Subject: Re: Disguising open source code as a proprietary software product
From: Rich Bodo <>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 02:19:29 -0800 (PST)

> But (gasp) how could a reporter/editor who works for the Open Source
> Development Network, who goes around giving speeches about Open Source
> business models and success stories, possibly choose a commercial
> software product over something GPLed like PHP Nuke or even Slash?

Did you check out plone? (  I would be very interested to
know what you found.  I think plone is going to be a category killer.

> Answer: It's PHP, so it's open source in that I have access to the code
> and can modify it however I like (or in my case get one of my talented
> and PHP-experienced friends or coworkers to do it for me) so I don't
> have the usual proprietary software worry about a small developer going
> broke and leaving an unmaintainable "orphaned" product behind.

Sounds like it's source available, not Open Source.

> There's also a free-to-use version of this software available; the "pay"
> version has additional features, including some I need.
> (The
> only real difference between his "non-commercial" and "commercial"
> products is that there is no "powered by" button/link in the commercial

Can you reconcile those two statements?

> The documentation is very complete and well-written. The developer could
> easily give away the code and charge $45 for the documentation. This
> would make him a GPL hero. it also might make it harder to collect for
> his work.
> 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?

The picture I am getting is that he has a source available proprietary
product that is developed as such (not that it has to be).  Crippled
"Lite" version available at no cost.

One difference between this and an Open-Source product is the
development model.  You are in a closed development community rather
than an open one.  If and only if the author also gives you permission
to disclose the commercial version of the code to anyone, you can, as
you say, benefit from an open support environment.  That is not at all
the same thing as an Open-Source Support Environment, which should
develop a trained community offering a free and paid support pools.
So, in conclusion, technically speaking, an OSSE is cooler, nicer, and
more better than an OSE.

That said, I still think plone will smoke this guy's proprietary CMS.

-Rich "Acronym King" Bodo