Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: Ben Laurie <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 22:27:11 +0100

Russell Nelson wrote:
> Ben Laurie writes:
>  > I absolutely don't understand (or agree with) this view that publishing
>  > something under BSD can somehow lead to it being taken away from me.
>  > How? Show me the mechanism!
> A programmer wishes to build a free software business.  Let's call him
> J. Random Tiemann.  He writes a C++ compiler.  Now he has to choose a
> license for this compiler: MIT or GPL.  If he puts it under the MIT
> license, then when a microprocessor company ports it to their
> processor (either by themselves, or by going to Tiemann's
> competition), they can choose to keep it private.  Now, Tiemann's
> company (call it Sungis) cannot sell support for that version of the
> compiler.  Worse, they cannot use that version to build a compiler for
> a similar, but competing microprocessor from a different company.
> Yes, Sungis still has the original compiler, however their competition
> has the full benefit of it WITHOUT any obligation to give a copy back
> to Sungis.  I don't care if you want to call that "taken away from me"
> or not.  From a businessman's perspective, my code has been used to
> give a proprietary advantage to my competition.  That makes the MIT
> license completely unacceptable for code written by a free software
> business.  Of course, *any* business would like to be subsidized, so
> anybody would love a publicly-spirited group to write MIT-licensed
> software.  But it's not something I'd build a business model on.

I can accept this. But Apache is not written for a business. Nor is
OpenSSL. So why is BSD not appropriate for Apache or OpenSSL?

BTW, if the answer is "aha, but this is not the list for that question",
think again: there are businesses that use Apache and OpenSSL and I
would classify them as FSBs (at least in respect of their use of those




"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those
who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the
first group; there was less competition there."
     - Indira Gandhi