[LAU] Dishonest marketing and the term "Open Source"

Rob lau at kudla.org
Sat Oct 18 16:01:14 UTC 2014

On 10/18/2014 11:31 AM, Joe Hartley wrote:
>> Keith McMillen has marketed their QuNeo controller as "Open Source" on
>> Kickstarter and other places (google "quneo open source"), while 
>> actually it is not "open source" for any reasonable definition of the
>>  term.
> It's right up there with the Anonabox project, [...] This just in - 
> Kickstarter's killed that project [...] So there's hope that the light 
> of day will cause Mr McMillen to be (ahem) open about his project as 
> well.

Unfortunately, now that McMillen has been funded, there's really no
recourse other than suing him. The only angle left that I can think of is
that Open Source is a trademark... but an unsatisfied funder/purchaser
would have to convince OSI to send him a cease and desist letter, and the
most that seems likely to come of that would be that he'd take the word
"source" out, since "open" means nothing (remember "Office Open XML", whose
spec actually referred to unpublished Office 95 code for the proper
implementation of some of its features but was nonetheless accepted by some
rubber-stamp organization as a "standard"?)

It looks like McMillen may have already changed "Open Source" to "open
architecture" in his marketing, so the only recourse FOSS supporters have
is to take to the review sections on store sites... and at least on Amazon,
he never even uses the word "open" as a description.

Just another Kickstarter bait and switch, I'm afraid. I won't back another
non-game project without either some kind of binding promise to provide the
source, or an actual constantly-updated github repo with an active
community and respected contributors during the campaign itself. That's if
I ever back another Kickstarter project at all -- while 100% of my
Pledgemusic pledges have resulted in great albums, only 50% of the
Kickstarters I've backed have ever come to anything. Clearly, Kickstarter
is aware of people's growing skepticism as they jump on apparent fakes like
Anonabox much more quickly these days, but the abusers may have already
ruined what could have been a world-changing phenomenon.


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