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Author Topic: finding support for commercial program ideas  (Read 636 times)

ssliackus

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finding support for commercial program ideas
« on: July 23, 2019, 11:55:01 am »
Hi guys

I need your help and advice.

I have couple (commercial) program ideas in mind. These are quite small and not very difficult to implemented, but can be grown into bigger project with the time.

One of points of this would be to utilise open source technologies (and looks like FP/Lazarus can be a good fit for that), make money, earn profit and share it with these projects. It is unlikely there can be very big profits very soon, but final goal would be profit (or at least cost coverage).

Please, can you advise me, where could I start with that? Probably I would have to discuss this in more detail with professionals, identify resources needed, find those resources etc.

At the moment it is just an idea and not even a business plan. Also, I am not developer and unlikely will be one day. I am just enthusiast and see niche in a market.

Thank you.

Saulius

Thaddy

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2019, 12:08:54 pm »
You can safely create commercial applications - bar the compiler itself - since there is a linker exception.
You can also create commercial applications - bar the gui itself - with the Lazarus standard components for the same reason.
There is a caveat, though: if you use e.g. OPM to install other components than the standard ones, you will need to check the licenses.
They are all open source licenses, but not every open source license is compatible with closed source applications, e.g. GPL without linker exception or BSD licenses.
What is always OK is GPL with linker exception and MIT licenses. There may be more, like the SQLITE license, which is extremely  liberal, or open source without any license attached.(it usually says "use as you like"
Note: you should always adhere to copyright, it may be that an author demands you mention its use in an aboutbox or documentation. That is because of misrepresentation as your own code is not allowed in such cases.
Copyright differs from license, though.

To summarize:
1) check the licenses
2) check the copyrights
important if you sell large volumes:
3) check software patents, this is a difficult one, because most algorithmic ones are thrown out in the EU for example, but valid in the USA.
4) the latter means that you need a good functional design documentation (IMHO you need that anyway for commercial software, but in the above case you also need it for legal reasons)
5) If these patents are thrown out in e.g. Europe because of prior use, the USA is also safe. You can claim prior use in the USA too, based on the EU's (any country in the EU too) judgement. This happens all the time.

And (1,2) you are legally OK in most cases except in countries (3,4)  that recognize software patents. (Note 5)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 12:28:31 pm by Thaddy »
also related to equus asinus.

ssliackus

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2019, 12:26:43 pm »
You can safely create commercial applications - bar the compiler itself - since there is a linker exception.
You can also create commercial applications - bar the gui itself - with the Lazarus standard components for the same reason.
There is a caveat, though: if you use e.g. OPM to install other components than the standard ones, you will need to check the licenses.
They are all open source licenses, but not every open source license is compatible with closed source applications, e.g. GPL without linker exception or BSD licenses.
What is always OK is GPL with linker exception and MIT licenses. There may be more, like the SQLITE license, which is extremely  liberal, or open source without any license attached.(it usually says "use as you like"
Note: you should always adhere to copyright, it may be that an author demands you mention its use in an aboutbox or documentation. That is because of misrepresentation as your own code is not allowed in such cases.
Copyright differs from license, though.

To summarize:
1) check the licenses
2) check the copyrights
important if you sell large volumes:
3) check software patents, this is a difficult one, because most algorithmic ones are thrown out in the EU for example, but valid in the USA.
4) the latter means that you need a good functional design documentation (IMHO you need that anyway for commercial software, but in the above case you also need it for legal reasons)

And (1,2) you are legally OK in most cases except in countries (3,4)  that recognize software patents.

That is very good advice, thank you!

Thaddy

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2019, 12:29:06 pm »
I have added (5). But you get the point.
It is a good habit to record which third party software you use in a separate document containing  the -source -  location from which you did obtain it and the licenses from that sourcecode. In that case (3,4,5) should be less of a (costly) issue. This document need not be included in your distribution.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 12:33:48 pm by Thaddy »
also related to equus asinus.

Thaddy

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2019, 12:40:42 pm »
Oh I forgot: if in newer versions of software the license has changed (e.g. Firemonkey) it is still legal to use the old software under the prior license. The license is tied to the version. You can not revoke it, only for newer versions, and only the current owner of that software can do so. Embarcadero made a lot of mistakes there.... :o Depending on original license it is even legal in most countries to bring an old version back on line.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 12:44:21 pm by Thaddy »
also related to equus asinus.

ssliackus

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2019, 01:01:31 pm »
Embarcadero made a lot of mistakes there.... :o

That is why, I believe, Pascal is underestimated and deserves much wider recognition.

Thaddy

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 01:43:34 pm »
I was referring to buying out open source developers and subsequently changing the license to closed source. The original open source sourcecode then disappears from the original source.
I once got a "notice" from a US lawyer representing Embarcadero to stop using the older version of some software they bought the rights for. Some people get scared by that, but luckily I have a friend who is - apart from being a Dutch lawyer -, LL.M  attached to the New York court. Solved in 10! minutes. She can be the devil in disguise...

( Aside https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_University_School_of_Law and yes, very personal, she was studying and lived close by during 9/11, the only thing I could say to her was: there goes the sushi bar. Sh*t happens )

Hey, who can say legal support in the USA is not free (for some)... O:-) 8-)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 01:56:36 pm by Thaddy »
also related to equus asinus.

lucamar

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 02:17:59 pm »
I have couple (commercial) program ideas in mind. These are quite small and not very difficult to implemented, but can be grown into bigger project with the time.

One of points of this would be to utilise open source technologies  [...snip...]

At the moment it is just an idea and not even a business plan. Also, I am not developer and unlikely will be one day. I am just enthusiast and see niche in a market.

I hate to tell you this but that is quite a crowded "niche". There are literally thousands of freelancers and small (very small, in some cases) businesses competing (or trying to compete) in it on almost every economic market there exist.

Unless you've discovered a previously unexploited, specialized "arena", be prepared to compete with a number of other "enterprisers" ranging from the tens to the hundreds.

As an example, I live in Madrid (Spain) and there are here (that I know of) at least 20 very small enterprises (5 to 10 persons) specialized in software for pig-farming. And I mean the ... humm ... "technical" side of pig-farming: controlling auto-feeders, veterinary, etc. Idem for aluminium extrussion factories, brick-makers, traffic-signal making, and a long, long etc. As the saying goes: nothing new under the Sun.

But hey, don't let me discourage you. Lots of today's big names also started small and unassuming :)
Turbo Pascal 3 CP/M - Amstrad PCW 8256 (512 KB !!!) :P
Lazarus 2.0.2/2.0.4  - FPC 3.0.4 on:
(K|L)Ubuntu 12..16, Windows XP SP3, various DOSes.

RonQ

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2019, 05:47:57 pm »
Hi,
have programmed a "few things" and am looking for help "what to do with my knowledge of software and hardware".
Since I am retired, there is much extra time, which should be used to void "twiddling thumbs".
During the years I had started with the Apple II and UCSD Pascal, know the Apple III, Apple Lisa; now  graduated to Lazarus and Mac over time.
In between was machine language for the 6502, Z80, CDP1802 CPU chips.
Wonder whether I could provide help via 'telecommuting' either directly/individually or in a group?

Tnx and best regards,
RonQ

ssliackus

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Re: finding support for commercial program ideas
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2019, 10:53:00 am »
Hi RonQ

Thanks for your response.

I don't mind if you contact me over email ssliackus@gmail.com.
Drop me an email and we can start from here.

Saulius