May 11, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

India eyes own open-source license

MUMBAI, India--In the seemingly never-ending quest to balance openness with profits, one of India's more influential professors is devising yet another open-source licensing program.

Deepak Phatak of the Indian Institute of Technology has kicked off an effort to create the Knowledge Public License, or KPL, a licensing program that will let programmers share ideas with one another while at the same time allowing them to retain the rights to their own software modifications. The license will likely function much like the Berkeley Software Distribution or the MIT License programs, he added.

The idea is to create an environment where developers can take advantage of the collaborative power of the open-source movement while giving individuals the ability to exploit their own twists.


What's new:
Deepak Phatak of the Indian Institute of Technology has begun an effort to create an open-source license that will let programmers share ideas while also letting them retain the rights to their own software modifications.

Bottom line:
The number of open-source licenses has exploded, leaving many in the community miffed. But Phatak's proposal comes with the power of numbers. India's 1,750 colleges with computer science and electrical engineering degrees admit about 250,000 students a year. Combined with the outsourcing boom, that makes India one of the major centers for software development.

More stories on India

Ideally, such a program could also help ease the raging tensions between the open-source software movement and proprietary software companies.

"The free software people are afflicted by what I call the J factor, which is the jealousy factor. The proprietary people are afflicted by the G factor, the greed factor. They want to maximally extract money from the world," Phatak said in an interview here. "I am working to tell the world, 'Please permit these groups to coexist peacefully and harmoniously. There is a tremendous advantage to everyone.'"

"Legally, we have to move very carefully because the Americans have a tendency to sue anybody for anything," he added.

The number of open-source licensing programs has expanded rapidly in the past few years. Under some programs, such as the General Public License, developers have to publish their modifications if the modifications are used outside their own operations.

Many in the open-source community have complained about the proliferation of licensing models and taken action to curtail the numbers.

Budding software powerhouse
If anything, Phatak's licensing proposal comes with the power of numbers. India's 1,750 colleges with computer science and electrical

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This Looks Very Much Like MS's Shared-Source Program!
From my view point as a Financial, Economic and Technical Analyst I often wonder why programmers would want to work for free - how do they get their "bills" paid? On the other hand if they die as the "Confucius" Philosophy tells us then they depart the world without anyone being able to benefit from their ideas which will be lost for ever. Question: Can't an acceptable equilibrium (balance) be found between the proponents of Proprietary Software and those of the Open-Source Communities. This newest open-source licensing program the "Knowledge Public License, or KPL" as it is called looks very similar to that of the Microsoft's Program where the company retains the rights to the program modifications. Come work for us for free!!!

Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Off base
1. There are many open source programmers that get paid to write open source. The rest do it in their free time out of love for programming and/or belief in a project. That may be a hard concept for selfish types to understand.

2. Shared Source is a farce. As the article states: "The idea is to create an environment where developers can take advantage of the collaborative power of the open-source movement while giving individuals the ability to exploit their own twists."

Shared source does nothing like that, if fact does nothing at all.
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
Link Flag
If I use code covered by the BSD licence and put it in code covered by GPL does that then make the code covered by BSD now forced to use GPL or vice versa?

I am curious how using code from one licence effects it's use in another lincence.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by pcLoadLetter (395 comments )
Link Flag
Linux and FreeBSD
I am not sure, but I have read an article, how Linux with GPL cannibaled FreeBSD with BSD license. You can copy stuff from FreeBSD to Linux and improve but you cant copy from Linux to improve FreeBSD, because GPL will impose itself onto FreeBSD (atleast part of the code), where any changes made to that particular part of code has to be given back to the community (unlike BSD where you need not make it public) and has to be released under GPL.
Posted by YankeePoodle (785 comments )
Reply Link Flag
IITs influence on tech
Is huge in India and in the US. Look at any tech firm and you'll find it teeming with IIT alumni. For eg. Cisco has over 1000 alumni from IIT on their payroll. Most household name tech companies in the US have IITians at all levels of their orgs. A major event in May highlights the contributions and collaboration of IITians and the US and Indian economies.
Posted by Ajay Sravanapudi (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
IIT hype...
I think the hype surrounding IITs is too much, IITians are really good at what they do.. but I have not seen more than handful of outstanding contributions to the feild of CS/IT from IITians.
Posted by YankeePoodle (785 comments )
Link Flag
close-source paradigm-shift in process
Software in general is fast becoming a canned commodity and close-source is steady losing market-share every year. Sooner than later, I'm sure MS is going to give Windows/Office away for free, as they're losing fast any reasonable advantage against their open-source counterparts.

When Windows will be pressed to reborn as sort of Winux, MS will need to be ready to stop being a traditional software house but more a technology provider for pay-per-experience kind of services (e.g. gaming, gadgets).

Good profit for software development will still exist for custom-tailored projects (especially if attached to their own custom hardware if wish to sell to the masses) and also in some sorts of turn-key solution packages attractive to bigger corporations (as RedHat and the like are trying to do).

However, the revenue of individual developers or small teams is at stake, as cheaper jobs from eastern countries will make them easily redundant until some global balance is reached; they will need to find a niche where some relatively cheap utility will make its way to the heart of customers (e.g. 3D packages, text editors).

Open-source developers are getting a payed job as part of maintaining promising initiatives and in some type of strategic research or creative projects that encompass into a broader vision of their sponsors.

As more powerful the development tools (containing more and elaborated reusable patterns), it's completely reasonable the less unique added-value to reflect in lesser costs and license fees. Only real added-value and innovation deserves good money, but the inherent volatility of detached from hardware software applications requires this industry to start looking elsewhere to make long-term profits of simply writing code. Money is not already there anymore.
Posted by alx359 (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give it a rest
Winux will not happen until;

1. Linux is usable to the common joe... and...
2. Microsoft does not have 10 Billion+ in liquid assets.

I recently tried to shift my server to Linux but was supprised at the amount of text based configuring I needed to do to get Samba running. When it kept freezing doing stuff that Windows 2000 (here I go again) found easy to do (like copying files) I decided that I had better things to do and put back on Window 2000. I will try again in another few years. Linux is not ready to replace Windows any time soon. Look to Apple. They are the only group around at the moment that have a chance.

(Why did I even try? I wanted the ability to have more that 10 networked files open without buying Window Server.)
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah. That makes sense. You know, how it magically doesn't work for you, but Fortune 500 companies are hailing it... Gee, could it be that you don't have any clue what you're doing? Stop spouting ignorant tripe. You don't have any idea what you're doing, so look it up instead of crying about it.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You want to use the code in proprietary software? But still require the source of the core components of the software to be shared, like the GPL? That sounds like what the article is talking about anyway. In such cases, the LGPL is a good fit. We don't need any new "open source" licenses. We have too many as it is. Use what is available, you'll find something that fits your needs.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
india's map
Hi all:
I don't understand why the map of India is always shown incorrectly in the news.

The state of kashmir is not even shown here. This is quite disrespectful. Agreed that there are differences in opinions about the area that belongs to Pak and so forth, but that does not justify deleting the entire state from the map of India.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Indian flag looks incorrect

I dont know how much its gonna make a difference for the content of this tech news, but when you create an image that is been viewed by millions of people, its not quite right.

The main thing is missing from the flag is the "ashoka chakra" that should be placed in the center.
<a class="jive-link-external" href=";lr=&#38;q=indian+flag&#38;btnG=Search" target="_newWindow">;lr=&#38;q=indian+flag&#38;btnG=Search</a>

Please correct this.

Posted by santhoshash (16 comments )
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