Subject: RE: Successful FSBs
From: "Lawrence E. Rosen" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 09:27:14 -0800

Tim O'Reilly wrote:
> Similarly, putting software out under the GPL just means that 
> a lot of the commercial value will accrue to people who build 
> proprietary IP on top of it.  RMS *thought* he had a way to 
> keep people from building proprietary software on top of his 
> free software, but he didn't see far enough ahead to the 
> paradigm shift to network computing, which would allow a 
> google, say, to build on top of linux, and keep all its 
> higher layers proprietary.  Because google isn't distributed, 
> the GPL never applies.  (And yes, I know Richard is working 
> on this "problem" now -- I believe I was the person who put 
> the bug in his ear about it, when we both spoke in Berlin at 
> the Wizards of OS conference in 1999.  I know he wasn't 
> thinking about it before then because in our back and forth 
> in the Q&A after my talk, he said the issue wasn't important! 
>  See or 
> the more granular links from

I keep trying to get people to recognize that, just as software didn't
stop advancing when Multimate was the word processor of choice, neither
did software licensing stop developing when the GPL was created.  OSI is
offering as an alternative the Open Software License
( that solves the problem that Tim
identified above -- and many other problems as well.  Here's the
relevant provision:

   5) External Deployment. The term "External Deployment"
   means the use or distribution of the Original Work or
   Derivative Works in any way such that the Original Work
   or Derivative Works may be accessed or used by anyone
   other than You, whether the Original Work or Derivative
   Works are distributed to those persons, made available
   as an application intended for use over a computer 
   network, or used to provide services or otherwise 
   deliver content to anyone other than You. As an express
   condition for the grants of license hereunder, You agree
   that any External Deployment by You shall be deemed a
   distribution and shall be licensed to all under the terms
   of this License, as prescribed in section 1(c) herein. 

I couldn't tell from Tim's comments whether he thinks such a "viral"
effect may be good or bad for open source software.  

/Larry Rosen