reap what ye sow (or the BSD license is a dual-edged sword)

Interesting interview today in the Jem Report, where you hear some whining about not getting money for developing OpenSSH. Now don’t get me wrong — I think that the OpenBSD/SSH folks have done some fine work, and I enjoy using ssh on a daily basis. However, this article struck me as a bit naive.

Some of the OpenSSH freeloaders, like Apple Computer and The SCO Group, are notorious for reaping financial rewards from selling open source software bundled with their proprietary products. It’s no surprise that both of these corporations include OpenSSH in their operating systems without giving back to the programmers who make it all happen, but what about companies that are vocal in their support of open source software?

“Giving back”? If you think that some corporation is just going to give you something because they just appreciate your work so darn much, well, maybe you ought to think again. A corporation isn’t going to give you anything unless you make them, such as making them sign a contract, or enforcing your license. And when you choose to release your code under the BSD license, well, be prepared to expect a whole lot of nothin’ in return.

If it were me, I would release OpenSSH under a dual-license: BSD for the free (gratis) distributions, and some sort of monetized scheme if you sell it as part of your OS. But that’s just me.

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