Definition of open source

Alan Rihm alan at
Sun Nov 7 00:03:06 UTC 2004

This response did not answer the question, but rather restated a
position that was already clear. Also, you have not convinced me that my
"proposed solution is unnecessary".

I am not looking for a lesson on how to make money in open source. I'm
certain that I know how to make money with the current model, as well as
with the proposed model. I was simply asking that we discuss the
possibility of a different licensing model since the current one does
not address our specific business requirements.

It is pretty clear to me that certain members of this list will not be
swayed, and that is not unexpected. Since there has been about a 50/50
split on the topic during today's exchange (on and off list), I suggest
that there may not be a majority agreement on the topic.

The current licenses have gotten us this far, so I'm simply suggesting
that we keep our minds open and consider the changing business


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael R. Bernstein [mailto:webmaven at] 
Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2004 5:03 PM
To: alan at
Cc: 'Arnoud Engelfriet'; license-discuss at
Subject: RE: Definition of open source

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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