Amy Wohl writes:

"Copyright remains an inappropriate mechanism for protecting software because the right model would let IP owners do what Dave Winer does with his software -- let people develop on top of it or even create another version of it and do that legally -- while still protecting his right to collect revenue from the use of the software itself, should he choose to do so."

UserLand Software has been remarkably generous with its source code, which is open in practice if not in license. Most of the code that drives Radio Userland and Frontier can be viewed, changed, and extended by users, as I have done several times to produce format drivers for Radio's news aggregator. UserLand also has a considerable amount of C source code and libraries floating around its Web site, such as the Object Database Engine, a set of C libraries for the creation of third-party software that uses Frontier's object database.

However, it seems to me that the model praised by Wohl works only because UserLand looks the other way when developers use its code as the basis for their own programs. If that ever changes, a lot of us will be left with a considerably more dubious right to produce and distribute code we have written that runs on UserLand products.

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