Subject: Re: Ransom GPL Licensing: ethically and legally viable?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: 18 Feb 2003 14:22:58 +0900

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <> writes:

    Tom> Of course, there are historic examples, such as ghostscript,
    Tom> that prove it can work in narrow domains.  So perhaps there
    Tom> is an economic niche for ransom -- but as general policy,
    Tom> it's too inconvenient.

The Ghostscript business model is not Ransom or anything like it.
It's non-commercial-use, and the developer has, just because he's That
Kind Of Guy (not to mention a little rms jawbone), chosen to rerelease
under a free license.

At least, the people I hung out with when I was beta testing
Ghostscript actively all supported Aladdin's model.  We were all happy
with the limited freedom granted by the AFPL---it was everything we
wanted.  And the paying customers really didn't much care about the
GPL version, but they certainly weren't paying to _ransom_ the
commercial product.  If anything, they (the few comments I remember)
were a little leery of free-riders eating their lunch.

    Tom> The whole idea seems so un-free that I don't think it should
    Tom> get much attention on _F_SB, except as a counterexample.

See my .sig.  While I'm worried about problems that hypothetically
exist in the Ransom model, Adam et al clearly have in mind "doing for
free software."

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.