Subject: Re: request feedback on a new licence profile
From: Ernest Prabhakar <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 07:06:50 -0800

Hi Darren,

On Jan 12, 2005, at 1:28 AM, Darren Duncan wrote:
> I will be releasing some new software within a few months that I 
> developed
> from scratch and hold the sole copyright on.  I want it to be licensed
> under terms that are as close to 'freedom software' as possible but 
> also
> allow me to have a good personal return on my work.  As near as I can
> tell, none of the major FOSS licenses match my needs as is, and so I 
> plan
> to write a new license.  Below I will give a profile of what I want the
> license to say, and what the context is that it would be used in.  I
> appreciate any feedback that I can get from you on this matter.  I also
> have some specific questions at the end.  Sorry if its too verbose.

While your goals may be admirable, as Ian noted they sound incompatible 
with open source, and thus not entirely appropriate for this list.  
Does anyone know a better list for questions like this?

That said, I'll try to give you what answer I can:

What you are proposing sounds similar to what is sometimes called 
"customer source" -- customers get source code, but they're not allowed 
to share it with anyone else.  As long as you are careful to not 
confuse it as being "open source", then I don't think there's anything 
else germane for the list.

The rest of your questions appear entirely dependent on your business 
model and your customers. If you have a small community of users who 
love you and your product, they'll probably respect your terms.  When 
it gets large enough that you can't maintain that, people will start 
cheating.  That's just the way it goes.  The best you can do is to 
create a relationship with users that demotivates non-compliance.

If you want to make it more of a legacy, you could add a term to your 
license saying something like "After 2010, this version of the source 
code will automatically become covered by the following terms:", then 
cite the BSD license or some such.  Its up to you to decide how long of 
a timeframe makes sense, and to update the license appropriately for 
each new version.

Hope this helps,
- Ernie P.