[License-discuss] Intimacy in open source (SSPL and AGPL)

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Wed Jan 23 21:57:32 UTC 2019

On Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:35 PM Gil Yehuda via License-discuss <
license-discuss at lists.opensource.org> wrote:

> 2. The other is a commercial motivation to construct license terms that
> are permissive enough to get attention and adoption by curious (employed)
> developers, but "threatening" enough to convert their companies into
> licensors of the commercial terms.

This is a motivation of dual licensing companies, but not a motivation of
FSF at all. And from the company perspective, license FUD has sometimes
been a motivator, but in most cases they have a reason to pay other than

> They are in the business of selling protection from the license threats
> they create.

That sounds a lot more draconian than it should. Many of them are happy to
allow you to use their software under terms like the GPL without charge,
and offer additional rights for a price. I don't think even Richard
Stallman objects to people offering additional rights for money.

> you have to include the second group who clearly believe in creating
> proprietary software (their "enterprise editions"), but who use the tools
> created by those who do not, in order to convert interest into revenue from
> employees who don't quite understand the parameters of these licenses.

If the employees don't understand, that is an internal problem of the
company. In my own trainings I do go over what you do for the company and
why, and I enable employees to understand the licenses (but not to make
decisions without counsel) because they are the first line of defense
against intellectual property problems within the company. In general where
I have done this training, issues are brought to us by engineers rather
than first popping up in a Black Duck or Palamida scan.

I do understand the motivations of the companies who are looking at license
innovations, and I help them off of OSI lists. I can't talk about a lot of
that, but you will notice that I worked on the Business Source license for

Unfortunately, a lot of what the companies want to do can't be achieved as
Open Source, and it is best that all sides understand that and go on.


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