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How to make this project open source? #2
I think that making Solve for All open source would encourage contributions that would take the answer engine to the next level. Also it would be great to have an open source search engine that has been audited to ensure it is secure, and respecting the privacy of its users.
However, I don't want my hard work to be used to enrich bad people or companies that don't contribute back. What I am afraid of is some mega-corp forking the project, taking it closed source, putting a horde of engineers/designers to work on improving it, then making profits without compensating me or other contributors. After reading Bradley Kuhn's thoughts on proprietary re-licensing, I'm leaning towards releasing the project under the AGPL license, but retaining copyright so I can sell exceptions to entities that want to use it in proprietary software. So that I can re-license contributions from the community, I would need contributors to assign copyright to my company (sounds greedy, I know). However, in accordance with RMS's recommendations for assigning copyright I am happy to accept this condition:
That way contributors get assurance that their code will always be available under the AGPL license, if is included in proprietary products.
Why I don't go for an Apache/MIT/BSD license:
I realize this discussion may be premature, as I haven't even publicly launched the product and don't know if people actually want to use it. Even if there is demand for the product, I don't know if anyone wants to run a proprietary licensed version of it, but it could be useful in company intranets, for example. But if the project becomes open source, I believe that will help drive adoption.
I'm also open to profit sharing schemes in which contributors get compensated for their contributions, if/when Solve for All become profitable. This might offend contributors that contribute out of principle, and it will be hard to manage all the envy/resentment that results when people start making money.
I'd be grateful for your thoughts/advice/feedback on how to make this project open source!
First of all, thanks for a needed project as I certainly belong to the group of search power-users, in addition to valuing privacy as you might've deduced from other issues I raised. It's understandably rough around the edges and I'm still wrapping my head around it. Honestly though, I wouldn't spend time on it if I didn't read:
After being sold out by the so-called startups like kifi, this sure is refreshing to read. Knowing also that I'm not the only principled/crazy entrepreneur in CA is nice to know
Your intent to open source this is laudable. No silver bullet here but a couple of thoughts which I preface all with 'IMHO':
Sorry for a late response but had to clear up my mind first.
If you meant consulting pro bono with whomever you deem worthy then that's certainly a way to personally do it. What I meant, however and based on your initial comment, is more a matter of building an organization that is able to pioneer and be a benevolent guardian of complex, multi-purpose or platform-like, open source projects. These projects are rather difficult to propel properly by open-source enthusiasts on their own. In the long run, this attitude becomes the ethos of the organization, and may even start to replicate around it.
Google, to illustrate, is pretty good at the pioneering part. Nevertheless, they're notorious for holding deep control of their projects with various techniques. That type of guardianship is certainly not what I redeem as benevolent as it far favors them over the project and community's interests.
How does any of this teach a man to fish? Well, I'm sure you know people, or at least of people, who only got into programming through Ruby on Rails!