Subject: Re: Can open source cost money?
From: shap@eros.cis.upenn.edu
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 08:25:35 -0400

> For people that support my previously posted goals, I'd like to
> suggest a two-phase license.  We could implement my goals in a
> one-phase license, but it would require financially secure run-time
> usage monitoring -- bleah.  The two phases would work as follows:
> Phase one recoups development cost and collects profit.  Phase two
> keeps the donated code libre.  The second phase is GPL, as this has
> proven to work.


This isn't quite right, on either count.

First, it doesn't need to be perfectly secure.  A reasonably secure
mechanism will still exhibit lower theft than over the counter
products, which is a reasonable goal.

Second, it is sufficient to know when to stop charging.  If, after a
certain point, the charge mechanism simply stops billing you have
achieved the free property you wanted.  The source code can be kept in
escrow until this occurs and released on this condition -- all of this
can be automated.

There is one problem with your proposal: it shifts the burden of costs
to the early users who take risks.


shap