Subject: Re: why is taking open-source code closed expensive?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 07 Jul 2007 09:31:42 -0700

Joseph Hick <leet16y@yahoo.com> writes:

> from
> http://www.catb.org/~esr/Licensing-HOWTO.html#id2790430
> 
> "What keeps most projects open-source isn't the threat
> of lawsuit, it's that taking open-source code closed
> is an expensive way to lose lots of money as your
> handful of salaried in-house developers tries to keep
> up with a much larger pool of open-source
> contributors."
> 
> i didn't understand why taking open-source code and
> keeping it closed is expensive?

The argument is that you will be shrinking the developer pool, and
will no longer be taking advantage of development which you don't have
to pay for.

The reality is quite a bit more complex than that.  Sometimes it will
make sense to make a private fork, sometimes it won't.  It depends on
the extent to which outside development is focused on the issues you
care about, and on whether you can continue to take advantage of
outside development, and on how many outside developers there are, and
on who is working for you, and on how you plan to release the
software.

> "Are copyleft licenses enforceable? We believe they
> are, but there hasn't been a court test yet. There are
> some promising precedents in case law pertaining to
> shrink-wrap licenses"
> 
> if we are not sure that licenses like GPL v3 are
> enforceable under law then how do so many programmers
> take the risk of releasing their project under GPL
> v3.? :-O

What's the risk?  What's the worst that could happen?  What should
they do instead?

Ian