[kmself at ix.netcom.com: Re: We are looking for an open source license that...]

Chris F Clark cfc at TheWorld.com
Mon Nov 11 21:08:06 UTC 2002

I wrote:
>However, we do not wish to deprive open source developers the bounty of our 
>labor and have no qualms their using our tool to build open source programs 
>that they give away. [CFC]

Bruce Dodson replies:
> What you seem to be suggesting is what FSF calls "semi-free".
> http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/categories.html#semi-freeSoftware

Yes, I can see how what I would like seems close to that (and in some
sense falls into that category).  However, I am just tyring to
extrapolate some of the "benefits" of the GPL.  I have worked for
companies that will not use free software for fear of tainting their
development efforts and having their propietary code made free.

>From what I have read, we are not the only ones looking for these kind
of protections.  I recall reading just recently about a license that
tried to regulate "external deployment".  It was that license and
Russell Nelson's posting that prompted me to ask the question I did.

Bruce Dodson again:
> Then by protecting your revenue stream, you would be depriving us of the 
> full bounty of our own own labors.  Use of your software would be a "poison 
> pill", that prevents us from selling the the open source programs that we 
> build.  (Some of us will never sell our software, but all of us, and all of 
> our licensees, retain that option.)

I don't intend for our software to be a poison pill.  In particular, I
expect to ensure that any open source program that is written which
incorporates the run-time library we provide is distributable under an
open source license.  (And as a matter of practice we have never
charged run-time royalties for the use of our run-time library. We
have only ever charged one-time fees to cover the cost of our
development efforts.  Currently, we offer a maintenance program that
includes a recurring fee for support and upgrade, but it is not a
requirement for the license, a one time fee is the only license
requirement for our commercial version.)

However, at some level someone is losing the full bounty of their
labors.  If your software includes ours and you are using yours to
make money, then you have appropriated our labor for your profits.  We
are only looking for a fee to pay for that labor. I'm just tyring to
find the license that "scares" the most commercial developers into
paying the fee, as I am well aware that some will and some won't and
there is little I can do about those who won't aside from using the
most restrictive open source license that I can find and hoping it
makes some of them think twice.

Bruce Dodson again:
> You can't hold onto your custodianship of this technology through licensing 
> restrictions.  

I think you mean "and still release the product as open source",
because today we do a perfectly good job of retaining our technology
through licensing restrictions.  And again this is an argument for our
releasing a "gratis" (or semi-free) version, where the run-time
library is released as true open source, but the "tool" part is not.
That is a less than satisfactory position, but it is an option for us.

Bruce Dodson again:
> I believe it could hurt the open source community, since it could
> take mindshare away from legitimate open source CASE projects like
> ArgoUML.

So, you believe reinventing the wheel is a good thing (as long as the
reinvented wheel is an open one (and the old wheel wasn't))?  I can
understand that position and why someone might think so.  However,
that's more of a moral (for lack of a better word) stance than I am
interested in taking.  I make my living writing software and I intend
to continue profit from doing so.  I would like to make the world a
better place in the process.  However, so far, no one has offered to
pay me what I expect as a salary and allow me to write the software
that I want to write and also give it away, and I don't really expect
them to either.  If I can tweak the process to make things a little
better, I will do so.

Thank you for your time,

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