Darwin's Theories Blog

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Starving the Golden Goose

Who pays for Open Source Software?
As you probably know I am involved with the OpenBSD project, which also creates OpenSSH, the world-leading secure network protocol. What's interesting about OpenSSH is that most operating system vendors bundle it with their systems, including Apple, HP, Sun, IBM, Redhat - pretty well everybody except Microsoft. Since OpenSSH is licensed under the BSD Software License, they are allowed to do so. However, it is generally expected that if you get a lot of money out of some piece of free software, you will return some small amount of money to the sources. In fact, not one of these vendors has given anything (except for the odd loaner computer) back to OpenSSH. It's time for these vendors to wake up and start feeding the golden goose of BSD-licensed open source software, before they starve it to death.
See the OpenBSD press page for some news (March 2006) on this topic.