Subject: Re: a different model - "publish or pay"
From: Keith Bostic <bostic@bsdi.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 22:38:19 -0500 (EST)

[Discussing http://www.public-software.org/licensing/]

> From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
>
> In other words, dual-licensing.  The code is GPL'ed, but may be
> licensed for a fee under a different copyright.  This works fine
> unless your product can always be embedded in a proprietary system
> with the GPL preserved.

Russ, I think, has a handle on the problem.  From the above web
page:

    In order to avoid the "free rider problem", the GPL says "no way" to
    private derived works. If one wishes to distribute a derived work from
    GPL'd code, then the source code to the whole derived work must be
    made available under terms essentially the same as the GPL. In other
    words, if a developer distributes a product that uses one line of
    GPL'd code, then the entire derived work must be covered by the GPL
    (or something similar.) This "infectious" quality has led some to
    (rather unfairly) refer to the GPL as the "copy virus." But GPL does
    avoid "free riders."

I disagree -- the GPL does not avoid "free riders".  The unit
of GPL licensing is the application, and, with few exceptions,
the "free riders" are happy to put the entire application on
the CDROM and ship it, getting the free ride.  When there was
a serious issue of the "copy virus", and the GNU C library was
under the GPL, the LGPL was invented, allowing the free ride to
continue.

In general, I agree with public-software.org's view, but its
license suffers from this same problem.

As a general outlook, I'm pretty unhappy with free riders.  I'm
more than happy to play the free software game with other free
software folks, but I see no reason to act as an unpaid engineer
for random software companies.  (Note, I'm not implying here
that FSF folks like free riders -- but they have other goals,
and the side-effect that they are giving free rides isn't their
issue.)

Unfortunately, it's dogma of the "free software" religion that
software isn't "free" if other people can't sell it, which
leaves folk that write software for a living in an untenable
position: they cannot make their software freely available for
review hacking and other "good" free uses without also giving
it to their competitors to sell.

It will be interesting to see what license Netscape ends up
using for the browser.  I will be shocked if it permits other
organizations to resell it.  Which means, campers, that there
may be a new license in town that folks like me can rally around.

--keith