John F. Sowa wrote:
> I would claim that an ontology could be open in the
> same sense that programs can be open.
> PH> I don't think it makes sense to refer to an ontology
> > as being open (or not).
> Although an ontology is not likely to be compiled to
> executable machine code, it can be converted to internal
> representations that are humanly unreadable. For example,
> some would regard OWL as having that property. But OWL can
> be translated back to more readable notations, if desired.
> However, anyone who wanted to keep the knowledge representation
> proprietary -- including the ontology, axioms, etc. -- could
> certainly do so by compiling them to some proprietary form.
> There could be many reasons for doing such a compilation.
> RDF and OWL, for example, are extremely verbose, and many
> systems compile them to more efficient forms for processing.
> If those internal forms are kept proprietary, the effect
> would be to keep the ontology as "closed" as any program.
There is also the issue of what is to be understood as 'source'. An
ontology in, e.g., OWL can be considered as the result of a compilation
from sources such as experimental evidence or prior expert knowledge.
Now, if you can get (and read) only the OWL encoding of the ontology,
but not the sources used during the compilation, it is obviously not
open source even though the final code is accessible. (01)
Contrarily, if 'source' is to mean the final encoding (e.g., an OWL
file), then all software you can run is open source, since its source (=
the binaries according to this view) is readable, otherwise you would
not be able to run it. So it would not make sense to call any software
'open source' at all. (02)
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