hackers, free software, open source, license

Document Type



Hackers often quibble about commercializing software, yet most willreadily sell their programming services. Richard Stallman, the father of free software, has always recognized that hackers have a right to make money. Aside from selling programming services, however, Stallman's disciples seem to frown upon commercializing software. Other hackers, labeling themselves "open source" developers, have warmed to the possibility that free software may be profitable.

This article describes one of the most promising business models for hackers, called "dual licensing." In this model, hackers offer the same code under two different licenses: a commercial license and an open source license. Licensees who are willing to give up trade secret protection for their source code and re-license their derivatives for further modification and distribution choose the no charge open source option; other licensees pay a fee for a commercial license. The article concludes by analyzing the issues that the MySQL development team experienced in its dual licensing program.



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