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Does "Open Core" Actually Differ from Proprietary Relicensing?

Oct 20, 2010, 22:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bradley M. Kuhn)

"I've been criticized — quite a bit this week, but before that too — for using the term "Open Core" as a shortcut for the phrase "proprietary relicensing0 that harms software freedom". Meanwhile, Matt Aslett points to Andrew Lampitt's "Open Core" definition as canonical. I admit I wasn't aware of Lampitt's definition before, but I dutifully read it when Aslett linked to it, and I quote it here:

[Lampitt] propose[s] the following for the Open Core Licensing business model:

* core is GPL: if you embed the GPL in closed source, you pay a fee
* technical support of GPL product may be offered for a fee (up for debate as to whether it must be offered)
* annual commercial subscription includes: indemnity, technical support, and additional features and/or platform support. (Additional commercial features having viewable or closed source, becoming GPL after timebomb period are both up for debate).
* professional services and training are for a fee.

The amusing fact about this definition is that half the things on it (i.e., technical support, services/training, indemnity, tech support) can be part of any FLOSS business model and do not require the offering company to hold the exclusive right of proprietary relicensing."

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