Subject: `Software Wants to be Free'
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen)
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 18:54:51 -0500 (EST)

Someone apparently named `Toxic: Analysis' wrote thefollowing, in
http://www.wired.com/news/news/wiredview/story/4753.html:

Developers who build a commercial extension to free products don't
honor the spirit of the free software project. Thousands of developers
have donated their time to create high-quality free software. Without
their efforts, there would be no need for a commercial add-on. Yet,
somehow, the developer of the add-on believes that his time should not
be donated.


I don't think this is accurate.  There are software licenses out there,
notably the Aladdin Free Public License and Berkeley's new software
licensing policy, that permit free redistribution, but not for-profit
sale or bundling.  There are licenses, such as the GNU public license,
that require that all commercial enhancements of the software be released
under the same terms -- anyone can copy them, modify them, and get source
for them.

The Apache developers and the FreeBSD developers have chosen a more
liberal license specifically in order to promote commercial
exploitation of their donated time.  Linux was originally released under a
license that prohibited for-profit sale, but was GPLed after about six months
specifically in order to permit for-profit sale.  Linus Torvalds says
that this was the best thing he ever did.

Kragen