This is why I think most developers should create a standard closed license
, require registration
for a NO-CHARGE (as in "not free") copy of the software, and avoid the word "free" like the plague.
It's important to manage expectations
and set the baseline understanding
right up front. Even if you technically are
giving the copy away, don't ever characterize your product as "free software."
Many font designers handle this in a very clever way. If you go to their sites for a freebie, you often discover you need to register first to download. All their no-charge
fonts go in their shopping cart just like everything else they offer
does. An invoice
gets generated with a total of $0 which gets emailed to the 'buyer' along with the download link plus a copy of the license. Brilliant!
After that, you have no doubt in your mind about who was doing who
the favor. Plus it gives them the flexibility to initiate a charge at any time - as well as offer "discount codes" for the people they still want to give no-charge
With FOSS products you often have hundreds of very qualified developers working on the project in anything from an ad hoc to highly structured and formalized manner. Many hands make for light work. And many eyes for quick debugging. (Or at least so the sacred words of St. Foss tells us. I have my own personal doubts about that assertion sometimes.
The private indy developer or small code shop, however, doesn't have the luxury of that resource. And simply GPL-ing your product isn't going to automatically get it for you.
The thing to remember is that the original FOSS philosophy is all about community
first and projects second. So if you're doing your own project, and want to have total control over its form and progress, setting things up as a FOSS project is misguided.
If you're the type that likes to sit down and "group code" and have a "the more the merrier" attitude when it comes to participation, doing a FOSS project might
make more sense.
Whenever dealing with the general public - manage expectations and know what you're getting into.