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Re: Fwd: Re: [Ossi] New Open Source License: Single Supplier Open Source License

From: "Uwe C(dot) Schroeder" <uwe(at)oss4u(dot)com>
To: Richard Schilling <rschi(at)rsmba(dot)biz>, pgsql-general(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: [Ossi] New Open Source License: Single Supplier Open Source License
Date: 2004-01-25 23:51:35
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Well, I think this type of license defies the general idea of an Open Source 
License. A single supplier open source license would be a closed license with 
source handed to the customer (mostly under a non-disclosure term). 
A single supplier open source license simply is no open source, since nobody 
could benefit from the source - thus it's not "open". Is it even legally ok 
to read code licensed like this ? It might influence the implementation of a 
similar problem.

What is the idea behind handing source to anybody where the source may not be 
used in any way ? The only benefit I can see would be under a special 
agreement to the customer in case the "single supplier" goes out of business. 
Then the customer could be granted rights to develop/use the product on an 
ongoing basis for his business. But this is nothing that needs an open source 
license - it just needs an agreement with the customer (and handing out the 
source of course)

Also - if it's not acceptable for a developer to work on a software product 
that is open source, then don't. But please also tell those developers to not 
use any open source tools/languages/operating systems - since it might be 
unacceptable for the community to give anything to those developers.....

Although nobody really requires you to contribute to any open source project - 
it is considered nice and fair to return some of the favors by contributing 
back (at least a little contribution, error testing, whatever - nobody asks 
you to do full time development on that project)

You could still open source part of the project and keep the rest closed. For 
example reportlab ( used this scheme quite successfully: The 
open sourced the pdf generating library, but didn't open the XML description 
language and parser which uses the library. Doing so promotes their product - 
everyone can play with the library, but if you need it in large scale you 
most likely go back to reportlab and buy the addon's and services.

My $0.02


On Sunday 25 January 2004 03:10 pm, Richard Schilling wrote:
> I'm forwarding this message onto this list because this is where the thread
> belongs.  I apologise for posting to the active development list.
> ----- Begin Forwarded Message -----
> Date: 2004.01.25 14:27
> Subject: Re: [Ossi] New Open Source License: Single Supplier Open Source
> License[rschi(at)rsmba(dot)biz] From: Richard Schilling
> <rschilling(at)nationalinformatics(dot)net>
> The purpose of the license is very simple.  It clarifies that the job of
> providing value-added, support, and other services for a software product
> is the job of the original developers and not others.  If the original
> developers want to transfer that right then they can.  It's the original
> developers' job to provide service, training, support, custom development,
> and value added services like web hosting using their product.  It is not
> acceptable in my view for a software developer to work on a software
> product just so some other company can try to make a living by running
> their website with that software.  It is the responsibility, however, of
> the software developer to make sure that the training, services, and
> value-added whatever are provided in a quality way.
> It is not the goal of this license to allow a high school student to use a
> developer's software product to earn money by programming.  It's the goal
> of this license to ensure that my highly trained employees with MBAs and
> masters degrees have a means to be paid for their time on a project, and to
> protect that means indefinitely.
> On 2004.01.25 11:05 Robert Munro wrote:
> > A non-contractual software license rests on the rights of the copyright
> > holder, but Open Source copyleft licenses operate by granting of rights
> > not by imposing contract terms like submitting back changes and servicer
> > restrictions, sole-source distribution requirements and control of code.
> I think this is a source of confusion for many who read this license,
> Robert.  This license is not a copyleft license.  It's permission a
> developer can give the end user to use his/her software while retaining the
> exclusive right to provide services for hire on the product.  The purpose
> of this license is to let the developer earn money for services.  Is it a
> barrier for other companies who want to provide services on that
> developer's product?  You bet.
> > Some features of the proposal are also unenforceable just as a matter of
> > practicality.  If the users have the source code, how do you propose to
> > restrict who will work on that?  Obviously you can't, not in real life.
> Obviously if the product is distributed illegally but secretly there's no
> way to detect the violation.  Any seller of books has this problem.  It's a
> question of what agreement you have in place when you finally do discover
> the problem, and it's a question of making it publically and contractually
> clear what the developer wants.
> > In fact, such a servicer restriction (#4) would operate counter to users
> > compliance with point #3, that "any" modifications have to be submitted
> > back to the developer.  If a user has a non-approved programmer resolve
> > a bug, do you actually expect them to admit it by submitting code back?
> I would suggest that any potential contributor work directly with the
> initial developer to resolve any issues.  If the developer really wants
> help then he/she should be expected to allow the contributor to license
> their work in a similar fashion.  For example, if I write software under
> this license, and I need help, I am going to be able to offer some kind of
> living wage to the contributor because I know that I am always going to be
> the primary source for services related to the product.  Everyone on the
> development team gets paid.
> Can the project stall if no one wants to pay me and my contributors for our
> time?  Sure you bet - that's called a lack of demand and it means we'll
> invest our time into something else.
> > Open Source users contribute code back to active projects because that's
> > less work than reintegrating their local modifications after an upgrade,
> > and for other reasons such as pride of authorship and genuine altruism.
> > They also have security of knowing that a valuable Open Source software
> > product likely won't disappear if the vendor company folds or otherwise
> > ceases maintaining and improving the software.  The proposal kills this,
> > in points #4 thru #6.  Those would also tend to cripple users incentive
> > to contribute to the software, since they could not be assured continued
> > access to the evolving product.  What happens if you go out of business?
> If I go out of business I can transfer the rights of the license to someone
> else or sell them.  You're right, there is a danger in having a product
> simply dissappear - the same problem we would have with cars if a
> particular car manufacturer dissappeared.  We would not have that make of
> car available anymore.  But, I maintain that as long as the original
> development team can get paid for their time this is much less likely to
> happen.
> > These observations don't include the apparent conflict between points #4
> > through #6 and #8 with #7, that all contributors retain their copyrights
> > to their own code.  Your proposal would take away most of their rights,
> > so it's a little disingenuous to claim that they'd somehow retain those.
> Not at all.  You can retain copyright to your work and still negotiate a
> license for someone to use your work.  For example, if a person wants to
> contribute something to my original work, I don't need his/her copyrights. 
> What I need is permission from that person to include their work.  And, of
> course the contributor would be wise to negotiate some kind of wage for
> his/her time in making the contribution.
> > Point #8 is simply unnecessary.  One of the major problems popular Open
> > Source projects have is the overloading of main distribution servers at
> > significant upgrades.  Unauthorized, corrupted mirrors are almost never
> > encountered.  Users most typically have to be begged to use FTP mirrors.
> Allowing a high school student to download my code, change it and put it on
> their server is not enough quality control for my taste.  This point is
> ackward for many I know, but as we release products and people see the
> quality is there this won't be an issue.
> > I'd respectfully suggest that you think about what you really want your
> > alternative license to accomplish, what rights in copyright you control
> > and can license (as opposed to specifying under software contract terms)
> > to your users, and rely more on user incentives inherent in Open Source.
> >
> > Since the GPL permits dual-licensing, you might look into that approach.
> Thanks for the suggestion - we do constantly review the existing licenses
> to determine what is best for our customers and employees.  Dual licensing
> under the GPL presents too many complications and expense for use to manage
> it efficiently.
> Richard Schilling
> ----- End Forwarded Message -----
> ----- End Forwarded Message -----
> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
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Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: [Ossi] New Open Source License: Single Supplier
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Subject: Fwd: Re: [Ossi] New Open Source License: Single Supplier Open Source License

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