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Re: What is source ?


From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: What is source ?
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2006 21:42:33 -0000
User-agent: slrn/0.9.7.4 (OS/2 for ENIAC)

In article <address@hidden>, Vincent Rivière wrote:
> For example, I write a wonderful library from scratch (only my own
> sources).  It may be useful to other people, but I don't want it to be
> used in closed-source commercial projects, so I release it under the terms
> of the GPL.
>
> But because I am the copyright holder of the library, I (and only I) can
> write a software statically linked to the library and release it as
> closed-source.
> 
> Am I right ?

Yes, *but* you must keep in mind that this only works for your code.  If the
users of your GPL release contribute back code, you can't use that code in
your closed-source version, unless the people who wrote that code give you
permission.

Releasing code under GPL to the general public, while keeping a
closed-source version for yourself can actually be a good strategy.  Say
there is some field where you can make a really good application.  Release a
closed-source version, and release a GPL'ed version that isn't as advanced,
so that there is a good reason for, say, professional users, to buy your
closed-source version instead of using the free version.

Meanwhile, the GPL version is out there, making it so there is no commercial
market for a "light" version, which helps discourage competitors from
breaking into your market, as they would not be able to start with the low
end market and work up.  They have to break in with a high-end version to
match your commercial version.

There is some risk here--the GPL version might develop an active community
that might advance it to rival or surpass your commercial version.

-- 
--Tim Smith


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