Subscription/Service Fees

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Fri Mar 30 17:38:47 UTC 2001

on Fri, Mar 30, 2001 at 01:17:53AM +0100, phil hunt (philh at wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Mar 2001, SamBC wrote:
> > I'm sorry if someone has already said this, or something similar, but
> > why can't people who want to distribute source, as they say, but keep a
> > financial gain from it, use conditions like:
> >
> > 1) On paying the license fee, you have access to the source code - you
> > may not distribute it in whole or in part, except illustrative excerpts
> > not more then [x] lines long
> > 
> > 2) You may modify the source code as you wish, and distribute you
> > modifications only to other license holders.
> > 
> > 3) On receiving a modified version of the source code, or any form of
> > instructions as to its modification, you may not redistribute them to
> > any unlicensed party, but may distribute freely to other license holders
> No reason at all. In fact, this sort of "gated community" license may
> well be advantagous for some purposes.

Some purposes, yes.  As a long-term development strategy, I believe it's
fatally flawed.  I see gated as a good way to incubate a project.  Once
it's achieved fundamental integrity, the walls should start coming down.

> > And then not bother trying to claim it is Open Source, as it is clearly
> > not
> Indeed.
> I (and I suspect most people on this list) have no problem with software
> that isn't open source, as long as they don't try to pass it off as open
> source.
> The sort of license you suggest above, if it included the proviso that
> it becomes open source (e.g. GPL'd) after a time delay, would be one
> I would approve of -- I'd be happy to buy software under that license.

There's the FSF crowd which has an ideological committment to free
software.  Even RMS doesn't, AFAIK, mean for all software to be free,
though all that he uses should be.

The charter of this list, however, is discussion of aspects of the OSD
and how it applies to licenses and business models.  It's quite correct
to evaluate such as being conformant or nonconformant.  While realizing
that this classification is (largely) without prejudice on the merits of
the suggestions themselves.

Or, short answer:  I agree with Phil's last two paragraphs.

Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
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