Licensing question

Mark James mrj at
Sun Mar 7 06:41:38 UTC 2010

On 03/07/10 16:42, Raj Mathur wrote:

>> Under the Rails Wheels licence there's no problem forking,
>> distributing, and selling. You and your users just have to
>> pay the original author what they've asked. But if you talk
>> to the creator you have a good chance of being offered a revenue
>> share on sales of your fork, beyond any charge you've added on
>> your own.
> Which is absolutely fine and understandable (though see under), as long
> as no one claims that the work in question is either Free Software or
> Open Source Software.  I guess only time will tell the effectiveness of
> this business model.  On the other hand, even a business model that
> succeeds is not guaranteed to be considered appropriate; e.g. I
> personally don't consider MS' or Oracle's business models as
> appropriate, however successful they may be.

Raj, Rails Wheels-licenced software is neither (the proper nouns)
"Open Source Software" nor "Free Software". But I have no problem
calling it "open software", because it shares those features with OSS --
being inspired by the ways in which OSS has succeeded, but tempered by
the ways in which I think OSS has held things back.

I've been using the term "Spec Software". Perhaps I should call it
nothing and let its freedoms speak and work for themselves.

"Appropriate" is a very subjective and loaded word.
"Popular" (in the sense of all actors being happy) is a better measure.

>> 3. Making it hard for the software writer to directly charge for
>>   their software denies them the power of replication (mass
>>   production), which supports the income of just about every big
>>   company and wealthy individual.
>>      Customization is hard work, and to fairly reward one's talents
>>   one should
>>      be able to get away from doing that alone.
> Common fallacy here.  To paraphrase someone, I may have a talent for
> making funny faces standing at the street corner, but that does not mean
> that the world is obliged to reward me for doing that.  Being good at
> something does not automatically entitle one to a reward for doing it.

I can't see how this fallacy has any relevance to the point at hand.

I'm not saying that software writers should be entitled to benefit from
the power of replication, only that they shouldn't feel tied to a model that
makes it hard for them to exploit the power of replication.

> As for FOSS business models, there are umpteen ways to make money from
> FOSS apart from pure installation support.  Have a look at
> for a
> few.

I think we've covered each of these in this thread. I'm just arguing that.
for the right software, and with the right licence and ecosystem, sale value
is no longer "problematic" (,
but is rather the best way to keep the software open.


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