What license to pick...

Lionello Lunesu lionello at mondobizzarro.com
Mon Oct 2 08:34:53 UTC 2000

OK, I'll 'share' my thoughts on all of these mails. : )
Thanks for all the helpful input by the way! I appreciate it!

LL> So we (my company) have decided to make our VR-toolkit open source!
LL> [...]
LL> AND we don't want other people to be able to create their
LL> own distribution of the toolkit.

BB> These two are inconsistant - the OSD essentially requires that others
BB> be allowed to created their own modified release of your code.

OK, if this is the case, then I'll have to change the plans. I don't want to
go open-source.. I think though that the license I'm looking for is out
there, somewhere. But it looks like I'll be writing my own license
Let me describe our product (the toolkit) in more detail. If somebody knows
some good agreements I must have a look at, please let me know!

Over the past three years we (Mondo Bizzarro) have created a virtual reality
toolkit that has proven to be ideal for creating anything from utilities to
3D-games or VR-simulations. The toolkit was build with several things in
mind: simplicity, extendibility and portability. We have used it internally
for several (big) commercial products (check our webpage for a press
release). Now we want to share this toolkit with all the other coders. Why
you ask?

First of all, we need the input. I guess this sounds egoistic, but I'm not
done yet. In return for the input, people can use it for their own projects.
We WANT them to use the toolkit for their own projects and I think they'll
like it too. I know it's a long shot, but I would love it if it became a
standard of some kind.

Why not GPL?
This toolkit allows 'you' to create games (or simulations, whatever) in
no-time. It's completely object oriented and allows you to reuse existing
components. Just putting this toolkit on the web (GPL/freeware) could
certainly damage our business (we ARE a company, remember that). This is why
I plan to charge for commercial use of the toolkit. And I think I can do
this in much the same way as Trolltech did with their toolkit Qt.

Why no third-party distributions?
This one is based on my experiences with linux. Some years ago I wanted to
install linux on a system and the first problem (of many to come, may I add)
was which distribution to use. It appeared like the was no such thing as
'linux' but rather several distributions. What was even more confusing was
that these distributions were also growing apart, thus creating some level
of incompatibility. Yeah, way to go GPL.

Another big thing is that I'm looking for a license 'just to get started'. I
want to 'share' our code with the public as soon as possible, but (of
course) with the necessary protection. Once the code is 'on there' I'll
check the comments. Maybe, if our toolkit turns out to be a load of crap,
I'll look for a new job. : ) If on the other hand it CAN become a standard
for creating games on different OSes, I'll think again about GPL, if that's
the 'push' we need.

But especially in this stage, the early beginning, I don't want to throw our
precious code on the web with complete freedom.

So what am I doing here on opersource.org?
I want to go "open source". I've put it between quotes since it turns out to
be something different than what I thought. I want to share the source code
with others. They may use the source code for learning, debugging, hacking.
I want them to tell me how great it is (it is!) and possibly what could be
done in a different matter. They are allowed to mess with the code, I don't
care 'bout that. But I don't want hunderds of sites to appear, with
different versions of our toolkit and different patches and what not. (I've
had the same experience last week while looking at CVS. Way out of hand!)

To sum it all up:
 * Everyone can use our toolkit for any project they want, as long as it's
   not used commercially. What they do with their binaries and their
   source code is entirely up to them.
 * We want to be notified of any changes made in our toolkit.
 * Only we are allowed to distribute the toolkit and its updates.

I don't think I've covered all the issues, but then again, I don't think the
discussion is over yet : )


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