Episode 153 Discussion Topic

We want to try something new here for episode 153. I’m going to post a link to an article and want to get some of your feedback and thoughts. Some of the ideas that provide a different perspective we may bring up in the show directly. Let’s see how it works =)

A discussion topic this week will be this article: FUSE for macOS: Why a popular open source library became closed source and commercially licensed • The Register

The focus here isn’t so much just this one instance but rather the approach we’re seeing where developers are changing licenses so their work is not used for commercial purposes with no compensation or contribution. Is this the way it should be addressed? Are there better solutions?

Let us know your take.


I think an important facet that needs to be addressed with instances such as this:

Is what I am producing meant to be a business model?

If the answer to this (or something similar along this line of thinking) is yes, then an approach to marketing should be entertained. One way could be going in at it in the way that the product is worth the money since it provides such a service.

With keeping it open source, the marketing angle is to market it as something that the consumer (whichever audience this pertains to) gains for the amount it’s worth. Obviously, a certain apprehensiveness has to be understood by the maintainer as both sides of the argument would hold true. One side, the product is open source which can be used freely; whereas, on the other side, the product is worth it’s weight to the audience which takes advantage of it’s use.

Create the brand and market it with the trust built behind it. Linux has branched endlessly (seemingly) with products branched which are profitable (ex. RHEL). Take the product core and market it as the trusted branded product which has the track record to back it up. It can be “open source” by allowing the base to be open source, but the product which is marketed can be closed. Close it to paying customers which can trust the maintainers behind it to provide the timely updates, security, customer service, and reliablility.

Then it becomes closed source, right? That product of the branch does. And that’s the product which will get a return on investment whilst keeping it open source for those which want to maintain it outside of the branded product. Slap a name on it which differentiates it from the rest and market it as the product the paying audience can depend on.

This is obviously an oversimplification, but it made sense in my head!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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I feel this should be the standard, and not only wish it was, but wish the courts understood and pushed it as well!

I’ve always felt that if your going to use someone’s software, for either personal or educational use - you should give something… whether it’s promotion, donation, time in testing or documenting, etc - you can always give something for using other people’s labor (even if its a labor of love).

But if you are going to profit from it, either directly or indirectly - then you should be required to pay for it in some form.

Imagine where some of these critical components would be if Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Governments, etc all HAD to pay to use things like OpenSSL or LibreSSL, etc - even if it was minimal amounts (to them)…

If these projects were getting tens of thousands of dollars fractionally from all of these businesses, how much better would these projects be off…

How many more incredible projects would there be for people to use because all of these talented developers would see that they could make a great living being part of one of these projects (or behind an incredible project of their own)…


It’s bummer when a FOSS product goes closed. In this case however, the last paragraph sounds like may kill it by doing their own version… maybe based on the last open version?

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That’s one hell of a topic.

I feel like it’s such a mess it shouldn’t even be allowed to get that far. Some form of pre-installed standardized donation system that enables a user to easily donate to an app and have that split between the individual contributors based on some parameters would be a good start.

If there was a reward like a special code that would give you a donation star next to your name on participating messaging services that’d really kick things into gear.

That’s obviously way easier said than done and you have to be careful of creating weird incentives like making the donation split system too game-able but it looks like the better option.

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Oh and I hope you realize when you do these it’ll be like herding cats. lol

No mentions necessary, if I say one thing that’s helpful just run with it. Show first.