Kurtz-Fernhout Software


Date: Sat, 13 May 2000 10:40:29 -0400

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

To:     unrev-II@egroups.com

Subject:   OHS/DKR Meta-NIC Fallback Plan

John \"sb\" Werneken wrote:

ACTION suggestion (if as a non-participant in the coding, I may do so): how about an "RFC UNREV-II-1: Request for Comments, to UNREV-II Group": "That our work carry the Free BSD License, of the type not requiring the acknowledgment". From what I see, ALL posters support either open source per se or open source with the ability for derivative work to be made proprietary. From what I understand, that License is accepted as "open source" and allows derivative work to be made proprietary.

If it got support, we would (1) dispose of an issue; (2) establish a frame for decision making; (3) experience the joy of moving forward on something; (4) remove an apparent source of contention and/or of energy diversion.

This license issue sometime seems like an immovable object. Here is a way around it.

Here's a fall back plan of almost the status-quo if license agreement is not reachable.

Drop the notion of BI/Colloquium developing any open source code -- since Stanford with its tradition for education for dollars and BI as a for-profit company are having trouble making the transition to open content and open source -- despite the best intentions. The continuance of the one-sided "permission to use" agreement shows this, since practically no cautious/experienced developer would release open source code under. No point in fighting that. People who want to build proprietary stuff to sell on top of an open source base (SRI etc.) can make whatever deals they want with BI/Stanford or others.

Keep using this list as a place for individuals to point out to other individuals open source ideas and efforts related to OHS/DKR issues. Use it to provide pointers to their own open source code and new releases. This has been happening already to an extent, especially with all the wonderful pointers to various projects which I have enjoyed immensely.

Then let those projects be discused here, with code discussions handled privately via private emails or lists unrelated to the Colloquium (avoiding implicit "permission to use" for any code fragment), and with code improvement acceptance handled by individuals under their own terms.

Individuals who have particiapted in the colloquium would have to make it clear that their own coding efforts were not an "extended activity of the colloquium" even if they were discussed on the list. Perhaps they would also need to start a legal defense fund for when Stanford (or BI) starts knocking on doors of anyone who has posted to this list, facing lawyers toting around a copy of "permission to use" asking for their salary and claiming warranty/indemnification protection for their clients use or sublicensing of such individuals code. :-(

Code to become part of the Colloquium would then have to be explicity granted, by an individual signing a document something like: "I agree to submit this code under the 'Permission to Use' unlimited indemnification license -- something which I would never do.

This list then becomes a "meta"-NIC for discussing open source efforts related to the OHS/DKR concept (which in practice is what it is now, just not officially).

Over time, out of that, there very likely may arise some meaningful new or enhanced projects "owned" by their originators and contributors (and in no way by BI or Stanford). These might then grow to be something impressive.

If at some time BI or Stanford will then agree to allow some or all of the content of the list or videos to become part of any such a project under some terms acceptable to both, then so be it.

This is what will happen anyway unless/until BI or Stanford addresses the license issue. It may happen even then, given the social dynamics of open source programming. Creative people may have many things to contribute that may not yet be in "the spec". Implementing someone else's detailed spec is usually (but not always) done for pay not joy. The only times it is done for joy are usually when the coder is getting a lot out of a mentoring relationship or some other indirect benefit.

If all this happened (as it is happening now), I would still think Stanford & BI would have made a great contribution to an open source OHS/DKR by creating this forum -- even if they have not contributed a line of code under an open source license or a single email under an open content license.


Kurtz-Fernhout Software

Paul Fernhout

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