Definition of open source

Arnoud Engelfriet galactus at
Sat Nov 6 13:31:22 UTC 2004

Alan Rihm wrote:
> The other problem that I see, is that the "dual license" strategy causes
> people to launch a project, and then essentially end-of-life the project
> to encourage people to buy the paid/closed version. This seems like a
> clear sign that the current definition needs to be updated, so why not
> fix the problem instead of "working around" the problem.

The usual fix in such a case is to fork the code and to start
an open alternative to the "closed" version. I don't see what
this has to do with distribution, though.

> After all, aren't we really
> trying to foster options to closed source solutions, and give the
> end-users and developers freedom to make software work the way they want
> it to work? It doesn't seem like the goal of open source was to reduce a
> companies ability to make money by going open.

It seems to me a lot of companies are making money by opening
certain code. You can sell open source CD's, charge for
configuring/porting open source, deliver custom solutions based
on open source and so on. The only thing you cannot do is make
money from someone else's use/distribution of the code.

> Why should someone be able to make money on someone else's code, without
> any financial responsibility to the originator of that code? If the
> originator charges too much, shame on them. Their project will not gain
> much support. If they are reasonable, then "for profit" businesses will
> consider partnering with the originator.

The whole idea behind open source is that the code is open;
it's freely available to all. There is no owner. Maybe there
is a branch of code that people call "official", but that's
by consensus and not because the maintainer of that branch
has any legal rights.

If the "official" branch maintainer has control over distribution,
he can effectively kill the project at any time by denying further
distribution. I'm not sure that is a good idea.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:

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