Comment thread for blog post: Source, use, and contributions

Wrote my first post on the Aether blog, about how we are thinking about our source licensing and Hosted Universes :wink:

Good luck with the launch of Hosted Universes!

Publishing under a non-permissive licence

So, will you be publishing the code for Hosted Universes (making it open source, in the narrow sense, i.e Freedom 1, the Freedom to inspect the code) but not granting Freedom 0, the Freedom to use the code in any way desired?

The Free Software Foundation has a legal section for cases where Free licences are violated.

Faux-pen Source / Open Core

It looks like you considered this phenomenon, where a Free Software project (like OSM Open Street Maps) unfortunately ends up having proprietary code built around it. Did you also look at things the other way round, where you work on proprietary code, and fund the project through that, and then where possible, release Free modules to a community project?

Odoo is like this. It began as a Free Software project, and the community edition continues and receives annual contributions of freely licenced code from the corporate, proprietary wing of the project.

Crowd Sourcing

You clearly have searched hard to find viable funding solutions to sustain a Free Software project and I commend you on that. Of all the ways I know to achieve this, the one I think that might be most successful is where the development team present a proposition to the community and specify a funding target. The community would then each make small contributions until the target was reached and then the improved software is released. If the proposal or funding requirements are not acceptable then revisions are made.

Funding Research

I am disappointed with the FSF (Free Software Foundation) for not having made far more progress in solving issues of funding for Free Software projects. The FSF are right in the middle of a huge number of colleges and business schools and a lot more resources ought to have been reallocated to having business schools and related departements examine how this problem might be solved.

So, will you be publishing the code for Hosted Universes (making it open source, in the narrow sense, i.e Freedom 1, the Freedom to inspect the code) but not granting Freedom 0, the Freedom to use the code in any way desired?

Yes that’s correct :slight_smile: that code is proprietary at the moment, and it is going to published as shared source, not under AGPL or any other open source license, bc as you mentioned that does not fit the open source criteria. We can’t have our cake and eat it too!

Did you also look at things the other way round, where you work on proprietary code, and fund the project through that, and then where possible, release Free modules to a community project?

We are essentially working on proprietary code, just choosing to publish for “open inspection”. The plan is that will fund all the work, both the proprietary code and the P2P code. To be clear, the P2P app, all of it, remains AGPL as it is now.

Whether there may be a CE for Hosted Universes, that’s definitely possible one day. At the end of the the day, our intention is not to make things difficult for community self-use, but to prevent exploitation by running R&D for cloud operators. So this is something we may explore in the future.

The community would then each make small contributions until the target was reached and then the improved software is released. If the proposal or funding requirements are not acceptable then revisions are made.

This is similar to grant seeking. Cosmos / Interchain also has a proposal-driven mechanism for features on their blockchain, and it is logistically a lot of work. The issue is, the work of grant writing itself is a huge burden and often times not paid for. Features that are flashy gets more attention, while internal “featureless” features never get attention, which would hurt the project.

I am disappointed with the FSF (Free Software Foundation) for not having made far more progress in solving issues of funding for Free Software projects.

To be fair, funding any sort of public goods is a problem that the world hasn’t figured out :smiley: I have more hope in multi-stakeholder co-operative ownership.

1 Like