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Re: Proposed open source license (non-commercial)

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  • egroups_yow
    Hi Raimi, Good to hear from you! ... These kind of discussions and support are very important to me - it s really the camaraderie. I think this was a factor
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 26, 2002
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      Hi Raimi,

      Good to hear from you!

      > A free-for-non-comercial-use license would've made me use JSX for
      > that uni project, but the GPL made me stay here and have some good
      > discussions with Brendan . (the LGPL would've worked, too)

      These kind of discussions and support are very important to me -
      it's really the camaraderie.

      I think this was a factor that I was leaving out of my assessement
      of GPL vs proposed license. Thus, I'm very glad to have suggested
      it, and got this response. Thanks!


      Cheers,
      Brendan
    • egroups_yow
      Hi Jim, ... I agree - I was mistaken to describe it as anti-commercial . I take it back! ;-) ... Agreed - it was more of a possibility or option than an
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 26, 2002
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        Hi Jim,

        > I agree with Gary and Raimi. The GPL isn't anti-commercial,
        > and does allow other licenses, as you have done here, and as has
        > been done by TrollTech.
        I agree - I was mistaken to describe it as "anti-commercial". I
        take it back! ;-)

        > I don't think that expecting people to move to your license
        > is a good thing, especially when most uses of JSX are for
        > ancilliary tasks such as data and configuration storage.
        Agreed - it was more of a possibility or option than an expectation.
        But for it to be really viable, the proposed license would need
        establish an infrastructure. And that's hard.

        > I don't think that that's enough to convince them to switch to a
        > new license, especially when it doesn't have the pedegree that
        > the GPL has.
        Good point: it's not just that the GPL is well-known and accepted,
        but also that it is tried and tested, including Gary's point about
        the patents etc.


        Cheers,
        Brendan
      • egroups_yow
        Hi Mark & Gary, Hey guys, the vigorous debate is excellent, but let s have a good clean fight here! We re all on the same side, even if we have different
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 27, 2002
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          Hi Mark & Gary,

          Hey guys, the vigorous debate is excellent, but let's have a
          good clean fight here! We're all on the same side, even if
          we have different points of view, or made some incorrect
          assumptions, or mis-interpret someone else, or just have a
          different style of talking. If we don't keep a polite tone, the
          discussion is less likely to yield valuable insights...

          Mark, thanks for your points, especially about JSX not being a
          spin-off, and on patents.

          > So you convinced your client to open up there software so that they
          > would receive additional QA, giving the side-effect of making
          > available the code to others, including yourself, for future
          > use. JSX being opensource, but not GPL, gives its users
          > (developers like you and me) the ability to improve QA, while
          > not creating something with a life of its own. How would it
          > having a life of its own help Brendan? How would it help me?
          > It doesn't. It only help people who come later on who want
          > to take some software that others made, for there own. Hence
          > the term freeloaders.

          I'm not against it having a life of its own - just against
          commercial use of it. I'm happy for people to copy it and use
          etc, provided that if they get a commercial benefit from it, that
          there is some return to me.

          Gary argues that it is sensible to let people use it commercially,
          because of the benefits of contributions and viral marketing.
          Keeping it under the GPL also keeps me in the "GPL club", and some
          camaraderie, discussions and so on. It is also a tried and tested
          license, is well-known, and avoids errors I might make myself in
          writing my own.

          I think that if a company gets an enormous commercial benefit from
          using GPL code, that they should makes some contribution back.
          It's hard to know what the balance is.

          That's why I've given up, just stuck with the GPL. Hopefully, the
          poll, and proposed license and discussions will shed more light on
          it.

          Please, no flaming! ;-)

          Cheers,
          Brendan
        • Gary Lawrence Murphy
          ... M First of all, when you submitted the bug to Brendan, it was M under the agreement that there would be no economic M compensation, so he owes you
          Message 4 of 17 , Mar 1, 2002
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            >>>>> "M" == Mark Collette <mcollett@...> writes:

            M> Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
            >> Respectfully, and not to pick a fight, but just to be real,
            >> JSX has already _profitted_ from my commercial use of it.

            M> First of all, when you submitted the bug to Brendan, it was
            M> under the agreement that there would be no economic
            M> compensation, so he owes you nothing.

            I was just illustrating a point; that point being how free software
            benefits all participants in ways that are easily translated into hard
            dollars.

            M> If you used JSX in a non-GPL program, then you were in
            M> violation of the commercial license, so you do owe Brendan

            Ah, but I didn't ;) As it turned out, in that particular case, the
            fuzziness over the future license scared OpenCola away from JSX; that
            particular demo was GPL, but their further work was under the same
            sort of license that was proposed here. They haven't gone bust yet,
            but they're into their 3rd or 4th round of VC (I've heard rumours
            they've since gone pure-proprietary, but those are just rumours)

            M> ... Several hundred dollars. Your comments in the above
            M> paragraph gloss over the facts in an attempt to rationalize
            M> what sounds like theft [I don't know anything about your
            M> software licensing, so this might not be applicable]. And you
            M> manage to add in a demeaning tone by marginalizing the
            M> royalties.

            No, royalties are generally paid per-use, so a 3-day use of software
            not-for-resale typically amounts to only a few dollars. Of course,
            I'm being hypothetical since there is no such clause in the 1.0 GPL
            license we used; I was basing the comparison of fees on typical
            per-unit license fees.

            M> I understand part of what you were saying, in that your
            M> contributions have value. Don't mistake theoretical benefits
            M> with actual dollar value. Realize that your bugfix had more
            M> value to you than to Brendan.

            Did it? Was no one else interested in null fields?

            I do a lot of work for non-profits. In every case I tell them what I
            have learned working 25 years in the non-profit industry: _Every_
            contribution, no matter how small, has a dollar value that must be
            measured at market rates. If someone takes a box of garbage across
            town to the dump-site, their effort is valued at the rate for cartage.

            This is not to say that they must pay their volunteers (which would be
            silly, quite apart from being impossible), just that proper accounting
            is _everything_. They need to get receipts for every donation.

            Why? Because of what governments call "matching grants". If your
            non-profit applies for federal or state/provincial money, this money
            is often contingent on "matching private donations" ... and you can
            probably guess the rest: A few trips to the dump totals a few hundred
            dollars pretty fast, and taken across all the volunteers, the
            community soon finds that their un-finance-able project actually has a
            great deal of equity for barter.

            The same is true of "free" software: It is not free beer, it is very
            expensive beer. The total market value to create Linux is an
            astronomical sum; if you consider that, it is no surprise Linux can
            rival NT. Microsoft wastes their money on advertising, whereas Linux
            spends every volunteer cent on development and QA.

            M> Furthermore there is a sentiment in your post that if you use
            M> software for some small quick job, then the author doesn't
            M> really deserve payment. As a software developer I find that
            M> abhorrant.

            This depends, of course, on the license, but I commend you on your
            ability to miss a point.

            Where a license is on unlimited use, such as with Microsoft Office,
            then it's $500 regardless how many times you use it. Infrastructure
            and patented software is typically sold with a hook into the per-use
            or per unit sold so the author gets rich in proportion to the
            licensee. Considering this specific application was for high-profile
            public display at the NYC Jakobs Center, and in front of a highly
            tech-savvy buying audience, I might have negotiated JSX promotion in
            lieu of actual money changing hands ;)

            My point being, however, that no one, not even Microsoft, can license
            any software for more than a tiny, tiny fraction of development costs
            unless that software is heavily patented and absolutely vital. Even
            MSOffice can be had for unlimited use for less than a few days wages.

            Software costs in medical/scientific equipment can be inflated, as can
            controller software for highly specialized devices. Serializing
            objects would be a far more difficult case: JSX was so vital, OpenCola
            walked away from it.

            >> _That_, my friend, is how open source works. We all bring what
            >> we can to make wonderful things happen. Open source is not
            >> about my profiting from your work, it is about software that
            >> helps us _both_ do our jobs

            M> You miss a very important point. Brendan isn't here to make
            M> opensource software. He is here to make a living and considers
            M> opensource a vehicle to that end.

            That is, of course, his decision. I release my software GPL or LGPL,
            but I don't _require_ everyone do the same. I have, however, watched
            dozens of projects fail because they are trying to "make money from
            free software" and IMHO, based my own experience and those of the
            hundreds of interviews I did for RadioWallStreet during the dotcom
            boom, this is an ultra-difficult business model. And that was during
            the dotcom _boom_. Ok, my sample is small, and the impossible happens
            every day, but I might have more experience than most in this market
            and my experience says it's a red herring, a pipe dream. Even RedHat
            and Mandrake found they could not stay in the black simply selling
            free software, and both have broadened their base to begin /using/
            that software in their money-making projects.

            Very, very few have made the selling-free-software business model
            work, and those who do have been very complex components not easily
            replicated (Sendmail comes to mind). Everyone is entitled to their
            opinion, and mine is that this approach is highly unlikely to succeed.

            The only opensource model which does succeed, hand has a high
            probability of success, is the sort you see in XFree, Linux, Apache
            and Java: the software is created and maintained by people who need it
            to do their day-job. The work is a community effort, and all expenses
            are shared. This keeps development and QA costs low while all other
            revenue models are equal to the closed source competitors -- the math
            is quite simple.

            M> If Sun required a license fee for usage of Java then Brendan
            M> would have to pay. They do not, so he owes them nothing, and
            M> therefore won't pay. Your question shows you lack of
            M> comprehension of basic economics and contract law.

            Thank you.

            M> So you convinced your client to open up there software so that
            M> they would receive additional QA

            Perhaps you should re-read what I wrote. There is no implied
            expectation in their action. The QA we received was a gift, and was
            unsolicited. It was nonetheless valuable.

            >> suing _you_ for unpaid royalties. That's _precisely_ the
            >> meaning of the GPL, and why it is so long and so painfully
            >> precise.

            M> No one else could take JSX and patent it since Brendan has
            M> prior art (JSX itself).

            So who is showing lack of comprehension of the basic _realities_ of
            the law now? Who would fund Brendan while he fought this?

            Any idea how many European webhosting companies were pushed out of
            business by BT's claim to have patented the hyperlink?

            M> I have no idea what activities you've been involved in, so I
            M> can't say what you are, but after reading your post I
            M> immediately though how it nicely sums up the freeloader
            M> problem.

            Thank you. I'll add that to my resume.

            And best of luck with your make-money-developing-free-software
            business model -- when you do solve it, please do write it up and I'll
            make sure it's published in a respected business journal because you
            are going to become /ultra/ famous, and /I/ am going to get rich being
            your agent ;) Oh, I'll also introduce you to some heavy VC too, the
            8-figure kind, because I know some that would just /love/ to meet you.

            All kidding aside, the choice is, of course, Brendan's. He holds the
            copyright by virtue of the prior art, and that gives him the right
            to change his mind about the license whenever he likes. From what's
            been posted here lately, the whole issue of debate is probably moot.

            --
            Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
            Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
            "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)
          • Gary Lawrence Murphy
            ... e ... If we don t keep a polite tone, the discussion is less e likely to yield valuable insights... Development is a stressful job, and if we can t vent
            Message 5 of 17 , Mar 1, 2002
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              >>>>> "e" == egroups yow <egroups_yow> writes:

              e> ... If we don't keep a polite tone, the discussion is less
              e> likely to yield valuable insights...

              Development is a stressful job, and if we can't vent at collegues,
              well then who can we vent on? I'm sure Mark means no malice, and I
              certainly don't, but that doesn't mean he and I should not be
              passionate about our beliefs.

              Besides, butting heads improves circulation.

              e> I think that if a company gets an enormous commercial benefit
              e> from using GPL code, that they should makes some contribution
              e> back. It's hard to know what the balance is.

              There is a Japanese saying "When a house is filled with rights, there
              is no room for gifts" -- I think the $2B IBM has spent on Linux is
              the answer to your question: Guilt is far more powerful for forcing
              compliance than the law ... otherwise we'd have no need of patent
              lawyers.

              Or the contributions of SGI, HP, CreativeLabs and others to Linux
              (whether or not Linus accepts their patches, their patches are still
              available to anyone who needs what they needed)

              The American composer John Cage was fond of collecting stories
              where anarchy was more profitable than the Rule of Law. One of his
              favourites was when the NYC toll booth operators were on strike and
              the booths actually collected _more_ money because most people did
              not have exact change, there was no operator to give them change,
              so they just tossed in what they had. Never underestimate the
              "freeloaders". Never lose faith in humanity.

              e> That's why I've given up, just stuck with the GPL. Hopefully,
              e> the poll, and proposed license and discussions will shed more
              e> light on it.

              Something struck me yesterday. I've thought of it before, but it
              surfaced again yesterday still with no answer: Is it legal to license
              Java code under the GPL? Wouldn't the GPL rules technically require
              the Java library (also linked to your code) to be also GPL? (Isn't
              that why the FSF are developing a cleanroom re-implementation of it?)

              I don't expect I will every be sued by Sun for releasing my Java work
              as GPL, but I do wonder what "linking" means in the Java sense of the
              world. The whole notion of licensing is so fuzzy, I actually find
              it riotously amusing, but that's probably because I hung around Cage
              and his friends too long ;)

              As a historical footnote, John, in his youth, was giving a recital
              and wanted to use a piece of music by the then-dead composer Erik
              Satie -- he was told he would have to license the work, and being
              a young modern composer in the between-wars California, he barely
              had two pennies he could rub together let alone money to spend on
              an abstraction like a royalty to a dead man.

              So John wrote an original piece, now famous, called Cheap Imitation.
              The work was created by taking the Satie piece and randomly changing
              the pitch of each note while retaining the rhythm and phrasing of
              the original. John was delighted when a publisher let him copyright
              the work --- John probably hung around Marcel Duchamp way too much.

              e> Please, no flaming! ;-)

              Aww ... just a little?

              But no death threats, ok?

              --
              Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
              Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
              "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)
            • Gary Lawrence Murphy
              ... e SUPPORT: I put a tremendous amount of work into JSX, and I e think the on-demand technical support is far superior to what e you would pay for, for
              Message 6 of 17 , Mar 1, 2002
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                >>>>> "e" == egroups yow <egroups_yow> writes:

                e> SUPPORT: I put a tremendous amount of work into JSX, and I
                e> think the on-demand technical support is far superior to what
                e> you would pay for, for many commercial packages. True?

                No. I do not feel I have the right to phone you up in the middle of
                the night and yell at you, and to demand that you fix something
                right f*cking now. Instead, I feel like JSX is a gift, so I show
                respect for the gift and graciousness for the support.

                In the world of offering service, most customers are polite, but
                many are not. They get unreasonable real fast. They get your
                phone number and you've had it. Ask anyone who has worked for
                technical support hotlines.

                What if you do find some use for JSX that is going to pay you a
                comfortable income, but has a tight schedule, but then someone
                to whom you licensed the software has their own crunch. yes, they
                have no legal right to push you, but that does not mean they won't
                try psychological means, intimidation, or anything else.

                Hey, even peaceloving me has actually yelled at Microsoft technical
                support droogs. It felt good then, but I felt bad afterward. That's
                what life is like in the service industry.

                e> DELIVERABLES: Regarding scheduled delieverables - (most) bugs
                e> get fixed very quickly, and extra functionality is also added.
                e> You can't say I don't listen to my users!

                Again, it's a gift. So the enjoyment is more. What if you had the
                flu, or whatever. When money is involved, expectations go way high.

                e> And did JSX help your application? More importantly, did you
                e> get a bug-fix that helped your application?

                Oh yes, but again, it's the difference between a gift and a right.
                Did I thank you for the fix? (Well, I _meant_ to ;)

                e> Bug report or bug fix? It seems a bit odd to say that it was
                e> "kind" of you to report a bug, if you got a bug-fix out of it
                e> pretty quickly, and for free, don't you think? ;-)

                There's a young man who has joined our SportPage project; he's new
                to QA, but that's what he wants to do for a job, so that's what I'm
                more than eager to accept from him. His first tests were a little
                naiive, but his second test were much better and his third found
                a bug. I'm grateful for all three.

                My point, though, was that I find bugs in Netscape all the time, or
                did until I could finally abandon it, but I never reported one. I
                reported it to you because it got in my way, but for that app, I had
                no real need of JSX, I could have serialized objects any old way
                (I was writing both sides of the connection and it was throw-away
                code after the Jakob's display) ... but I wanted OpenCola to think
                about JSX and what it could do later in their P2P work.

                e> Obviously, this is a very different case from JSX, which is
                e> eminently reusable - that's what it was designed for. It's not
                e> a spin-off from some other money-making project. It *is* the
                e> money- making project.

                As much as I wish you success, I remain skeptical of that business
                model. It worked for Sendmail, but it's hard to find good examples
                for things that are as hidden as JSX.

                e> Perhaps the question is really for you: "If JSX helps you do
                e> your job, why should you care?"

                And that's a very good question. My correct answer is "it depends" :)
                If JSX is the _only_ way to do it, then yes, if the job must be done,
                we license it. Right now, the /only/ licensed code we use in our shop
                is QuickBooks and the Windows it runs on because there are /no/ free
                alternatives which will handle our accounting needs /and/ interoperate
                with the corporate accounting firm who handles our taxes. If anyone
                were to solve that, we'd switch in an instant, but no one is even
                close (and I try them all). I'd even be happy with licensing an
                alternative if it just worked under Linux so we could at least get rid
                of that last Windows box.

                e> I understand that your business is set-up to use GPL - some
                e> other open source license wouldn't work so well. Because of
                e> this, it wouldn't really make sense for you to use a non-GPL
                e> JSX, no matter how good it was in terms of value for money. It
                e> just wouldn't fit in with how you work.

                Again, it depends. Given the choice, I do GPL work. Given the choice
                between work and starvation, I've written my share of proprietary and
                even patented code (ISDN switches, OODBMS systems, stuff like that)

                e> However, I do think that money-making is important - I believe
                e> in reward for effort that creates value. I think it's also a
                e> good example for others. But perhaps a different model would
                e> be better: - service agreement, for support and documentation.

                This was the approach RedHat and Mandrake (and others) thought would
                work, but it didn't. All of them eventually turned to professional
                services (ie, doing what I do, applying opensource to solving business
                problems)

                e> Another approach is for a specific application to be built on
                e> top of JSX as the engine (or "platform") - if this was really a
                e> very simple, slot-in solution for a specific problem, then it
                e> would be worth a lot to companies

                That's what I would do, or rather, what I do. I can't afford to take
                the time off to write such a beast, so I will take a string of
                contracts selected because each provides funding for another component
                of my plan. By stringing these together, I can get to the point where
                I have a completed thing that I can peddle elsewhere.

                e> Finally - I am thinking of a cheaper license for consultants
                e> who make an application for another company, that will only be
                e> used in-house. This is distribution, and if it does not
                e> include source code etc, it is not allowed under the GPL. It
                e> would make sense for this license to include some kind of
                e> service agreement, as a motive to purchase.

                Keep in mind that (a) you will likely always know more about JSX than
                anyone else and (b) paying their own people to learn what you know is
                less cost effective than hiring you. This gets you into the support
                market, which is not a big money maker, but it gets you introductions.

                The very best, IMHO, is to have a product which rides on JSX, and to
                be able to sell the application of that product to large numbers.
                This is where RedHat went, and where Sourceforge, VALinux, and IBM
                went with opensource. I'm not there, but after 22 years doing the
                professional services bit (where the money stops flowing the instant
                the job is complete) I'm convinced the service-industry is
                non-sustainable (I have to stop someday) and has to be replaced with
                the product model.

                It's the old Henry Ford story: Craftsmanship (ie professional
                services) is all well and good, but mass production is the means to
                sustained wealth. In the case of JSX, only a handful of people will
                understand what it does, and only a handful of those will ever hear of
                it, so the market is tiny; the dual-license in that situation cuts the
                tiny market even smaller. Conversely, folded into a consumer item
                (like taking onboard computer output from the car and relaying it over
                wireless to the service shop) is something millions could buy, and
                _that's_ where you want your dual-license to apply, or better still,
                you want to own the whole thing.

                In that scenario, there is another advantage to GPL: If a commercial
                use is also GPL, it's fine and we all win. But .. if someone wants to
                mix JSX with non-GPL code, they have to negotiate a new license. GPL
                is your ticket to viral marketing, but _also_ your protection against
                exploitation.

                For the really big deals, the license probably does not matter: If
                Ford does not want Chrysler to have the code, they will want to patent
                it, but they cannot without first purchasing the copyright from you --
                and in that situation, you will name your own price.

                --
                Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
                Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
                "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)
              • Mark Collette
                ... There is a big difference between showing that effort is equivalent do money for accounting purposes and saying that someone owes you money so it s alright
                Message 7 of 17 , Mar 1, 2002
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                  Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
                  >
                  > >>>>> "M" == Mark Collette <mcollett@...> writes:
                  >
                  > M> Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
                  > >> Respectfully, and not to pick a fight, but just to be real,
                  > >> JSX has already _profitted_ from my commercial use of it.
                  >
                  > M> First of all, when you submitted the bug to Brendan, it was
                  > M> under the agreement that there would be no economic
                  > M> compensation, so he owes you nothing.
                  >
                  > I was just illustrating a point; that point being how free software
                  > benefits all participants in ways that are easily translated into hard
                  > dollars.

                  There is a big difference between showing that effort is equivalent do
                  money for accounting purposes and saying that someone owes you money so
                  it's alright to take something from them to compensate yourself.


                  > M> ... Several hundred dollars. Your comments in the above
                  > M> paragraph gloss over the facts in an attempt to rationalize
                  > M> what sounds like theft [I don't know anything about your
                  > M> software licensing, so this might not be applicable]. And you
                  > M> manage to add in a demeaning tone by marginalizing the
                  > M> royalties.
                  >
                  > No, royalties are generally paid per-use, so a 3-day use of software
                  > not-for-resale typically amounts to only a few dollars. Of course,
                  > I'm being hypothetical since there is no such clause in the 1.0 GPL
                  > license we used; I was basing the comparison of fees on typical
                  > per-unit license fees.

                  We're talking about JS which has clear licensing terms, not some
                  theoretically vague example. JSX is not pay per use, it is pay per
                  developer.


                  > M> I understand part of what you were saying, in that your
                  > M> contributions have value. Don't mistake theoretical benefits
                  > M> with actual dollar value. Realize that your bugfix had more
                  > M> value to you than to Brendan.
                  >
                  > Did it? Was no one else interested in null fields?
                  >
                  > I do a lot of work for non-profits. In every case I tell them what I
                  > have learned working 25 years in the non-profit industry: _Every_
                  > contribution, no matter how small, has a dollar value that must be
                  > measured at market rates. If someone takes a box of garbage across
                  > town to the dump-site, their effort is valued at the rate for cartage.
                  >
                  > This is not to say that they must pay their volunteers (which would be
                  > silly, quite apart from being impossible), just that proper accounting
                  > is _everything_. They need to get receipts for every donation.
                  >
                  > Why? Because of what governments call "matching grants". If your
                  > non-profit applies for federal or state/provincial money, this money
                  > is often contingent on "matching private donations" ... and you can
                  > probably guess the rest: A few trips to the dump totals a few hundred
                  > dollars pretty fast, and taken across all the volunteers, the
                  > community soon finds that their un-finance-able project actually has a
                  > great deal of equity for barter.

                  Another example of how your line of thinking is valid about something
                  else, but not for JSX. Brendan is not a not-for-profit seeking
                  government funding. He is not trying to keep accounting books of market
                  values of domations. He wants as many royalties as will be paid so that
                  he can eat and sleep under shelter. The value your bugfix added was
                  incremental to him, but fixed a show-stopper for you. Do you see the
                  difference? Bot have value, but not equivalent value.


                  > M> Furthermore there is a sentiment in your post that if you use
                  > M> software for some small quick job, then the author doesn't
                  > M> really deserve payment. As a software developer I find that
                  > M> abhorrant.
                  >
                  > This depends, of course, on the license, but I commend you on your
                  > ability to miss a point.
                  >
                  > Where a license is on unlimited use, such as with Microsoft Office,
                  > then it's $500 regardless how many times you use it. Infrastructure
                  > and patented software is typically sold with a hook into the per-use
                  > or per unit sold so the author gets rich in proportion to the
                  > licensee. Considering this specific application was for high-profile
                  > public display at the NYC Jakobs Center, and in front of a highly
                  > tech-savvy buying audience, I might have negotiated JSX promotion in
                  > lieu of actual money changing hands ;)
                  >
                  > My point being, however, that no one, not even Microsoft, can license
                  > any software for more than a tiny, tiny fraction of development costs
                  > unless that software is heavily patented and absolutely vital. Even
                  > MSOffice can be had for unlimited use for less than a few days wages.
                  >
                  > Software costs in medical/scientific equipment can be inflated, as can
                  > controller software for highly specialized devices. Serializing
                  > objects would be a far more difficult case: JSX was so vital, OpenCola
                  > walked away from it.

                  So maybe you disagree with JSX's commercial license? Maybe you think it
                  should or should not be per use or per developer. These are all valid
                  considerations for Brendan to mull over, and I'm sure he appreciates
                  your input. But, what I was getting at was that JSX's license is not the
                  same as Microsofts or any other thing you just said. It has specific
                  terms which don't care how many days the software you use it is itself
                  in use. I didn't like how you connoted that since it was only used for a
                  few days, then no license fee was due. I don't care what Microsoft's
                  license is, that's irrelavent to JSX's license.


                  > >> _That_, my friend, is how open source works. We all bring what
                  > >> we can to make wonderful things happen. Open source is not
                  > >> about my profiting from your work, it is about software that
                  > >> helps us _both_ do our jobs
                  >
                  > M> You miss a very important point. Brendan isn't here to make
                  > M> opensource software. He is here to make a living and considers
                  > M> opensource a vehicle to that end.
                  >
                  > That is, of course, his decision. I release my software GPL or LGPL,
                  > but I don't _require_ everyone do the same. I have, however, watched
                  > dozens of projects fail because they are trying to "make money from
                  > free software" and IMHO, based my own experience and those of the
                  > hundreds of interviews I did for RadioWallStreet during the dotcom
                  > boom, this is an ultra-difficult business model. And that was during
                  > the dotcom _boom_. Ok, my sample is small, and the impossible happens
                  > every day, but I might have more experience than most in this market
                  > and my experience says it's a red herring, a pipe dream. Even RedHat
                  > and Mandrake found they could not stay in the black simply selling
                  > free software, and both have broadened their base to begin /using/
                  > that software in their money-making projects.
                  >
                  > Very, very few have made the selling-free-software business model
                  > work, and those who do have been very complex components not easily
                  > replicated (Sendmail comes to mind). Everyone is entitled to their
                  > opinion, and mine is that this approach is highly unlikely to succeed.

                  Right. This is why I'm not for the GPL. I have no interest in Brendan's
                  JSX efforts failing. I'm not arguing for him to give away his software
                  at all.


                  > M> So you convinced your client to open up there software so that
                  > M> they would receive additional QA
                  >
                  > Perhaps you should re-read what I wrote. There is no implied
                  > expectation in their action. The QA we received was a gift, and was
                  > unsolicited. It was nonetheless valuable.

                  The point was that Brendan has no interest is his project having a life
                  of its own, apart from him. The rest was explaining the difference. What
                  your client's motivation was, was not intrinsic to my point.


                  > >> suing _you_ for unpaid royalties. That's _precisely_ the
                  > >> meaning of the GPL, and why it is so long and so painfully
                  > >> precise.
                  >
                  > M> No one else could take JSX and patent it since Brendan has
                  > M> prior art (JSX itself).
                  >
                  > So who is showing lack of comprehension of the basic _realities_ of
                  > the law now? Who would fund Brendan while he fought this?
                  >
                  > Any idea how many European webhosting companies were pushed out of
                  > business by BT's claim to have patented the hyperlink?

                  And the GPL would magically protect Brendan, how? Besides hoping that
                  the EFF would jump in, then it doesn't matter if he uses his license or
                  the GPL, they are both equally legally binding.


                  > And best of luck with your make-money-developing-free-software
                  > business model -- when you do solve it, please do write it up and I'll
                  > make sure it's published in a respected business journal because you
                  > are going to become /ultra/ famous, and /I/ am going to get rich being
                  > your agent ;) Oh, I'll also introduce you to some heavy VC too, the
                  > 8-figure kind, because I know some that would just /love/ to meet you.

                  As stated above I have not been endorsing giving away the software for
                  free, which was why I've attempted to support an alternative approach
                  to the GPL. I think you're reading Brendan's ideas into my writing.


                  Mark Collette
                • Mark Collette
                  ... Absolutely correct. Any harshness in my writing is undoubtedly due to the stress of my major essay I was writing, while preparing for my final exam, while
                  Message 8 of 17 , Mar 1, 2002
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                    Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
                    >
                    > >>>>> "e" == egroups yow <egroups_yow> writes:
                    >
                    > e> ... If we don't keep a polite tone, the discussion is less
                    > e> likely to yield valuable insights...
                    >
                    > Development is a stressful job, and if we can't vent at collegues,
                    > well then who can we vent on? I'm sure Mark means no malice, and I
                    > certainly don't, but that doesn't mean he and I should not be
                    > passionate about our beliefs.
                    >
                    > Besides, butting heads improves circulation.

                    Absolutely correct. Any harshness in my writing is undoubtedly due to
                    the stress of my major essay I was writing, while preparing for my final
                    exam, while buying my condominium, while packing to move, and already
                    being broke before having to pay for everything. For that, I apoligise.

                    Mark Collette
                  • Gary Lawrence Murphy
                    ... M And the GPL would magically protect Brendan, how? Besides M hoping that the EFF would jump in, then it doesn t matter if he M uses his license or the
                    Message 9 of 17 , Mar 2, 2002
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                      >>>>> "M" == Mark Collette <mcollett@...> writes:

                      M> And the GPL would magically protect Brendan, how? Besides
                      M> hoping that the EFF would jump in, then it doesn't matter if he
                      M> uses his license or the GPL, they are both equally legally
                      M> binding.

                      http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html

                      --
                      Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
                      Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
                      "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)
                    • Mark Collette
                      ... Perhaps I wan t clear. You were saying that even with Brendan having copyright and prior art and his own license that he d still need money to defend
                      Message 10 of 17 , Mar 3, 2002
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                        Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
                        >
                        > >>>>> "M" == Mark Collette <mcollett@...> writes:
                        >
                        > M> And the GPL would magically protect Brendan, how? Besides
                        > M> hoping that the EFF would jump in, then it doesn't matter if he
                        > M> uses his license or the GPL, they are both equally legally
                        > M> binding.
                        >
                        > http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html

                        Perhaps I wan't clear. You were saying that even with Brendan having
                        copyright and prior art and his own license that he'd still need money
                        to defend himself in court if someone tried to screw hime over, and so
                        he should use the GPL. My response was not saying that the GPL in
                        unenforceable. It was that his own license would be as enforceable, and
                        neither would magically pay his legal fees, so using the GPL offers no
                        more protection than his own license.

                        Mark Collette
                      • Gary Lawrence Murphy
                        ... M Perhaps I wan t clear. You were saying that even with Brendan M having copyright and prior art and his own license that he d M still need money to
                        Message 11 of 17 , Mar 4, 2002
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                          >>>>> "M" == Mark Collette <mcollett@...> writes:

                          M> Perhaps I wan't clear. You were saying that even with Brendan
                          M> having copyright and prior art and his own license that he'd
                          M> still need money to defend himself in court if someone tried to
                          M> screw hime over, and so he should use the GPL.

                          Yes, that is exactly what I was saying. You still must go to court,
                          armed with your prior art proof, and convince a judge. That costs
                          money to do. It does not matter if you are right or wrong.

                          M> My response was not saying that the GPL in unenforceable. It
                          M> was that his own license would be as enforceable

                          That page does not only say the GPL is enforceable, it says that the
                          FSF expend their own resources to enforce the GPL; if just one case of
                          the GPL were to fail, their entire org would be in jeopardy. That
                          page explains that they have yet to need to take it to court, as that
                          webpage explains, because most often all it takes is a phonecall from
                          their lawyer. Would a phonecall from my rural lawyer be taken as
                          seriously? (I'd still have to pay my lawyer to make the call, and for
                          his time spent understanding why it is I want him to make it, so that's
                          maybe about $500 just to get that far!)

                          My knowledge of the mechanics of IP law comes second hand, from the
                          writings of Richard Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic
                          dome. Bucky relates one day receiving a phonecall from a patent
                          lawyer who said "We cannot find a loophole in your patent, so we'd
                          like to arrange a license" and that's when it hit Bucky that finding
                          ways around licensing contracts was the primary _role_ of patent
                          lawyers.

                          I read recently of yet another university campus that pulled all music
                          trading software from their network after a threat of legal action
                          from a small company of self-appointed IP lawyers who were acting _on_
                          _behalf_ of Sony. As in the BT cases (which recently made headlines
                          again in the UK Times), when faced with the choice of a policy change
                          or a legal battle, most cave in to the pressure not because they agree
                          with the suit, but because they cannot afford to fight.

                          My lawyer is not a big name and is a free agent not aligned with any
                          partnership. He costs $150/hr. Filing papers for the courts
                          generally costs money, and the actual audience with a judge costs
                          money. Life in court is a crapshoot: If the judge likes your
                          opponents lawyers more than yours, you're looking at paying for an
                          appeal.

                          If you can afford to spend thousands to defend yourself in court, that's
                          great, and more power to you. I can't, so I depend on the weight of
                          the FSF to do it for me.

                          --
                          Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@...> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
                          Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
                          "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)
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