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PhUSE 2009

Programmer A cooperates Expected net value to A = 0

Programmer A defects Expected net value to A = 2.5

Programmer B cooperates Contribution cost (-5) Working application (+10) (+5) Overall Appropriate code (+5)

(+5) Overall

Programmer B defects Contribution cost (-5)

(-5) Overall Full cost (-10) Working application (+10) (0) Overall

The table below has been modified with B’s code and violates the Open Source choice is to cooperate.

the penalty payment from Programmer A to Programmer B if A appropriates license. The penalty modifies the incentive for Programmer A so that the best

Open Source Licensing – Outcomes for

Programmer A

Source: Van Lindberg, p170

Programmer A cooperates Expected net value to A = 3.5

Programmer A defects Expected net value to A = -1

Programmer B cooperates Contribution cost (-5) Working application (+10) (+5) Overall Appropriate code (+5) Pay for copyright violation(-7) (-2) Overall

Programmer B defects Contribution cost (-5) Reimbursement for copyright violation (+7) (+2) Overall Full cost (-10) Working application (+10) (0) Overall

Source: Van Lindberg, p172 NEW TECHNOLOGY MAKES IT ALL POSSIBLE– Yochai Benkler

Yochai Benkler makes four important economic observations in his book The Wealth of Networks. First, the idea that proprietary intellectual property is essential in our economy is overstated. Second, the expansion of patent, copyright laws, and trademarks in recent years have subsidized proprietary information models and cost non-proprietary models. Third, basic changes in information technologies have made non-proprietary models of information production more attractive than they ever have been. And fourth, the rise of peer production has challenged the conventional wisdom on the economics of information production.

The new technology of the Internet has lowered the cost of capital resources need to produce and distribute information and this has created the opportunity for non-proprietary peer production efforts. This change is comparable to the change in information production that resulted from the invention of the printing press.

Benkler also expands the traditional two models of production, market based and firm based, with a third model of equal importance, social production. He analyses three questions generated from an economics perspective: what motivates people to participate in


The requirements for a license to be approved by the Open Source Initiative as an Open Source license are designed to impose conditions that increase the cost of defecting and provide incentives for cooperation. The annotated version of the definition explains how each of the elements help achieve this goal. See http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php.


There are two basic types of Open Source licenses that have different incentives and effects. The GNU General public license and other reciprocal type licenses require that anyone who creates a derivative work based on a GPL licensed code must distribute the new work under a license compatible with the GPL that grants the same rights that the developer received under the GPL with the original distribution.

A second class of Open Source licenses allow the derivative work using Open Source code to be licensed with a license that is more restrictive than the original FLOSS license. Most of these non-reciprocal Open Source licenses allow the Open Source code to be combined with proprietary code to create a new proprietary product.


The Open Source SAS® Software Applications project has adopted a multiple-license model with four licenses to choose from. Hopefully the developers of each sub-project will choose a single license for each sub-project. The GNU GPL is available as the reciprocal license compatible with most other Open Source code. The Eclipse Public License is the choice for a non-reciprocal license that can be used to encourage use of the code in proprietary business systems. The Lesser General Public License is the preferred license for SAS Macro Language libraries and libraries of formats and ODS templates that might be called by Open Source or proprietary code. The fourth license recommended is the GNU Free Documentation License which will be used for wiki pages, discussion forum postings, and document files.


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