[conspire] "Fear of Forking" comments

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Tue Dec 16 15:24:08 PST 2008

begin Rick Moen quotation of Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 02:48:36PM -0800:
> Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 14:48:36 -0800
> From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> To: conspire at linuxmafia.com
> Subject: [conspire] "Fear of Forking" comments
> [The old thing in question is at
> http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Licensing_and_Law/forking.html ]

Another reason for forking might be different
reactions to a business situation.

  "Our open source startup sold for a billion dollars!
  We've got to rack up some serious sales, now.
  So let's rush out a version with the Enterprise
  features that our acquirer's sales force thinks it
  can sell."

  "Our open source startup sold for a billion dollars!
  We can afford to flip off the boss and quit now,
  so let's rip up our code and rebuild from a clean,
  elegant base, minus all the messy features we didn't
  get right in the version we're selling now."

> (I've been tempted to write a new essay, a set of case studies of
> different ways firms have taken codebases proprietary and attempted to
> dissuade open source competition.)

That would be good to have.

> Dawes and the other XFree86 Project Board of Directors members did not, 
> to the best of my knowledge, ever seek to take that project proprietary,
> _but_ they did attempt to keep very tight control over the development
> process and information about it -- which seems to have caused the
> friction with Keith Packard, the brief 2003 XOuvert fork (which in turn
> inspired Dawes's licence change), etc.  I suppose you could call that
> "restrict contribution".

The problem isn't when you cross the free/proprietary
line -- it's when you impose any new restriction
that affects enough users or intermediaries.
Adding licenses or moving to a less restrictive
license doesn't seem to be trouble.

Other forks if anyone is keeping a canonical list:
  Red Hat RPM/rpm5.org

Don Marti                                        +1 510-814-0932
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/                          +1 510-332-1587 mobile
dmarti at zgp.org
See you at OpenSource World: August 10-13, 2009 in San Francisco

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