For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Brian Behlendorf brian at
Mon Sep 29 22:02:57 UTC 2003

On Mon, 29 Sep 2003, Chip Salzenberg wrote:
> According to Brian Behlendorf:
> > ... there are people out there who passionately cling to the notion
> > that if you get value for using a piece of software, you should be
> > paying the authors of that software ...
> What if the authors are of a different opinion?  Are you suggesting
> that charity should be illegal?  (<- strawman alert)

Bah.  Of course there are people with a different opinion, including most
of us.  Of course there exists software where the authors are perfectly
fine with unlimited copying under open source licenses, without being
compensated directly for use.

What I was trying to state is that there are a nontrivial number of people
who believe strongly in being compensated for their creative works
proportionate to the number of and directly by the people who enjoy them.
This includes software authors, book authors, musicians, filmmakers, etc.
Generally they're happy to "seed the market" with some free or cheap
copies (or by turning a blind eye to low-level piracy) but who officially
require payment per copy, and for whom the shareware model of voluntary
payment isn't compelling.

Open source doesn't accomodate this crowd - and doesn't have to.  Every
once in awhile someone from that crowd looks at what's going on in the
Open Source community and comes back with an impression either of
awe/disbelief, or wonders whether we're Marxists.  Usually people "get it"
- an anecdote about the Grateful Dead allowing concert taping and despite
that becoming one of the most profitable touring bands of all time helps.
But some just can't get past it, and are as passionate in their belief in
the inherent fairness of fee-per-copy as we are about our favorite OS

All of this stemming from the question of whether the members of
license-discuss are "GPL cheerleaders".  :)


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