"OpenBSD is free as in air," Theo de Raadt [interview] stated in a recent thread on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list. The discussion began with a note that the Open Sound System [story] had recently been "open sourced" under the GPLv2 and CDDL leading Theo to comment, "noone cares about being Open and Free anymore. They just care about being called Open and Free, and how convenient -- a bunch of laywers generated an organization that will label them Open and Free when they are not in fact so."
Later in the discussion it was asked why the OpenBSD project used the BSD license rather than simply releasing the code into the Public Domain. Theo explained, "we wish to retain the legal right to be known as the author, and not have our names taken off the files. With public domain, that stuff at the top of the file is taken away first, before anything else is done," noting that this is explained in the license at the top of each file, "just that bit; nothing else."
During the 2.5 development cycle, ALSA, the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture was merged into the Linux kernel. At that time, support for OSS, the Open Sound System was marked as deprecated. A recent thread on the lkml discussed the future of OSS, questioning if it is worth fixing issues with now deprecated OSS drivers.
On one side of the debate, some feel that it doesn't make sense to throw away a functional subsystem with willing maintainers, especially when there are some soundcards that are currently only supported by OSS. On the other side, some feel it doesn't make sense to support two code bases that accomplish the same thing, suggesting all effort currently invested in fixing OSS drivers should be refocused to writing and fixing ALSA drivers. Some of the advantages that ALSA has over OSS are listed here.
Those still using OSS will be happy to know that the Open Sound System will all but certainly always be part of the 2.6 stable kernel. As for the future, it is quite likely that OSS will be removed during the 2.7 development phase, and that ALSA will be the one remaining sound subsystem. Much of the thread follows, offering interesting arguments for both side of this debate.