This is a draft paper and subject to changes. Prices are preliminary. Feel free to discuss this license with [de]me.

bigFORTH/MINOS Proprietary License


The GPL is a ``viral'' license, such that it wants derived work to be under the GPL, too. As additions (such as linking to a GPL'd program or library) qualify as derived work, programs created to use MINOS fall under this condition, except if they are shipped as separated source.

However, shipping as separated sources may be

Therefore, to develop applications that ship under a different license than the GPL and not as separated source, I - as the original copyright holder - offer this alternative license. This license is not free of charge, it requires to pay a fee to the original copyright holders. Note that extensions to bigFORTH not created by me may be available from other authors or only under GPL.

Note that I want to encourage you to distribute your additions to bigFORTH/MINOS under GPL, and the license contains some thumb-screws to force you to rethink your policy again and again.

Terms and Conditions

Use and modification of the Program are not covered by this license; you may use, modify and redistribute the Program under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This license covers only redistribution under terms that are not allowed by the GPL.

You may redistribute a derived work of the Program free or for charge, partly or as whole, as source, binary, or combined, if and only if all the following conditions are met

  1. The derived work of the Program is no direct competition to the Program as whole or in parts, thus it is intented for a different purpose, and advertized as such (if you want to compete, do so under GPL).
  2. Your work provides only additions to the Program, not changes to the sources of the Program. If you need to do changes to the sources of the Progamm other than removing code you don't need, you have to make these changes available under GPL.
  3. The origin of the Program is acknowledged, and the users of the derived work know how to obtain the Program under GPL on the same place where the copyright notice of the derived work is displayed.

End of Terms and Conditions


You have to pay one seat license per registered developer. Seat licenses have to be renewed annually, as long as the source for the project is closed; it doesn't matter if the developer continues to work on it, as long as there's his/her code in the project.

Basic License

For each developer who touches your code, you have to pay an annual fee of 256 Euro. Discounts depend on how free the end user is - the more free, the less you pay.

Fees Termination

Since the license is bound to developers, and has an annual minimum, it will keep going even if your project doesn't create much revenue anymore. Therefore I offer you a way out of paying for unprofitable products by releasing them under GPL or as separate sources - so to comply to the GPL.

The license fees terminate if you release your distributed work under GPL or a GPL-compatible license, or as separated sources. If you release part of your distributed work under GPL, only those annual per-developer fees expire that were bound to that part exclusively, but all the future license revenue the project generates (you can sell GPL'd programs, if you like to) stop generating fees. Note that you have to release all of your sources under GPL that were released as proprietary program to customers in the last three years, so keep them well! You have to inform your customers of the availability under GPL.

Per-Developer license fees also expire 70 years after the dead of the developer, because the hypotetical copyright ownership of that developer expired.


Inhouse Projects

RMS concluded that inhouse copies aren't distributions, and therefore the GPL copying restrictions don't apply to these copies. This assumes that the programmers working on the program are just users and not copyright holders of the modification work, thus all modifications take place by ``the company'' as a juristic person. This might be valid in the USA.

However, this doesn't recognise that those programmers still create work they would own the copyright of if they didn't have signed a copyright transfer agreement to their disadvantage. Since the GPL explicitely say that resigning rights given by GPL via another contract are null and void, this IMHO also applies to employment contracts. If you want to avoid any risks, pay for your inhouse developers, or allow the programmers to take their work with them and eventually redistribute under GPL at their disposal.

Created 24sep1999. Last modified: 31mar2023 by MailBernd PaysanPGP key