Badgeware CEO to community: Buy a Commercial License

My jaw nearly hit the ground when I saw one of the badgeware company CEOs actually write, what most badgeware critics already know: they want you to buy a commercial license because you find the forced UI advertising unpallatable.

From Dave Rosenberg (Mulesource) blog on “Licensing in London“:

So, if you use Mule in your software product
and sell it commercially, then you are required to either make a
licensing deal with us or keep the �powered by Mule� logo visible. Just
as so many other things in OSS are confusing, it appears that this too
has created some consternation-primarily because people want to embed
Mule in their products and couldn’t quite make sense of how the
attribution would work.

My answer was simple. You make a deal with us for a commercial license and then you do whatever you want.


At least someone is finally admitting this is one of the intents of badgeware.  Even if we disagree, it is important to say with genuine sincerity: thank you for being honest about why you use badgeware.

The bright side is at least these vendors are finally getting some pushback and having to explain their licenses.  This is important… People need to know what they’re getting themselves into: forced advertising for vendors using a license that is, arguably, NOT an open source license.  Badgeware (even **if** the OSI approves it) has implications for customers, developers, partners; in short, EVERYONE.  People need to know that this is the kind of company/project/license they are dealing with.

6 thoughts on “Badgeware CEO to community: Buy a Commercial License

  1. Dave Rosenberg


    Not sure why you find this surprising. The intent of the attribution is fairly obvious to me–and pretty much every other company that uses it.

    Attribution (badgeware as you say) ensures that the IP of the company is protected.

  2. ngoodman Post author


    This didn’t surprise ME; just that finally someone actually admits the real intent.

    You see, many badgeware advocates have been claiming that badgeware isn’t onerous or overly burdensome. Ie, it’s not that bad, it’s just this little bit of attribution so our developers get credit for their hard work. This is probably required to meet (in spirit and practice) the OSD.

    What you’ve finally articulated (which most of us already KNEW) is that it’s absolutely, 100% INTENDED to be exceptionally burdensome to get license fees because of the onerous nature of the forced UI advertising. Several of us have claimed it’s obvious but have heard other reasons in lieu of the paramount one (above).

    Many badgeware advocates on the OSI list, the ZDNet blogs, articles, and podcasts spoke of things called “fairness” and “giving credit” and “showing community support” and “droit moral” and …. As if any of the critics would believe this has to do with some sort of virtuous “give credit where credit is due attribution” which is already available in OSI approved licenses (splash screen, docs, source code, etc).

    Many (I’m including Mule in this group) badgeware companies appear to be great companies (people, marketing, engineering, community support, etc)! Customers want to pay them revenue and have a partner in their CRM, or EAI, etc. Nail the customer needs and it’s entirely irrelevant. Redhat doesn’t ‘protect its IP’ (brand, sure but NOT IP) and people drop PLENTY of $$ because of the VALUE.

    I’m exhausted from these conversations: Let’s all stop fussing over the bits and get down to selling VALUE to CUSTOMERS. It’s the “thing” that really matters.

    Perhaps that is something we all can agree on?

    Happy Holidays – Nick

  3. AN

    Badgeware indeed ensures that the IP of the company is protected as it also ensures that people/developers will think twice before trying out Mule when there are excellent (better?) alternatives with no “badgware issues” such as ServiceMix.


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