Subscription/Service Fees - OSD Intent

David Davies ddavies at
Sun Apr 1 04:05:08 UTC 2001

On Saturday, 31 March 2001 11:32 PM, Carol A. Kunze wrote:

-> Stepping away from a technical interpretation of the OSD, 
-> the requirement 
-> of a license fee seems inconsistent because it jeopardizes 
-> the primary 
-> byproduct resulting from the open source model of developing and 
-> distributing software - the stability and high quality of 
-> the product.
-> When the potential talent pool from which a product can draw 
-> programmers is 
-> the world - the consequences show in the quality of the product.
-> Charging a license fee to run the product reduces that 
-> talent pool to a 
-> company's programmers and its paying customers.  What's more 
-> it means 
-> centralized control.  This isn't bazaar - its cathedral.

I believe most organizations which have looked into charging a license fee
on software which would otherwise be Free Open Source do not wish to charge
In fact, the common intent seems to be to charge ONLY those companies that
use the product for a commercial purpose and derive revenue from it.  
In essence, "If you make money using the product then you must pay, if you
use it privately or just make modifications to it then you don't need to
With this approach anyone may still work on the product.

Furthermore, in many cases the intent of charging the license is twofold.
1) Naturally the creator is trying to get a return on their investment of
creating a product which perhaps would not exist if they didn't invest the
time in the first place.
2) More importantly, many creators wish to share the revenue in some way
with developers who contribute modifications to the project thereby
encouraging development.  

In most bazaars the prime space for stalls is often owned by someone who
rents it to the merchants.   Perhaps the "owners" were merchants themselves
when the bazaar was a free-for-all an managed to hold and expand their prime
position, this is the nature of enterprise.

The owners of space do make money but they generally reinvest in the
infrastructure for the bazaar to the good of everyone.

David Davies

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