Re: [unrev-II] License Model: Preliminary Suggestion

From: Paul Fernhout (
Date: Sat Apr 22 2000 - 13:39:56 PDT

  • Next message: Jon Winters: "Re: [unrev-II] License Model: Preliminary Suggestion"

    "Open Source" (TM) Licenses cannot discriminate among classes of users.
    The system outlined below would not be considered "open source" or "Open
    See specifically "The Open Source Definition":

    Violating these guidelines would likely lose the participation of open
    source developers.
    I have been participating in this colloquium on the basis of the
    promised "open source" nature of the eventual OHS/DKR. I such a license
    was chosen as is described below, I would not be too happy about that.

    One can make money from open source software if that is one's goal.
    You just can't do it by selling the right to use the source or resultant
    of the core distribution. You can't live in both worlds with a core
    Sun is trying it with Java and failing compared to what Java could have
    If Sun had delivered Java with an open source VM code base on day one,
    there would never have been this hord of over 100 slightly incompatible
    reimplimented JVMs all over the place -- making reliable Java code
    delivery to an arbitrary end user the nightmare it is today. That is why
    Java is considered by many to be dead on the browser for end users, and
    is now being used mainly in servlets. I use this as a cautionary tale --
    pick the wrong license and much effort and good intentions may go for
    nothing and the wheel gets reinvented (badly) anyway.

    Frankly, I don't think making money from selling stuff to support this
    effort should be a *primary* goal. If money is an issue, there are
    foundations and governments with billions of dollars spent annually on
    efforts less worthwhile then what is proposed here.

    It would be better for individuals in my opinion interested in making
    money as part of this effort to either:
    a) be funded by grants individually or through a non-profit like the
    Bootstrap Alliance
    b) be funded by companies as employees (or contractors) and use and
    improve the DKR as part of their job to increase the companies
    efficiency (at the home company or on loan a Bootstrap alliance
    c) provide services as a RedHat/DigitalCreations/VALinux style company
    (installation, training, hosting, security analysis, customization) to
    companies to increase the companies efficiency using DKR technology,
    or (less desirably)
    d) provide proprietary add ons to the core distribution.

    Look at the Zope business model for a good example of the possibilities.

    I think broadly put, the best license choices are:
    * BSD-ish, (non-viral)
    * GPL (viral)
    Given the pro-business stance of the Bootstrap Alliance, I think BSD-ish
    is the way to go (or for the more cautious, something like IBM's public
    license -- but I'd rather BSDish or Python-ish.).
    Here are some other approved "Open Source" licenses I could probably
    live with:
    some of which impose other restrictions, none with the commercial clause
    described below.

    -Paul Fernhout
    Kurtz-Fernhout Software
    Developers of custom software and educational simulations
    Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator

    Eric Armstrong wrote:
    > Goal:
    > If there is a revenue stream, and the software
    > plays a part in producing it, we want some.
    > For everyone else, the software is freely available.
    > Who Gets it for Free
    > --------------------
    > * an individual
    > * a partnership
    > * a non-profit corporation
    > * an educational institution
    > * a government agency
    > * a pre-profit corporation, or a
    > for-profit corporation that is not currently
    > profitable
    > * An individual or group in a corporation that
    > wants to evaluate the software to see if it
    > is useful
    > Who Pays
    > --------
    > * A for-profit corporation that is making a profit,
    > and who is using the software as part of their
    > day-to-day operations

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