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new/unique software licenses

Dan Maas Mentioned unique licensing in another forum topic:
[I think we will start to see more companies thrive on new licensing models, such as the combination of making source available while charging for use licenses. (I am contemplating this model for my own project - I think my customers would benefit a great deal from access to the source code, but I still want to have my revenue come from license sales).

With the advent of .Net applications and their inhernet nature of exposing IL code, thereby making decompiling very easy, I have seen some companies that usually release only binary products start to experiment with new licensing methods licesinging their .Net products binary AND also licesing the source code provided that you don't simply recompile the source and compete with them directly. Dan mentions Archaeopteryx's  Wings IDE and their unique licenses so I was wondering if anyone knew of similiar licensing examples that we could look at.

BUT before posting - I don't really care about posts on why open source is good/bad, the POSIX subsystem, communism, or Richard Stallman, or why *nix r00lz. I just want to see if anyone in the software industry is trying to find a good middle ground between opening the source code and releasing only binary apps. What new licensing schemes are people coming up with and what are their implications?

Ian Stallings
Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Well one new option with web services is never give the user your application. I've released an app like this, and found the code has never been more secure. Very hard to decompile if you don't have the binary.

Robin Debreuil
Tuesday, September 3, 2002

yeah, i'd say kind of hard <g>

Our jury on webservices is still out. We are creating developer components and decided to take the prepackaged software route. Maybe in the future we will expose our API through a webservice but who knows. For now we just want to sell components and their source code, while at the same time protecting ourself.

Ian Stallings
Tuesday, September 3, 2002

"BUT before posting - I don't really care about posts on why open source is good/bad, the POSIX subsystem, communism, or Richard Stallman, or why *nix r00lz."


Steven Wisener
Tuesday, September 3, 2002

BerkeleyDB license interview.  Similar to gpl.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Basically, from reading past articles I have the impression that in the distant past (60's and 70's) most products were 'open source' software (but seldom free!). I wasn't in the business then (born in the mid-seventies myself), but perhaps some other reader can comment on that?

Before software and hardware were commoditized, open source was probably the only way for software to be distributed; In our post comoditization every-company-can-bankrupt-any-day era, I'd expect anyone to prefer open source for anything which wasn't commoditized, but for some reason, not many do.

Ori Berger
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

That would be magazine articles in general, NOT joelonsoftware articles, in case you wonder.


Ori Berger
Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Thanks for the Article post YCM. It seems like Sleepycat uses two different licenses for the Berkely DB. One is basically a GPL for developers that don't intend to distribute the code and the other is a use license for those that intend to ditribute the code, charging them a fee.

The license we have outlined basically says that if you intend to distribute our code in your product then it must be compiled using our source code into your product, that way our license, that states you cannot expose the API on the target machine, can be honored. I will have to see what our lawyer thinks but opefully we can make it work. We simply want to give others the ability to use and build on our code without destroying our market by allowing users to simply repackage and distribute our code.

Ian Stallings
Thursday, September 5, 2002

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