Subject: RE: Apache chairman: Days numbered for commercial software
From: "Larry M. Augustin" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2006 11:58:34 -0800

Greg Stein wrote:
> Michael Bernstein wrote:
> >...
> > I predict that we as an industry and community will reprise the very
> > same GPL vs. BSD-style arguments in this new context, especially when
> > reciprocal obligations that trigger on remote use are attached to code
> > that is only *infrastructural* to code that is actually user-facing.
> > Various (mostly incompatible) LGPL-like compromises will be tried, but
> > few will gain any significant traction.
> Actually, that is exactly opposite from how I believe things are
> heading. We are moving towards *less* reciprocity. Companies who are
> out to make a buck do not like reciprocity. They are going to push for
> non-reciprocal software. Given two packages of similar
> functionality... they'll go for the non-copyleft. But it is more than
> companies... there are also the distributors, packages, systems
> solution folks, and other developers.
> I believe the key trend is around "licensing pressure". A push towards
> less restrictive licenses.

I think it depends on which side of the code you are on.  I actually see
more tendency towards reciprocal licenses coming from commercial vendors
releasing their code.  They tend to prefer more restrictive licenses as it
limits the ability of their competitors to use their own code against them
in a closed way.

I also see better understanding of the implications of a reciprocal license.
For example, an author releasing some code under a non-reciprocal license
because the author wants it to be widely embedded in other software,
including proprietary software.  At the same time, the author releases other
portions of code under a reciprocal license specifically to prevent usage in
proprietary software (perhaps to enable a dual-license model of selling that
portion of the code under another license to vendors that want to avoid the

People are getting much more sophisticated in how they use licensing to
enable their objectives.

Of course the view is reversed when using code; they look for software under
a non-reciprocal license.  So we have an interesting dynamic developing:
when using code, prefer a non-reciprocal license; when releasing code,
prefer a reciprocal license.