Btw, your copypasta edits at closed source software have references that don't lead anywhere and don't back up the claim that the term is "prejorative". Swap (talk) 15:39, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Haha, I hadn't noticed the spelling, being that I wasn't the one that added it, I simply reverted the removal of a fact. I'm not sure what the rest of this trash you've written is meant to be, but I got a good giggle out of it while working on my GPL'd hobby Operating System project... No one ever claimed that proprietary software wasn't necessary to our economy, infact I'd say that the FSF were against that position. It is the term alone that is considered negative, and the concept of closed source software is of course not a bad thing, and not a single person has claimed that. It quite clearly does state in Wikipedia policy, that verifiability is more important than what is "right", so if you have sources that actually disagree with the FSF whose page describing proprietary software as a bad thing is quite definitive in it's use of the term negatively, then please do share them. Again, thanks for accusing me of being an FSF hater, at least people will known not to take any of your comments seriously when you make completely unfounded accusations, that aren't true, against other editors, because of your own bias. The first few Google hits do not disagree with this article in the slightest, perhaps you should learn to read, there is a quite clear use of the word "term", not "concept", any page praising "proprietary software" as a concept does not address the applied meaning of the term, which is supposed to be negative.
Btw, they all lead somewhere, there is simply no reference list, something I am inclined to keep as it is until the more prominent facts in the article are sourced. They also all back up the term pejorative, or I would not have added them as references to the term, perhaps you should go and read the sources instead of making things up. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 15:53, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


I think history of Proprietary software is an interesting matter. See for example the beginning of this source: When IBM and others sold the first large-scale commercial computers, in the 1960s, they came with some software which was free (libre), in the sense that it could be freely shared among users, it came with source code, and it could be improved and modified. In the late 1960s, the situation changed after the unbundling of IBM software, and in mid-1970s it was usual to find proprietary software, in the sense that users were not allowed to redistribute it, that source code was not available, and that users could not modify the programs.. Except that I think that the term "free" used there does not really relate to the term "free" used for free software nowadays (which is an invention of the FSF). Hervegirod (talk) 16:11, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Working out POV issues

Can someone review this edit? [7] It's taking the FSF's POV without attributing it properly ('foo contradicts the essential freedoms' rather than 'the FSF says that foo contradicts essential freedoms' or 'foo is incompatible with what the FSF considers essential freedoms'), but rather than revert or turn it into a schizoid paragraph ('The FSF says foo is bad. But Microsoft says foo is good.') I'd prefer to hash something out here.

Certainly it can be objectively stated that software with proprietary rights (by definition) restricts freedoms. But declaring which rights are contradictory to freedoms, or declaring which freedoms are essential, would appear to require a citation and attribution. Further, there are broad-brush problems here: there are many varieties of (ostensibly) free/open licenses under a variety of definitions, and a similar variety in proprietary software (non-free Microsoft licenses, source code-viewable but otherwise closed software, software encumbered by software patents [even if otherwise open], etc.). Sweeping assertions are difficult because different groups draw the line in different places. Some sources consider non-copylefted material as only partially free (even if in the public domain), while others consider the stronger/more restrictive copylefts to be less than free!

I think some serious revisions need to happen with this article, especially in the opening.

CRGreathouse (t | c) 05:59, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Standards based meaning

For 30 years proprietary software has meant the software conformed to widely adopted standards in its interfaces, the same sense was used in regard to hardware. When Novel supported IPX network protocol while the market was widely adopting Ethernet, IPX came to be described as a "proprietary" protocol. The same can be said for hardware interfaces for peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. There were interfaces that were specific to a particular company and standards based interfaces like SCSI.

This sense of the word proprietary applies to both commercial software and free software. There is a lot of open source software under GPL that would be described as proprietary because it does not support standards. This senses of proprietary then has nothing whatever to do with whether the publisher is a commercial entity (proprietorship) or not, but describes whether the software conforms to widely adopted standards or not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Michaelalang (talkcontribs) 20:41, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Where did you read that "For 30 years proprietary software has meant the software conformed to widely adopted standards in its interfaces"?
The naming of IPX as "proprietary" could indicate many things. I don't know that case at all, but with the information you give, it seems reasonable that Ethernet became the widely documented widely used thing that was kind of shared, while IPX became a Novell-only thing with the technology and knowledge being limited to inside Novell. In that case, that (rather unrelated) example confirms that "proprietary" has long had a sense of being the exclusive domain of someone, like the workings of proprietary software are. Gronky (talk) 14:17, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
For 30 years proprietary software has meant the software conformed to widely adopted standards in its interfaces ...
I think you meant to say, the software did not conform, correct? This would seem to be the implication of the IPX example and the GPL discussion. A software example would be Visual J++, which was considered proprietary because it did not conform to Java standards. Likewise, ActiveX is proprietary because it does not conform to Internet standards.
I have certainly encountered this usage, and agree that it is different from the sense (or senses) described in this article. However, proprietary (i.e. privately owned) is by far the more common usage in my experience. Perhaps this meaning should be the seed of a separate article. (Interestingly, this sense is not listed in either The Free Dictionary or Wiktionary.) –Uïfareth Cúthalion (talk) 18:02, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Privative software

I would like to change the term "proprietary" to "privative", which is more apropriate since this kind of software privates users from their freedoms... IsmaelLuceno (talk) 03:17, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

That's POV-pushing and not allowed on WP. RossPatterson (talk) 04:14, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
Very good idea. I share your opinion though I prefer "depriver" (see [8] and [9]). But I don't think it is the right place for submiting your request: we should ask the FSF to make that change! The word "proprietary" would return to its original meaning (owned by somebody, like even most of the free softwares). The only issue with such a solution is that "privative" or "depriver" is far more pejorative than "proprietary" --Amine Brikci N (talk) 00:10, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Very bad idea. If something is good, bad, ugly, nasty, great, or awesome, a clear and non-biased article about it will simply inform readers. Then the readers, armed with sufficient information, can make their own decisions. If you want to bring people to your side of any issue, use another method (blogging, holding up signs, etc.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

I'm not trying to push my POV, but to resolve the ambiguity of using the term "proprietary". It was proposed by Federico Heinz from Fundación Vía Libre, IIRC. Being pejorative or not, it's an unambiguous alternative. --IsmaelLuceno (talk) 21:47, 12 September 2010 (UTC)


In the second line the article mentions the right "to share, alter, dissemble, and use the software and its code". I'm sure the author means "disassemble". To "dissemble" is to pretend. It's a common mistake.

Tarek —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:32, 19 July 2009 (UTC)


I'm not convinced that this article is neutral. In my opinion, it puts an undue weight onto "free software" proponents (referring to them several times, including Stallman and the FSF, as well as citing many sources which are likely to be biased), and this article paints an overwhelmingly negative picture of "proprietary software". Whatsmore, the article in its current state makes "proprietary software" seem unusual or uncommon compared to "free software", which could mislead the reader. - (talk) 23:40, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Who is The Reader? If browser OS statistics are an indicator they are overwhelming on platforms where proprietary software is the norm, i.e. on Mac or Windows. While the source state of software is of interest to a relatively tiny portion of the general public, The Reader can be presumed to assume just the opposite, from their perspective, essentially all software is proprietary, if nothing else to those who know what to do with them if sources were provided. (talk) 01:55, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Pushing a point of view doesn't suddenly become neutrality because many people are, allegedly, on the other side. Give readers the facts in wikipedia and allow them to form their own opinions. Push your own opinions in your own forum. This article defines Proprietary software negatively (what it isn't). Instead, tell the readers what it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

This article is a joke

Once again, mass bias, a refusal to discuss contentious issues - like the definition - before editing, and a childish need to advocate the FSF have left Wikipedia without a page on "closed source software". I don't care if that exact terminology is used, but the concept is central to all forms of free and open software and is often their only comminality. I agreed to leave editing be, and allow the closed source software article to be destroyed, for the sole reason that the definition of this article was unbiased at the time. However, now as well as a completely biased title, this article is again a soap box for "Free Software", and Wikipedia has no artile on the concept of closed source software. This kind of biased FSF opinion can be moved to the Free Software article. If the definition isn't cleaned up, or the closed source article brought back, I'll have to mass revert this article back to one that at least wasn't completely biased. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 10:24, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

A lot of people edited this article, making it what it is now. You should try to obtain consensus rather than mass reverting to a form you prefer. Hervegirod (talk) 22:15, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
Has absolutely nothing todo with preference. My preference is for this article to be about "Proprietary software", the term used by the FSF and supporters, and for there to be another article on closed source, or generally non-Free software. I will revert based upon the fact that consensus has been thrown out of the window, as I made clear in my first post. Not a single reference has been made to support the new definition (over previous ones), and no attempt has been made by editors to inform themselves about previous discussion on these matters. All that happens is that after consensus is reached and editors move on to other articles, this biased advocacy slowly creeps back in. This is third time in my own short history here that it has done so, and each time both sides agree that there is bias. Why don't you try reading past discussions as I have? Instead of insinuating that hard work has gone into this. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 14:45, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not insinuating anything. Just that a lot of people seem to currently edit this article. Independently of if you are right or not, doing a mass revert without further discussion will certainly fire an edit war. Hervegirod (talk) 22:36, 2 March 2010 (UTC)


I find this whole discussion fascinating, and puzzling. I've worked with software for decades, with responsibilities that include comparative evaluations of available software packages. We look at both proprietary and open-source tools -- and that is the distinction we most commonly use, although we also sometimes distinguish commercial vs. free. It would never have occurred to me that the term proprietary might be considered derogatory. We simply use it in its most obvious sense, something approximating its dictionary definition, "Owned by a private individual or corporation under a trademark or patent." This also seems to be far and away the most common usage in the field.

I have occasionally come across the term closed-source as a synonym for proprietary. However, it always struck me as odd -- indeed, derogatory -- since it seems to be framed as a negation of open-source.

At any rate, it appears to me that someone, or several someones, have gone through considerable effort to make the article as neutral as possible. It even includes the disclaimer, "Terminology for forms of software licensing is not fully standardized and can be controversial," and mentions several competing senses in the opening paragraph. I have trouble imagining how it could be any more neutral, and I can't figure out what people are upset about. But that's just me, and I recognize that I'm coming in on the tail end of a years-long debate.

In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to favor open-source software over proprietary alternatives, which could bias my perceptions. –Uïfareth Cúthalion (talk) 17:41, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 10/e includes this definition, a refinement on the above:
Something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker
Compare to our lead sentence:
The term proprietary software is often used to mean computer software which is neither free nor open source (as these terms are variously defined, especially by FOSS advocates such as the Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative).
which gives ownership of the term to its critics and doesn't seem neutral at all. The entire article is structured around "not free, not open source".
Maybe we can reach consensus on a more descriptive, positive definition. --Pnm (talk) 00:17, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Replacement lead

I'd like feedback on this proposed lead:

Proprietary software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of its owner. The purchaser, or licensee, is given the right to use the software under certain circumstances, but restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering.
Complementary terms include public domain software, which is not subject to copyright and can be used for any purpose, and free software, licensed by the owner under more permissive terms. Many proponents of free and open source software including Richard Stallman use proprietary or non-free to describe software that doesn't meet their criteria for free or open source, though specific definitions vary.

--Pnm (talk) 01:34, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Hearing nothing for three days, I'll go boldly. I removed this potentially useful source, not referenced elsewhere in the article:
  • David A. Wheeler (2009-02-03). "Free-Libre / Open Source Software (FLOSS) is Commercial Software". Retrieved 2009-06-03.
--Pnm (talk) 04:30, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Nice work. Indeed, a "negative definition" (what something is not) is indeed more confusing to understand. There was a "positive definition" on this page about a year ago, and it had references as well. Perhaps you could look at it to see if it's worth adding any of it back? --Ashawley (talk) 21:43, 19 July 2010 (UTC)