Subject: EROS license terms
From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 19:59:29 -0400

[This is NOT another rant about what Open Source should mean.]

> Mr. Shapiro is proposing giving source to all licensees, while still
> retaining copyright control over the software, kind of like the early
> years of Unix academic licensing.

The present plans for EROS licensing are approximately as follows.
Some of this is not (yet) reflected in the current license drafts,
because the past several days on this list have led me to recognize a
few more areas where I can be liberal.

I intend to grant source access to all parties who want it, without
fee.  I also intend -- as a result of looking at the Open Source terms
and the ensuing discussion -- to specifically permit and provide for
royalty-free third-party support.

[ In fact, the commitment to giving away the source goes back to the
  very beginning of the EROS project, seven years ago. ]

Until I can create a vehicle for commercial distribution, I will
probably restrict distribution to individual users, teachers, and
researchers for non-commercial uses.  This distribution will be
without royalty or fee.  The lack of commercial terms reflects a
short-term, temporary glitch on my end, and should not last more than
a few months.

Once a commercial vehicle exists, things will depend in part on how
the early reaction goes and how much energy I want to commit to a
commercial EROS effort.

My current plan is to charge a modest royalty for commercial use.  I
don't anticipate that anyone will get rich off these royalties, but
they may allow me to cover the rent and get a full-time helper or two

Over time, I anticipate that the EROS license terms will migrate in
the direction of the Netscape license, modulo fixing some of the
issues that RMS has identified.

Some of my reluctance to go Open Source is simply a matter of caution,
and I may yet end up deciding to be more liberal.  It is much easier
to be initially conservative and move in the direction of open source
than to go back.

The reason that this goes as far as it does is that I agree with a lot
of the problems the open source community has identified, and in many
cases I agree with the solutions.