Re: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)

Subject: Re: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- oracle -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 14:11:47 +1000

On 11/06/10 01:24 PM, Edgar D' Souza wrote:
> "there is an increasing demand for open source professionals"
> I feel I have gotten bogged down in the semantics of the expression,
> and am sidelining grammar. I consider the general definition of "open
> source" (copyrighted works - code, data, artwork, content - that are
> licensed under an accepted open source license) and how the two words
> relate to the following noun. "Open-source operating systems" seems
> obvious: a particular subset of operating systems that are, indeed,
> "operating systems licensed under an accepted open source license." I
> follow the same thought process for "software"/"technology"/"scripting
> languages."
> It's when I get to other nouns, like the last 3 cases, that my
> semantic check breaks down and I'm left wondering whether to hyphenate
> or not. Clearly, (IT) professionals are not themselves licensed under
> an accepted open-source license... :-( and yet, this seems to be a
> compound adjective followed by a noun...

We hyphenate "open source" when used as a modifier.
I think all of your examples should be hyphenated.

I suspect the last one is causing the most hesitation
because the sentence is worded awkwardly regardless of
whether you hyphenate "open source." (It would exhibit
the same problem if it said "There is increasing demand
for relational database professionals.") If you reword
the last sentence as "Demand is increasing for
professionals with experience in administering open-
source environments" or whatever, I think your problem
will disappear :->

-- Janice

Janice Gelb | The only connection Oracle has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- oracle -dot- com | this message is the return address

Gain access to everything you need to create and publish documentation,
manuals, and other information through multiple channels. Choose
authoring (and import) as well as virtually any output you may need.

- Use this space to communicate with TECHWR-L readers -
- Contact admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com for more information -

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:


When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement): From: Edgar D' Souza

Previous by Author: Graphic Design: World Cup Calendar
Next by Author: Re: All good things come to an end....
Previous by Thread: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)
Next by Thread: Re: When is it "open source" and not "open-source"? (Hyphenation puzzlement)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads