ZDNet: Walking the open-source tightrope

“The moment you assert ownership of software in such a manner
that you, exclusively, are able to charge money for its use, you’re
going to run afoul of free software advocates, no matter how you
try to sugar-coat it. The definition of free software is pretty
explicit, and doesn’t allow for any restrictions on how programs
may be copied, modified, or used. Even software that is free for
personal but not commercial use is considered neither free software
nor open source. So there’s not a lot of room to move.”

“Having said that, a number of companies have tried some novel
approaches to walk this tightrope. They want to earn some revenue
from licensing fees without angering too many parts of the Linux

“One of the more novel ones came from British developer Vita
Nuova, whose unique approach to licensing I described last year.
You pay once to license the company’s Inferno OS, then can
redistribute as much as you want of the binaries (and much of the
source) without extra fees. While interesting, this approach hasn’t
made Inferno (now in its third release) visible outside the
embedded market.”


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