Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to GNU Public License and Mozilla Public License

You may be wondering why aD would produce code that could be adopted as part of a 'closed' product.

I may have my own personal opinions about GPL vs ADPL but there are some good legal and commercial reasons for aDs approach. In fact we are currently in a similar position regarding some code of our own (not related to ACS) that presents the same difficulty.

Basically, according to our solicitors, the ADPL makes ArsDigita's code more attractive to certain commercial organisations who may be interested in working with (and thus paying) arsDigita but need to create a closed source product.

In our case the opportunity exists to enter into a commercial arrangement with an organisation whereby they might use our code (and thus our services) as part of an overall offering. However adoption of the GPL would make this impractical, given that we'd also like to make the source publicly available.

It is therefore worth pointing out that the ADPL in some senses is a more generous, and commercially attractive license. What remains unfortunate is that they could not have created a license more clearly specified, that would not have been entirely incompatible.

Its one of those bottom line situations. Do you turn down potentially lucrative opportunities in favour of retaining the GPL? Such are the agonies of operating in a commercial environment.

I'd be surprised if it were not possible to create a license that allowed inclusion in 'closed' products of source code, only with contractual agreement of the author. In this way it would surely be possible to protect the code under the GPL and at the same time, as the author, retain certain commercial prospects?

Mind you all this legal stuff makes my head spin :o). I look forward to the day when the industry accepts that it is the individual and their creative potential that is the real asset, more so than the code. In this way we could all stop selling code, and begin selling ourselves......

As an aside, the real danger of the aDPL is that were all source to be published under it, you'd create an environment where the marketeers and salespeople would govern the success or a company, given that its technical assets would be so easily stripped.... And I'm sure that would suit them just fine...