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

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <lord@emf.net> 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     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
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.