Subject: Re: licensing adn open source business models
From: David <>
Date: 20 Jan 2002 14:16:21 +0000
20 Jan 2002 14:16:21 +0000
On Sat, 2002-01-19 at 20:45, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> on Sat, Jan 19, 2002 at 03:25:53PM +0000, David ( wrote:
> General style notes:
>   - Reply-after quoted content is strongly encouraged.  It is clearer to
>     read in long, threaded, discussions.  Trim quotes appropriately.
>   - Consider spacing and formatting your content for clarity.
>     Whitespace and indentation are useful contextual hints.  I've
>     reflowed your text somewhat.  
Sorry about that - I will be more clear in the future (I hope)


> > 3: A mechanism to allow code contributions back to the system with
> >    assignation of copyright or similar, i.e this license permits
> >    contributions to be recieved and used under the control of the
> >    licensor, contributers shuld receive credit but not maintain
> >    copyright. 
> This is a project management / code incorporation policy issue, not a
> licensing issue.
Is this not a problem with non copyleft licenses though ?? 

> >    This should allow commercial exploitation by the licensor. This is
> >    an important area and care has to be taken the licensor is simply
> >    not getting everything and giving nothing. 
> Note that such "assymetric" licenses (initial developer has options for
> both proprietary and free software use, other developers have option
> only for nonproprietary use) tends to be poorly received.  See the
> Netscape Public License (supersceded by the MozPL) and initial drafts of
> the IBM PSL (the Jikes License).

I will look at these, I am quite astounded by the problems of licensing
though, so far and am finding myself sinking in the mud somewhat at this
stage. Short and frank statements attached to these licenses would be
helpfull. Some have them but tend to hide the actual business model
being described. (are the lawyers taking over software development ?).

Just a view - don't flame me. 

> > 4: A mechanism to ensure that if the legal entity owning the software
> >    were to not exist any more (give up project, company fails) this
> >    would instantly GPL (or similar (bsd, lgpl) the code. Consideration
> >    for sale of company and assets would have to be taken into account.
> Code escrow.  See, for example, BitKeeper.
> > 5: Allowance for all licensees of the software having to be registered
> >    with the licensor (ala bugtraq type thing) if required. Removal of
> >    any licensing code or simialr could negate the license. (let people
> >    steal it but let them steak ours type approach).
> This is unclear.
I actually meant bitkeeper here, on looking at their site they seem to
have hidden these issues slightly now. The logging feature here for
instance cannot be removed without negating the license (it is removed
for proprietary or paid for licenses). I like this idea, it works well
for a developemnt tool. 
My thinking is to ensure everyone registers their copy (email only no
business info), simply to keep a view on usage, NOT for marketing. Then
registered and paid for copies can receive extra services in the
subscribtion to ... services etc. 

> > 6: A trial componant on the license to say allow a 30 day trial of the
> >    code upon registration.
> See comments to #2.  This isn't free software.  If you're discussing
> terms of the proprietary license(s) also applying to the software, this
> is not topical to FSB.

May be, I am talking about a mix of free and proprietary licensing (free
to some paid by others avaliable in source to all, but not for

> > I may be way off track here and receive some nasty mail at some
> > suggestion, but I am only trying too look at everything and all
> > suggestions.
> Not nasty mail from me, but an observation that you're not describing
> what I see as free software in parts of this discussion.  Specifying
> what your particular goals are would be helpful.  As I commented to your
> license-discuss post, identify your business goals and strategy, then
> look at how licensing fits in.
Here goes, they do evolve though

1: To sell software to commercial entities for a very reasonable cost.
2: To allow free copies to defined bodies.
3: To enlist the assistance of the Open Source community (marketing, qa
4: To eventually attach services and hardware to the offering (needs
cash from 1)
5: To provide security to customers (escrow, delayed GPL etc.)
6: To build a paid for and free developer community (full time jobs and
7: Build enough momentum to Open source the lot and pay by services and
oem deals etc.

Essentially to build a model that works (redhat/ibm etc do it - add
services) but finance it without vulture capitalists.

I stronlgy believe that this system will be sold by resellers to
business customers, resellers still try and make a buck by
discounts/mark ups on products,Customers want to pay for products.

This is right or wrong but actaully happening NOW maybe it will change
in the future, my business will change with that, but at the moment I
feel I need a transitory approach to business. I do agreee with Open
Source and also selling software (services etc is a no brainer of course
we must provide these). 

I do believe that one day software will be developed and a worldwide
release mechnanism for free software will be in place that allows small
developers to 'get out there' fast and free, then capitalise on services
etc. in a professional manner (maybe sub contract and maintain a cut for

I am also in favour of when we have to sell software to have customers
accept it that a % goes to other Open Source projects to get off the
ground (charity payment no tax), I am happy with this as long as the
management of such is crystal clear and well defined. For instance I see
loads of products with MySQL in it, they are a company that would
benefit from contributions as well as Mandrake etc who have went full
pelt into GPL and these companies do need investment. 

I constantly see the struggle between huge expensive proprietary code
and free code, two extremes, the answer is in the middle somewhere,
thats where I want to be. 

> Peace.
> -- 
> Karsten M. Self <>

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