Kurtz-Fernhout Software


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2000 16:39:56 -0400

From:   Paul Fernhout
Reply-To: unrev-II@egroups.com
Organization: Kurtz-Fernhout Software

To:     unrev-II@egroups.com

Subject:   License Model: Preliminary Suggestion

[Responding to Eric Armstrong's letter on April 21, 2000...] "Open Source" (TM) Licenses cannot discriminate among classes of users. The system outlined [...in Eric's letter would not be considered "open source" or "Open Source"(TM).


See specifically "The Open Source Definition":


Violating these guidelines would likely lose the participation of open source developers.

I have been participating in this colloquium on the basis of the promised "open source" nature of the eventual OHS/DKR. If a license was chosen as is described below, I would not be too happy about that.

One can make money from open source software if that is one's goal. You just can't do it by selling the right to use the source or resultant binaries of the core distribution. You can't live in both worlds with a core codebase. Sun is trying it with Java and failing compared to what Java could have been.

If Sun had delivered Java with an open source VM code base on day one, there would never have been this hord of over 100 slightly incompatible reimplimented JVMs all over the place -- making reliable Java code delivery to an arbitrary end user the nightmare it is today. That is why Java is considered by many to be dead on the browser for end users, and is now being used mainly in servlets. I use this as a cautionary tale -- pick the wrong license and much effort and good intentions may go for nothing and the wheel gets reinvented (badly) anyway.

Frankly, I don't think making money from selling stuff to support this effort should be a *primary* goal. If money is an issue, there are foundations and governments with billions of dollars spent annually on efforts less worthwhile then what is proposed here.

It would be better for individuals in my opinion interested in making money as part of this effort to either:

  1. be funded by grants individually or through a non-profit like the Bootstrap Alliance

  2. be funded by companies as employees (or contractors) and use and improve the DKR as part of their job to increase the companies efficiency (at the home company or on loan a Bootstrap alliance participant),

  3. provide services as a RedHat/DigitalCreations/VALinux style company (installation, training, hosting, security analysis, customization) to companies to increase the companies efficiency using DKR technology, or (less desirably)

  4. provide proprietary add ons to the core distribution.

Look at the Zope business model for a good example of the possibilities.



I think broadly put, the best license choices are:

Given the pro-business stance of the Bootstrap Alliance, I think BSD-ish is the way to go (or for the more cautious, something like IBM's public license -- but I'd rather BSDish or Python-ish.).

Here are some other approved "Open Source" licenses I could probably live with:


some of which impose other restrictions, none with the commercial clause described below.


Kurtz-Fernhout Software

Paul Fernhout

Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator