First to Dual License Wins?

Dag-Erling Smørgrav des at
Sun Mar 26 19:02:31 UTC 2006

"Jason C. Wells" <jcw at> writes:
> I was looking into Berkeley DB which presumably came out of Berkeley
> and was freebeer/freespeech software at it's inception.  Berkeley DB
> is now more correctly called Sleepycat DB.  One can only use
> Sleepycat as part of commercial software if one pays Sleepycat a
> license fee.
> A commonly stated position in the open source community is that if
> someone tries to take software into a closed or royalty based
> license model, that the code will just fork and development will
> continue on the new fork and the closed/not free code will die.
> That doesn't really seem to be the case with Sleepycat.  I will go
> so far as to state the threat to fork the code to keep it free is an
> empty threat.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  It worked for SSH (OpenSSH
was derived from the last free release of SSH before Tatu Ylonen went
into business).  The reason why it didn't work for Sleepycat DB is
probably that there were already plenty of alternatives, such as dbm,
gdbm, ndbm, cdb, tdb etc.

> So the first party to dual license some software and add a bit of value 
> to the code in the process basically wins.

Only if the original developer can't keep up, or they are the original
developer, and there is no competition.

Dag-Erling Smørgrav - des at

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