What license to pick...

David Johnson david at usermode.org
Tue Oct 3 02:15:44 UTC 2000

On Mon, 02 Oct 2000, Lionello Lunesu wrote:

> OK, if this is the case, then I'll have to change the plans. I don't
> want togo 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 agreement. 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!

Here are two solutions for you, pick the one you like...

A) Release it as "source code available for looking at only" software.
You won't get much usage out of it in the Open Source community
however. The only reason Trolltech managed in the earlier years was
because their library was a *very* *good* library. But they still got
megatons of flak for it until they went Open Source.

B) Release it under both the QPL and your own non-open-source license.
People who create Open Source programs will get it under an Open Source
license, and those who use it to create proprietary and closed
source programs get it under your proprietary license, possibly for a
fee. The disadvantage is that your potential revenue will be lower. The
advantage is that your code will be more widely used. An additional
advantage of the QPL versus the GPL for your particular situation is
that it still allows you some control over the product once its

> This is whyI 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.

Trolltech no longer does this. Perhaps you might want to ask them
why. Now you only have to purchase the license if you create
proprietary closed source applications.

> What was even more confusing wasthat these distributions were also
> growing apart, thus creating some level of incompatibility. Yeah, way
> to go GPL.

You talking about collections of varied software here, not single
packages. The Linux kernel is the same from distribution to
distribution. So are all of the base utilities and libraries. 

Do you know how many Linux packages run under FreeBSD, a completely
foreign operating system? About 99.9% of them. 

If you think having more than one choice in Linux distribution is a bad
thing, then stay far away from Open Source, because choice is what it's
all about.

> * We want to be notified of any changes made in our toolkit.
> * Only we are allowed to distribute the toolkit and its updates.

If you are the only ones able to distribute the toolkit, I wouldn't
worry too much about other people making changes. It simply won't

David Johnson

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