[License-discuss] we need a new license for earning money

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Tue Sep 24 17:34:52 UTC 2013

Pirmin Braun scripsit:

> there is already some contradiction in the OSI defnition: "must not
> restrict anyone from making use of the program" because if someone
> wants to make use but can't without help and this help is only offered
> for money, he's restricted.  Even asking for donation could be called
> a restriction of use, since the user might feel bad when using without
> paying.

Sorry, but this is nonsense.  Until a few years ago, people in Turkey
were free to speak in Turkish or English or most other languages, but
it was illegal to speak Kurdish, at least in public.  If I had gone
there, I would still be free to speak Turkish, even though I don't know
any Turkish: after all, I could learn.  (I'm glad to say the Turkish
government has now changed the anti-Kurdish policy.)

By the same token, if you don't know how to cook, you are not just
because of that restricted from doing it.  You can learn how to cook
by experimenting, by books in your library, from friends or relatives,
or by going to cooking school (for which you may or may not have to pay).

> Now it becomes comparable: a company with 20 employees and 6 concurrent
> named users
> a) needs to buy professional services for 10000,-- EUR to get it in
> place and running (OSI compliant)
> or
> b) has to pay 900,-- EUR for usage but can handle it on their own
> (not OSI compliant)

Anyone can offer such services, however, and maybe offer a better deal.
There is no restriction on support services.

> That's the situation, we got into. For 10 years we've been developing
> "IntarS" ERP under GPL and selling professional services. Now it's so
> evolved that companies can just checkout and use. And they do. No more
> professional services needed. 

Okay, you've had a good run, then.  Time to find something else that
somebody wants, or go on public assistance (if any).  The fact that
you've provided something the public wanted does not guarantee that you
will be paid for life.

> This money thing really seems to be a problem; there is always the "free
> as in freedom not as in free beer" comparison, but it's misleading when
> you're not allowed to take money from the person who drinks your beer.
> Taking money from a user who benefits from using the software shouldn't
> be considered a restriction of use.

Of course you are allowed to take money for it.  Both the Open Source
and Free Software movements encourage people to sell software.  You are
not allowed to demand money with menaces.  The difference is unsubtle.

> Finally "discrimination": Distinguishing users by their income or
> revenue or other appropriate economical metrics is not discrimination.

It is just as wrong to rob the millionaire as to rob the poor widow.

John Cowan  cowan at ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main.  If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a
manor of thy friends or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for
whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.  --John Donne

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