Ruby not commercial, right?


#1

I’m trying to organize a Ruby Meetup group in San Francisco
(http://ruby.meetup.com/6/) and applied to the SF Public Library to use
one of their small meeting rooms. They turned us down because they have
deemed Ruby to be a product for commercial gain. The analogy that the
SFPL contact person used is that one can walk into a bookstore and find
a book on Ruby; I countered that one can also find a book on
childrearing.

The SFPL Meeting Room Community Use Rules (http://sfpl.org/libraryl
ocations/mtgrms/rules.htm) states [emphasis mine]:

"No outside group or organization using a Library meeting room

shall: 1) charge an admission fee or solicit donations, 2) sell or
promote any material or service for private profit or gain, 3)
engage in fund raising activities, (excepting those groups who have
contracted with the Library to do so in support of Library programs and
activities)."

I’m arguing that because Ruby is an Open Source project, there is no
private profit or gain when Ruby is utilized versus when another
programming language is utilized. As opposed to using Microsoft Excel
versus Lotus 1-2-3; in which case, Microsoft stands to make money from
Excel licenses.

Can anyone think of better arguments? I think mine is a tad subtle for
non-computer people.

– Bosco


#2

On 11/17/05, removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Can anyone think of better arguments? I think mine is a tad subtle for
non-computer people.

Ruby is a tool. It can be used for commercial gain or not. It is
under licensing which PREVENTS someone from charging royalties for
it’s use. (Therefore, Matz can never demand our money, though if he
did, I might give him a few bucks :wink: )

Claiming that Ruby is commercial is like claiming baseball is
commercial. The major leagues are for profit, but there are plenty of
little leagues…

It’s a tool, not a commodity. Point her to RubyForge or RAA and show
her all the community maintained projects there.

HTH,
Greg


#3

Gregory B. wrote:

It’s a tool, not a commodity. Point her to RubyForge or RAA and show
her all the community maintained projects there.

But be sure to steer clear of www.mad-bling-ruby.org, or the jig is up.

James

http://www.ruby-doc.org - Ruby Help & Documentation
http://www.artima.com/rubycs/ - Ruby Code & Style
http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
http://www.30secondrule.com - Building Better Tools


#4

On 11/17/05, James B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Gregory B. wrote:

It’s a tool, not a commodity. Point her to RubyForge or RAA and show
her all the community maintained projects there.

But be sure to steer clear of www.mad-bling-ruby.org, or the jig is up.

Or www.ruby.com , for that matter. :wink:


#5

Ruby is a language. Would a French language group be banned. Speaking
French
could bring one profit, but no one owns the French language, and so no
one
stands to gain from the use of French directly.

“Gregory B.” removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote in message
news:removed_email_address@domain.invalid…
On 11/17/05, James B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Gregory B. wrote:

It’s a tool, not a commodity. Point her to RubyForge or RAA and show
her all the community maintained projects there.

But be sure to steer clear of www.mad-bling-ruby.org, or the jig is up.

Or www.ruby.com , for that matter. :wink:


#6

On Nov 17, 2005, at 7:32 PM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

deemed Ruby to be a product for commercial gain. The analogy that the
SFPL contact person used is that one can walk into a bookstore and
find
a book on Ruby; I countered that one can also find a book on
childrearing.

Assuming your proposed meeting is free and open to the public I think
their policy is inane. In fact, I think those folks there certainly
have a bit to much time on their hands. I looked at the rules page:

The SFPL Meeting Room Community Use Rules (http://sfpl.org/libraryl
ocations/mtgrms/rules.htm) states [emphasis mine]:

They actually found it necessary to point out that “Stealing Library
property” was against the rules. I’m glad they cleared that up. There
must have been some confusion when the Rotary club used
the room and took all the chairs with them.

Gary W.


#7

On 11/17/05, removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

versus Lotus 1-2-3; in which case, Microsoft stands to make money from
Excel licenses.

Can anyone think of better arguments? I think mine is a tad subtle for
non-computer people.

Something comparing Ruby coding to writing in English might be best,
since this is a public library. Maybe use Open Source to appeal to
their free speech tendencies.

What if someone wanted to start an “Author’s Club” in the library,
where people who enjoy writing English can get together and talk about
it? I doubt there would be much of a problem with that, even though
you can get paid to write.

You want to start a “Ruby Author’s Club”, where those who enjoy
writing Ruby code can get together and talk about it. They shouldn’t
have a problem with that, even though you can get paid (if you’re
lucky!) to write Ruby code.

cheers,
Mark


#8

Explain that you are only advocating the use of freely available
software, have no method to gain financially from its spread, and are
simply trying to encourage the use of a free tool for the gain of the
community. Emphasise that you only want to share your experience and
knowledge with others and receive the same in return.


#9

On 11/17/05, Mark H. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

On 11/17/05, removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

You want to start a “Ruby Author’s Club”, where those who enjoy
writing Ruby code can get together and talk about it. They shouldn’t
have a problem with that, even though you can get paid (if you’re
lucky!) to write Ruby code.

Yeah… or maybe SF Ruby Hobbyists or something. Anything that
distinguishes the group as ‘non commercial’

You could also mention the fact that Ruby (and many many ruby
applications) are free software. Of course, this doesn’t always mean
free as in beer, but in many cases it does. On top of that, it does
ensure that the ‘for private gain’ clause is effectively eliminated.
Alternatively, you can seek a host in your local area other than the
library.

We were originally looking for public meeting places for new_haven.rb
until one of our members secured us office space which we have a lot
more leeway with scheduling / setup / rules / etc, and it works quite
nicely.

We do however, charge $500 at the door and we demand that people sign
a NDA upon entering the building. Because we’re all about the ruby
benjamins :slight_smile:


#10

Thanks everyone for your input. I emailed the SFPL contact person an
appeal and used some of your wording verbatim (I attributed them in
footnotes). I did pass over the “inane” part. :slight_smile: I’m not sanguine that
this appeal will go anywhere, but it’s always worth a try. Here’s what
I sent:

Hi,

Thanks for touching base with me yesterday and explaining the rationale
behind the rejection of the Main Library meeting room for a Ruby
computer language meeting.

I believe that the main contention of your rejection lies in the
perception that the Ruby language is a commercial product (e.g.,
Microsoft Excel) and that allowing meetings that center around such
product will lead to commercial profit or gain to the maker of that
product.

Let me point out that Ruby[1] is an Open Source language originally
developed by a Japanese engineer and which has subsequently been
enhanced by other engineers all around the world. Being Open Source in
this case means that:

* Ruby is free
* As per its license[2], no one can charge royalties for its use
* The intellectual property of Ruby has been placed in the public

domain.

Moreover, because Ruby is available for free on many different computer
platforms (e.g., Macintosh, Linux, PC), no one computer company will
benefit from its use over another computer company.

Another way of looking at this is to treat Ruby as a language like
French. Would a French language group be prohibited from using an SFPL
meeting room? Speaking French could bring one profit, but one one owns
the French language, and so no one stands to gain from the use of
French directly[3].

We at the San Francisco Ruby Meetup group[4] are advocating the use of
freely available software, have no method to gain financially from its
spread, and are simply trying to encourage the use of a free tool for
the gain of the community. We want to share our experiences with each
other and receive the same in return[5]. Our membership and events are
open to the general public.

Thank you for your consideration.

– Bosco So

Notes:
[1] Ruby language home page - http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/
[2] Ruby’s license - http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/LICENSE.txt
[3] Example communicated in the Ruby language discussion group
(alt.lang.ruby)
[4] SF Ruby Meetup group home page - http://ruby.meetup.com/6/
[5] Position communicated in alt.lang.ruby


#11

Ah c**p, I meant to write comp.lang.ruby in the footnotes.


#12

Hi –

On Sat, 19 Nov 2005, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Ah c**p, I meant to write comp.lang.ruby in the footnotes.

I was wondering about that. Well, maybe alt will make you seem even
less commercial :slight_smile:

David


#13

On Fri, 18 Nov 2005, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I’m trying to organize a Ruby Meetup group in San Francisco
(http://ruby.meetup.com/6/) and applied to the SF Public Library to use
one of their small meeting rooms. They turned us down because they have
deemed Ruby to be a product for commercial gain. The analogy that the
SFPL contact person used is that one can walk into a bookstore and find
a book on Ruby; I countered that one can also find a book on
childrearing.

Interesting. They have an audio/visual media request form on

http://sfpl.org/librarylocations/mtgrms/roomsetup.htm

The tool for reading it is a product of Adobe, because it is PDF.
It also mentions that the Library PC uses Powerpoint. a commercial
product of Microsoft. And you are not allowed to use Macs, so it is
clearly biased towards Microsoft.

The meeting is essentially to help people learn about ruby. Isn’t
education a function of libraries any more?

"Third priority will be given to children, youth groups and
organizations involved in literacy or educational programs. "

Computer literacy?

“Fourth priority will be given to other non-profit public and
/or social service organizations.”

Not for profit…

Maybe tell them you want the first meeting to include a section on
how to use Poerpoint! :slight_smile:

    Hugh

#14

On Nov 18, 2005, at 6:47 PM, removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Thanks everyone for your input. I emailed the SFPL contact person an
appeal and used some of your wording verbatim (I attributed them in
footnotes). I did pass over the “inane” part. :slight_smile:

Understandable. :slight_smile: I hope things work out for you and your group.

Gary W.


#15

removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

* The intellectual property of Ruby has been placed in the public

domain.

Hmmm…hate to be picky, but as a copyright holder myself I have to say
something. Ruby is copyrighted software, not public domain.

Nevertheless, good luck with your plea to the library.


#16

Timothy H. removed_email_address@domain.invalid writes:

removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

* The intellectual property of Ruby has been placed in the public

domain.

Hmmm…hate to be picky, but as a copyright holder myself I have to
say something. Ruby is copyrighted software, not public domain.

Nevertheless, good luck with your plea to the library.

Intellectual property is not covered by copyright.


#17

On 11/18/05, removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Ah c**p, I meant to write comp.lang.ruby in the footnotes.

Given that it’s San Francisco, that might actually make it more
appealing to them.


#18

Selon Christian N. :

Intellectual property is not covered by copyright.

Incorrect. “Intellectual Property” is a deliberately confusing term used
mainly by big corporations to cover all of copyright, patents,
trademarks and trade secrets. So the so-called “intellectual property”
of Ruby is definitely covered by copyright, and definitely not in the
public domain.

But please don’t use the term “Intellectual Property”. Copyrights,
patents, trademarks and trade secrets appeared independently, or not
covered by the same laws and don’t follow the same rules. Trying to put
them together under one term is confusing, and leads even to really
wrong things like calling copyright infringement “intellectual property
theft”, which is not only legally incorrect, but factually wrong.

Here’s a short run down of why the term “Intellectual Property” has no
menaing whatsoever and shouldn’t be used:

  • copyright is automatic (indicating it is good but not always
    necessary), and applies to the expression of an idea, i.e. an actual
    literary work, code source, music sheet, etc… It lasts for the life of
    the copyright holder + a certain amount of years (insanely large, last I
    head it was 70 years or something), and copyright infringement can only
    be found when it is proven that actual copying of the work happened
    (if another work looks very close to the copyrighted material, but was
    developed independently, it does not infringe). In court, the
    copyright holder has the burden of proving copyright infringement.

  • patents need to be applied to, and cover the concept of a technical
    invention, and growingly ideas and concepts in general. They last 17
    years in the US (IIRC). Patent infringement happens as soon as one uses
    a concept covered by a patent, even if that person developed it
    without previous knowledge of the patent or of the concept. In other
    words, patents are effectively temporary monopolies on ideas. In court,
    it is the burden of the defendant to prove they didn’t commit patent
    infringement.

  • trademarks need to be applied to, and cover names and titles of
    products. They protect brand recognition. They last as long as the
    product exists. Trademark infringement happens as soon as someone uses
    that same name to refer to a similar but different product (IIRC). The
    trademark holder is obliged to go against any trademark infringement.
    If they fail to do so, the trademark can be ruled invalid. It’s a
    “everyone or no one” rule.

  • trade secrets are automatic, and exist as soon as (and as long as) one
    keeps something secret in the composition and/or fabrication of a
    product. There is no specific legal protection to trade secrets. Any
    protection has to be done by the trade secret holder, usually by means
    of contracts called Non-Disclosure Agreements. Similarly, there is no
    such thing as “trade secret infringement”. If someone bound by a NDA
    spilled the beans out, they can be sued for breaking a contract, but
    that’s all. If the cat gets out of the bag in another way, the holder
    has no recourse whatsoever. Of course, in the case of source code for
    instance, that code is still covered by copyright, so it doesn’t mean
    the spilled out beans go automatically in the public domain. The trade
    secret itself isn’t protected though.

OK, I guess this wasn’t as short as I wanted it to be. But when you read
that, you must understand why a term like “Intellectual Property” is
needlessly simplificating and confusing. The different forms of this
so-called “intellectual property” apply to different things, are
protected in different ways, for different durations, and infringing on
them means something different for each of them.

So please, don’t use that term. You’re only confusing yourself, and
others.

Christophe G…

http://rainbow.conlang.free.fr

You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.


#19

On 11/19/05, Christophe G. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

OK, I guess this wasn’t as short as I wanted it to be. But when you read
that, you must understand why a term like “Intellectual Property” is
needlessly simplificating and confusing. The different forms of this
so-called “intellectual property” apply to different things, are
protected in different ways, for different durations, and infringing on
them means something different for each of them.

So please, don’t use that term. You’re only confusing yourself, and others.

I agree. Avoiding the term ‘intellectual property’ is important.
Rights of an author to the protection of their work in the way they
see fit is a valid concept, but attempting to coerce this into being
analogous to property in any way is misleading and confusing.