NASA requests help finding gov't use of standard OSS licenses.

David Woolley forums at
Mon May 2 10:05:48 UTC 2011

Ben Tilly wrote:

> If you're OK with letting businesses take useful software that you
> release, enhancing it, and then trying to sell it (possibly back to
> you), then you should use a permissive license, like the MIT.
> If you would like to reduce the ability of private companies to sell
> your hard work, consider something like the GPL or even the Affero
> GPL.  (The second one tries to extend the GPL model to websites.)

In neither paragraph are you actually talking about selling the software 
(in which case you would normally get source, and always get full rights).

What you are talking about is selling a number of different things:

1) a copyright licence;
2) the service of providing the relevant files and possibly the supply 
of physical media;
3) support of software.

For the second paragraph, the organisation is not selling the second 
item and is giving you a redistribution right, but they may be selling 
items (1) and (3).

For the first paragraph, they may also sell additional promises (e.g. 
not to provide to a competitor).

In the second paragraph case, there may also be selling the ability to 
say you are using a particular brand, which can be valuable because of 
the credibility it gives.

The main real difference is whether the "seller" can maintain a monopoly 
on distribution.  Even that is not clear cut, as for many niche markets, 
recipients of open source software won't actually re-distribute it in 
David Woolley
Emails are not formal business letters, whatever businesses may want.
RFC1855 says there should be an address here, but, in a world of spam,
that is no longer good advice, as archive address hiding may not work.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list