Subject: Re: EROS license
From: DJ Delorie <dj@delorie.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 21:42:57 -0400


> I'm trying to convince Ian (and presumably others) that they benefit
> from encouraging authors to give up most of their proprietary rights
> in return for the ability to dual-license.

Except that Ian is describing the contributor's point of view, where
giving up rights to the original author doesn't usually benefit the
contributor (except, perhaps, very indirectly).

FSB's are more interested in the original author point of view, since
that's what we tend to be.  As an original author, we have more
options wrt licensing than a contributor will.  There are benefits to
proprietary work when you're the copyright holder, and some FSBs
enhance their bottom line with proprietary or semi-proprietary
products as well as free ones.  The key is to weigh the benefits of
proprietariness with the benefits of open/free software.  As an FSB, I
think we've decided already that the balance tips (for us) to the
open/free side.  Had it tipped the other way, we'd operate like
conventional proprietary companies and wouldn't be having this
discussion.

As a *contributor*, though, the rules are completely different.
Rarely is there a direct economic benefit to contributing code to
someone else's project, so (rationally or not) personal judgements
tend to be a stronger influence.  Ian won't contribute if it gives the
author more rights to his code than Ian's rights to the author's code,
which is hardly an economic decision but I think it's typical (the
basis, not the decision).  Contributors are sensitive to being
exploited (real or perceived) and I think that because of this they're
more likely to take the "moral high ground" when choosing which
projects (and licenses) to contribute to.

The successful projects, of course, are the ones where both the FSB's
economic model is satisfied *and* contributors feel good about
contributing.  Can we match this up with real life experience?