Subject: Open Source shareware?
From: Rich Morin <rdm@cfcl.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 22:48:40 -0700

I am considering releasing some small Perl applications as Open Source
Shareware.  I haven't decided which Open Source License I want to use,
but that isn't what I'm asking about.

Rather, I'd like to know what youall think about the compatibility of
the "Open Source" and "Shareware" memes.  Certainly, the Open Source
approach limits my ability to create "nuisanceware"; if my banner ads
(or whatever) get too annoying, the user can simply disable them!  A
similar argument applies against most forms of "crippleware".  In short,
the mechanisms that many shareware authors use to cajole or harass the
user into subscribing may not be particularly applicable.

This leaves me with (a) linking certain forms of support to subscription
and (b) relying on the "honor" system.  The former may be applicable to
some software, depending on how much support it needs.  I don't have too
much faith in the latter, as applied to the *BSD and Linux communities;
only a few projects (e.g., The GNU Project and the Perl Foundation) have
ever received much in the way of donations and neither has received more
than a tiny fraction of what they deserve (IMHO).

Fortunately, the market I have in mind (Mac OS X users) has a history of
being open to the idea of paying for software.  And, if I don't _force_
them to look at my source code, they probably won't mind that it's
available (:-).

Finally, I'd like to know of any existence proofs of the success or failure
of this approach.

-r
-- 
email: rdm@cfcl.com; phone: +1 650-873-7841
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