Open source + commercial

Steve Lhomme steve.lhomme at
Sat Sep 15 07:05:06 UTC 2001

| I would not advise confusing "commerce" and "commercial." The Commerce
| Clause refers to an entirely different matter than what Steve asked. Sure,
| defining non-commercial is not easy, but it's done all the time because
| laws require the distinction to be made. For example, a trademark
| anti-dilution claim must show a use in commerce that is also a commercial
| use. What that means is the Trademark holder shows that someone is
| diluting their mark in interstate commerce and that the dilution arises
| from a commercial use. A parody of a famous trademark on a popular website
| might be deemed in commerce, but it's likely (although not definitely)
| to be deemed non-commerical use since a parody is often considered a use
| for comic effect. The point is every plaintiff claiming anti-dilution must
| show those elements of the claim. It's difficult, but not impossible.

Well, at least there is one OSI-approved license that makes clear
distinction between commercial and non-commercial nature. Check out the
Common Public License ( )

| I do agree with Daniel in one respect: I am unsure whether it's useful to
| draw the commercial/non-commercial distinction in the context of a
| software license, where enforcement is going to be formidable. If the goal
| is to lock-out commercial competitors, why not try a M$ license? (Just
| kidding). It's not clear why you want to make the distinction you asked
| about so it's difficult to suggest a license.

My idea is to create a library that could be used in a lot of softwares,
open or closed, commercial or Free (notice the capital F). But if it's to be
used in a closed product, I want the changes made become also public.

I used to go for the BSD/MIT license because you can use the open software
in a closed source software, which is convenient for lots of companies
(that's what rule # 6 of the OSI is good at). That's a good point for a
developper who create something and then improve it for a company who want a
specific feature. But the company or developper who makes changes don't have
to publish the new code and that's a real pity for the software they used.
If it's the project creator there are lots changes that this will happen
(see the project), but what about all the others
in this open world ?

Meanwhile I found out that the Artistic license protects the sofwtare from
that because if the software is used and changed, the company/developper
using it have to make clear what changes he made. (am I right ?)

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