Commercial Open Source- state of play

Tony Butterfield tab at
Fri Sep 12 16:48:10 UTC 2003

This is my first posting to your group but I have read a good amount of
the content that has been posted.

My motivation is in finding an open-source model for software that
promotes all the well known and discussed aims of open source but that
allows a small independent startup to create a revenue stream.

I am working on a provocative short paper titled something like "Why
current open source revenue streams conflict with the open source
philosophy" that I would like to forward to this list for comments.

Before I do this though, I'd like some help in answering a few

1) What is the current OSI certification status of the Sleepycat
licence? This is in the context of their frontmatter defining
distribution in a non-standard and restrictive way outside the licence
itself. More generally, can ambiguity in the licence which is then
clarified externally in a way which contradicts the open source
definition invalidate the certification?

2) Dual licencing approaches allow revenue to be created from
distributees who want to avoid the terms of an open licence. But this
seems only useful for distributees who want more flexibility as
distributors. It couldn't really work for "end-users" as they can pretty
much do as they require under the terms of an OSI licence as long as
they don't distribute. Is this a fair understanding or are there more
subtleties that I have missed?


Tony Butterfield <tab at>
1060 Research

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