Subject: Re: Can open source cost money?
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 01:18:36 -0400

> Where's the problem?

For starters, libre customer value and proprietary customer value are
not the same thing, and can't be directly compared.

> What was libre didn't become non-libre.  What happened was that
> someone added value, and didn't make the added-value libre.

True.  Emotionally, it feels like a rightful payoff from tax-funded
research was stolen from me.  Especially when the principle
investigator takes his unbuildable, undocumented, unusable university
code into a startup and cleans it up in a month.  Then the messy
university release starts looking very deliberate.

> The only party that has the right to complain is the original
> author, if they wanted their contribution always to remain libre,
> and used the wrong license.  That's what the GPL is for.  But if the
> author doesn't mind, why should anyone else?

I'm unhappy because I feel BSD development was funded mostly from my
tax dollars and tax credits.  Shap makes the point that if my
government rep did a poor job negotiating derivative IP, I should
complain to my congressman.  However, if I bitch effectively, I may
get the terms renegotiated retroactively.  This may or may not be the
moral high ground, depending if you consider it a deal broken or an
injustice remedied.  Reasonable people disagree.

> I guess what I'm arguing is the moral right of the author of the
> software to put it under whatever license they want.

I would temper that to say whoever's paying gets their say, too.

> Often, the choice is not between non-libre and libre, but between
> non-libre and nothing.  Not everyone has the luxury to create libre
> software.

I agree!  I believe that's why we don't have a libre office suite
today.  I want to make that choice go away.  I want to invent a way to
produce something libre without luxury, or as close as I can get.

League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA