OSI compliance requiring software to be "free beer"?

Manfred Schmid mschmid at intradat.com
Thu Jan 18 18:32:43 UTC 2001

Dear Board Members:

I follow up on the discussions on license-discuss at opensource.org
concerning our IPL / Developer Program Model.

We know, that up to now Open Source Software has been free both in the
meaning of "free speech" and "free beer". We want to introduce a model
that guarantees free speech but takes the free beer aspect away. 

Under certain conditions, IPL requires you to pay the prices according
to our price list, if you want to use IPLed software. 

Within the discussion it turned out, that most participants argued, Open
Source Software has to be free in the sense of "free beer", i.e.
requiring the user to pay license fees will be a no-go for OSI approval.

We have not found any such restriction being officially published.

We do not want to change the definition of Open Source, nor do we want
to correct GPL etc. For us, Open Source covers a continuum defined by
freedom, competition and the availability, changeability and
distribution of Source Code. 

We think, Open Source as a term should cover all the already OSI
approved licenses (free source) as well as IPL like models.

I hereby request an official Board statement: Does OSI approval of
licenses require the software to be free in the sense of "free beer"?

Manfred Schmid


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