What is “mostly open source”?

I read a description of a piece of software and someone used the phrase “mostly open source” which I found interesting… So I asked the following question via Twitter

How do you decipher the phrase “mostly open source”?

cruiskeencruiskeen @raster related to “a little bi pregnant”

cjibocjibo @raster 50.1% meaning the rest is crap code

gregtarnoffgregtarnoff @raster They started using open source code, until they got to a point where using it meant they couldn’t make money off it.

genehackgenehack @raster I read that as “we have no idea what we’re saying but think this advances our agenda”

mattressmattress @raster You can alter the parts that are superficial

tomhenrichtomhenrich Partly super-uber-top-triple-secret. RT @raster: how do you decipher the phrase “mostly open source”?

I know I’ve spent time in the past arguing what constitutes “open source” and I probably won’t do that here again. At least not right now. I mean, I figure if you make your code available under an open source license, then it’s open source. There’s a whole series of follow-up questions such as: Are you a good steward of the code? Do you manage the community? Do you accept code from others and roll it back into the project? Those could all be considered parts of being a good “open source citizen” but really, the code, available under an open source license, is what probably makes something open source.

(In other news, the tweet quotes included with this post are something I’m working on to make it easier to reference tweets back on my own blog. I’ve wanted a tool similar to this for years now and haven’t seen one that does what I want. I’m sick of just using screen shots and typing things into the alt tag. There’s got to be a better way, or I’ll try to make one.)