Subject: Re: A laymans request for advice
From: Arnoud Engelfriet <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2005 10:28:48 +0100

Tom Mahoney wrote:
> The main reasoning behind our project is that it has the ability to
> become too diluted in its early stages, we need to stick to a rapidly
> evolving standard without the overhead of supporting product(s) based
> on our code (or formats, protocols) that don't "keep up" with our
> changes, etc.

I don't understand why you need to restrict the license for this.
If some people don't want to participate in your project, then how
does it matter if they do nothing or if they are making contributions
you're not going to use? I'd say, let them have their unofficial

Anyway, forbidding derivative works and forbidding people to sell
the software (or use it commercially otherwise) disqualifies it
from being called open source.

> On the other hand, we'd like to open the source rather than use a
> commercial license because we'd like to reach a wider audience of
> advisors and contributors to allow the project to be somewhat
> "democratic" in its development and goals. I'm sure you folks have
> heard close variations of this question many times, but personally
> after much digging I've got more questions than answers.

My main question would be, why would people participate in your
project? They're apparently not allowed to make derivative works,
all contributions become yours, and they can't do anything with
the final product. That seems quite unbalanced. 

An important reason why the open source model works is because everyone
can contribute, and there's no single "owner" of the project. Of
course you can have an "official" version, but you don't "own" that


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: