Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 30 May 1999 02:24:44 -0000

[ If anyone is tired of talking about licenses, I highly encourage you 
  to direct the discussion elsewhere.  Maybe in ten years we'll know
  what is the optimum license for a free software business, and it won't 
  be a hot topic of conversation.  I think that it matters right now,
  because the market is changing under our feet.  Isn't it?  -russ ] writes:
 > That's a real risk, but it's up to the entity to decide whether it
 > cares about this.  The original authors of the BSD'd code so widely
 > celebrated as having helped make billions of dollars for others
 > presumably have no problem with not being able to access, through their
 > consulting services modifying their own free software, pretty much
 > 100% of that very (profitable) market without first having to convince
 > it to switch to products that either have *all* the source code
 > available, or derive from those authors' own proprietary creations.
 > (If they *do* have a problem with that, obviously they picked the
 > wrong license.  Same for any GPL authors who have a problem with
 > not being able to instantly spin off a proprietary version of
 > "their" product if it derives from code copyrighted by other entities,
 > such as patches, without getting agreement from those other entities
 > in the first place.)

Or, you could pick a license which requires redistributors to license
a copy back to the author, who can then distribute a proprietary
version (a licensing term that neither BSD nor GPL have).  It appeals
to a sense of fairness -- the author gave away a big chunk of code, so
if you're getting a benefit from it, you have to share yours back.  It
enforces tit-for-tat.

-russ nelson <>
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