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The adjective proprietary means in property located . It is used for software and hardware based on manufacturer-specific, unpublished standards in order to distinguish them from free software and free hardware .

The noun proprietary means owner ( the proprietary = the owner ). It is used with this meaning in law.

Both words were from the Latin noun proprietarius derived, the property Mr. means.

Different meanings

  1. In the legal sense, the term is synonymous with " copyrighted ". It is not a legal term because, according to European legal tradition, it is not possible to completely give up copyrights (“The bond between the author and his work cannot be completely cut”, so-called monism ). In legal terms, proprietary means the author's comprehensive reservation of all or almost all intellectual property rights to which he is entitled.
  2. In contrast to this, the free software movement uses the term for things that are not "free". On the one hand, this means software ( proprietary software or closed source ), on the other hand, file formats, protocols , etc. Freedom in the sense of free software legally means the offer of the author to the general public to be able to use all copyrights to which he is entitled.
    1. Proprietary software is any software that is not free and open source software . However, this definition has little to do with copyright protection (see 1.): a program protected by copyright that was published under the GPL software license is "free". In contrast, a program protected by copyright that is under a non-“free” license - even if the source code is disclosed - is considered proprietary. Well-known examples of proprietary software include Microsoft Windows , Adobe Photoshop , AutoCAD, and Adobe Flash, and most video games from commercial providers. Under Linux, the term is particularly often found in connection with drivers that are not open, but have been made available by the manufacturer and whose code cannot be viewed (and therefore cannot be maintained by the Linux community ). An example of this is AMD Catalyst for Linux, also called 'fglrx'. See also closed source .
    2. Protocols, file formats and the like are referred to as "proprietary" if they cannot be implemented by third parties or can only be implemented with difficulty and can therefore not be opened or read because they are e.g. B. are limited by licensing law, manufacturer-specific know-how or patents. Examples of proprietary file formats are the MS Word format , the WMA format or the Lotus Smartsuite file formats . Examples of non-proprietary, open formats are the OpenDocument formats, Ogg Vorbis , the Portable Network Graphics format and the HTML format.
  3. Traditionally, the IT such range file formats , protocols, etc. but also hardware designated as proprietary that do not meet generally accepted standards, that is their own developments. Examples of this are the Cisco VoIP telephones with Skinny protocol and the Skype software . Proprietary formats are used on the one hand to simplify and thus reduce the implementation effort, if standards would be too expensive. Often, however, they are also used to delimit standards and thus as an additional source of income from license fees, e.g. B. with manufacturers of memory and with some software manufacturers.

Differences between definitions 2.2 and 3

The difference between the definitions 2.2 and 3 lies primarily on the one hand in the concept of freedom in the sense of free software and on the other in the concept of recognized standards in the sense of official standardization bodies. So is z. B. the audio data compression format AAC according to 2.2 is a proprietary format, since it is burdened by actively asserted software patents and is therefore no longer freely implementable. However, after 3, it is not proprietary as it is an ISO standard. The patent-free counterpart Ogg Vorbis, on the other hand, is a free format according to 2.2, but has not yet been adopted by any major standardization organization, and is therefore proprietary according to 3.

Often in-house developments are also undocumented or subject to patents and are therefore proprietary according to both definitions, according to the WMA format.

Individual evidence

  1. Jens O. Orlik: Concept of a medium-sized controlling solution based on open source software , ISBN 978-3-8366-9058-4 , Hamburg 2010, p. 16, online
  2. ^ Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, Volume 16. Leipzig 1908, p. 385, online

Web links

Wiktionary: proprietary  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations