Partial OpenSource products/licenses?

James E. Harrell, Jr. jharrell at
Wed Oct 2 16:28:32 UTC 2002

Open Source friends,

Pardon if you find this off-topic. I tried to retrieve the FAQ from the
list, but it doesn't exist, and can't seem to find a list charter. Can't
find a good list search either. Anyway, I've read many of the licenses and
some of the posts, but I don't see a good way to do what we're interested

My question to this group pertians to bridging the gap for commercial
applications and the world of Open Source. Quite simply, is there a license
(or would this group ever consider a license) that allows for a "Partial
Source" product- perhaps a 95% Open Source license?

Here's a little reasoning, comments flames and criticisms are welcome, while
constructive discussion is encouraged:


We have a product that we are considering publishing as open source. The
would be available for free download and use. Some features would be limited
though, and only available if you purchase a commercial license. Thus, a
of the code (containing a license key manager) would necessarily be
in order to prevent someone from easily removing the license checking.

We enjoy many of the benefits of open source software, and would like to
back. The major base of our software has some good stuff in it- that we're
more than
happy to publish and allowing anyone else to use/copy/redistribute, etc.
We would like to do so in a way that allows us to still produce commercial
products that are (paritally) closed source. After all, we have a payroll to
cover. ;)

Of the major companies that appear to be making money on open source
products, it
appears the primary method of doing so is via related services. However,
do not scale as well (commercially) as do products.

So I'm searching for the happy medium. Thoughts?

James Harrell, CEO
Copernicus Business Systems, LLC

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