Red Hat CCMPL and exclusive for-pay maintenance releases

Florian M Unterkircher florian-rhccm at
Mon Jan 20 20:50:48 UTC 2003

On Mon, Jan 20, 2003 at 02:48:16PM -0500, Howard Jacobson wrote:

> I'm not sure what you mean by "abusing code."  Since all of our CCM code
> is copyrighted by Red Hat and owned by us, I'm not sure how we could be
> abusing anyone else's rights.

If that were strictly true and the entire code was based solely on Red Hat IP,
coding, and concepts, you are of course right and could immediately
change the license terms and pull all source code releases (I even pointed
that out in my previous message). However, almost certainly some of the code 
is derived from a "Contribution", i.e. some code snipped, design, or
based on idea/ bug/ etc someone had submitted through a mailinglist or by 
other means. 

In my understanding, the deal in OSS development is basically (in vague terms)
the following: Company X develops some code, makes it available publicly,
agrees to share the code so it benefits from code reviews and idea/source
contributions from other developers, bundles it with a support offering and/or
as a packaged binary release (maybe with some performance enhancements
from tuning and compilation tweaks), maybe assumes warranties and liabilities,
and recoups their initial and ongoing development costs that way while reducing
support costs. At the same time, customers can be sure that someone else will likely 
provide support for the product if company X goes under, and bugs/ security holes will 
be found and maybe fixed by others for free. 

At the same time, anyone else is free to do basically the same, so that they have an 
incentive to make above contributions without financial consideration from Company X 
-- to the benefit of Company X, the general public, and naturally themselves.

Presumably the above is exactly why CCM was released under an OSS-like license
and not under some type of closed SLA. Why else would you bother with making
this available to the public is that were not the case, answer some support questions 
on a public mailing list, etc - unless I missed something and Red Hat now supports
communism ;)? 

Anyway, I'm only asking you to stick up to your end of the deal that is open source 
development and to comply with the license terms that were drafted by you, nothing 

By the way, copyright and other license rights need not necessarily be assigned 
to the same entity. Copyright will (usually) be held by the person who created 
the code (or their employer), therefore Red Hat will own copyright for (the
greater part of the) code, but so do Contributors for code/ code snippets from them,
and both have some sort of license to use the entire code base, as granted by the CCMPL.
> The old Ars Digita ACS code in Tcl is not distributed under the CCM
> Public License.  If we ever have a reason to distribute the Tcl code to
> anyone, it would be under the license originally used.

I remember a Java version of ACS did in fact exist (ACSJ), not sure right now 
whether it was released to the public under some OSS-like license but I would 
believe so. Will have to check for the old AD website.

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