Commercial Open Source- state of play
Ian Lance Taylor
ian at airs.com
Mon Sep 15 07:01:28 UTC 2003
Tony Butterfield <tab at 1060.org> writes:
> 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.
Note that this topic has been discussed at great length for many years
> 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?
The Sleepycat license is OSI certified:
Sleepycat's definition of ``redistribute'' does not in any way affect
the open-source status of their license. What Sleepcat is saying is
that if you ``redistribute'' according to their criteria, you must
include the complete source code for your application. That is a
standard open-source requirement, found in the GPL among others.
Sleepycat definition of ``redistribute'' does not remove that right;
it actually give you more rights (i.e., not distribute source code),
and thus can not decrease the open-source status of the license.
> 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?
I believe that is a fair understanding. Most people feel that open
source licenses may not restrict running the program.
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