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Zigzag and Open Source
- To: zzdev@xxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Zigzag and Open Source
- From: Benjamin Fallenstein <b.fallenstein@xxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1999 02:26:29 -0100
Dear ZigZag developer team,
I have a question of belief for you. When I first read about ZZ, I was
intrigued by the possibilities of this piece of software. During my
evaluation month, I experimented with it and it didn't take me long to
get to the boundaries. But still I was fascinated, and could easily
imagine the paradigm to be the future of computing.
But after the evaluation month, I stopped using ZZ. Not because of the
registration fee. Even for a 'poor' student like me, it's payable. No,
my problem was a moral one.
Beliefs about Open Source / Free Software are diverge. Beliefs about
property rights are. If you believe it's your right to keep software
closed, I can easily accept that. But should a system that we hope to be
as fundamental to the structure of computing as ZigZag stay closed? As
things are, if ZigZag will be successful, XOC will be the new Microsoft.
And even if we don't accept the right of users to get the system
software for their systems from a non-monopolist (or for free), we have
to accept that at some point, someone will program a free ZZ. And users
of the closed and the free ZZ won't have an easy time at exchanging
The alternative I hope for you to take is what Eric Raymond describes in
his newest paper as 'free the software, sell the brand.' Free ZZ and
allow everyone to distribute copies and program new implementations of
the protocols. But retain the rights for the name ZigZag and the symbol.
Allow everyone to call their ZZ derivate 'unofficial ZigZag derivate,'
but when someone wants a 'ZigZag compliant' symbol, they'll have to pay
you a fee to test their product. Assuming that ZZ will be a success,
this probably will 'generate' a good amount of cash.
How do you feel about this?
I'm asking you this question because I consider to write a free -- let's
not call it a clone of ZigZag, because it goes beyond ZZ, be that for
the good or for the bad, but a free something-like-ZZ. I would be all to
happy if you as the inventors of the quantum hyperspace could benefit
from that, but I don't believe that what I hope for to make computers
more accessible may stay closed.
Please give me an answer.
Thank you a lot,
- Benjamin Fallenstein