In January, a developer chose to revoke the GNU GPL on his project. It generated quire a stir and even though growklaw seemed to be confident that such thing cannot happen, force is to note that the new GNU GPLv3 took care of adding the word irrevocable which was not in the GNU GPLv2. The Mattel cphack affair comes to mind and its repercussion on Free Speech.
In the same vein and commenting on dual-licensing is unfair and community debilitating, one of MTG readers made this remark that the main danger of dual-licensing lies in the willingness of the driving company to stick to their original plan.
I think one place where dual license can potentially be a problem is reflected in Yahoo's purchase of Zimbra. Do you realize that if Microsoft had purchased yahoo that they could have sinked Zimbra just like they did other open source projects.
At some point most(or some) of these projects sells out to another company which may not feel the same and all your investment and time will be lost if they decide to kill the project or no longer DL new codes.
This reminds us of MySQL giving back the management of MaxDB to SAP who chose to close the GNU GPL code immediately thereafter.
In October 2007 this reselling was terminated and sales and support of the database reverted back to SAP. SAP AG is now managing MaxDB development, distribution, and support. Source code of MaxDB is no longer available under the GNU General Public License.
Remember, less than 3 months later SUN announced MySQL acquisition.
This paints a summary of what could happen to a DL company even if nobody's initial commitment is questioned.
- DL Company dies: what happens to the IP/trademarks/licenses?
- DL Company undergoes a change of control: what happens to the community?
- DL company sells/gives its open source interest to a third party...
Shouldn't we have some sort of open source prenuptial agreement applying to DL companies and their communities?
PS: On the same subject, a great post by Chris Smith.
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