Jan 12

Part of what makes Open Source analysis “interesting”

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into… the Open Source Zone. — Not Rod Serling

Consider a file called jquery.autocomplete.js. One might think that perhaps it’s part of the jquery library… but it’s not.

BlackDuck’s Protex reports over 100 projects including this file at a 100% match. Here’s a sampling of the licenses for the first ~100 projects:

  • Apache License 2.0: 11
  • BSD 3-clause:1
  • Eclipse Public License 1.0: 4
  • Erlang Public License v1.1: 1
  • GNU General Public License 1.0: 1
  • GNU General Public License v2.0 or later: 27
  • GNU Lesser General Public License v3.0: 2
  • General Public License v3.0: 1
  • MIT License: 10
  • Microsoft Reciprocal License: 1
  • Mozilla Public License 1.1: 1
  • Unspecified: 26

The adventure lies in deciding which project originated the code and/or which license to use if the original file can’t be located.

As it turns out…. the original version appears to be at http://www.pengoworks.com/workshop/jquery/autocomplete.htm which is not in Protex. Nor is there a license file associated with it (or a license in the documentation). Additionally, the page warns:

WARNING: This is provided for users who absolutely need access to the original code. The code is very outdated and it’s not recommended to use this code in current applications. The code is not compatible with newer versions of jQuery.
Instead, we recommend checking out one of the many fantastic modern autocomplete libraries, like (…)

The question then becomes which license to choose.

The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from. — Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 2nd ed., p. 254

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: