Definition of open source

Michael R. Bernstein webmaven at
Sat Nov 6 22:02:58 UTC 2004

On Sat, 2004-11-06 at 13:23, Alan Rihm wrote:
> Thank you for your response. Please note that I did read the previous
> responses on this question prior to posting mine. The reason the issue
> has not gone away is that licenses like GPL don't address the business
> problem in question. GPL provides some protection, but not for the issue
> being discussed in this thread.

Hmm. And yet, you just asked the question again, rather than explaining
what it was you found deficient in those previous answers (and I suppose
we should now include my post in that list).

It obviously *is* possible to make money without from software released
as FOSS, so I'm not really sure what 'issue' you're talking about not
having gone away, or what the 'business problem in question' is.

The only candiddates I see (from your initial email) are:

1) "My perception is that this requirement means that the only new
projects that can be justified are those originated by developers who
wish to further their resume, or companies with deep pockets who feel
they can out-code the competition. Of course the exception to the rule
are those who were early entrants, and have time and wide-scale adoption
on their side."

2) "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."

I'll deal with each of these explicitly.

1) Your perception is manifestly wrong. Most successful Free Software
projects begin because a developer had an unfilled need. And BTW,
releasing a new entrant into the market under a Free Software license is
sometimes the best way for a small company to compete with large
entrenched proprietary competitors.

2) This is also wrong. A company that does this and does not continue
developing the Free Software version will quickly find that the
community of developers will fork the Free version and continue
development independently, so they will have unintentionally created a
new competitor (This assumes that this was a *successful* Free-Software
project, of course).

Now that I've disposed of your premises, do you see why your proposed
solution is unnecessary?

Michael R. Bernstein <webmaven at>

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