[openip] Re: GNU License for Hardware

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Sat Oct 16 07:48:17 UTC 1999

On Fri, Oct 15, 1999 at 09:33:11PM -0700, David Johnson wrote:
> If Open Source is going to be used extensively by commercial
> concerns, then the needs of the consumer must be taken into
> account.

You are confusing needs with preferences.

Assuming that the user would maximize freedom given the chance, they would
prefer the license that gives them _all_ rights. However, they seem to be
quite willing to accept _less_ than all rights in exchange for access to

The Open Source Definition defines a balance-point between rights and
access to software that is acceptable to many users, that is very much
more in the "rights" direction than the usual deal one gets with
proprietary software.

From: Justin Wells <jread at semiotek.com>
> No, it doesn't seem to matter. Linux has made significant inroads into
> commercial concerns, and it does not have a "do anything you want" license. 
> I think developers care a lot more about software licenses than the average
> consumer. Consumers only care about quality, reliability, and price.

In microeconomics-speak, consumers want "maximal utility", which can
be decomposed to various desires, including the ones you list above.
I'd add maintainability, extensibility, and endurance to your list,
since those are areas in which Open Source really shines. By "endurance",
I mean the fact that you can continue to use Open Source software for a
long time after the time when proprietary software would have ended its



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