Open Source

The successful completion of this project will result in a product that is potentially commercially exploitable.  Kickstarter funding rules (which I might at some point use for funding) require that projects produce something that is not commercial.  This project will be open source. I believe the decision to go open source means I am more likely to obtain help in completing this project from open-source developers and I am also more likely to be able to obtain support from academics.

A variety of open source licences are available each with their own particular freedoms and restrictions.  The licence I choose to use on this project may have an effects on the level of participation the project receives.  I could choose to use a licence that restricts people from using the software for commercial purposes without paying for a further licence.  I believe that such a licence would put off contributors.  Depending on the open source software that this project chooses to incorporate and extend it may be the case that the project will be forced to adopt a particular open source licence.  It would seem to be most sensible to ask the project contributors which licence they wish to use.  I will therefore conduct a poll soon after the project starts.  I currently plan to develop the project under the Open Software License 3.0 (OSL-3.0) licence. This licence does not restrict people from using this software for commercial purposes however if they modify the software they must also publish their modified source code and they must also use the same open source software licence in all future developments.

The intellectual property created by this project will be held by a UK based limited company.  As the copyright owner of this open source project this company will be able to exercise the right to issue commercial licences that do not require future developers to keep to using the the Open Software Licence 3.0 and will allow these potential future developers to redevelop the software potentially for commercial purposes without publishing their source code.  By retained this potential commercial opportunity the project has greater commercial opportunities and therefore a greater chance of long term sustainability as a research programme.  I believe my interpretation and reading of the use of the OSL-3.0 licence and its potential commercialisation is consistent with open source principles based on the advice given at this website http://rosenlaw.com/OSL3.0-explained.htm.  Again the choice to produce a commercially extensible closed source version might put off some contributors, again I can survey people for their views.

Some open source projects become not for profit charities.  It is too early a stage in this project’s life to decide whether that would be a good thing.

Note as a share holder in the limited company that will run this project I could potentially benefit financially from this work.  This is unlikely to make anyone uncomfortable except certain academics and academic institutions.  If you would like to contribute but have reservations on the commercial potential this project might create please contact me jameskitching@hemseye.org and we can discuss your issues.

Software source code will be managed through SourceForge.  See https://sourceforge.net/projects/hemseye/.

The primary aim of the UK limited company that owns this project’s rights will be to  undertake and sustain this project’s programme of research. The company will also aim to provide an ongoing cloud hosted solution at http://www.hemseye.net.

Assuming an instance of the hemseye software is hosted at www.hemseye.net then it will be able to be used for commercial purposes (The OSL-3 licence does not restrict the commercial use of the software).

This software project’s licence includes a further restriction to prevent its use as part of a weapon or in the development of weapons.

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