Osmocom project vs. sysmocom GmbH

Harald Welte hwelte at sysmocom.de
Fri May 13 16:39:18 UTC 2011

Hi all!

As some of you already know, Holger and I have recently started a new
company called "sysmocom - systems for mobile communications GmbH".
The process of establishing the new company has now formally concluded.

Before some rumours start to spread, we would like to clarify some
points and make sure there is mutual understanding between the Osmocom
community and the sysmocom company.

sysmocom is intended to provide commercial offerings related to the
Osmocom projects.  This is not entirely new.  Especially on the network
side, people like Holger and I have been doing quite a lot of paid
development to bring those projects forward.  We would not have many of
the features we have today, if it wasn't for customers who actually pay
us for development of OpenBSC, OsmoBSC, OsmoSGSN and the various side
projects more targetted at a real network operator like cellmgr-ng,
bsc-nat, gb_proxy - just to name a few.

However, this has always only been freelancing development of Software.

With sysmocom, we want to go one step further and work on hardware
products related to the various Free Software projects.  Right now I
don't want to talk too much about unfinished products, but we are
working towards an inexpensive BTS product, we are funding the
prototypes for Osmocom SIMtrace, and we will likely also see stuff like
OpenBSC appliances.

Given our past involvement and exposure into other projects that share
a split Free Software / business set-up, we think we understand very
well where potential issues of conflict between the two sides may be.

Let me make some more clarification what this is not about:

* sysmocom is not about creating proprietary derivates of Osmocom
  software.  We work on Free Software which is publicly available under
  OSI approved and FSF endorsed licenses.  We may offer proprietary
  hardware and sometimes software - but those are independent projects
  from existing Osmocom software.

* we specifically will not have a public and a non-public version of
  the same program with differences in features.

* sysmocom is not a VC-funded startup.  It's a very small company
  run out of personal funds with no intention to take external funding
  or grow rapidly.  Nobody but Holger and I determine where it goes
  and what it does.

* sysmocom does not hold any copyright on the Free Software projects.
  The copyrights stay distributed with the major authors such as Holger,
  Onwaves, Sylvain, Dieter, Andreas and myself.  None of the others have
  any affiliation with sysmocom.  I have (personally, unrelated to
  sysmocom) asked some of the smaller contributors for a copyright
  transfer to make sure we could do the AGPLv3 transition, or future
  re-licensing decisions without having to ask dozens and dozens of
  people.  sysmocom does not seek to control the Free Software projects.

* we will maintain a strict separation between the community side of
  things and the business side.  Unlike some other popular projects, we
  will not end up in a situation where the osmocom.org websites will be
  full of advertisements and hidden links that lure you on the company

* we will keep a strict separation of naming.  Osmocom is for the FOSS
  projects, sysmocom for the business.  The company will use the term
  "Osmocom" only in descriptive context, not as a product name, brand
  or for advertisement.

If you do have any concerns, please feel free to share them.  However,
I'd like to avoid cross-posting them throguh different mailing lists.
Please follow-up-to openbsc at lists.osmocom.org

- Harald Welte <hwelte at sysmocom.de>             http://www.sysmocom.de/
* sysmocom - systems for mobile communications GmbH
* Schivelbeiner Str. 5
* 10439 Berlin, Germany
* Sitz / Registered office: Berlin, HRB 134158 B
* Geschaeftsfuehrer / Managing Directors: Holger Freyther, Harald Welte
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