[unrev-II] OHS/DKR Meta-NIC Fallback Plan (was Re: Request For Comments)

From: Paul Fernhout (pdfernhout@kurtz-fernhout.com)
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 07:40:29 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] OHS/DKR Meta-NIC Fallback Plan"

    John \"sb\" Werneken wrote:
    > ACTION suggestion (if as a non-participant in the coding, I may do so): how
    > about an "RFC UNREV-II-1: Request for Comments, to UNREV-II Group": "That
    > our work carry the Free BSD License, of the type not requiring the
    > acknowledgment". From what I see, ALL posters support either open source per
    > se or open source with the ability for derivative work to be made
    > proprietary. From what I understand, that License is accepted as "open
    > source" and allows derivative work to be made proprietary.
    > If it got support, we would (1) dispose of an issue; (2) establish a frame
    > for decision making; (3) experience the joy of moving forward on something;
    > (4) remove an apparent source of contention and/or of energy diversion.

    This license issue sometime seems like an immovable object. Here is a
    way around it.

    Here's a fall back plan of almost the status-quo if license agreement is
    not reachable.

    Drop the notion of BI/Colloquium developing any open source code --
    since Stanford with its tradition for education for dollars and BI as a
    for-profit company are having trouble making the transition to open
    content and open source -- despite the best intentions. The continuance
    of the one-sided "permission to use" agreement shows this, since
    practically no cautious/experienced developer would release open source
    code under. No point in fighting that. People who want to build
    proprietary stuff to sell on top of an open source base (SRI etc.) can
    make whatever deals they want with BI/Stanford or others.

    Keep using this list as a place for individuals to point out to other
    individuals open source ideas and efforts related to OHS/DKR issues. Use
    it to provide pointers to their own open source code and new releases.
    This has been happening already to an extent, especially with all the
    wonderful pointers to various projects which I have enjoyed immensely.
    Then let those projects be discused here, with code discussions handled
    privately via private emails or lists unrelated to the Colloquium
    (avoiding implicit "permission to use" for any code fragment), and with
    code improvement acceptance handled by individuals under their own

    Individuals who have particiapted in the colloquium would have to make
    it clear that their own coding efforts were not an "extended activity of
    the colloquium" even if they were discussed on the list. Perhaps they
    would also need to start a legal defense fund for when Stanford (or BI)
    starts knocking on doors of anyone who has posted to this list, facing
    lawyers toting around a copy of "permission to use" asking for their
    salary and claiming warranty/indemnification protection for their
    clients use or sublicensing of such individuals code. :-(

    Code to become part of the Colloquium would then have to be explicity
    granted, by an individual signing a document something like: "I agree to
    submit this code under the 'Permission to Use' unlimited indemnification
    license -- something which I would never do.

    This list then becomes a "meta"-NIC for discussing open source efforts
    related to the OHS/DKR concept (which in practice is what it is now,
    just not officially).

    Over time, out of that, there very likely may arise some meaningful new
    or enhanced projects "owned" by their originators and contributors (and
    in no way by BI or Stanford). These might then grow to be something

    If at some time BI or Stanford will then agree to allow some or all of
    the content of the list or videos to become part of any such a project
    under some terms acceptable to both, then so be it.

    This is what will happen anyway unless/until BI or Stanford addresses
    the license issue. It may happen even then, given the social dynamics of
    open source programming. Creative people may have many things to
    contribute that may not yet be in "the spec". Implementing someone
    else's detailed spec is usually (but not always) done for pay not joy.
    The only times it is done for joy are usually when the coder is getting
    a lot out of a mentoring relationship or some other indirect benefit.

    If all this happened (as it is happening now), I would still think
    Stanford & BI would have made a great contribution to an open source
    OHS/DKR by creating this forum -- even if they have not contributed a
    line of code under an open source license or a single email under an
    open content license.

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

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