* The Business of Software

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Back to real business of software

I have found a software in public domain. It requires a lot of changes to be useful. I am thinking of fixing and enlarging it and then sell it under my own name. ( while giving credit to original author but closing my version of the code). I know this is legal, but would it be ethical? Am I turning into a vulture?
cn Send private email
Sunday, April 07, 2013
 
 
I suspect if the original author had been bothered about what would be done with it they wouldn't have released it into the public domain with so many open source licenses to choose from.

Almost all software is based somewhat on someone else's work. I'd say this isn't an ethical dilema based just on what you've said.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Sunday, April 07, 2013
 
 
You're not breaking any laws and there is no compulsion to share your code. Go make money.
Bring back anon Send private email
Sunday, April 07, 2013
 
 
It sounds fine really, that's one of the advantages of non-viral licenses.

Of course if you spend a lot of time promoting it someone else can fork the original project and compete with you, so that's fair also.
Scott Send private email
Sunday, April 07, 2013
 
 
"Of course if you spend a lot of time promoting it someone else can fork the original project and compete with you"

Good point.
cn Send private email
Sunday, April 07, 2013
 
 
How is their code licenced: GPL, LGPL, BSD, MIT?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
Public domain means just that: it belongs to the public.  Do with it what you will.
Harry Phace Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
"How is their code licenced: GPL, LGPL, BSD, MIT? "
None. It is put in public domain explicitly.
cn Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
I see from responses that this is not considered bad form . legality was never the question. As I said the code is really released in "public domain".
cn Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
Generally, if you have to ask on a forum 'is it ethical to...' the answer is 'no'.

But, in this case, the fact they have put it explicitly in the public domain (rather than using one of the other licences) probably means they are ok with what you want to do. Or possibly they are a bit naive. Perhaps you should try to contact them to get a definitive answer?
Andy Brice Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
Go for it, it has been working for Winzip. First as a visual shell for the pkzip executable, later as a visual shell for the Info-ZIP open source compression library.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinZip

As you may already know, software isn't the most important part of a software business. You'll still need a good market-product match, website, price/support/advertising strategies.
Mauricio Macedo Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
"Perhaps you should try to contact them to get a definitive answer?"

Thanks Andy. Actually that is the first thing I did even before posting here. I should have been more clear.  I was trying to gauge whether or not the "public" would consider it shady.  The comment about winzip helps. I have been using it for years and didn't know it was based on open source. Apparently no one really cares about these things. But thanks for the responses. It was helpful.
cn Send private email
Monday, April 08, 2013
 
 
The average member of the public knows nothing very little about software licensing and cares even less.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
 
 

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