GRASS for sale? no.

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Fri Jun 4 19:47:31 EDT 1999

On Fri, Jun 04, 1999 at 10:50:01AM -0500, B Byars wrote:
> Our position is to keep GRASS free for everyone.  Period.  
> We're not going to "go commercial" and require that everyone pay for it.  
I am happy to hear that. 
And it is great that you took the time to make this statement.

Okay, now the question on how to do it.
And what _free_ really means.

> Also, there has been concern arising about copyright.  
To be precise: someone has to claim the copyright, even if
every contributor claims the code written for themselfs.
Otherwise you don't have any control about what you give out.

And now we are talking licenses.

> We have had our general counsel office and an outside firm
> specializing in software issues working with us.  The GPL in their
> opinion has too many holes in it.  

As far as I know the GPL has been constructed with help 
from software copyright specialist on behalf of the FSF.
Richard Stallman(rms at probably will be happy to hear if you can
help him identify holes in it. We should contact him about this.

> What is in the works is a document that keeps GRASS free, but also
> protects every developer.  In other words, if you develop something,
> contribute it to the community, and a commercial firm commercializes
> it w/out permission, we will act on your behalf.  

This would be another free software license with a twist.
The GPL and others are generally considered very save and creating 
a new one might impose more problems which will slow down the process.

1. It has to be broadly accepted as a Free Software License before 
more people can use it.

2. Other licenses might have compatibility problems with your license.
(Especially when they are not sure whether to consider it a free
software license.)

And free software nowadays also includes the right to use the software
commercially. This is required by the three major groups of people, who
would be the first to consider your license: FSF, OpenSource and Debian.

Commerical in that sence means that you can charge for the software,
modifications or services. But you cannot change the license or withhold
code of any change you make to the software (except nobody _forces_ you to
open personal changes) or the code itself. 
And you have to tell the customers their rights.

So "commercial" and "free software" does not necessaily contradict each
other. (Example: GNU ada compiler or Roxen Challenger Webserver.)

So a company can make money on that free software with selling services
for it.  A popular example would be RedHat.  The user community get's
all the code and therefore profits from it and can be sure that their
will be a very good protection against a monopoly.  Think about it, if
RedHat does something, people don't like, they go and buy mandrake,
which actually started out that way.

The bottom line:
	1. If the GPL has holes, please point them out to the free
	software community.

	2. Please use a known Free Software License to avoid acceptance

	3. If you cannot do 2., please make sure that it conforms
	to Free Software.


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