Subject: licensing adn open source business models
From: David <dirvine@david-irvine.com>
Date: 18 Jan 2002 11:28:02 +0000
18 Jan 2002 11:28:02 +0000
Please find below a copy of an email I sent to the license-discuss
mailing list and received some very good replies.
Ideas received are free for non commercial use (including education etc.
) and also the delayed public license model. I would like to hear
opinions from this list on my issues if possible.
Thanks in advance

                                                             
Hi,
Sorry for the email I am looking for some advice on licensing, I am not
looking for legal advice simply some helpfull tips that I will not hold
anyone to.

I have a company with a software product that runs on a linux distro
(based on an RPM distro). Thsi product is a small business server with
simple web admin and apps included (email , schedule, doc management,
crm etc.).
 
I have spent a lot of my own money and some more (over $300,000) in
development etc. now we have no cash to launch the product. I have
always looked at open source and really wish to be involved in that area
(especially as we use it). I have approached a Linux magazine in the UK
and they will put the cd out on their magazine and help launch an open
source version - thats great.

My issues
1: I do not want to be a services only company, in fact I want to sub
contract most services (maybe even zope type model).
2: I do want to be able to sell the system for a profit.
3: I do want to make source avaliable to let developers and interested
parties get involved in the system.
4: I would like to employ only developers who actually contribute to the
project and pay them for development.
5: I would like many to get the system free (education etc.)
6: I would like to ensure nobody can steal the product or at least delay
thsi until we are a substanical company (if we are not good then
somebody should fork but I would prefer a fighting chance).

I have seen a lot of pseudo open source stuff about even GPL'd and do
not want to do that (I am talking about companies that elease stuff that
would be almost impossible to develop with, little documentation and
hard to find recent source). I have also seen companies blindly going
GPL and trying to become service based and failing (I feel developers do
not automatically become good service providers).

I would like to seek a way of giving away open source perhaps in a
restricted manner to begin with and then gpl or similar when we have
some steam. I am not interested in the make no profits type argument as
I do want to make a living and pay others to do the same. 

I hope that open source like this can allow developers to easily market
products (by mostly giving away the code or charging a pitance for it).
This negates the big business getting involved and basically stealing
the company or forcing a model that is not compatible with the original
developers (through funding for blood).

If anyone has any suggestions I would be delighted to discuss.

David



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