Subject: Re: Can open source cost money?
From: Brian Bartholomew <bb@wv.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 15:08:13 -0400

> I want to monitor once, at purchase time.  After an ordinary purchase
> transaction (which could be electronic to lower costs, but that's a
> side issue), the user gets binaries, source, an authentication cookie,
> and license to run and privately maintain one copy of the software.

| You mean, "the user gets binaries, source [modified to exclude the
| source to the authentication module, and the calls to it ]"

I wrote poorly.  I shouldn't have used "monitor", I should have used
"count", which doesn't sound so automated.  There is no license
daemon.  There is no authentication module in the source or binaries.
The authentication cookie is for the human user to validate that
another human user has bought into the plan, and is a valid recipient
of source and binaries.  The user gets source to an application by
purchasing it from me.  Once they have the CD in their hand (or have
downloaded the tarfile using the key provided by the commerce server),
they can disappear to their private island and never have to talk to
the net again.  I don't mind if someone buys the software as a front
for another to preserve the second's anonymity, as long as it won't
inspire a lot of cheating on the license.

| which isn't libre software.

None of the schemes I'm discussing are libre in the near term.  They
are only eventually libre.  "Eventually" might be one year, or two.
If you can propose a scheme that pays back a development investment
but is libre immediately, I'd *love* to hear it.

| Almost instantly, you have a netscape browser "source" distribution,
| with which you can build a version of the browser which isn't as
| rich as the binary.

s/rich/crippled/  Right.  Since the first thing everyone wants to do is
remove the big brother leash, why put it in in the first place?

> The user is required to redistribute mods to the core developer
> company.

| If, and only if, they distribute them to anyone else, right?

No, I don't impose the mass redistribution cost on the user.

| If I am restricted by the license to give source away to whomever I
| give binaries away to

During phase one, while it is proprietary, the user can only give
source and binaries away to other users who have bought into the core
developer funding plan.  During phase two, when it goes GPL, they can
do anything the GPL permits.

> (I love that expression, since many of my programs specifically
> produce core files as output)

Intentionally? :-)


League for Programming Freedom (LPF) ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/lpf/patents.text
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Brian Bartholomew - bb@wv.com - www.wv.com - Working Version, Cambridge, MA