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From Donald Whytock <>
Subject Re: Commerce and open-soure (Was) Proposal to join Apache OpenOffice
Date Mon, 06 Jun 2011 18:11:50 GMT
Actually, "land-grab" isn't an invalid analogy.  Think of a
mountain...Imagine some enterprising nonprof manages to buy a scenic
mountain.  A cadre of volunteers sees to it, cleaning up litter and
the occasional forest fire.  The nonprof opens up the mountain for
anyone to go play on, as long as they don't unduly damage it.

This doesn't prevent commercial organizations from exploiting the
mountain.  People might sell mountain t-shirts, mountain pictures,
mini mountains, mountain tours, mountain bus trips or travel packages,
rooms in mountain-facing hotels, etc.  There's virtually no limit to
the amount of mountain-related business that can be
long as the mountain remains untouched.  Because all those businesses
rely on the mountain being there.

The purpose of the nonprof is to preserve the mountain and keep it
untouched, or at least reasonably pristine.  As opposed to, say, some
strip-mining company that would, for its own profit, make the mountain
go away.

And hey, if people from the surrounding businesses want to come in and
pick up trash too, more power to 'em.

On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Phillip Rhodes
<> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:43 PM, Benson Margulies <>wrote:
>> The expression 'land-grab' in here bothers me.
>> I understand (if not agree with) the 'deep philosophy justification'
>> of the FSF for a particular licensing strategy.
>> I understand the views of individuals who don't want to benefit
>> corporations without extracting, at least, some token cooperation in
>> return.
>> I don't understand the analogy in which code is 'land' which can be
>> 'grabbed'. If a corporation takes ALv2 licensed code and uses it to
>> launch some close-source thing, the code isn't used up. It's still
>> there where anyone else can use it for anything else.
> Thanks for saying that... I was thinking about making a similar post, but
> hadn't quite found time to
> figure out exactly how to express it.
> I realize some people interacting in this current discussion may not be
> long-time participants in ASF
> projects, and / or may be FSF / Free software ideologues... but I think it's
> important to realize that the
> ASF is not the FSF and that the Apache License is written the way it is for
> a reason, and that it reflects
> the ideals of the ASF community.  Here, as far as I can tell, it is
> completely acceptable for an entity
> (corporation or otherwise) to take Apache licensed code, put it into a
> proprietary app, and benefit from
> it commercially.   Yes, the community most likely finds it *desirable* for
> such an entity to contribute
> back in kind, but it's not required.  And here, that's just a normal "par
> for the course" part of the way things
> work.
> In short, complaining about what IBM, or any other commercial entity, plans
> to do with the OOo code, and
> spending all this energy worrying about IBM's strategy, and criticizing IBM,
> is not helping this process.
> The goal here is to get the code into the incubator, and have a healthy,
> vibrant community emerge that can run
> a viable project according to the Apache way.  A lot of this discussion
> strikes me as tangential (at best) to that.
> None of this is meant to disparage TDF, LibreOffice, or Free/Libre
> software... but the issues about commercialization
> of the code that might be crucial in some orgs, are not (as) relevant here.
>  A healthy, vibrant project is relevant... if
> IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, or Enron decide to use the code for a
> commercial project, then so be it.
> All of this is "IMO" of course.
> Phil

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