Subject: Re: Who holds the copyright?
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 04:21:10 -0500

Bruce writes:
> I have a hard time believing it would work legally. It depends on
> your owning _all_ of the modifications to your program to date.

I think that case is relatively common for new programs.  Vendor tells
users that test cases for bugs are more important than patches.
Vendor runs the test cases; reads, discards, and rewrites the patches.
Any patch smaller than 10 lines can be used directly without
threatening total ownership.  You can't use major outside developers,
but you can use all of the review, design ideas, and bug fixes.

> And meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of pissed-off people out
> there with a recent copy of your source code who _want_ your product
> to fail.

Suppose the incremental changes between libre and proprietary versions
were UI-tuning, end-user documentation, and gratuitous incompatibility.
The free community would have to be amazingly PO'ed to compete.

> It simply could not happen without setting _them_ back

Suppose the vendor used the large free community as the basis of a
technical legitimacy claim made to a mainstream productivity app
audience.  The vendor might lose a large percentage of the free
community, but gain a much larger paying customer base.  Meanwhile,
during the whole development period the claim of future libre releases
disincents both libre and proprietary competitors.

> Forget about it, it doesn't make sense.

I think it would work and make money.  It would be fraud, but

A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA