Subject: Re: Open Source Business Found Parasitic, and the ADCL
From: "John R. Strohm" <>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 18:50:55 -0600

Go read the General Public License.  Go read Richard Stallman's extensive
writings on the philosophy of and behind Free Software.  You clearly do not
understand what he was trying to do, and why.

Understanding Stallman's work on Free Software is FUNDAMENTAL to
understanding the bastardization of his concept that is "Open Source".
Until you understand what Stallman was trying to do, you will not understand
where and why the "Open Source" advocates are retreating.

I'll give you a starting point.  Stallman saw binary-only distribution of
proprietary software hamper the ongoing work at the MIT AI Lab.  In the
early days, the source code was always available, and, as a direct result,
people could fix things when they got broken.  In later days, without the
source code, it was impossible to fix the problems.

Further.  Stallman wrote the original version of Emacs, and gave a copy to
someone else.  That person SOLD that copy to a third party, and the third
party, believing that they had the rights, came back to Stallman and told
him to cease-and-desist infringing on their property.  Unfortunately,
Stallman being a graduate student (that term generally being synonymous with
"poverty-stricken") did not have the funds to retain an attorney and fight
the matter.

These experiences radicalized Stallman, and started him on his crusade.  He
would write software, give it to the world, and require that anyone who did
anything useful with his software ALSO give it to the world.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2003 5:07 AM
Subject: Open Source Business Found Parasitic, and the ADCL

> Dear all:
> On 2002-11-22 I originated the thread "The OSD and commercial use" on this
> list (, about the problem of selling open
> source software. After lurking over the ensuing discussion (thanks guys) I
> promised to come back with my thereafter educated reflections. Here they
> now, in the form of the teasing little article reproduced below.
> In the meanwhile, the thread "Commercial license?" on comp.lang.ada (CLA),
> initiated on 2003-03-10, led me to the Ada Developers Cooperative License
> [Leif 2002], which I found astonishingly similar in gist to my individual
> efforts of a license conciliating open source and commercial software
> 2003]. Namely I think both licenses meet with the same obstacles, which I
> describe in the article (see also the former OSI thread). So I'm also
> addressing the CLA posters. OSI people may skip the rest of this
> Ada guys, I'm very fond of the idea of the Ada Developers Cooperative:
> give it a push! Robert, be sure to count me in as a "Ada capitalist".
> I think you'll find [Alves 2003] a "concise informal formulation" (not a
> *re*formulation of ADCL as you wanted, but an alternate formulation of the
> same gist). I have many more ideas relating to the ADC: is there a mailing
> list yet?
> The thread on CLA had also the catalytic effect of making me finalize the
> article, which had been in 'pre-draft' form for some months.
> Regards,
> --MAA
> Version 1maa (2003-03-12)
> (C) Mário Amado Alves
> (I intend to publish this text in a wider medium than this list, unless
> essential faults are found in it. I welcome any collaboration: "I" can
> to "we". The title is also changeable.)
> I am an open source fan. I say this right away to clear up any impressions
> the contrary given by the title. Specifically, I have the utmost respect
> admiration for all existing open source businesses: RedHat, MySQL AB, etc.
> (trademark signs required?) It is not their fault that their business is
> parasitic.
> I am also a believer in intellectual property. Specifically, I believe
> authors (copyright owners?) are entitled to a just compensation for the
> commercial use of their work.
> So, naturally, I want to combine these two principles (open source and
> intellectual property). However, I have found this to be very hard, if not
> impossible.
> In the rest of this text I explain the problem in detail, and propose
> solutions. Open source business being parasitic is just one aspect, risen
> title status simply for its provocative appeal.
> The current reflections are about open source in connection with the
> of selling software; not support, or anything else that is associated with
> software but that is not it.
> Most open source licenses, including GPL, simply forbid selling the
> I have found no rationale for this.
> Fortunately the OSD (Open Source Definition) does not forbid selling the
> software. (Or does it?)
> However, because of clause 6 (no discrimination against fields of
> the open source business must either sell to all recipients (including
> of derivative works?) or give away to all.
> Because selling to all would in practice prevent open source benefits to
> place, notably contribution from the community at large, the open source
> business has to give it away. Bye bye business.
> Curiously enough, this effect of clause 6 is contrary to a certain
> interpretation of its own rationale, which is to allow open source to be
> commercially. The interpretation is one whereby "commercial use"
> includes "selling software".
> Also, the general problem depends on an certain interpretation of clause 6
> itself, whereby "restrict" includes "requiring a fee". (This
> seems fairly reasonable, but if it is wrong please let me know ASAP so I
> start selling open source software right away.)
> So, open source software cannot be sold, but this seems to be an
> effect of the license terms.
> I propose to look back at the open source rationalia, and revise the OSD
> in order to correct this effect.
> Of course relaxing clause 6 to allow discrimination w.r.t. requiring a fee
> a possible solution. It would be just a patch up, and I do not advocate to
> it in isolation, but the hypothesis may point some directions.
> Pending a clean solution, there exists an 'emulation' of the business of
> selling open source software: dual licensing.
> Dual licensing: Copyright owners release under a 'spreading' open source
> license (usually GPL). Users wanting to sell derivatives must obtain a non
> open source (or just non spreading?) license.
> Business: the 'closed' license is sold.
> Problem: Only the copyright owners can sell the closed license. So the
> license vendor must own the copyright of all modifications made to their
> product (by the open source community at large). Is this feasible?
> Done? (MySQL?)
> Another problem: The need to buy a closed license for X lies exclusively
> the existence of (exclusively) closed software Y the buyer is joining with
> to form a distributable or sellable product Z. If Y is opened, then Z must
> also be opened, and then, again, bye bye business. Corollary (unwanted?):
> open source business (dual licensing) is parasitic on non-open source
> business. If everybody went open source, nobody could sell software!
> [Alves 2003]
> Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts : Version 3 (2003-03-12) / Mário Amado
> Alves. -- Internal document. -- (Reproduced here as Annex A.)
> [GPL]
> The GNU General Public License (GPL) : Version 2, June 1991 / (c) 1989,
> Free Software Foundation. -- Internet, 2002. -- 6 p.
> [Hecker 2000]
> Setting Up Shop : The Business of Open-Source Software / Frank Hecker. --
> Originally published May 1998, revised 20 June 2000 : Revision 0.8 :
Draft. --
> Internet, 2002. -- 35 p.
> [Leif 2002]
> Ada Developers Cooperative License : Version 0.31 (Draft) / Robert C.
Leif. --
> July 4, 2002;
2003. -- 12
> p.
> [LGPL]
> GNU Library General Public License : Version 2, June 1991 / (c) 1991 Free
> Software Foundation. -- Internet, 2002. -- 7 p.
> [Malcolm 2002]
> Problems in Open Source Licensing / Jeremy Malcolm. -- Internet, 2002.
> [MySQL 2002]
> MySQL Licensing Policy. --, 2002. -- 3 p.
> [OSD]
> The Open Source Definition : Version 1.9 / (c) 2002 by the Open Source
> Initiative. --, 2002. -- 2 p.
> 2003-03-12: finalized version 1maa
> ANNEX A. Full contents of [Alves 2003]
> Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts
>     Version 3 (2003-03-12)
>     (C) Mário Amado Alves
>   1  General
>     1.1  The gist of these conditions is: (a) an MAA artifact is
>     freely, but if (b) anyone makes money using it, then (c) the authors
>     the artifact are entitled to a just compensation. Here "free" implies
>     "open source", as per the Open Source Definition by OSI, at
>     1.2  The effective version of these conditions is, at any time, the
>     recent one that is not contrary to the gist described in 1.1.
>     "these conditions" denote the effective version.
>     1.3  The use of any MAA artifact is subject to these conditions. The
>     of an MAA artifact, not in accordance with these conditions, is an
>     illegal act.
>     1.4  An MAA artifact is any artifact claimed to be such by its
>     Any artifact authored exclusively by MAA has such claim made
>     1.5  Any copy of an MAA artifact must have a license for its use, as
>     follows.
>     1.6  A copy used in a business must have a specific license for that
>     explicitly issued by MAA. Such a license is called a "commercial
>     license" and is explained in 4.
>     1.7  A copy not used in a business has an MAA Non-Commercial License
>     implicitly issued by MAA at zero monetary cost. Such license is
>     in 2.
>     1.8  The use of a copy is subject to the conditions defined in its
>     license.
>     1.9  "Used in a business" means being part of a commercial service or
>     commercial product, or being used in the process of creating,
>     or providing such service or product. "Commercial" means having the
>     purpose or result of being sold.
>   2  MAA Non-Commercial License
>     2.1  This license defines the conditions of use of, a copy of an MAA
>     artifact, not used in a business, as defined in 1. Henceforth such a
>     is called "the artifact".
>     2.2  The artifact may be copied or distributed. Any distribution must
>     have a copy made publicly available in the Internet.
>     2.3  If the artifact is a software program or component its
>     must include the entire source code of the artifact.
>     2.4  The artifact may be modified as long as: (a) the modification is
>     described with at least the date of the modification and the
>     identification of the author of the modification, and (b) all
>     pre-existing descriptions of modifications or creation, including
>     copyright notices, are preserved in the modified copy.
>     2.5  The modified artifact is still an MAA artifact subject to the
>     current Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts.
>     2.6  The artifact must exhibit the MAA Artifact Notice defined in 3.
>     2.7  A distribution of the artifact must include a copy of the current
>     Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts.
>     2.8  A product containing the artifact, or a service using it, must
>     advertise that fact. Note that if the product or service is commercial
>     (as per 1.9) then 1.5 applies, and not this license.
>     2.9  A product containing the artifact may be distributed under
>     license if and only if this other license respects the gist 1.1 of the
>     current license and it is an open source license not less restrictive
>     than the current license and MAA is notified.
>   3  MAA Artifact Notice
>     This is an MAA artifact. The use of an MAA artifact is subject to the
>     Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts, which the user must know in order
>     be in a legal state. These conditions are described in the file
>     conditions_of_use_of_maa_artifacts.txt, or at, or
>     AdaPower.Net/~maa, or upon request to, or to
>     MAA@AdaPower.Net, or to, or to postal address Alameda
>     Descobrimentos 490 R/C Esq, 4480 VILA CONDE, Portugal, or to phone
>     351-252646623.
>   4  MAA Business
>     4.1  The MAA business is the selling of commercial licenses for MAA
>     artifacts. MAA is the only entity that can issue commercial licenses
>     an MAA artifact.
>     4.2  MAA represents all authors of an MAA artifact when dealing with a
>     prospective or effective buyer of a commercial license. A commercial
>     license for an MAA artifact is not issued without the agreement of all
>     authors of the artifact.
>     4.3  All authors, of an MAA artifact subject to a commercial license,
>     entitled to the just monetary reward for their participation in the
>     making of the artifact. This is negotiated between MAA and the
>     4.4  MAA is the entity identified in 3 and he is currently a
>     liberal professional named Mário Rafael da Silva Amado Alves with
>     number 154089354. Eventually MAA may take the form of a company, but
>     will not significantly modify the Conditions of Use of MAA Artifacts.
> 2002-11-17: finalized version 2
> 2003-02-12: version 3 = version 2 + cosmetics
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> This mail sent through NIAAD:

license-discuss archive is at