On Wed, May 10, 2006 at 10:57:22AM -0500, Sean L. wrote:
} >>The primary thing the GPL brings over the MIT is a guarantee the end
} >>user will get the source code.
} >GPL brings that advantage, yes, and it also means that modifications
} >are going to come sailing in from all over the place, however it also
} >makes it virtually impossible for 95% of us who make money from Rails
} >development from being able to do so right now. Our money does not
} >come from salaries, we do not have the comfort of sales teams, we
} >fight the dragons of insolvency daily.
} Remember that Rails is hosted on a server, not distributed as a copy.
} GPL does not require release of modifications in this case.
This is accurate.
} Think of Tivo. The box is distributed, but Tivo is not required to
} release their proprietary modifications to Linux!
This is wholly inaccurate. TiVo does release their proprietary kernel
modifications. What they also do, however, is have a proprietary
(partly or entirely in hardware, I believe) that verifies a
signature on the kernel and refuses to boot if it doesn’t recognize the
signature. This means that a kernel that would otherwise run on the TiVo
hardware, including TiVo’s publicly available kernel modifications, will
not boot on TiVo hardware without an appropriate cryptographic
Only TiVo, Inc. holds the cryptographic key to sign the kernel, however.
} GPL 3 is being changed to stop this, as RMS puts it. ‘Tivoization’ of
} Linux. Linus is sticking with the gpl v2.
This is accurate.
} Besides, you don’t have to modify Rails to write programs in Rails.
The GPL covers “derived works,” which includes any code based on or
to the original code. Any Rails app would be covered by the GPL if Rails
itself were GPL-licenced.
} so MIT v. GPL is not a big issue if you want to write a site with
} Rails and make money.
That is somewhat accurate. If you are running the site yourself, you are
not technically distributing the app and, therefore, the provisions in
GPL (if GPL’d code were involved) about providing code do not apply. If
are selling the app, however, they would.
} If someone is paying you a salary, or hires you as a contractor to
} write something in Rails, the code is going to belong to them and not
} you (they are paying) so it isn’t an issue there.
} Its pretty much a non-issue.
Eh, not quite.
} This is really only an issue if you plan on taking Rails, forking your
} own version, putting your version in a box and selling it. Why would
} you want to do that? You would have to shoulder all support and future
} development by cutting yourself off from the Rails community. If you
} were IBM, you could afford that (ie websphere), but if your just
} starting out, its not a realistic choice.
Imagine, for the moment, that Microsoft comes to the conclusion that
ASP.NET isn’t cutting it and they need a new web framework for their
developers. They have the right to take Rails, compile it to MSIL with a
Ruby.NET compiler (doesn’t exist just yet, but it will), make whatever
changes they like to make it play nice with VS.NET designers and such,
ship it under whatever name they like. The MIT license allows this use.
Is that bad? Arguable. Is it likely? No. Is it a non-issue? It depends
who you ask. Note that I am not expressing an opinion in this message, I
only correcting some misconceptions.