The GPL Explained
Although there have been some expressions of interest, to date nobody has followed up and offered to fund the project to a third or fourth-prototype stage -- something that will take around US$100K.
As a result of this situation, and the obvious frustration it has produced, I am now considering other options to ensure that the project survives.
One option is to place all my research to date and all future work into the public arena under a General Public License (GPL)
This type of license is common within the software industry where a project is effectively released into the public domain but on the strict condition that all improvements and derived works are also subject to the terms of the GPL.
In effect it means that anyone who takes the idea and improves it must also place those improvements into the public arena as well. Once under a GPL, nobody can hijack the project and gain exclusive rights to their derived works.
Details of the GPL as it is applied to software appear here but they can also be applied to anything that might otherwise enjoy the protection of a copyright or patent.
I do have some reservations regarding this option however -- since the engine itself does have obvious defensive and offensive military applications. Clearly, it would not be desirable to make the job of building a cheap but highly effective powerplant for a low cost cruise missile any easier for those who might choose to use such a weapon against innocent people.
In essence, it would allow people to get a lot closer to the development process in return for a donation towards the cost of that development.
Since most countries have very specific laws regarding touting for investment funds directly from the public -- such a program would not involve "friends of the X-Jet" being offered any equity stake or investment in the project as such.
I would envisage that "friends" would receive regular (weekly or fortnightly) exclusive updates with pictures and other information on progress as the development continued.
The critical factor with this option is the number of people prepared to donate a small amount of money to participate. For this reason I will not be soliciting donations at this time -- simply asking anyone who might like to get involved to drop me a line so that I can evaluate the idea's viability.
If you have any ideas or comments on these proposed options, please feel free to contact me.