End business friendly open source licenses

There are many things we can do to improve the state of software. Regulations which hold companies liable for bad software is one option. One that’s perhaps not popular or even sensible. One thing I think we could do would help make the job of maintaining software more sustainable and that is ensuring we get paid by companies for using our software.

Business friendly licenses don’t really help developers. Could having a popular open source project make it easier for you to get a job? Sure but that would be the case whether it was GPL or not. You could also argue the expectation of everyone giving away their software under a licence like the MIT licence only helps encourage monopolies within software. Only mega corporations can make money off the backs of people working for free. How is that fair?

Heartbleed was perhaps one of first big vulnerabilities that highlighted the truth of open source in that it’s not more secure because there are not a million eyes looking for bugs and there are people maintaining these things for free or on shoe string budgets. So they can’t afford to ensure the software is as secure as possible.

Shouldn’t maintaining the thing that secures the whole of internet commerce be something that warrants a steady, decent income? Do we really want developers to waste their efforts begging on Patreon rather than getting on with their project?

Your project should come under a dual license. GPL for those who want to share and contribute or simply need free software. A business licence for those who simply cannot integrate GPL code into their codebase.

Making the licence a fair price that requires renewal would provide a consistent income. It can allow developers to make the project their full time job with incentive to ensure it’s secure and performs well. Everyone will benefit from this and I think we’ll end up with a healthier community.