Subscription/Service Fees - OSD Intent

David Johnson david at
Wed Mar 28 19:31:12 UTC 2001

On Thursday March 29 2001 02:05 am, David Davies wrote:
> on Wednesday, 28 March 2001 6:14 PM, David Johnson wrote:
> -> It's pretty clear that the software can be used without
> -> payment. The only
> -> fees allowable are for the purposes of obtaining it.
> Where is it made clear ?

The OSD is a formal legal definition. It is not written in common English 
prose. There's a lot of stuff that isn't clear if you don't analyze it as a 
legal document. I'm sure the same applies to your insurance policies and 
mortgage papers.

The various definitions of the OSD have already been hashed to death. But 
I'll reiterate the high points. Andy has the right to give Bob a copy of 
Chuck's software (#1). Andy does not have to pay Chuck for giving away the 
software (#1). Bob receives the same right to use the software as Andy does 
(#7). Neither Andy nor Bob have to enter into any other license terms with 
Chuck for Bob to be able to use the software (#7). It seems pretty clear to 
me that Bob can use the software without having to pay for it. But what do I 

It may certainly be possible to have a registration fee for Open Source 
software. I am not denying that. However, until such a time as the 
registration fee is paid, the software cannot be considered Open Source. If a 
registration fee were allowed in an Open Source license, then if Andy has 
paid the registration fee, then gives the software to Bob, Bob does not have 
to pay the registration fee, since all the rights attached to the Andy's copy 
of the software transfer to Bob (#7).

> There are also viewpoints of individuals that disagree.

True. But the OSI is not a democracy. It is a meritocratic oligarchy. Unless 
you are one of those in charge of the meaning of Open Source as applied to 
software and software licenses, your viewpoints don't count. But don't feel 
bad, 'cause I'm in the same boat.

David Johnson

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