Michael Meeks points out one of the poorly recognised aspects of dual-license scenarios (including those where patents are licensed). The contract companies submit to in order to gain non-open-source access to the software may well (in my experience usually does) include clauses restricting the exercise of freedoms available under the open source license. That can mean losing the freedom to contribute to competing projects or the freedom to use the software in other contexts under the open source license rather than under the private agreement.
One of the unseen menaces to software freedom is bilateral (private) agreements that supersede apparent freedoms. That’s a great reason to oppose RAND as a way of licensing patents in standards by the way – RAND ensures the market is not transparent and open because it compels participants to engage in bilateral agreements that supersede software freedom.
- Red Hat tries the value argument for open source
This is the sort of thing that makes me want to believe in synchronicity. My keynote in Bolzano at SFSCON just before Savio posted this story was about some of the benefits of open source that would be worth paying extra for.
Just leaving Bolzano after three nights here for SFSCON (a small but perfectly formed FOSS conference). Passing through the tiny airport I noticed an unusual security requirement – which was being actively enforced. Despite apple strudel (that’s a delicious, giant pastry filled with spiced apple and mixed berries) being a major tourist item on sale in Bolzano, it’s banned on aircraft here.
I asked the delightfully friendly supervisor why, and she explained that it’s impossible with the x-ray machine at the security checkpoint to distinguish between cooked apple and a certain kind of explosive and so, with so many false alarms, they had to ban it…