License Zero

gainful open software development

Founder Commitment

If I were relying on License Zero to make money or buy licenses, I'd want to know a little bit more about the business, who's behind it, and what their plans look like. I'd want to know they'll stick around.

As the founder and driving force behind License Zero and Artless Devices, its company home, I make the following commitments publicly, for all to see. Hold me to this.

Kyle E. Mitchell
Sole Member
Artless Devices LLC
March 24, 2019

Motivation

You'll know where I'm coming from.

I'm a business lawyer with deep roots in open source. I see License Zero first and foremost as an extension of my law practice. I can't be every solo developer's lawyer. One lawyer shouldn't do all that work, from one point of view. But that's no consolation to those who need my kind of help, and can't find or afford it, from me or from other counsel.

The purpose of License Zero is to fill that gap. That won't change.

Management

You'll know who you're dealing with.

I don't ever plan to take venture capital or other investment that could change, or threaten to change, management control of the business, or to sell the business. If I do, I'll announce it on the blog, and more importantly, change the primary name for the business to something other than "License Zero".

Self-funding will keep License Zero lean. It will also slow its growth. I am strongly in favor of both. License Zero should stay well within my out-of-pocket means, and grow carefully and organically, as individual developers decide for themselves that it meets their needs.

On the other hand, I may delegate work on License Zero to others, over time, while I retain final say. I may also set up a succession plan, in case I move on, die, or otherwise become unavailable to keep License Zero going. I'll pick the best people I can find.

Relationships

You'll keep control of communication and relationships.

I won't publicize people or projects that choose to use License Zero or its public licenses without their permission. As a developer, I'd want total control over conversations with my users, contributors, sponsors, and business partners. So that's what License Zero will afford.

At the same time, I pledge to remain available to all developers selling licenses through the platform, publicly and privately, to provide feedback, answers, and a second point of view. I'm outnumbered, so over time, more and more of that may look like sending links to published resources, or delegating to others.

Transparency

You'll be able to check my work.

I'll do as much work on the software behind License Zero in public as practical. At the moment, that means on GitHub. I'll pick whatever license terms I think best.

In addition, I'll continue to blog every major design question, decision, and thought process as I go. If License Zero changes, you'll be able to read why. If it might change in the future, you'll be able to read about it, ahead of time, and feed back to me.