IPL as a burden

Manfred Schmid mschmid at intradat.com
Tue Jan 16 01:13:51 UTC 2001

Hi Ian,

> > As of today, I do not know of Open Source Software, that asks for
> > License Fees. We are the first (to my knowledge) to do so and I think
> > that we will not be the only ones. Our customers did not mind to pay
> > fees for VShop 2.x (closed source) and I do not see any reason why they
> > should mind to pay fees for VShop3 since we are providing added value.
> Your existing customers probably won't mind.

Neither new ones, the software is worth it.

> > To me, the spirit of Open Source is the availablity of the source and a
> > set of freedoms and rights provided along with the source to guarantee
> > better software and solutions. When looking at
> > http://www.opensource.org/osd.html I do see no point stating "You must
> > not claim license fees for an Open Source product"
> You're right, you can claim a license fee.

Thanx :)

> However, OSD criteria number 3 says that you must permit modifications
> and derived works.  If the IPL forbids people from removing the
> licensing code, then it violates OSD criteria number 3.

Taken directly from http://www.opensource.org/osd.html

"3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
original software. (rationale)"

We do allow modifications and derived works. We even encourage them by
the developer program saying "check back with the results and we
eventually pay for your work". If we do not buy anything from that guy,
we will not prevent him or anybody else from distributing his
modifications as long as it is clear which part is from our side and
which part has been developed by somebody else.

> In other words, you can claim a license free, but you can't forbid
> people from modifying your software to permit them to run it without
> paying the fee.

I think, the obligation to pay a license fee is a legal obligation and
not bound to any license keys. We could claim fees without any keys.
Even if somebody (maybe us) took out the key algorithm and the software
would run without any license keys, we would still be entitled to the

License Keys are introduced to technically prevent easy license fraud.
We all know, that there each and every software has been cracked. Still
they are wide spread and that does not only have technical reasons. 

There are some legal opinions (at least here in Germany), that say you
have to make sure to the customer that you are really claiming fees. and
your price list is serious stuff A license key is a common thing that
does the trick.

OSD criteria number 3 does not say: "Each and every line of any text
published under an Open Source License must be changeable, if it is
relevant for technical progress or not". If I took any GPL program that
"normally reads commands interactively when run", simply delete the code
lines for displaying the copyright notice and redistribute my modified
code, I would be acting illegally according to GPL (2.c of GPL Version

The rationale taken from
http://www.opensource.org/osd-rationale.html#clause3 reads

"3. Derived Works (back)

The mere ability to read source isn't enough to support independent peer
review and rapid evolutionary selection. For rapid evolution to happen,
people need to be able to experiment with and redistribute

We do want "independent peer review and rapid evolutionary selection".
IPL is designed to allow exactly for that and this is why we have set up
the developer program. 



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