First time I’ve seen the Fair Source license.
Thanks for pointing that out: Removed my upvote accordingly.
Apparently you can no longer safely assume that open source is free software and need to check the license carefully.
People don’t want to code for corporations for free, they need to be paid somehow, I just don’t know how to make it work.
I’m talking about freedom, not price.
If you want to talk about price… That exact license is a corporate user deterrent. There are two possible scenarios. First one: buy, say, one license and stop caring. Second one: setup a license accounting scheme by themselves—this will never happen because managers tend to skip that step even with software from vendors who have the resources to come after you, until they finally come after you. In both cases, the effect is the same, how much you are paid depends on their good will.
Since it’s a one man project, he’s unlikely to have resources to sue corporations over compliance issues, assuming he ever finds out they are not compliant—with a license that doesn’t allow incorporating it in other products, it’s going to be limited to internal systems.
There are organizations who may provide pro bono legal assistance with defending free software, but I doubt anyone is going to defend a proprietary software vendor at less than the market rate.
If you can get corporations interested in the product, a “pay for binaries” or “pay for a frontend” model is a much easier sell.
The problem that the “commons clause” of Redis et al. attempts to solve is a much harder one, but it affects a different class of software.
Can you name a project where “pay for binaries” has worked out for the author? Aseprite did this before it went proprietary because it didn’t work. OsmAnd doesn’t count for me because it isn’t free software: A lot of the used UI/UX work is licensed under proprietary/non-commercial licenses and they have the strange clause that you can’t publish your fork to the Play Store. That clause is in direct conflict with the overall GPLv3 which says that there may not be any restrictions on distribution.
It works quite well for VyOS. It’s also “pay for cloud images”—for most companies clicking “deploy” in the marketplace UI is much easier than building the image themselves, even though all those build scripts are open source. Rolling release ISOs are free for everyone, but to get LTS images you need to build it yourself, buy a subscription, or actively contribute to the project and get a free subscription.
I can see why this model didn’t work for Asperite, the audience is very different. However, now I would be very concerned about investing in it and making it a corporate standard. When the original author abandons it, the project is dead—you get no updates and you cannot revive the project either, only maintain it as an in-house solution.
The only reason VyOS exists is that the original Vyatta project it was forked from was corporate-run and closed for contributions, but stil free software. If it was proprietary “source available”, it would be dead for everyone.