[gta02-core] The University of S?o Paulo's intent to join Openmoko development

Werner Almesberger werner at openmoko.org
Sun Jul 19 20:58:47 CEST 2009

?lvaro Lopes wrote:
> > But (for example) the "gerbers" be licensed with a small royalty (1-2
> > dollars per phone, with a cap of 500,000 to 1,000,000 USD) only if the
> > party will make *over* 5,000-10,000 phones.
> Interesting idea, but would defy the openness of the project IMHO.

I feel a similar uneasiness with this proposal. While these royalties
would be extremely friendly compared to what others take, I think
they would still limit the power of what is the key differentiator of
the whole project, namely the openness.

So far, I can think of three areas where such royalties would be

- they would add a bias that could be perceived as unfair to future
  major contributors and might set a precedent for an accumulation
  of claims.

- such a license would probably be incompatible with pure CC-BY-SA
  and similar, discouraging cooperation and limiting the
  opportunities for reuse (both from and by us). There's also the
  issue of where you draw the line when people copy only part of the

- good licenses are simple. The more exceptions and special cases
  you add, the less comfortable people (and companies) will be with

There are also many cautionary tales of someone trying to wrap a
business model around revenue from an "almost Free" license, and
the whole thing leading to protraced arguments and frustration.

So I would rather keep the license plain and simple, and try to
generate revenue from the value of the design team's experience,
visibility, and contacts.

> The problem here is we are not developing a "state-of-the-art" phone.

I think it's sufficient to have "decent enough" hardware. Most of
the ubiquituous features aren't all that expensive to have and
you gain little by driving things to the bleeding edge of

Instead, we can capitalize on the one truly unique feature we offer,
the radical openness. This may have limited appeal to end users
outside the geek population, but if I was a VAR, I'd kill for it.

- Werner

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