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A Russian open source developer says he needs money before he can release code written for the OpenOffice suite.

Vladislav Kharchev, CEO of Stunnix,explains that an unnamed investor paid for four months' work before pulling out. "We feel the great importance of our modifications, and it would be a pain if they would be missing in OpenOffice.org 1.1," he says on the Stunnix website. The nature, but not the the details of the fixes are listed here.

"We can't release our modifications (or a part of them) unless we've received a compensation for all expenses we incured."

OpenOffice uses a dual license scheme for the source, depending on the modules: the Lesser GPL (LGPL) or Sun's community license. So it's up to Stunnix to ask for a fee for distributing modifications, and up to the rest of the world to ignore it.

The company makes a Perl obfuscation package - an tautology, if ever there was one. The Freshmeat descripion explains how the software can "protect your valuable intellectual property". Among recent projects listed on the Stunnix website is a system for casino automation.

So is this a new form of 419? We shall endeavor to find out. Stunnix had not responded to a request for comment at press time. ®

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