Subject: Re: the walls have bears
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 2 Jun 1999 04:45:12 -0000

Tim O'Reilly writes:
 > Russell Nelson wrote:
 > > 
 > > Use of; not creation of.  I don't know of any for-profit company which
 > > has created MIT-licensed software.
 > > 
 > Come on, Russ!  What about Apache?  A bunch of the original
 > developers were from web hosting/design companies.  That's for
 > profit.

They just used it and improved it, to meet their own needs, not to
create something to sell to others.

 > They just weren't in the software distribution business.  Which was
 > one of my points--that if you just focus on software distribution,
 > you're missing a lot of the action, as that's going to be a less
 > and less important part of the picture.

I'm focussing on software distribution because that's the point I'm
trying to make -- that a company that creates software for
distribution is more likely to GPL it than MIT-license it.  And
because licenses are only important to people distributing software.
Software law in the US says that if you legally get a copy, you have
the right to use and modify that software -- even to make backup

What really matters to users is that they be able to get the source.
Exactly how they do so, and any restrictions on redistribution are
present, is almost completely besides the point.

 > How does open source apply to:
 > * service businesses (web hosting/design/ISPs) that require this
 > stuff to work for their service business to flourish
 > * info or e-commerce businesses that rely on wide distribution of
 > access tools so that their essentially proprietary information
 > businesses can flourish
 > * embedded systems companies, where the software is hidden inside
 > a specialized piece of hardware
 > etc. etc.
 > Everyone's working on one or more of these pieces, but apart from
 > cygnus, no one seems to talk about the "post-PC" future and how
 > that might apply to OSS.

I don't think it's all that different.  The only interesting aspect is 
a system where nobody has the ability to change the programming once
the device is manufactured.  In general, nobody likes such devices --
to the point where Intel has created downloadable, patchable microcode 
for its processors.

-russ nelson <>
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