The OSD and commercial use

Jack Troughton jake at
Fri Nov 22 17:17:27 UTC 2002

jasonc at wrote:
>>The Open Source Definition seems to prevent a license from requiring 
>>commercial users to pay the authors of the software a fee (cf. clause 6, and 
>>perhaps 1, OSD version 1.9)
> I believe that would be discrimination against users which is against the OSD. 
> However, the OSD doesn't prevent a company from making money from their software.
>>Consider a business model with this basis: the software is distributed
>>but if someone makes money using it, then the authors are entitled to a just
>>compensation. Method: the software is distributed under a license that 
>>requires that if anyone uses the software in a business then they must pay
>>authors, thru their representative (the business), a negotiated fee.
>>Is this model 'bad' in any way? Are the stated rationales for clauses 6 and 1
>>really 'against' it? Every open source commentary text recalls the 
>>orthogonally of the commercial and open source aspects. Shouldn't _this_ 
>>rationale require a license of the type I propose be possible?

A different model to consider that might be compatible would be to offer 
support contracts for your software.

This can include customisations to the software, and even private 
customisations particular to their needs.

The GPL says source must be distributed to the users... however, if you 
create a customisation that is to be distributed to only one particular 
user of the software, that would mean that the source for that 
customisation need only be distributed to them, not globally. This 
satisfies the goal that the user retains control of their destiny... 
while retaining the ability of the maker of the software to make a living.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the GPL that prevents a software 
developer from negotiating a private license with particular terms for a 
particular user of their software that includes the exchange of money.

> While I wouldn't say it's 'bad', it wouldn't be considered Open Source.

Of course, it may be that there is a reason why this model wouldn't be 
able to be considered open source either... if anyone else has any 
thoughts on the issue, I'm all ears.



* Jack Troughton                            jake at *
*                *
* Laval Québec Canada                   news:// *

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