[tor-project] The Tor Project Social Contract

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Wed Aug 3 08:45:56 UTC 2016

Nathan wrote:
> I agree corporate/commercial licensing is a great option for
> sustainable revenue generation. Let's make sure this allows for
> that. In the case of Moxie, his software is not free to developers
> who was to incorporate it into non GPL software.

The Social Contract is probably not the place to debate (or record
the result of debate about) the specific license used for Tor software.

Nathan seems to have an issue with GPL licensed software.  But his
argument undercuts his point.  GPL licensed free software is *better*
for sustainable revenue generation than non-GPL licensed free
software.  Here's why.  Any commercial company that wants to
incorporate GPL licensed software into non-GPL licensed proprietary
software *must* negotiate with the owner for the privilege, because
the public license does not allow them to incorporate it into a
proprietary program.  The usual result is that if they offer enough
money, the owner will offer them a license to use the code in a
proprietary program.  Free software that uses BSD-like licenses
eliminates this negotiation, leaving every commercial company free to
incorporate the software without ever paying anything.

An example of software that uses this revenue model is Berkeley DB:
It is free to use with free software, but if you want to use it
in a proprietary program, you need a separate commercial license:


	(I'm still living on the proceeds of the company I started
	 in 1991 to write, support and sell GPL and other free software)

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