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Re: Licensing policies (was Re: ANN: Docuverse DOM SDK PR2

From: John Cowan <cowan@locke.ccil.org>
Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 11:28:37 -0400
Message-ID: <35F54D25.56A69DEE@locke.ccil.org>
To: www-dom@w3.org
Tyler Baker wrote:

> If you ever plan on making any money off of a product, never give it away for free.

Tell that to Red Hat and Cygnus!  Charging for the direct use of
software is by no means the only means of making money off it.

> The only reasons I see for creating free software is either idealism,
> enhancing your personal or company reputation in the developer community, or to kill
> your up and coming competitors.

How about: faster development time, lower overhead, greatly increased
product liability, increased closeness to the customer, broader
market, and others.  See http://www.opensource.org/for-suits.html .
> The DOM SDK license is as restrictive as Docuverse wants to make it.

Of course.  I merely urge the benefits of making it less restrictive.

> In the real
> world there is no such thing as a free lunch so you should not expect Docuverse or
> any other small ISV to be the angels of free software.

I don't like the term "free software", possibly due to its association with
"free beer".  See http://www.opensource.org/free-notfree.html .

> Even though I don't plan on using the DOM SDK myself anytime soon, I think it would
> do the developer community more benefit in the long run if Docuverse were to charge
> a fair price for a commercial license so there is incentive in the future for
> Docuverse to do bug-fixes and updates and maybe even provide some level of support.

As for that, I'd rather have the benefits of bug-fixes and support by an evolving
community.  As long as the product is useful, that community isn't going to go out of
business, lose interest, or abandon the users --- they *are* the users.  Consider
things like sendmail and BIND, without which the Internet would come to a screeching

> If you look at the best XML tools to date you will find that they are not from the
> big names that we know of, rather small guys who are dedicated to quality.  If we
> all want quality tools to work with we will all need to put our money where our
> mouth is one way or another.

Absolutely.  I'm all for Don making money.  But he's not going to make money on the
DOM SDK directly; he's said so.  Larry Wall doesn't make money on Perl
(which uses the Artistic License) directly, but he's surely not starving these days.

John Cowan	http://www.ccil.org/~cowan		cowan@ccil.org
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)
Received on Tuesday, 8 September 1998 11:29:52 UTC

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