It seems you are asking about item 8 in the Open Source Definition: “License Must Not Be Specific to a Product”. There are a number of reasons why an open source license should not be product-specific (or perhaps even technology-specific).
Consider what happens if a license is specific to a product. Here is an example based on the ISC license:
Permission to use, copy, modify and/or distribute FooSoft v1.2 for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.
If I modify FooSoft v1.2, is the resulting software still covered by the license? Can I distribute my not-FooSoft version? The license as written only allows me to distribute FooSoft v1.2.
In particular, am I free to remove parts of FooSoft v1.2 that I do not want? Or is FooSoft an all-or-nothing bundle?
Can I take parts of the FooSoft v1.2 code and include it into a completely different software? For example, I might want to reuse FooSoft's implementation of a file format or a protocol. But the license as written only allows me to distribute FooSoft, not necessarily a part of FooSoft, and definitively not MyCompetingSoftware v3.4.
So when a license is product-specific, this could be used to deny other people the possibility to distribute their modifications, in particular the possibility of forking the project. In such a license, the original copyright holder retains total control. That is not in the spirit of open source.
- This would also clash with OSD 9, that the license must allow derived works to be distributed under the same license.
- In cases where a copyright holder wants to protect the integrity of their software, OSD 4 may apply. E.g. the license could disallow direct modifications but may require modifications to be distributed as patches that are applied at build time, or may require the name or version number to be changed upon modification.
Truly open source licenses provide a license for the software, not for a branded product. When we are talking about the software, we can consider each part of the creative work independently.
A license that applies OSD-4 style requirements is the Artistic License. It makes a distinction between the Standard Version of the software as made available by the original author, and modified versions. One way to publish a non-standard version is to distribute it under a different name so that it does not impede use of the Standard Version on the same system. However, the Artistic License is a bit unusual and is widely avoided outside of the Perl ecosystem – the FSF even considers the original Artistic License to be so vague that it is non-free. Instead, open source projects wanting to protect their brand would simply apply for trademark protection of their name, for example consider Mozilla's enforcement of the Firefox trademark.