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[REBOL] Re: Looking for help

From: robbo1mark:aol at: 6-Mar-2002 8:45

Gabrielle, Business Management & Economics is what I qualified in at degree level at University so all this appeals to me. It seems to me that you are doing that which I discussed in my previous post and using your REBOL skills as a vital component part in your overall customised business solution offering to your customers. They have a genuine business need or "problem" and you apply your REBOL & programming skills to provide a solution. What you are offering is YOUR skills and knowledge to develop & provide a "customised" solution for your clients. Your business is a SERVICE product not a boxed GOODS product. This is an important distinction. Sure the software components you've developed are a very valuable part of providing your solution and offer you an advantage in terms of re-usable code and lowering your development costs and speeding up your development times. However your business does NOT appear to be based on selling this software as a product rather it is merely a component tool you use to your advantage. With regards to licensing, the point I was trying to make about choosing ANY license is that ALL licenses have not insignificant costs in terms of YOUR time and money if you wish to ensure proper license compliance. Being a Small Developer you may also find that the client might want a say in the terms of Software License which will apply to the software and services they are paying you for. They may demand source code availability as terms of the contract to protect their investment and future interests should anything bad happen or if you can or won't support the product any longer. Admittedly not ALL clients are this enlightened. However the main point is that the terms of a contract are a TWO way thing to be negotiated and agreed, he who pays the piper calls the tune & all that. Lets assume a scenario here. Firstly you package a REBOL database development solution and distribute it in a binary format using REBOL/ENCAP having come to some agreement with RT Inc. about per user royalties. You make it freely available to the list members here and any body else who wants it on a "free for non commercial use" license. The terms of your license also state that to incorporate this into a commercial product or for use in commercial organisations having to make a certain payment or agree suitable terms with yourself. It's a good product, people like it and find it very useful and start to use it to develop their own solutions to their own problems. DO THEY SEND YOU THE MONEY or RECOMPENSE that the terms of your license say you are due? Some people are honest and fair and will send you money and all's well and good. But not everybody will. What is to stop me or anybody else blatantly disregarding your license and doing whatever one likes with the software. I live in Scotland, You live in Italy, I could have it installed in ten thousand machines, how would you stop me? How would you even know? Now In no way am I saying that any of this is moral or ethical but it does happen. Do you really want the costs in terms of time and money and burden of proof in persuing this? So I've got your software installed on a shed load of machines here and in priciple Iam due you some form of payment, but YOU don't even know about this and you are continuing with your business and providing your customised solutions to your customers in your locality, you are making a good living and are happy with the success of your business. ARE YOU MATERIALLY AFFECTED? Does this detract from what you are doing? Does this prevent you from being successful in your area? ALL your license has achieved is in placing a legal "restriction" on your software, it hasn't helped YOU in anyway. It doesn't directly make your business anymore succesful it just creates potentially illegitimate activities by others, who most likely would never have paid your costs anyway which presumably must have been prohibitive to them hence they seek a lower cost solution by fair means or foul. Iam not saying this is right Iam merely stating facts. If you don't want DIRECT competition from people using your tools to provide a similar solution then don't release your software. keep it as an inhouse development tool. Trying to Compete is hard enough without having to worry and try to discover and prove that your competitors are using YOUR tools unfairly or to your disadvantage. Alternatively if you see distributing your REBOL Database Development product as enhancing the overall market for YOUR skills and solutions and will increase your earning capacity then I'd advise doing this on as liberal terms as possible to ensure that your software gets optimal spread and use. There are three choices here. PUBLIC DOMAIN - any one can do anything they want with it. Upside: This is the least "restrictive" option and should provide the maximum opportunity for your software getting used. No cost of trying to ensure license compliance. Downside: People could take & improve your software and compete directly against you without you getting anything in return. BSD Style Licenses - initial product is open source but people can use to develop and build proprietary solutions on top. Upside: This enables your software to be used in commercial products as well as in free / open source software projects. Only marginally more restrictive than public domain. Downside: People could take & improve your software and compete directly against you without you getting anything in return. Costs of trying to ensure license compliance. GPL - This product is Free Software and any software which uses it must also be distributed in accordance with GPL or LGPL. Upside: Offers Maximum protection from people using your work without giving anything back in return. They have to GPL any improvements they make. You Will likely recieve strong support from the free and open source software community in any cases of license abuse. Downside: People could take & improve your software and compete directly against you. Costs of trying to ensure license compliance. May prevent your software from being used in a commercial product or environment. With any other commercial license (including free for non commercial) you have inherent restrictions on the use of your software as well as the costs of trying to ensure license compliance and discovering about and deciding what is and what isn't deemed suitable as commercial use. If your product is being used in the widest possible way under the least restrictive of terms then for a small developer like yourself I would say this is the maximum benefit / least cost & least hassle scenario. This also is the best way to maximise your market potential. There will always be various forms of competition but who knows your toolset and your software and the best way to use it better than you? You created it, you know it's strengths & weaknesses and capabilities better than anyone. You really understand it and it's limitations. This really gives you a headstart on any of your direct competitors. THIS IS YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. The point about Delphi or Visual Basic is not really relevant because any vendor in any business has to SELL the utility and value of their own product offering in relation to their competitors. If REBOL is part of your solution and toolset then it has to stand on it's own merits and provide tangible advantages in relation to Delphi or VB or anything else otherwise you should be using something better. Even if nobody else uses REBOL or your database software it doesn't matter. YOU use it and it works for YOU. It helps provide you with a core competence and certain competitive advantages, that in itself is enough. If REBOL benefits you then that is all the justification you need for using it. If you think other people would benefit from studying or using what you've created and you consider there is little direct downside in you releasing it to the outside world then I suggest you either make it public domain or use GPL or BSD licenses. If you really think you can sell it and make money then from a commercial viewpoint stick whatever license you want on it, good luck and deal with whatever problems regarding due payment and piracy and getting your software used that every other commercial software developer faces. I will leave aside the ethical and moral questions about whether you should be able to study the source code and improve / modify and ditribute the software you can buy or download. that is a different but none the less important philosophical & economic argument. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. cheers, Mark Dickson In a message dated Wed, 6 Mar 2002 8:38:25 AM Eastern Standard Time, Maarten Koopmans <[koopmans--itr--ing--nl]> writes: