Subject: Re: Disguising open source code as a proprietary software product
From: Giles <>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 22:14:55 -0800

Robin 'Roblimo' Miller wrote:

>The only practical difference I see between what this developer is doing 
>and what many open source/commercial hybrid developers do is prevent (by 
>license) redistribution of modified versions of his program.  How much 
>does this matter to someone like me?
This effectively means that no opensource magic will happen.  There is 
little incentive for modifications to be rolled into the main release. 
 This also effectively stops you from running a business based on this 
code.  Recently we've received several offers for source code access, 
but with no ability to redistribute.  So basically someone is asking for 
free work without granting the right to redistribute.  What happens if 
that developer stops working on the codebase?  You have no legal right 
to distribute modified copies.

>At what point does *any* of this matter? Or does it? As an end user,  as 
>long as I get well-written code and documentation, access to upgrades 
>and bugfixes, and a chance to request reasonable code changes or 
>additional features from the developer -- along with the option of doing 
>them myself or hiring someone other then the original developer to do 
>them for me -- why should I care whether the software is Free/free or not?
As an end-user you might not care in the short run.  But in the long run 
this codebase will be maintained by only one person/company.  The 
incentive for other developers to fix the code will not be there.  Nor 
will others likely contribute time to maintain the project, test 
releases, carefully document bugs.  No ownership by others.  Its 
basically a shared source situation.  Helpful, but not as good as open 

Alan Hudson
President: Yumetech, Inc.            
Web3D Open Source Chair