Subject: Re: Opportunity lost? Challenge declined!?
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 09:05:02 -0700

"Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:
> >>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <> writes:
>     Tim> License terms like the right to fork, and the right to
>     Tim> redistribute under the same terms, are *protections* of open
>     Tim> source effectiveness, not causes of them.
> I don't understand your distinction.  

My point is that so many free software/open source discussions focus on
licenses, which skews the understanding of the dynamics.  As I noted in
my last mail, the early UNIX activity was not under a license that would
have qualified as open source, and in fact, that license did allow AT&T
to close down the party.  But until they exercised that power, the party
was a great one.  In short, licenses simply codify a set of behaviors. 
The behaviors are what matter.  And many of those behaviors are
encouraged by common sense, once you've seen the effect.

My belief is that in the case of companies like Microsoft and Sun,
behavior will soften before licenses will.  As a result, bashing them
because their licenses aren't right yet actually can harden their
original position, since it supports the people who think open
source/free software advocates are a bunch of loonies, and undercuts
those who are trying to learn from and open up to open source

I see the hard line MS/proprietary position and the GPL as two ends of a
spectrum.  In between, there are a lot more commonalities of thinking
between developers at many proprietary companies and at many fsbs using
BSD-style licenses than is usually acknowledged on this list.   Yes,
there is a dividing line between proprietary and open source, and I
think it's been drawn in a pretty good way by the OSI, but in practice,
people close to each other on either side of that line have more in
common than they do with their supposed compatriots at each end of the

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,