Subject: Re: Opportunity lost? Challenge declined!? (LONG. COMPREHENSIVE)
From: Simon Cozens <simon@netthink.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 12:46:27 +0100

On Thu, May 10, 2001 at 07:02:37AM -0400, Adam Theo wrote:
> I also wish to allow third-party developers the freedom to "work-off" of my
> work, to develop patches of bugs or security holes, add-ons or plug-ins of
> new or improved features, or allow their own works to use features in my
> work, all without having to jump through legal rings of fire or pay royalty
> fees. 

Just for clarification, do you want to allow them to develop derived works
incorporating some of your code? From what I see from the above, they can
freely contribute to the viability of your product, but cannot use your
product in theirs. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing intrinsically wrong
with this, and one of the gripes I had long ago with proprietary software is
that I couldn't interface to it. But another gripe I had was that I couldn't
extend it either. Oh, hrm, maybe I can, if I create enough "plugins" - if I
patch the source enough, I can turn it into something else. Do you see how
fine the line is? If you're going to allow modification, it makes a lot of
sense to consider allowing derived works (with appropriate recognition of the
origin, of course) too.

> I would not allow these users or developers freedom to re-distribute my work
> without my permission, so therefore any works of theirs that makes use of
> mine would have to be independant and reliant on whether the end user has my
> work installed as well.

I remember having to deal with a piece of software called the Columbia
Appletalk Protocol, which was licensed in a bizarre way: even
*vendor-supplied* patches had to be distributed separately. So you'd download
version 1.0 of CAP, 30 or so patches for the vendor, a few third party
patches, and patch the hell out of it. By the time you'd finished, you'd have
version 2.0 of CAP, but the code was almost completely different.

> * Four, on the matter of Intellectual Property (specifically the
> rights of the work's author): If an author creates code, and knowing
> the full issues of the action, decides to release it as open source
> (or free software, acknowledging the differences between the two.),
> not only do I see that as okay, but even greater as a noble and
> selfless act that benefits his peers and all of mankind alike. 

Hrm, I don't see how that's related to intellectual property. I still have
full copyright on all work I create, even if it's open source.

> It is the result of authors feeling they are between a rock and a hard place
> when it comes to profiting off their work.

Possibly. But don't forget that some of us code for fun as well as profit. :)
And of course, there's always the "give away the duct tape, sell the hamster"
model or whatever it is, which seems to work perfectly well for us. (Training,
support and journalism.)

> "Simon Cozens" <simon@netthink.co.uk> wrote:
>     Then we ought to ask whether there's any point in talking to them
>     about Open Source licenses. After all, Open Source isn't a
>     license, it's an attitude.
> 
> This is a dangerous route to take. Open Source is more than a license,
> it's an entire philosophy, and a good one that shouldn't shun people
> who are ignorant to it. 

Oh, I like danger. :) Besides, I'm not talking about shunning people who are
ignorant of it - I'm talking about shunning people who know about it but are
trying to find loop-holes and get-out clauses in it. There are a variety of
reasons why people want to make use of open source:
    1) they agree with the open source philosophy
    2) it's the current buzzword, so marketing says it should be tried.
    3) they want other people to fix their bugs for free
    4) it makes them look magnanimous

1) we accept. 2) we educate. With 3) and 4), we can return their cynicism.

-- 
When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb. 
    -- Steve Haflich, comp.lang.c++