Subject: Re: problems with open source
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: 22 Mar 1999 20:29:19 -0000

[ CC'ed to the Open Source board, because after all, they *do* manage
the Open Source trademark.  -russ ]

bruce@perens.com writes:
 > I think you should consider that not all software needs to be Open Source.
 > Make some proprietary software to provide your livelyhood. Open up what you
 > can. I am afraid that the more restrictive licenses may actually do more
 > damage to our community than straight proprietary software, because half-free
 > software acts to discourage people from making an entirely free solution, and
 > leads the free software community down the slippery slope of accepting
 > progressively more restrictive licenses.

Well, that's why Open Source(tm) is a trademark.

The more I do this stuff, and the more I think about it, the more I
realize that Open Source licenses are not antithetical to business
interests -- they are tangential to business interests.  A common
thread among the multiple Open Source licenses is a lack of interest
in protecting revenue streams, and a concentration in protecting
reputation.

Different Open Source licenses impose different restrictions on
modifications.  You might have to advertise the original author
(BSD). You might have to change the name of the executables
(Artistic).  You might have to distribute the changes as patches
(QPL).  You might have to inform the original author that you are
distributing modifications (APSL).  You might have to run a regression
test which blesses the changes (???).  But a license cannot restrict
the distribution of changes.

The purpose of any Open Source license is to protect reputation.  A
business only cares about reputation if it helps sell product or
services.  If you have nothing proprietary to sell with that
reputation, then you're trying to sell air.  If you can sell your
services for enough, then do it.  Otherwise, I think you should
consider that not all software needs to be Open Source.  Perhaps
proprietary software would do a better job of funding your Open Source 
development?

-- 
-russ nelson <rn-sig@crynwr.com>  http://crynwr.com/~nelson
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