Misunderstanding of the basics?

Ben Tilly ben_tilly at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 15 18:56:16 UTC 2001

Ralf Schwoebel <puzzler at intradat.com> wrote:
>Hi Ben,
>thanks for the open :) reply...

I just want to make sure that there is no
misunderstanding on either part here.

>Ben Tilly wrote:
> > My first comment is that we don't need an additional
> > license.
>Mine would be: we finally need one that works (even in such
>small and unimportant countries like Germany)...

We have many open source licenses that work perfectly
well, even in Germany.

That they don't do what you want has more to do with
the fact that you don't want to be open source than
it has to do with any failings of the licenses in

> > My second comment is that if this meets the open
> > source definition then that is a flaw in the
> > definition.
>Or intented to be like that? I see nowhere the sentence:
>"Do not charge money for software under the license XXXPL)

The entire point of an open source license is not to
restrict people's ability to make money, it is to
create significant and visible barriers to creating
a MONOPOLY.  Every clause that I dislike in your
license has to do with creating and giving you
monopoly control over software.

> > requirement conflicts with item 7 of the open
> > source definition.  (You may not require an
> > additional license.)
>I do not see a point there, there are a lot of companies
>out there, which mix GPL and MPL or like Lutris who
>mixes closed source with GPL parts. If you markup these
>parts, it's fine.

You may not give on the one hand and take on the
other hand.  If your license requires additional
licenses and those licenses are not open source,
then the whole is not very open.  Therefore the
possibility of creating a monopoly that way is

> > My fourth comment is that 3.3 (that the code for
> > license keys cannot be deleted and must be
> > included in anything that copies from the software)
>=> if there is a license key check you are not allowed to
>  do that with GPL either... but GPL is so weak that it is
>  not even mentioned...

If there is a license key check in GPLed software
you can take it out.  This is not a weakness in
the GPL.  This is a protection against would be
fascist monopolists.

> > may or may not meet item 3 of the open source
> > definition (derived works) but to the extent it
> > does shows a flaw in the wording of that section.
>Definitly not, the license GARANTEES the openess of the source
>and covers more eventuality than the GPL in that part.
>Seriously: the IPL is capitalism for OpenSource with the
>whole philosophy and ideas behind the GPL.

When you claim that open source means one thing,
and people who are established in open source
disagrees with you, which is more reasonable, that
everyone else is wrong or that you are wrong?

Again the key point is to offer protection against
would-be monopolists.  You don't do that, and do
not even appear to understand why that matters.

>I just got the feeling that everybody is afraid of using that
>ugly word "money" in combination with the word "OpenSource".

Why are you confusing monopoly with money?

Are your products and services so bad that you
don't think that you can shove them down people's
throats without the support of lawyers and courts?

>If you use the IPL, and we will encourage everybody to, you
>can or you can't charge license fees for that. If you do, you are
>a "classical" software company that delivers the source with the
>application, if you do not, you are an real OpenSource company.

If you use the IPL then you are not open source.

If you use it and claim to be open source then
you will have a bad public relations problem.
Because you are not open source and lies to the
contrary will result in people advising others
to boycott you.

But considering how your company stands to get
a monopoly from others using your license, I
can see why you want to encourage everyone to
do so.  I cannot see why they would want to be
so foolish though.

> > My fifth comment is that section 5.2 (requiring
> > fees from anyone doing modification and support
> > for third parties) is particuarly awful, and IMO
> > violates sections 5 and 6 of the open source
> > definition.
>That is again not true, because the license fee could be
>ZERO and then it is like you want it... GPL comes from the
>other end and now has problems to reach the capitalism level.

It is NOT how I like it.

If I am trying to get something reinstalled at 2 AM I
don't want to have to worry about your PoS license

If I build an internal application I don't want to
have to worry that in 5 years I may be SOL because
you have gone out of business and I don't have any
way to get a license key for my legacy application.

If I am a developer I don't want to learn a
technology which I cannot start offering support
for without paying license fees to a direct

If I am a customer I want to have the guarantee
that as long as there is sufficient demand, I will
have the ability to find someone who can offer me
decent support.

Being only mildly paranoid I don't want to have to
worry that some day while I can theoretically get
a license key without paying for a support contract,
I cannot in reality get one without paying through
the nose.

In short your attempt to create a monopoly out of
an artificial barrier to entry costs everyone else,
whether or not they have paid an up-front price.
Put another way your attempts to guarantee yourself
profits come one way or another out of the pockets
of your customers, just trace where you plan to get
your monopoly revenue from and you get reasons why
your software costs customers.

> > software produced under this license.  I suspect
> > from your license that you are unclear on what
> > this whole open-source thing is.
>On the contrary, I think we are involved for a very long time,
>invested a lot of money into a lot of projects (against senseless
>US patent laws in Europe, e.g.) and we are serious and OPEN with
>our opinion that somebody has to pay the developers.

You are against patent laws and then write a license
that specifically warns people that the code in
question may be covered by your patents and they
should be careful in reusing your code?

>It is obvious that this "consulting, training & support" approach
>for software companies is not working and that this damn question
>"How to earn money" with Open Source can not be answered by
>hardware vendors who do a lot of cultural sponsoring to abuse
>the word for their value on the stock market.

Why do you say that it isn't working?  Because a
stupid market bubble popped?  The bubble happened
because people saw market bubble projections,
compared to Microsoft, and made unrealistic revenue
projections.  The significant detail that was missed
is that while open source companies had plenty of
revenue streams available, they (unlike Microsoft)
don't have monopoly profit opportunities.  The lack
of monopoly profit is tied to the market share.

Funny how that works, when given a choice people
prefer to not hand monopoly profit opportunities to
someone else.  I wonder why not?

>We spent a lot of time to enable companies to survive in that field
>by finally paying the developers. That is the whole background.
>Even LI is thinking about that with the new fund, but do you think
>we can uphold that hobbiest approach and convice ORACLE to open
>the source for their DB?

You are paying developers who develop software that
goes under the IPL and you expect people to thank
you for that?

I don't think so!

Microsoft pays a lot of developers, and develops a
lot of software.  Much of their software is given
away on very generous terms.  Yet I don't feel very

Care to guess why not?

Currently I don't see a lack of open source
development going on.  Sure, Oracle won't throw
away their monopoly.  However they will be getting
ever stiffer competition from postgres...

I don't think you are addressing a real problem.
And even if you were, I think that your proposed
cure is worse than the disease.

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