Forum: Ruby on Rails MIT vs GPL vs LGPL for open source project

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D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 16:57
I intend to release a project I wrote with Rails.

What is the right licensing scheme for a web application (content
managing system) which could grow with plugins and add-ons ?

Personally, I would prefer the GPL but does that mean any add-on to the
CMS (like task management) will have to be GPL ?

If some people contribute to the code could it still be double-licenced
so that the people who would want to use it in proprietary applications
could pay for a license (thus financing the work on the CMS) ?

Why did Typo choose the MIT license ?

So to resume all these questions :

1. cons and pros of GPL
2. add-on, plugin license if base application is GPL
3. Why MIT license for Rails, Ruby and Typo ?

Many thanks for your answers,

Gaspard Bucher
D4b246038154d7cc2363256bd25a4fe0?d=identicon&s=25 Larry White (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:09
(Received via mailing list)
Short answer. You should use the GPL over MIT only if you want to
prohibit
anyone from ever taking your software and making a closed-source
derivative.  MIT licenses let users do anything (so long as they give
credit, I believe). Berkley and Apache licenses are similar to MIT.  GPL
says derivatives must stay open source. LGPL provides explicit
exemptions to
GPL for plug-in type modules.
Df040ca3576504b24a73744179903277?d=identicon&s=25 Tobias Lütke (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:16
(Received via mailing list)
I guess i'll answer this..

> Why did Typo choose the MIT license ?
>
> So to resume all these questions :
>
> 1. cons and pros of GPL

If typo was GPL you would have to release the source upon request of
every application which uses typo in any way shape or form. This
includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.

> 2. add-on, plugin license if base application is GPL

Plugins get their own license. But if the host application is GPL
licensed your addons have to be GPL if you hope that your plugin will
ever be distributed with the core application.

> 3. Why MIT license for Rails, Ruby and Typo ?

Because it means "no strings attached"


My experience is that programmers like to be able to do whatever they
want. If you tell them to use your source but only if you do a,b and c
then chances are they won't particularly care for your work. In
general I always got more contributions back on MIT licensed libraries
then I did on GPL.


--
Tobi
http://shopify.com       - modern e-commerce software
http://typo.leetsoft.com - Open source weblog engine
http://blog.leetsoft.com - Technical weblog
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:22
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/8/06, Gazoduc <gaspard@teti.ch> wrote:
> What is the right licensing scheme for a web application (content
> managing system) which could grow with plugins and add-ons ?

The right licensing scheme is the one that you prefer.

> Personally, I would prefer the GPL but does that mean any add-on to the
> CMS (like task management) will have to be GPL ?

Essentially? Yes. The GNU GPL (and it's important to include GNU in
front of it because there are other General Public Licences out there)
is a Share Alike licence. The GNU GPL v2 does not allow for any
restriction above and beyond what (severe) restrictions are already in
the GNU GPL v2. The GNU GPL v3 will allow for *some* additional
restrictions, but not many, and it has philosophical positions that many
people (myself included) make it an untenable licence as currently
written.

> If some people contribute to the code could it still be
> double-licenced so that the people who would want to use it in
> proprietary applications could pay for a license (thus financing the
> work on the CMS) ?

I think that you fundamentally misunderstand the GNU GPL. The GNU GPL
requires that I distribute modifications to your software released under
the GNU GPL to the people to whom I give binaries and that I not
restrict *them* from distributing it further (either binary or source
form). If you release WBCMS (World's Best CMS) under the GNU GPL, Evil
Ltd. can take that and modify it on their site to their hearts' content.
They do not have to give you back their modifications, or give their
modifications to anyone who does CMS-related work on Evil Ltd.'s
website. If they sell WBECMS (World's Best Evil CMS) to a customer,
though, they have to give the customer the source code and they cannot
restrict the customer from giving away the binary or source to anyone
they choose.

The GNU GPLv3 has a clause in it which essentially indicates that if you
release WBCMS with a source download link, downstream users MAY NOT
REMOVE that source download link, and the source download link must
point to their modified source. This is but one of many untenable things
in the GNU GPLv3.

> Why did Typo choose the MIT license ?

I can't really answer that, but I can offer a guess, related to why
PDF::Writer is under the MIT licence:

  I don't want to restrict the choices of my users. I have made a
  moral choice to allow my software to be used as needed. I *like*
  it when my users communicate back with me and contribute code
  (as they have done, and will hopefully see light of day soon),
  but I see no reason by which I should force them to give me code
  or open other code because they are using my library as a subsytem.

I also have fundamental disagreements with the politics and lies
surrounding GNU GPL advocacy and the political preamble in the GNU GPL
itself, even though I have no problem with a Share Alike licence.

> 1. cons and pros of GPL
> 2. add-on, plugin license if base application is GPL
> 3. Why MIT license for Rails, Ruby and Typo ?

Note: Ruby is *not* currently under an MIT licence. It's just not solely
under the GNU GPL.

-austin
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:23
Larry White wrote:
> Short answer. You should use the GPL over MIT only if you want to
> prohibit
> anyone from ever taking your software and making a closed-source
> derivative.

So the real question I should be asking is :

Should I let people create closed-source derivatives out of this CMS ?

The answer would be: yes for me, no for others... Is this possible ?
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:28
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/8/06, Gazoduc <gaspard@teti.ch> wrote:
> The answer would be: yes for me, no for others... Is this possible ?
If and only if you are the only contributor of the source ... ever. Or
if you get copyright assignments. If your open source users contribute
code back, you can't then turn around and use their code in your
closed source version.

-austin
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:34
Austin Ziegler wrote:
> I think that you fundamentally misunderstand the GNU GPL. The GNU GPL
> requires that I distribute modifications to your software released under
> the GNU GPL to the people to whom I give binaries and that I not
> restrict *them* from distributing it further (either binary or source
> form). If you release WBCMS (World's Best CMS) under the GNU GPL, Evil
> Ltd. can take that and modify it on their site to their hearts' content.
> They do not have to give you back their modifications, or give their
> modifications to anyone who does CMS-related work on Evil Ltd.'s
> website. If they sell WBECMS (World's Best Evil CMS) to a customer,
> though, they have to give the customer the source code and they cannot
> restrict the customer from giving away the binary or source to anyone
> they choose.

Ok, so this means that web-applications that are not sold (they sell
some kind of hosting) have the right to do whatever they like with any
kind of license... as they do not sell code ?

I understand that there is some dislike around the GNU GPL. Is it
because of it's idealistic views on commercial vs open software ? About
the statement that a developer can make a living out of open source
software just as he could with commercial applications (or even better)
?
C4a0d49327c78017de7194d4e543d2dd?d=identicon&s=25 Joseph Kowalski (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:43
(Received via mailing list)
Interestingly enough though, among some of the bigger corporate open
source
contributers, the gpl is preferred, as it prevents a competitor from
taking
advantage of the company's contribution.
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:50
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/8/06, Gazoduc <gaspard@teti.ch> wrote:
>> Best Evil CMS) to a customer, though, they have to give the customer
>> the source code and they cannot restrict the customer from giving
>> away the binary or source to anyone they choose.
> Ok, so this means that web-applications that are not sold (they sell
> some kind of hosting) have the right to do whatever they like with any
> kind of license... as they do not sell code ?

Hmmm. It depends on how they give access to the web application, really.
My web host, when I install PHP mySQL Administration, simply copies the
source down to my hosting directory. Distribution of the source or
binary is the key here.

> I understand that there is some dislike around the GNU GPL. Is it
> because of it's idealistic views on commercial vs open software ?
> About the statement that a developer can make a living out of open
> source software just as he could with commercial applications (or even
> better) ?

No. The GNU GPL is a highly restrictive licence. However, the zealots
tend to pretend that this is "more free" than an unrestrictive licence.
It's a handy piece of doublespeak that Orwell would have envied, because
the people have done it to themselves without any intervention by a
government.

The GNU GPL doesn't actually make a statement about a developer being
able to make a living on open/closed software. It makes a moral
statement about closed software and "free" software (there's that lie
again!). Stallman rejects "open source" as a useful tag, and only
considers software on how "free" it is.

Basically, I tend to release my software under an MIT-style licence
because I don't want to restrict my downstream users. I prefer to give
greater freedom to everyone.

-austin
9d7d8ef2179661d6b30e180fa588cd45?d=identicon&s=25 Calle Dybedahl (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 17:59
(Received via mailing list)
>>>>> "Gazoduc" == Gazoduc  <gaspard@teti.ch> writes:

> Ok, so this means that web-applications that are not sold (they sell
> some kind of hosting) have the right to do whatever they like with any
> kind of license... as they do not sell code ?

Well, yes and no. None of the major Open Source licenses in use today
try to restrict how the code is used, only how it's distributed. But
it's possible to write restrictions on use into licenses, and
closed-source ones often have such restrictions. So a company can take
a GPL- or BSD-licensed software and build a service on it without
redistributing their changes to the code, since those licenses only
talk about redistribution.

> I understand that there is some dislike around the GNU GPL. Is it
> because of it's idealistic views on commercial vs open software?

Sort of. The GNU GPL is a tool with which the Free Software Foundation
tries to bring about political and cultural change. Not everybody
agrees with their goal, and some who agree with the goals don't agree
with their means.

To bring this at least slightly on-topic: You are using Ruby on Rails
to build the project you're thinking of releasing. Does it really seem
right to you to release your code under a license that is more
restrictive than the licenses of the tools you used to build it?

--
		     Calle Dybedahl <calle@cyberpomo.com>
		 http://www.livejournal.com/users/cdybedahl/
  "You know, if I garbage collected my brain I wouldn't have anything
left."
			   -- Paul Tomblin, BofhNet
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-08 18:37
Calle Dybedahl wrote:
> To bring this at least slightly on-topic: You are using Ruby on Rails
> to build the project you're thinking of releasing. Does it really seem
> right to you to release your code under a license that is more
> restrictive than the licenses of the tools you used to build it?

You are right about this last point. I just need to understand the
choices I make. I am not a big fan of idealistic and/or political means.
I like the idea to let downstream users do whatever they like.

So it will be MIT license: freedom to do whatever you like with this
code.
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 03:56
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 11:14:43AM -0400, Tobias Lütke wrote:
> includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
> for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.

Which, of course, is seen as a feature, not a bug, as it grows the pool
of
Free Software available to the world at large.

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 03:59
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 08:43:14AM -0700, Joseph Kowalski wrote:
> Interestingly enough though, among some of the bigger corporate open source
> contributers, the gpl is preferred, as it prevents a competitor from taking
> advantage of the company's contribution.

s/advantage/unfair advantage/

Lock-in software is what you can't take advantage of.  But GPL'd
software is
out there for *everyone* to take advantage of -- it's just that, if you
take advantage of some GPL'd software, you have to let others then take
similar advantage with your modifications.  It levels the playing field,
and
all that.

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 04:11
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 05:34:07PM +0200, Gazoduc wrote:
> > though, they have to give the customer the source code and they cannot
> > restrict the customer from giving away the binary or source to anyone
> > they choose.
>
> Ok, so this means that web-applications that are not sold (they sell
> some kind of hosting) have the right to do whatever they like with any
> kind of license... as they do not sell code ?

The key to understanding here is not to think about selling, but rather
'distributing'.  They also don't have the ability to do whatever they
like
with any licence, because they have to adhere to the terms of the
licence --
it's just that licences like the GPL only restrict the act of
redistribution.

> I understand that there is some dislike around the GNU GPL. Is it
> because of it's idealistic views on commercial vs open software ? About

Not commercial software, but rather proprietary (or more accurately
'lock-in') software.

> the statement that a developer can make a living out of open source
> software just as he could with commercial applications (or even better)
> ?

The GPL doesn't talk about how much money you can or can't make out of
software, it's all about growing the "software commons".

- Matt
Df040ca3576504b24a73744179903277?d=identicon&s=25 Tobias Lütke (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 05:33
(Received via mailing list)
> > If typo was GPL you would have to release the source upon request of
> > every application which uses typo in any way shape or form. This
> > includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
> > for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.
>
> Which, of course, is seen as a feature, not a bug, as it grows the pool of
> Free Software available to the world at large.

Its easy to make this mistake. Good programmers love sharing beautiful
code.
In a GPL project you get all the code back, no matter what the
quality. That leads
to a lot of useless code for the project lead to wade through.
The beautiful code, the one you really want, you get in a MIT project.
But you even get
such code by people using your project for commercial reasons. As all
the extractions from projects such as Basecamp clearly show this is
the code a open source project lead wants to get his hands on.

To summarize this quickly: MIT licence leads to fewer but higher
quality code contributions.


--
Tobi
http://shopify.com       - modern e-commerce software
http://typo.leetsoft.com - Open source weblog engine
http://blog.leetsoft.com - Technical weblog
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 05:33
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 11:49:55AM -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> No. The GNU GPL is a highly restrictive licence. However, the zealots
> tend to pretend that this is "more free" than an unrestrictive licence.
> It's a handy piece of doublespeak that Orwell would have envied, because
> the people have done it to themselves without any intervention by a
> government.

Wow, you've really got a burr in your shorts.

The GPL is a licence whose stated aim is to ensure that software is free
*for* *users*, which was a pretty revolutionary concept at the time
(and,
for the most part, still is).  It doesn't even go particularly far about
doing so, either -- it doesn't require you to give up any more to your
downstream users as your upstream users gave up for you.  On the one
hand,
it's great that you're giving downstream users the ability to make your
changes closed, but you have to balance that against the potential loss
of
freedom for other people who are downstream from your downstream users.

It's not a simple tradeoff, and different people will value different
outcomes differently.  But calling the GPL "doublespeak", or it's
advocates
"zealots", is pretty nasty.

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matt Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 07:31
(Received via mailing list)
On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 11:32:58PM -0400, Tobias Lütke wrote:
> > > If typo was GPL you would have to release the source upon request of
> > > every application which uses typo in any way shape or form. This
> > > includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
> > > for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.
> >
> > Which, of course, is seen as a feature, not a bug, as it grows the pool of
> > Free Software available to the world at large.
>
> Its easy to make this mistake. Good programmers love sharing beautiful code.

What mistake?

> In a GPL project you get all the code back, no matter what the quality.

No you don't.

> That leads to a lot of useless code for the project lead to wade through.

That's a feature of open contributions, not the licence.

> The beautiful code, the one you really want, you get in a MIT project.

Do you realise just how ridiculous that sounds?

> To summarize this quickly: MIT licence leads to fewer but higher
> quality code contributions.

How does the licence manage to dictate that only master programmers are
going to write code for your project?

- Matt

--
[On LDAP] "Lightweight my ass.  The fact that X.509 has the weight of an
18-wheel rig doesn't make a minivan something you shove in your
backpack."
		-- Zed Pobre, ASR
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 08:30
Matthew Palmer wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 08, 2006 at 11:49:55AM -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
>> No. The GNU GPL is a highly restrictive licence. However, the zealots
>> tend to pretend that this is "more free" than an unrestrictive licence.
>> It's a handy piece of doublespeak that Orwell would have envied, because
>> the people have done it to themselves without any intervention by a
>> government.
>
> Wow, you've really got a burr in your shorts.
>
> The GPL is a licence whose stated aim is to ensure that software is free
> *for* *users*, which was a pretty revolutionary concept at the time
> (and,
> for the most part, still is).  It doesn't even go particularly far about
> doing so, either -- it doesn't require you to give up any more to your
> downstream users as your upstream users gave up for you.  On the one
> hand,
> it's great that you're giving downstream users the ability to make your
> changes closed, but you have to balance that against the potential loss
> of
> freedom for other people who are downstream from your downstream users.

It is true that with the MIT license, I ensure my "children" get the
code but not my "grandchildren". The question boils down to : will my
"children" do anything useful with this code and will they want to pass
their work on to their "children" ?

The GNU GPL can be seen as a pessimistic approach: if we do not enforce
lock-out, all code will soon be locked-in.

Maybe this was correct ten years ago, but I do not think it like this
now as open source is becoming some kind of culture (things can change
though).

Another point : I am not against locked-in code. I am happy that Apple
could build mac os X on top of a BSD licence. If Darwin was GPL, maybe
Cocoa would simply not exist...
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 08:57
Gazoduc wrote:
> It is true that with the MIT license, I ensure my "children" get the
> code but not my "grandchildren". The question boils down to : will my
> "children" do anything useful with this code and will they want to pass
> their work on to their "children" ?
>
> The GNU GPL can be seen as a pessimistic approach: if we do not enforce
> lock-out, all code will soon be locked-in.
>
> Maybe this was correct ten years ago, but I do not think it like this
> now as open source is becoming some kind of culture (things can change
> though).
>
> Another point : I am not against locked-in code. I am happy that Apple
> could build mac os X on top of a BSD licence. If Darwin was GPL, maybe
> Cocoa would simply not exist...

PS: or another example, closer from Rails : Basecamp. If Rails was GNU
GPL, then Basecamp would have to be open source. Anyone could install
Basecamp anywhere. There would be very cheap Basecamp hosting making
money without adding much value and out goes 37signals...
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 10:43
(Received via mailing list)
Sun, 09 Apr 2006, Gazoduc skrev:

> Another point : I am not against locked-in code. I am happy that Apple
> could build mac os X on top of a BSD licence. If Darwin was GPL, maybe
> Cocoa would simply not exist...
>

Ore another example: If Linux used BSD licence, Microsoft would have
the opportunity to make an closed source Linux who would make it
possible to run MS programs, better integration with Windows
etc. witch would get a lot of existing and new Linux users, and that
way be a big hit against the free software movement.

I think it's better not to give MS and other anti-free software
companies such opportunities.

Besides: If there had not existed any BSD Unix, maybe Apple would have
build OS X on top of Linux, and been forced to give back their further
development on top of Linux. I'm not in doubt what I would prefer.

- Henrik
37c332966b49eeb1d54eeefd3bc5ce97?d=identicon&s=25 David Corbin (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 12:27
(Received via mailing list)
On Sunday 09 April 2006 02:57 am, Gazoduc wrote:
>
> PS: or another example, closer from Rails : Basecamp. If Rails was GNU
> GPL, then Basecamp would have to be open source. Anyone could install
> Basecamp anywhere. There would be very cheap Basecamp hosting making
> money without adding much value and out goes 37signals...

Well except that no one is copying Basecamp.  The GPL v2 has a bit of a
whole
when it comes to hosted web applicatoins that v3 is supposed to try to
address.
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 15:40
Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= wrote:
> Ore another example: If Linux used BSD licence, Microsoft would have
> the opportunity to make an closed source Linux who would make it
> possible to run MS programs, better integration with Windows
> etc. witch would get a lot of existing and new Linux users, and that
> way be a big hit against the free software movement.
>
> I think it's better not to give MS and other anti-free software
> companies such opportunities.

I do not agree. I prefer Microsoft earning money with a good OS (Linux
clone or whatever) then Microsoft earning money with a bad OS.

By the way, what do you think of this :
http://63.249.85.132/open_source_license.htm ?
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 16:23
Gazoduc wrote:
> Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= wrote:
>> Ore another example: If Linux used BSD licence, Microsoft would have
>> the opportunity to make an closed source Linux who would make it
>> possible to run MS programs, better integration with Windows
>> etc. witch would get a lot of existing and new Linux users, and that
>> way be a big hit against the free software movement.
>>
>> I think it's better not to give MS and other anti-free software
>> companies such opportunities.
>
> I do not agree. I prefer Microsoft earning money with a good OS (Linux
> clone or whatever) then Microsoft earning money with a bad OS.
>
> By the way, what do you think of this :
> http://63.249.85.132/open_source_license.htm ?

PS: I feel very close to what I read on ZefHemel.com :

I for one don't agree with the FSF's vision, I feed my children from
money I get for writing
commercial software and I don't feel bad about it.

I enjoy writing software and giving it away for free as well - and if I
contribute to a open
source project that uses a BSDish license I get the additional benefit
that I may use my own
code (plus improvements made by others) for the commercial software I
write.

If a big company comes and takes my code, modifies it and redistributes
it as a commercial
product, this is no problem for me.
I don't believe in "free software", I believe in improved software and
that the commercial
company will realize that it is in their better interest to contribute
their changes back
instead of merging my changes with theirs over and over again over time.
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 17:16
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/8/06, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@hezmatt.org> wrote:
> > every application which uses typo in any way shape or form. This
> > includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
> > for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.
> Which, of course, is seen as a feature, not a bug, as it grows the pool of
> Free Software available to the world at large.

s/Free Software/GNU GPLed software/

Let's ignore the propaganda in at least one place, shall we? The GNU
GPL is a highly restrictive licence. This is a feature, not a flaw,
and trying to disguise the restrictiveness is dishonest.

At best.

-austin
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 17:19
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/8/06, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@hezmatt.org> wrote:
> for the most part, still is).  It doesn't even go particularly far about
> doing so, either -- it doesn't require you to give up any more to your
> downstream users as your upstream users gave up for you.  On the one hand,
> it's great that you're giving downstream users the ability to make your
> changes closed, but you have to balance that against the potential loss of
> freedom for other people who are downstream from your downstream users.
>
> It's not a simple tradeoff, and different people will value different
> outcomes differently.  But calling the GPL "doublespeak", or it's advocates
> "zealots", is pretty nasty.

Obviously, you didn't actually read what I wrote. Based on other
posts, you're a bit of a GNU GPL zealot. That's fine, but GNU GPLed
software isn't "free". It's heavily restricted distribution. With the
GNU GPL v3, it's going to be entering the territory previously held by
those most awful of things, EULAs.

I have *no problem* with a Share-Alike licence, which is essentially
what the GNU GPL is. I do have a problem with people trying to
describe it as something other than it is, which is exactly what the
supporters of the GNU GPL end up doing most of the time. They have
learned it straight from the source, though. Stallman is *often* at
the centre of the worst misunderstandings of the GNU GPL.

-austin
E28c35323f624b8b9ed8712e25105454?d=identicon&s=25 Ray Baxter (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 19:07
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Ziegler wrote:
> On 4/8/06, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@hezmatt.org> wrote:

> Let's ignore the propaganda in at least one place, shall we? The GNU
> GPL is a highly restrictive licence. This is a feature, not a flaw,
> and trying to disguise the restrictiveness is dishonest.
>
> At best.

Not clear what your point is here. You are agreeing that it is feature,
so why the contention? Or did you make a typo?

--

Ray
E28c35323f624b8b9ed8712e25105454?d=identicon&s=25 Ray Baxter (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 19:13
(Received via mailing list)
Gazoduc wrote:

> PS: or another example, closer from Rails : Basecamp. If Rails was GNU
> GPL, then Basecamp would have to be open source. Anyone could install
> Basecamp anywhere. There would be very cheap Basecamp hosting making
> money without adding much value and out goes 37signals...

This is factually incorrect in several ways.

1) Rails was extracted from Basecamp, so the copyrights for Basecamp
preceed Rails.

2) Even if it were the other way and Rails were released under the GPL,
no one forces anyone to release the code that runs on their server. You
can't go to the Yakima-Herald and say, "Give me the source code that
runs your website because Rails was released under the GPL."

--

Ray
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 20:14
(Received via mailing list)
Hei Gazoduc!

 Sun, 09 Apr 2006, Gazoduc skrev:

> >
> > I do not agree. I prefer Microsoft earning money with a good OS (Linux
> > clone or whatever) then Microsoft earning money with a bad OS.

If I contribute to an free software, I would not like that MS "steals"
my work to make more profit witch I and porer persons than my self has
to pay a lot of money on. MS wouldn't made a Linux OS unless they
could get more money out of people. And as you know: They don't need
to get it directly from selling the OS. They use they monopole
situation f.x. on OS'es to build other monopoles. That way they get
people on the hook and later charge them.

> >
> > By the way, what do you think of this :
> > http://63.249.85.132/open_source_license.htm ?
>
> PS: I feel very close to what I read on ZefHemel.com :
>
> I for one don't agree with the FSF's vision, I feed my children from
> money I get for writing
> commercial software and I don't feel bad about it.

I have no problem with that. I don't see the relevance of this. Its
okay, that you get money on writing commercial software, that isn't an
argument for me to give you code I have written for free that you can
get more money from. Especially when this puts my work and my product
in the shadow of your and your company's better closed source
app. with my work as the basis.

>
> I enjoy writing software and giving it away for free as well - and if I
> contribute to a open
> source project that uses a BSDish license I get the additional benefit
> that I may use my own
> code (plus improvements made by others) for the commercial software I
> write.

As I said. Thats good for you who are an professional programmer. I'm
not and I don't like the thought of joining an open source project,
where suddenly all the core developer stops contributing to the open
project, but in stead take the code (including mine) to an closed
project where I later have to pay to get access to their new
improvements (again build on also my sweet and tears).

>
> If a big company comes and takes my code, modifies it and redistributes
> it as a commercial
> product, this is no problem for me.

Again: I don't agree.

> I don't believe in "free software", I believe in improved software and
> that the commercial
> company will realize that it is in their better interest to contribute
> their changes back
> instead of merging my changes with theirs over and over again over time.

Way is it necessarily you who are the lead developer? What about my
example, where I'm not? Ore an company with a lot of developer takes
the whole ting, then my contributions aren't necessarily so important
that it out-weight the loss off licenses as an consequence would bee
of giving the code out free.

This isn't just history. There are companies that make money out of
making better apps than the free ones in academic special
areas. They're not poplar among the developer of the free apps. Giving
away code to them aren't what they dream (at least good dreams) about.

Regards
Henrik
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 20:26
(Received via mailing list)
Sun, 09 Apr 2006, Austin Ziegler skrev:

> Obviously, you didn't actually read what I wrote. Based on other
> posts, you're a bit of a GNU GPL zealot. That's fine, but GNU GPLed
> software isn't "free". It's heavily restricted distribution. With the
> GNU GPL v3, it's going to be entering the territory previously held by
> those most awful of things, EULAs.

As fare as I have understood the GPLs restriction is to preserve the
softwares freedom. Just like restrictions against oppression. What
kind of freedom is freedom of having slaves? The freedom of taking
others free code, make some modifications, and then sell it as closed
source (maybe in a way that even out-compete the original free
project) are not exactly the same, but an related thing.

I will have restrictions against other stealing my free work (mainly
done in the spare time) for making restricted software.

> I have *no problem* with a Share-Alike licence, which is essentially
> what the GNU GPL is. I do have a problem with people trying to
> describe it as something other than it is, which is exactly what the
> supporters of the GNU GPL end up doing most of the time. They have
> learned it straight from the source, though. Stallman is *often* at
> the centre of the worst misunderstandings of the GNU GPL.

Are there other restrictions on the GPL, than those for restricting
people to take others free code and put it in restricted software?

- Henrik
58213d4c1552914aaa20e9cab0010149?d=identicon&s=25 David N. Welton (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 20:32
(Received via mailing list)
Henrik Ormåsen wrote:

>>I enjoy writing software and giving it away for free as well - and if I
>>contribute to a open
>>source project that uses a BSDish license I get the additional benefit
>>that I may use my own
>>code (plus improvements made by others) for the commercial software I
>>write.

> As I said. Thats good for you who are an professional programmer. I'm
> not and I don't like the thought of joining an open source project,
> where suddenly all the core developer stops contributing to the open
> project, but in stead take the code (including mine) to an closed
> project where I later have to pay to get access to their new
> improvements (again build on also my sweet and tears).

That's an understandable sentiment.

One way to create BSD-ish code that doesn't run this risk is to make
sure it has a big, healthy and diverse developer community, which is
something we try and ensure for our projects at the Apache Software
Foundation.  With a large enough group of developers, you can be pretty
sure that it would be unlikely that they all go work on some proprietary
version.

The tricky thing is going from a small project to one with a big enough
group of committers, but that's not easy for anyone.

--
David N. Welton
- http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/

Linux, Open Source Consulting
- http://www.dedasys.com/
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 20:35
(Received via mailing list)
Sun, 09 Apr 2006, Austin Ziegler skrev:

> Let's ignore the propaganda in at least one place, shall we? The GNU
> GPL is a highly restrictive licence. This is a feature, not a flaw,
> and trying to disguise the restrictiveness is dishonest.

GPL has restrictions against restrictions. BSD (and alike) has freedom
to restrictions. What gives most freedom? That depends of you are
of they who are taking ore losing freedom (just like the freedom of
baying slaves is tightly knight to the slaves loss of freedom).

- Henrik
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 20:42
(Received via mailing list)
Sun, 09 Apr 2006, David N. Welton skrev:

> > not and I don't like the thought of joining an open source project,
> Foundation.  With a large enough group of developers, you can be pretty
> sure that it would be unlikely that they all go work on some proprietary
> version.
>
> The tricky thing is going from a small project to one with a big enough
> group of committers, but that's not easy for anyone.
>

Well I still don't feel 100% safe. What if MS want to hire all the
core developers, and gives them a weary good offer? Some will of course
reject, but are you sure you can't risk a split?

And off course. Not every project have the chance to get the size of
Apache...

- Henrik
58213d4c1552914aaa20e9cab0010149?d=identicon&s=25 David N. Welton (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 21:28
(Received via mailing list)
Henrik Ormåsen wrote:
>  Sun, 09 Apr 2006, David N. Welton skrev:

>>One way to create BSD-ish code that doesn't run this risk is to make
>>sure it has a big, healthy and diverse developer community, which is
>>something we try and ensure for our projects at the Apache Software
>>Foundation.  With a large enough group of developers, you can be pretty
>>sure that it would be unlikely that they all go work on some proprietary
>>version.
>>
>>The tricky thing is going from a small project to one with a big enough
>>group of committers, but that's not easy for anyone.

> Well I still don't feel 100% safe. What if MS want to hire all the
> core developers, and gives them a weary good offer? Some will of course
> reject, but are you sure you can't risk a split?

Possible, but increasingly unlikely as the developer community grows.
The best example of that happening is Sun 'taking over' the BSD code,
but that was a long time ago, before many of the pieces were in place to
do truly open development.  And in some cases, you're likely going to be
able to grow the developer community faster if you make it friendlier to
people who might want to use bits and pieces of it in a proprietary
setting.  Back in its heyday, Tcl had Perl beat hands down in its uptake
as a language to embed for that reason.

> And off course. Not every project have the chance to get the size of
> Apache...

(The Apache web server is only one of dozens of projects at the ASF!)

It's all about figuring out what's right for a particular project, in
any case.  I don't get too fussed over licensing - I use what I want
with my own code, and generally don't really care too much what other
people use, although I've developed something of a preference for BSD
code because I don't have to think about it at all.

Ciao,
--
David N. Welton
- http://www.dedasys.com/davidw/

Linux, Open Source Consulting
- http://www.dedasys.com/
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 22:23
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 09, 2006 at 03:40:18PM +0200, Gazoduc wrote:
> By the way, what do you think of this :
> http://63.249.85.132/open_source_license.htm ?

Pretty random, and factually inaccurate in a couple of spots, based on a
quick skim.  Damn long, too.

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 22:26
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 09, 2006 at 04:23:58PM +0200, Gazoduc wrote:
> I don't believe in "free software", I believe in improved software and
> that the commercial company will realize that it is in their better
> interest to contribute their changes back instead of merging my changes
> with theirs over and over again over time.

That's awfully optimistic of you.  Considering the number of companies
who
seem incapable of releasing their source when they're required to (GPL
code
in binary-only products -- consumer routers and Sony DRM, for instance),
I
don't think that relying on corporations' enlightened self-interest for
code
release is going to work very well.

Please note that I'm not saying that all source code needs to be free,
or
anything like that, just that if you *do* want source code to be freely
available, hoping for it isn't likely to work very well in the general
case,
at the present time.

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 22:29
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:18:07AM -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> > *for* *users*, which was a pretty revolutionary concept at the time (and,
>
> Obviously, you didn't actually read what I wrote.

Based on what, exactly?

> Based on other posts, you're a bit of a GNU GPL zealot. That's fine, but
> GNU GPLed software isn't "free". It's heavily restricted distribution.

If you're basing your entire argument on how you define "free", then you
can
stop now.  We're never going to agree.

> I have *no problem* with a Share-Alike licence, which is essentially
> what the GNU GPL is. I do have a problem with people trying to
> describe it as something other than it is, which is exactly what the
> supporters of the GNU GPL end up doing most of the time. They have
> learned it straight from the source, though. Stallman is *often* at
> the centre of the worst misunderstandings of the GNU GPL.

Are you sure your name isn't Alexander Terekhov?

- Matt
55428cbf149e35dd4b65f1d019d04139?d=identicon&s=25 Matthew Palmer (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 22:29
(Received via mailing list)
On Sun, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:14:30AM -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> > > If typo was GPL you would have to release the source upon request of
> > > every application which uses typo in any way shape or form. This
> > > includes even just copying some lines of code from the flickr parser
> > > for example. GPL taints all source code its copied into.
> > Which, of course, is seen as a feature, not a bug, as it grows the pool of
> > Free Software available to the world at large.
>
> s/Free Software/GNU GPLed software/

The FSF defined the term, I think it's OK to keep using it as they
defined
it.  Or do you want the FSF to rename themselves to the Highly
Restrictive
Software Foundation?

- Matt
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 22:54
All this looks very funny... I would never have thought that
professional developers would prefer licenses
that allow locked-in code. As a professional programmer myself, I feel
much closer to BSD like licenses because, sometimes, yes, I sell things
and I do not want to worry about copyright if I want to reuse some of my
good ideas.

Not to search flames, it looks like the less people write code, the more
they care about it being "stolen"
by big companies. The more code you write, the more you care about
reusing it. I do not feel genius enough to boost Microsoft's business if
they use my code...
E28c35323f624b8b9ed8712e25105454?d=identicon&s=25 Ray Baxter (Guest)
on 2006-04-09 23:46
(Received via mailing list)
Gazoduc wrote:

> All this looks very funny... I would never have thought that
> professional developers would prefer licenses
> that allow locked-in code. As a professional programmer myself, I feel
> much closer to BSD like licenses because, sometimes, yes, I sell things
> and I do not want to worry about copyright if I want to reuse some of my
> good ideas.

If you write code, then you own it. If you don't want to contribute to
GPL projects, don't. If you want to write code that you retain the
copyright to, nobody is stopping you.

All you are be prohibited from doing is taking code that other people
have written and released under the terms of their choosing, and
changing the terms to terms that the original creators didn't want.


--

Ray
1b91b9685655b5e8a9dd75c184fc5d40?d=identicon&s=25 Wijnand Wiersma (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 00:20
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/9/06, Henrik Ormåsen <henrik.ormasen@sos-rasisme.no> wrote:
> I have no problem with that. I don't see the relevance of this. Its
> okay, that you get money on writing commercial software, that isn't an
> argument for me to give you code I have written for free that you can
> get more money from. Especially when this puts my work and my product
> in the shadow of your and your company's better closed source
> app. with my work as the basis.

That would mean you could have done better ;-)
You still have the original code, so please, improve it when you know
there is something better.

The way I see it:
BSD/MIT license is for people who want to improve the software world
by letting everyone use the code.
GPL is for the "communists" ;-)

Wijnand
--
OpenBSD needs your help improving the softwareworld, please donate:
http://openbsd.org/donations.html

Yes big code using companies, that includes you!
C4a0d49327c78017de7194d4e543d2dd?d=identicon&s=25 Joseph Kowalski (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 00:29
(Received via mailing list)
"The way I see it:
BSD/MIT license is for people who want to improve the software world
by letting everyone use the code.
GPL is for the "communists" ;-)"

This could in fact be turned around the other way....BSD and MIT allows
for
Commie freeloading without any expectation of value exchange, whereas
the
GPL expects a quid pro quo capitalist exchange of value to happen when
distribution of the software in question occurs.  I'm not saying that
one
way of looking at it is any more accurate, but merely that the analogy
between software licensing shemes and economit-political models isn't
all
that clear or easy to make....

Joe
D4ecf6097193e43bf0bf6ea186fcfbd0?d=identicon&s=25 matthibcn (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 00:53
(Received via mailing list)
I would be happy to see an endless discussion coming to its end

This has become quite OT in fact, and all the possible and impossible
arguments have been shared already

This is just one step away from discussing communism, iraqwar and
darwin... ;)

Happy eastern

Matthias Oesterle
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 06:08
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/9/06, Ray Baxter <ray@warmroom.com> wrote:
> >
> > s/Free Software/GNU GPLed software/
> >
> > Let's ignore the propaganda in at least one place, shall we? The GNU
> > GPL is a highly restrictive licence. This is a feature, not a flaw,
> > and trying to disguise the restrictiveness is dishonest.
> >
> > At best.
> Not clear what your point is here. You are agreeing that it is feature,
> so why the contention? Or did you make a typo?

No, not a typo. The fact is that the GNU GPL is a highly restrictive
licence. There is a *purpose* to the restrictions, and it is a
*feature* of the licence. The same applies to the higly viral nature
of the GNU GPL. It's intentional and it's a feature.

The problem comes in when people try to claim that the GNU GPL makes
"free" software; it doesn't. It enforces what the Creative Commons has
best described as "Share Alike". If that's what you *want* for your
software, more power to you. If you want to offer the software and not
allow anyone -- including yourself -- a competitive advantage, such a
licence may even be a *preferred* choice.

But the claims regarding "freedom" and against the viral nature of the
GNU GPL are contrafactual and propaganda at best. At worst, they are
known to be lies and repeated maliciously in a willful attempt to
deceive.

If what you need is the GNU GPL, use it. Just understand *what* you're
using and don't choose it blindly.

-austin
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 06:17
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/9/06, Henrik Ormåsen <henrik.ormasen@sos-rasisme.no> wrote:
> source (maybe in a way that even out-compete the original free
> project) are not exactly the same, but an related thing.

This argument is often trotted out. It always fails to impress anyone
who thinks a little harder about it. Software isn't -- yet -- sentient.
At least under the current regime, it is recognised as *property*
worldwide. (Note that even in the ages of slavery, such recognition was
not universal. Without justifying slavery, I will also note that
historically, the situation regarding slavery was significantly more
complex until slavery became the basis of the New World economy and the
scourge of Africa. It's never so simple as people like to make it seem.)

> I will have restrictions against other stealing my free work (mainly
> done in the spare time) for making restricted software.

And that's your choice.

But.

If someone takes PDF::Writer and enhances it in a way that allows them
to make lots of money and not offer me anything back (source or
anything), I'm okay with that.

Maybe you're not. But I am.

I am making the moral choice not to limit others choices when I choose
the MIT licence or similar licences. You are making the moral choice to
limit others choices when you choose the GNU GPL or similar licences.

Let me be a bit more explicit since people are throwing around loaded
terms like "steal": if someone takes PDF::Writer and makes a closed-
source derivative of it, they are not stealing it. They are using it as
I have licensed it.

It's that simple. And I don't have a problem with it.

>> I have *no problem* with a Share-Alike licence, which is essentially
>> what the GNU GPL is. I do have a problem with people trying to
>> describe it as something other than it is, which is exactly what the
>> supporters of the GNU GPL end up doing most of the time. They have
>> learned it straight from the source, though. Stallman is *often* at
>> the centre of the worst misunderstandings of the GNU GPL.
> Are there other restrictions on the GPL, than those for restricting
> people to take others free code and put it in restricted software?

There are, actually, and those restrictions are only set to increase
with the GNU GPL v3.

-austin
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 06:20
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/9/06, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@hezmatt.org> wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 09, 2006 at 11:18:07AM -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
>> Obviously, you didn't actually read what I wrote.
> Based on what, exactly?

Based on the fact that what you posted had nothing to do with what I had
written. It's a common occurrence when people are defending against
something that I didn't say.

>> Based on other posts, you're a bit of a GNU GPL zealot. That's fine,
>> but GNU GPLed software isn't "free". It's heavily restricted
>> distribution.
> If you're basing your entire argument on how you define "free", then
> you can stop now.  We're never going to agree.

Fine. I'd prefer it if you and other GNU GPL advocates didn't play
Humpty Dumpty and redefine words to mean the opposite of what they
really mean, though.

>> I have *no problem* with a Share-Alike licence, which is essentially
>> what the GNU GPL is. I do have a problem with people trying to
>> describe it as something other than it is, which is exactly what the
>> supporters of the GNU GPL end up doing most of the time. They have
>> learned it straight from the source, though. Stallman is *often* at
>> the centre of the worst misunderstandings of the GNU GPL.
> Are you sure your name isn't Alexander Terekhov?

Who is that? Whatever. You've indicated that you've got no interest in
discussing things like a rational human being. I'll oblige you.

-austin
C1e5a9e9344b6d31b9df7303e6dc378a?d=identicon&s=25 Craig White (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 06:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Mon, 2006-04-10 at 00:07 -0400, Austin Ziegler wrote:
> > >> Free Software available to the world at large.
>
> licence may even be a *preferred* choice.
>
> But the claims regarding "freedom" and against the viral nature of the
> GNU GPL are contrafactual and propaganda at best. At worst, they are
> known to be lies and repeated maliciously in a willful attempt to
> deceive.
>
> If what you need is the GNU GPL, use it. Just understand *what* you're
> using and don't choose it blindly.
----
The above of course is your opinion and I would agree that some
knowledgeable people would agree with you and I think you would agree
that many knowledgeable people do not agree with you.

I find your characterizations prejudicial and your conclusions faulty.

The 'highly restrictive license' you talk about pertain only to those
who wish to distribute/sell the software in question.

In the end, this discussion goes nowhere.

Craig
D893e113b51a8f200d2abb3ed9e54143?d=identicon&s=25 Gazoduc (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 09:34
Craig White wrote:
> In the end, this discussion goes nowhere.
>
> Craig

Even if all this has gone a little wild near the end and as I started
this thread,
I would like to thank you all for sharing your ideas and opening my mind
on the complexities of the different licenses. It was a very obscure
domain for me
but you all brought some light to it and I feel I can make some choices
now.

Thanks,

Gaspard Bucher
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 12:19
(Received via mailing list)
Mon, 10 Apr 2006, Austin Ziegler skrev:

> > others free code, make some modifications, and then sell it as closed
> > source (maybe in a way that even out-compete the original free
> > project) are not exactly the same, but an related thing.
>
> This argument is often trotted out. It always fails to impress anyone
> who thinks a little harder about it. Software isn't -- yet -- sentient.

I'm sorry. Maybe it's just my bad English knowledge, but I just don't
understand what you are meaning here. I look up "sentient":
""The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48"
Sentient Sen"ti*ent, a. L. sentiens, -entis, p. pr. of
   sentire to discern or perceive by the senses. See Sense.
   Having a faculty, or faculties, of sensation and perception.
   Specif. (Physiol.), especially sensitive; as, the sentient
   extremities of nerves, which terminate in the various organs
   or tissues.
   1913 Webster"

But I still just don't get it I think. Do you mean that you can't get
knowledge of software through senses? In case, I don't see your
point. If some one takes things I have from before for free (as an
free software project) I will feel I lose some thing. The same would
be (just more extremely) if some one took more of my freedom, and put
me to slavery.

> At least under the current regime, it is recognised as *property*
> worldwide. (Note that even in the ages of slavery, such recognition was
> not universal. Without justifying slavery, I will also note that
> historically, the situation regarding slavery was significantly more
> complex until slavery became the basis of the New World economy and the
> scourge of Africa. It's never so simple as people like to make it seem.)

I know that slavery and slavery isn't necessarily exactly the same
thing. Still very, very few liked to be taken as slaves (besides what
they wanted wasn't of the issue off course). Slaves was also
*property* just like software, so I don't see your point here either.

> I am making the moral choice not to limit others choices when I choose
> the MIT licence or similar licences. You are making the moral choice to
> limit others choices when you choose the GNU GPL or similar licences.

Thats right. I want to have restrictions against putting restrictions
on my software.

>
> Let me be a bit more explicit since people are throwing around loaded
> terms like "steal": if someone takes PDF::Writer and makes a closed-
> source derivative of it, they are not stealing it. They are using it as
> I have licensed it.

Your right here. It's not stealing. I used the word more to describe
my (and others) feelings that might occur in some cases.

- Henrik
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 13:55
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/10/06, Henrik Ormåsen <henrik.ormasen@sos-rasisme.no> wrote:
>> sentient.
> I'm sorry. Maybe it's just my bad English knowledge, but I just don't
> understand what you are meaning here. I look up "sentient": ""The
> Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48" Sentient
> Sen"ti*ent, a. L. sentiens, -entis, p. pr. of
>    sentire to discern or perceive by the senses. See Sense. Having a
>    faculty, or faculties, of sensation and perception. Specif.
>    (Physiol.), especially sensitive; as, the sentient extremities of
>    nerves, which terminate in the various organs or tissues. 1913
>    Webster"

> But I still just don't get it I think. Do you mean that you can't get
> knowledge of software through senses? In case, I don't see your point.
> If some one takes things I have from before for free (as an free
> software project) I will feel I lose some thing. The same would be
> (just more extremely) if some one took more of my freedom, and put me
> to slavery.

Software is not alive. It is neither sentient nor sapient. *It* cannot
be free or enslaved. Any argument of closed-source-as-slavery must
account for this. That's ultimately where the argument falls down and
must be abandoned. The GNU GPL is about free redistribution of software
without restricting downstream users from further redistribution. It is
*not* about slavery. It is not about a bunch of things that people who
support the GNU GPL model want to claim it is about.

It's simply about offering restrictions to ensure that recipients of the
software can distribute, modify, and use the software.

That's it. It doesn't "free" software. It restricts, and that's a
feature.

> *property* just like software, so I don't see your point here either.
Once again, without justifying slavery at all in history, the reality of
slavery is significantly more complex than simply "slaves were also
property." At least before the 18th century, owning a slave was seen as
entering into a complex relationship. The owner definitely had the upper
hand in the relationship, but also had certain defined and expected
behaviours toward the slave. Prior to the discovery of the New World and
the rape of Africa, slavery was not based on "race" in any way, and was
(as I said) a very complex relationship.

I'm not at all saying that a slave's lot was good or justifiable; just
that the situation is far more complex than most people's simplistic
reading.

>> I am making the moral choice not to limit others choices when I
>> choose the MIT licence or similar licences. You are making the moral
>> choice to limit others choices when you choose the GNU GPL or similar
>> licences.
> Thats right. I want to have restrictions against putting restrictions
> on my software.
And neither moral choice here is superior to the other. That's why I
have problems with claims that ultimately suggest that closed-source-is-
slavery.

>> Let me be a bit more explicit since people are throwing around loaded
>> terms like "steal": if someone takes PDF::Writer and makes a closed-
>> source derivative of it, they are not stealing it. They are using it
>> as I have licensed it.
> Your right here. It's not stealing. I used the word more to describe
> my (and others) feelings that might occur in some cases.

But those feelings are clearly wrong if that's how the software was
licensed. This, Henrik, is ultimately why I have *major* issues with GNU
GPL advocates. They make emotional appeals that are factually incorrect.

Most don't admit it, either.

-austin
8520bd1ba7ef07ee81484fbda8ef4cbb?d=identicon&s=25 Henrik =?iso-8859-1?Q?Orm=E5sen?= (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 16:33
(Received via mailing list)
Mon, 10 Apr 2006, Austin Ziegler skrev:

> Software is not alive. It is neither sentient nor sapient. *It* cannot
> be free or enslaved. Any argument of closed-source-as-slavery must
> account for this. That's ultimately where the argument falls down and
> must be abandoned. The GNU GPL is about free redistribution of software
> without restricting downstream users from further redistribution. It is
> *not* about slavery. It is not about a bunch of things that people who
> support the GNU GPL model want to claim it is about.

Now I understand what you what you are meaning. Think you also have
misunderstood me. I'm not talking about freeing the software (as it
was something living...). I'm talking about freedom for the users and
developers. Open source software gives freedom to people! Thats the
point! I get freedom to hack on the software, redistribute it
etc. etc. Thats the freedom I want to have restrictions against taking
away. And thats way I think you are totally wrong when you are
describing this restrictions as contrary to freedom. I'm not specially
found of the Nihilistic freedom of taking freedom as BSD and such
licenses give.

When I spend time learning, configuring, hacking etc. software. I like
to know that the freedom of hacking, redistributing etc. the software
is granted also in the future. You mean that this kind of promising
that the software will stay free in the future is opposite to
freedom. And thats were I don't agree.

> Once again, without justifying slavery at all in history, the reality of
> slavery is significantly more complex than simply "slaves were also
> property." At least before the 18th century, owning a slave was seen as
> entering into a complex relationship. The owner definitely had the upper
> hand in the relationship, but also had certain defined and expected
> behaviours toward the slave. Prior to the discovery of the New World and
> the rape of Africa, slavery was not based on "race" in any way, and was
> (as I said) a very complex relationship.

And wary between f.x. some African societies, Norwegian "treller",
roman slaves etc. etc. It's not so simple that you can say that
slavery before 18th century was one thing. The Norwegian vikings stole
even children from distant regions, fare away which become
slaves. They even sold slaves to Arab and Jewish traders. Different
societies had different roles about when and how slaves could be
free. But I think we can stop the historic discussing here. It's a
little bit off topic. I think you have understood my point about
taking away freedom.

> >> I am making the moral choice not to limit others choices when I
> >> choose the MIT licence or similar licences. You are making the moral
> >> choice to limit others choices when you choose the GNU GPL or similar
> >> licences.
> > Thats right. I want to have restrictions against putting restrictions
> > on my software.
> And neither moral choice here is superior to the other. That's why I
> have problems with claims that ultimately suggest that closed-source-is-
> slavery.

I haven't said that. I explicitly said it's not the same. My point was
(and is) that freedom for taking others freedom isn't just
freedom. And restrictions against this isn't just un-freedom, as I
understand you are meaning.

> GPL advocates. They make emotional appeals that are factually incorrect.
I don't agree.

My time (as ever bodies) is limited. If I'm starting to contribute to
a project, which I can have use for when it's finished, and suddenly
the main developers makes it closed sourced (including my code), so I
no more can contribute, ore use the software for free, as I had planed
and contributed to. Then I will get the same feeling as if someone
stole my bicycle (probably I will feel this much worse, than if
anybody stole my old bike).

Is that very wrong of me? I really don't think so.

But off course. If you (and a friend) makes an app. with BSD license,
and nobody else contributes its a totally different thing. Nobody will
feel you steal from them, if you decide to make it closed source.

BSD license is not about stealing. It just don't makes promises
against situations where people might get this feeling, as described
in my example.

Okay. Enough discussion for my part. I think this has been an good and
interesting discussion. Personally I have got more understanding for
why someone prefer BSD type licenses. I hope someone also understand
my points for GNU GPL in many cases.

- Henrik.
1b91b9685655b5e8a9dd75c184fc5d40?d=identicon&s=25 Wijnand Wiersma (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 22:05
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/10/06, Henrik Ormåsen <henrik.ormasen@sos-rasisme.no> wrote:
> My time (as ever bodies) is limited. If I'm starting to contribute to
> a project, which I can have use for when it's finished, and suddenly
> the main developers makes it closed sourced (including my code), so I
> no more can contribute, ore use the software for free, as I had planed
> and contributed to. Then I will get the same feeling as if someone
> stole my bicycle (probably I will feel this much worse, than if
> anybody stole my old bike).
>
> Is that very wrong of me? I really don't think so.

I think you are missing something, you don't lose anything, the
original code is still availlable, including your contribution. Nobody
will ever take that away.

Wijnand

--
OpenBSD needs your help improving the softwareworld, please donate:
http://openbsd.org/donations.html

Yes big code using companies, that includes you!
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 23:00
(Received via mailing list)
Life is considerably more complex in the area of GPL'd code for web
applications.  Because web applications tend to deliver, at least,
HTML and typically some javascript to clients, it is unclear whether
that act alone constitutes a "distribution," which triggers the "all
or any part" viral provisions of GPL 2.0.  You will never know the
answer to this question with any certainty until a judge or jury
tells you so, and hence, Evil, Ltd. is taking a massive risk by using
the code, as you are taking a massive risk by relying on GPL to
ensnare the EvilCo code.

This is not really a question of fundamental misunderstandings, but
rather the natural consequence of GPL not working rationally for
certain kinds of technologies that do not fall squarely in the Unix
application models.  Web applications are but one such technology.
(Another tremendously complex one is the application of GPL to a
Smalltalk "image," (or in an earlier era, a BASIC workspace for some
systems) and whether the distribution of an image containing some
GPL'd code necessarily ensnares all software having objects on that
"image."

Despite the technical community's assurances to lawyers that GPL
doesn't unreasonably ensnare code that reasonably may be considered
"stand-alone," the truth, legally speaking, may be far more
interesting.  In particular, the difference between static and
dynamic linking in any particular case, or the fact of a distribution
when there is, in fact, transmission, raise questions of fact that
are  ineffable for a jury (yielding a jury verdict that can be, at
best, coincidentally just) , and once decided, probably unreviewable
by an appellate court.

We get it, but the courts will not.  Thus, risks are always present
for prospective defendants.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 23:19
(Received via mailing list)
I always love seeing this response.  With all due respect, it seems
to me arrogant and naive in comparison to the more subtle truths of
the matter.  (I do not suggest that my brother Matthew is arrogant
and naive, merely that the response is).  The use of the passive
voice in the response is telling -- who, exactly, is doing the "seeing"?

In fact, GPL is not the "free-est" of "Free Software" licenses, and
the widely expansive viral features of the GPL (compared to more
modestly viral and non-viral licenses) have resulted, over time in
the GPL's loss of hedgemony among open source and Free Software
projects.  "Free Software" is a term of art for the ideologically
inclined, but it doesn't really address the realities of the world of
software development.  The fact of the matter that growing the pool
of Free Software will depend upon the willingness of software
developers to submit to the requirements of the "freedom," or that
freedom can be obtained only by maximalist viral capture of derived
code.  Even FSF does not hold the latter to be true.  If people
refuse to submit to these notions, the pool will not grow, except at
most by accident or in some cases malice.

We are already seeing people flocking to non-GPL "open source" (NOT
TM) licenses, including non-free licenses.  The "feature" has led
people to leave GPL in the dust.  LGPL retains its popularity, and
other licenses are being used with greater frequency for non-integral
software packages.

Make no mistake about it, FSF led the way to this movement, as did
its less FSF-free siblings.  All have costs and benefits for the
community as a whole, and frankly, impassive analysis has been long
abandoned for lock-step following on both sides of the issue.  For my
part, I revere the work of RMS, but now have come to think that
expansive GPL maximalism has put the free software movement as much
at risk as it has led the way in recent years.

Mind you, I am an active contributor to various open source and free
software products.  I believe in the "open source" movement and with
less rigid lockstep, to its "free software" ancestor.  I am grateful
to everyone who has contributed software to the work I have done and
am doing.

But as a practicing IP lawyer, who has been asked to opine often upon
the impact of adopting a GPL package, or the seriousness of used GPL
software impeding exit strategies in merger and acquisition
transactions, I can tell you that the real frictions are enormous --
even where the players are all wearing white hats.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 23:37
(Received via mailing list)
It is important to recognize that these frictions are all too
common.  They are also irrelevant to the issues.  It is true that
when we are speaking ideologically, emotions run high and objective
analysis is often a casualty.

Fact of the matter is that "free software" has a common meaning which
is not coextensive with the FSF definition of "Free Software."  Thus,
when someone argues that GPL'd software is "more free" or "not more
free," the argument is ambiguous because "free software" and "Free
Software" are homophones.

Without possible contradiction, Mr. Ziegler is correct in observing
that the GPL is more restrictive than its other "FSF-Free" and "non
FSF-Free" counterparts.  And for most purposes in the real world, the
viral provisions are profoundly problematic in the ongoing use of the
software, even in cases where the user would be pleased to share his
code with the users.  Promiscuous use in commercial and non-
proprietary contexts of GPL'd software can radically delay mergers
and acquisitions, and increase the costs of entrepreneur exit
strategies.  The actual administrative cost and risks of responsibly
using GPL'd software in an enterprise is massive compared to the use
of alternative "FSF-Free" and "non FSF-Free" licenses.  And the
hopelessly awkward necessity of using phrases like "FSF-Free" and
"non FSF-Free" to precisely distinguish the FSF meaning from the more
ordinary denotation explains Mr. Ziegler's references to Orwell.

Moreover, without possible contradiction, Mr. Palmer correctly
observes that downstream users may take "FSF-Free" and "non FSF-Free"
software "private" (more perspicaciously, proprietary) far more
readily with less restrictive licenses than the GPL.  If you are
troubled by that possibility, you need to do the balancing act Mr.
Palmer suggests.  (Note that examples of less viral, but still
somewhat viral, licenses are replete in the commercial world, such as
Mozilla, CPL and APSL).

There are some who believe that RMS and GPL are the pips, and will
follow in cases with or without critical concern for the merits.  And
there are many people who reasonable may consider less constraining
licenses to be more virtuous precisely because they are more
generically "free," with or without concern for the merits.  De
gustibus non disputandum est.

I share Mr. Ziegler's distaste for the appropriation of connotative
terminology, which tends to support demagoguery in favor of GPL more
than it does not, but I have gotten so used to it, I am no longer
moved.  Just deal with it Austin -- its really quite OK.  If it is
any consolation, the uncritical lockstep followers find the
appropriation of free, or the use of "FSF-Free" equally offensive.

In short, argue with those willing to engage in critical discussion,
and just blow off the lockstep ideologues on either side.  I. for
one, am pleased to see reasonable and smart advocates for both views
represented here, even if both seem to have a "burr in their shorts."

These are very important issues, unworthy of demagoguery.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-10 23:56
(Received via mailing list)
Matthew's argument isn't unsound, although I have characterized it
elsewhere as possibly arrogant and naive.  Let's first follow the
logic, recognizing that Matthew carefully capitalized Free Software,
presumably distinguishing the FSF term of art from the more general
notion of "free software."  I shall use the phrase FSF-Free to be
more clear.

FSF-Free Software has particular meaning, relating to four freedoms
that users of the software will have.  Exercise of one or more of
those freedoms provides liberty to adapt and distribute changes to
third parties.  The definition of FSF-Free is not transitive, in the
sense that recipients of the modified code may not be receiving FSF-
Free Software.  It is from concern for this that the copyleft viral
provision was invented.  Thus, distributions of modified FSF-Free
Software would be (in many cases) FSF-Free Software.

As an aside, we must note that a more ideological definition would
have require FSF-Free to be transitive in this sense, and hence so
that only GPL or more restrictive licenses would be FSF-Free.  This
is not the case for FSF.

In any case, modification of GPL'd code is free, and distribution of
many modifications of GPL'd code is free.  Hence, if people are
willing to modify the GPL'd code and distribute it, the term will
have the effect Matthew indicates.  The converse, that other free
code, including non-advertising restriction versions of the BPL,
would not grow the pool is of course false.  The modifier of BPL is
free to release those modifications as FSF-Free Software, or not.

The question of which approach is more likely to lead to more
software is an interesting issue.  Some reasonably believe that
coercive approaches tend to lead to less sharing, while less
restrictive approaches lead to more returning of the favor.  Some
reasonably believe the opposite.  Most people should recognize that
the only scientific way to measure the question is by experiment and
analysis -- and there is far too little of that.  I observe that the
economic consequences (due to administrative uncertainties and legal
remediation necessary to conclude certain transactions)  of using
GPL'd code are now quite considerable, and that economic arguments
tend to suggest that more FSF-Free software, and certainly more open
source software, may derive from the less restrictive approaches in
this important sector.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 00:08
(Received via mailing list)
This is the sort of casual use of terminology to which I referred
earlier.  There is absolutely NOTHING that a recipient of FSF-Free
software can do that would add restrictions to the original code.
Nothing.  The original code remains as FSF-Free before as it is after
the user modifies the code.   The use of the word "freedom" in so
casual a fashion is the reason why the posting is more demagogical
than argumentative.  It convinces only believers, and does little to
forward the argument.

GPL'd is not coextensive with free, and is not even coextensive with
FSF-Free.  This is very important to keep in mind.

As to the conditions upon which downstream modifications are given to
the public, indeed, a user is entitled to add restrictions.  And this
may be necessary to permit users to use that code in some contexts.
In particular, if a user combines the FSF-Free code with additional
code that would, if made used or sold, infringe a patent, then
downstream users of that code could never use it without risk of a
claim for infringement.  That is, unless, the downstream user can
give a license to the combination.  However, if that license contains
any restrictions, it is a GPL violation.  And few patentees would
grant a blanket public license to the combination (which has NOTHING
to do with the FSF-Free software).  GPL 3.0 has such provisions now,
and other patent-like provisions are familiar to Mozilla, CPL and APSL.

I think that the public HAVING the combination software in free,
albeit NON-GPL'd form is a damned good thing, and far better than not
having it.  This is but one of the difficulties that has led the vast
majority of commercial entities from GPL to other FSF-Free and non
FSF-Free open-source licenses.  There are many other examples.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 00:23
(Received via mailing list)
On Apr 9, 2006, at 4:24 PM, Matthew Palmer wrote:

> seem incapable of releasing their source when they're required to
> (GPL code
> in binary-only products -- consumer routers and Sony DRM, for
> instance), I
> don't think that relying on corporations' enlightened self-interest
> for code
> release is going to work very well.

Maybe not too overly optimistic, however.  I think the many, many
examples of non-GPL'd FSF-free software and open sourced non FSF-free
software are pretty darned impressive.  Amazingly good and viable
code remains in the light, despite the lack of uber-viral provisions.

> Please note that I'm not saying that all source code needs to be
> free, or
> anything like that, just that if you *do* want source code to be
> freely
> available, hoping for it isn't likely to work very well in the
> general case,
> at the present time.

All evidence to the contrary, as noted above.  The following is
uncontrovertable:

1) GPL, without more, is insufficient to assure the FSF-freedom of
downstream modifications by corporations.  This is evident from
Matthew's examples, which are examples of GPL software not resulting
in downstream free software.

2) There exist examples of non-GPL code that has resulted in the FSF-
freedom of downstream modifications by corporations.  This is evident
from perusal of licenses on the FSF web site that FSF acknowledges to
be free.

Hence, it follows that  GPL is neither necessary or sufficient to
assure the freedom of downstream modified software by corporations.
The argument gets even worse if we start relaxing the notion of FSF-
freedom and start to lean more toward open source initiative
definitions.

Other, more interesting forces, more subtle than may be indicated by
the arguments here, may be at work.

Let's be frank and acknowledge this.  At the very least, if we rely
solely on anecdotal examples in lieu of scientic measurement, let's
be clear what we are doing.
C1e5a9e9344b6d31b9df7303e6dc378a?d=identicon&s=25 Craig White (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 06:59
(Received via mailing list)
I don't see people 'flocking to non-GPL "open-source" licenses' any more
than usual - there have always been a multitude of licenses and GPL is
but one type.

Simply using the term 'viral' with specific reference to GPL is
pejorative, which I suppose is your right as you are entitled to an
opinion but it is only that - an opinion and it is the language that is
unfair. In the sense that you are suggesting that the GPL license is
viral...that doesn't begin to approach viral strategies such as Sony's
embedding a rootkit on people's computers merely by inserting one of the
many CD's that they have published, such as DCMCIA legislation being
pushed by lobbyists or the absurd patent practices in the United
States.

I would suggest that the American consumer is footing the bill for the
digital rights protections, the pharmaceutical companies protections,
etc. and there are many who feel that software patents should simply not
ever be allowed.

Anyway, I digress - but only to one more point...that samba is an
excellent example of GPL license. Microsoft can't buy it...IBM can't buy
it, etc. As someone who has seen projects go cold when the company
released the software under BSD/MIT type license was sold to another
company that moved all development to proprietary/in house software, I
readily see the value of GPL. For most purposes, a GPL license is mostly
void of opportunities for an IP lawyer to make a buck. That has its own
appeal.

Craig

ps...if you respond, please don't refer to me as 'your brother' as I
would interpret that as condenscending.
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 08:24
(Received via mailing list)
On Apr 11, 2006, at 12:58 AM, Craig White wrote:

> Simply using the term 'viral' with specific reference to GPL is
> pejorative, which I suppose is your right as you are entitled to an
> opinion but it is only that - an opinion and it is the language
> that is
> unfair.

While you may decide for yourself whether it is pejorative, it is
intended to be denotative and to describe the property of the
license.  The analogy to virus is quite apt, explains the situation
well to a layman.  Understandably, the lack of any better term has
led to its wide adoption among attorneys working in the arena.
Perhaps you would care to suggest an alternative?  While you are at
it, you might ease up in calling perfectly reasonable licenses "non-
free."  (or did you mean that in a denotative and non-pejorative sense?)

> In the sense that you are suggesting that the GPL license is
> viral...that doesn't begin to approach viral strategies such as Sony's
> embedding a rootkit on people's computers merely by inserting one
> of the
> many CD's that they have published, such as DCMCIA legislation being
> pushed by lobbyists or the absurd patent practices in the United
> States.

I tend to refer to the latter as criminal violations of the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act and various state law claims.  Cute analogies to
defend unconsented seruptitious code infused without consent or
knowledge is indefensible.  We agree.  So what? What bearing does
this have on the licensing issues?

> I would suggest that the American consumer is footing the bill for the
> digital rights protections, the pharmaceutical companies protections,
> etc. and there are many who feel that software patents should
> simply not
> ever be allowed.

We agree.  So what?  What bearing does this have on the licensing
issues?

> Anyway, I digress - but only to one more point...that samba is an
> excellent example of GPL license. Microsoft can't buy it...IBM
> can't buy
> it, etc. As someone who has seen projects go cold when the company
> released the software under BSD/MIT type license was sold to another
> company that moved all development to proprietary/in house software, I
> readily see the value of GPL.

So that's your best case in support of the GPL?  If so, quod erat
demonstrandum!  Your anecdotal suggestion is interesting, and details
would be most welcome if provided.  Frankly, your suggestion that the
BSD license resulted in software "going cold" doesn't make any legal
or commercial sense to me -- the open source code remains publicly
available, and if the company is the only one willing or capable of
keeping it up to date, I'm not sure I see the value in the software.
This is the scenario that forks were made for.

And, by the way, there is no reason to believe that, had the code
been released under the GPL the same result could occur.  A company
that owns a copyright, and has not accepted donated code from others
subject to the GPL, is free to relicense the code on such terms as it
sees fit.  Even if it had accepted some contributions, it could
simply excise those changes or clean room them out of the code.  Dual
and multiple licensing is not only common, these days, but old news.

An even sadder proposition is the possibility that any mode of
license might ultimately be revocable.

GPL doesn't stop this parade of horribles, either as a matter of law
or as a practical mattter.

> For most purposes, a GPL license is mostly
> void of opportunities for an IP lawyer to make a buck. That has its
> own
> appeal.

And what would a vapid argument be without a lawyer-bashing
conclusion?  In fact, Craig is mistaken.  I just last week gave a CLE
presentation at the mid-Winter meeting of the Business Law Section of
the ABA on this very subject.  Based on the talks given by me and my
bretheren on the panel, it would  appear, quite to the contrary, that
there is quite a buck for IP and M&A lawyers who deal with open
source licenses.

> ps...if you respond, please don't refer to me as 'your brother' as I
> would interpret that as condenscending.

Of course you would.  The prior fraternal reference was not intended
as condescending.  The first sentence of this paragraph most
certainly was.  Between you and me, Craig (who is not my brother),
trying to dictate my choice of words --the sole basis of your
response-- is a hopeless and inadequate mode of argument.  Personal
and ad hominem remarks add little more.
C1e5a9e9344b6d31b9df7303e6dc378a?d=identicon&s=25 Craig White (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 15:23
(Received via mailing list)
On Tue, 2006-04-11 at 02:24 -0400, Andrew Greenberg wrote:
> license.  The analogy to virus is quite apt, explains the situation
> well to a layman.  Understandably, the lack of any better term has
> led to its wide adoption among attorneys working in the arena.
> Perhaps you would care to suggest an alternative?  While you are at
> it, you might ease up in calling perfectly reasonable licenses "non-
> free."  (or did you mean that in a denotative and non-pejorative sense?)
----
actually, I didn't make any reference to MIT or BSD licenses as being
non-free so I am not sure what you are referring to at all.

The point of the usage of the term viral as it relates to GPL license
you suggest is one of convenience and I am suggesting that it is
pejorative, considering the connotations of the word viral, especially
in the sense of computer technology. It's simply being argumentative.
----
> GPL doesn't stop this parade of horribles, either as a matter of law
> or as a practical mattter.
>
> > For most purposes, a GPL license is mostly
> > void of opportunities for an IP lawyer to make a buck. That has its
> > own
> > appeal.
>
> And what would a vapid argument be without a lawyer-bashing
> conclusion?
----
Vapid or not, it's a tough temptation to pass  ;-)  Present evidence
withstanding, especially for those that are incapable of adapting their
language to the audience they are speaking to.
----

> > ps...if you respond, please don't refer to me as 'your brother' as I
> > would interpret that as condenscending.
>
> Of course you would.  The prior fraternal reference was not intended
> as condescending.  The first sentence of this paragraph most
> certainly was.  Between you and me, Craig (who is not my brother),
> trying to dictate my choice of words --the sole basis of your
> response-- is a hopeless and inadequate mode of argument.  Personal
> and ad hominem remarks add little more.
----
You are conveniently missing my perception of your comments. If your
intent was to refer to Matthew as 'brother Matthew' was not to be
condescending, then I missed it. In fact, I mentioned that I saw it as
condescending. I sought not to dictate your choice of words but rather
provide reference that I expected to you understand the boundaries of a
discussion.

I offered a clear opportunity to not make this personal and I note that
your closing commentary you apparently couldn't help yourself. Rather
than apologize for leaving the impression that you were being
condescending, you took a swipe at me.

It's not that we are in large disagreement of any of the discussion and
I probably would have let your massive amounts of posts pass without
commentary but you used pejorative terms, condescending language and a
general demeanor more suitable for your law practice then a mail list
for ruby on rails.

Craig
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 16:15
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/11/06, Craig White <craigwhite@azapple.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-04-11 at 02:24 -0400, Andrew Greenberg wrote:
> > On Apr 11, 2006, at 12:58 AM, Craig White wrote:
> > > Simply using the term 'viral' with specific reference to GPL is
> > > pejorative, which I suppose is your right as you are entitled to an
> > > opinion but it is only that - an opinion and it is the language
> > > that is
> > > unfair.
[...]
> The point of the usage of the term viral as it relates to GPL license
> you suggest is one of convenience and I am suggesting that it is
> pejorative, considering the connotations of the word viral, especially
> in the sense of computer technology. It's simply being argumentative.

The problem is, that it's *not* an incorrect term. Consider the term
"viral marketing." It's not pejorative. The GNU GPL practices "viral
licensing." I do *not* mean that pejoratively; it is a feature of the
GNU GPL. I happen to not *like* it, but it is not an accidental side
effect, nor is it necessarily an inherent negative. If the advocates
of the GNU GPL do not *like* the term "viral" because they consider it
pejorative, they need to come up with a clear, non-propaganda,
descriptive term that captures what "viral" does.

The GNU GPL is viral in the same way that marketing can be viral.
Neither connotation here is negative. The denotation of viral is
similarly neutral.

What if we say that the GNU GPL is retroviral? ;)

-austin
Ff5b4846b93008ffb2161805fa00af5f?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Greenberg (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 16:43
(Received via mailing list)
On Apr 11, 2006, at 9:21 AM, Craig White wrote:

> pejorative, considering the connotations of the word viral, especially
> in the sense of computer technology. It's simply being argumentative.

And, while I may reasonably disagree with you, I still await your
proposed alternative.  Frankly, I see it more as quibbling than
offensive, but I am pleased to adopt any other term that reasonably
accounts for the behavior, and conveys the denotative meaning I
intend to non-technical individuals.  Please note that the horse is
long since out of the barn -- the adjective is the generally accepted
usage.

>> And what would a vapid argument be without a lawyer-bashing
>> conclusion?
> ----
> Vapid or not, it's a tough temptation to pass  ;-)  Present evidence
> withstanding, especially for those that are incapable of adapting
> their
> language to the audience they are speaking to.

You seem to feel that I must "adapt" my language to suit your taste
and avoid the commonly used term to describe the behavior, all just
because you say so.  And then you make an empty lawyer-bashing remark
in lieu of argument, and defend it on that ground.  Fair is fair,
paper doesn't refuse ink, and e-mails posted will be sent.  Just
don't pretend you are actually making an argument.

> You are conveniently missing my perception of your comments. If your
> intent was to refer to Matthew as 'brother Matthew' was not to be
> condescending, then I missed it. In fact, I mentioned that I saw it as
> condescending. I sought not to dictate your choice of words but rather
> provide reference that I expected to you understand the boundaries
> of a
> discussion.

All evidence to the contrary.  You seem to be hell-bent on dictating
my choice of words rather than discussing issues on the merits.  If
it is any comfort, I apologize.  I disagree with you, and don't think
you are my brother.

> general demeanor more suitable for your law practice then a mail list
> for ruby on rails.

Indeed, my law practice is far more collegial than this colloquy.
Fear not, I shall not respond to you again.
D2a5b7975f49e051c1de10f98ea81f63?d=identicon&s=25 Chang Sau Sheong (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 17:08
(Received via mailing list)
Austin Ziegler wrote:
>>>> unfair.
> "viral marketing." It's not pejorative. The GNU GPL practices "viral
>
> What if we say that the GNU GPL is retroviral? ;)
>
>

I did not follow through the entire thread, if I make mistakes below I
apologize ahead. Searching through the word 'viral' and 'virus' through
a couple of dictionaries (including Webster and Oxford) turned out
definitions and descriptions that are ALL negative, none are neutral.

I suppose it boils down to what you personally mean by 'viral'. Do you
mean 'viral' to mean that it is self-replicating? Or that GPL is
'catching' like a flu virus?

GPL is neither. It is not self-replicating because GPL cannot reproduce
by itself -- you need to consciously copy or derive from GPL protected
code for GPL to be mandatory on your code. It can't *do* anything.  It
is not 'catching' because it doesn't force you to make your code GPL,
unless you want to. If you don't want to, just don't copy or derive GPL
protected code :) Perhaps you might accidentally use some GPL code in
your own or link to it unknowingly. If you don't want to make your code
GPL, just unlink it, or remove that GPL code and you're home free. If
you insist on using it or deriving from it, then you can't complain,
there is no such thing as a free lunch, if you use it, you must pay up
and in this case you need to make your code GPL.

Say you are the developer and you released code as GPL. Say a while
later you want to make it commercial and sell it for tonnes of money.
GPL doesn't prevent you from doing that, because you are the copyright
owner (unless of course you took contributions from the FOSS community)
and you can readily release your code with another license. Point is --
*no one else can*, except you. You can even release it under the MIT
license later.

Having said as much, I'm happy that Rails is released under MIT but I'll
be equally happy if Rails is released under GPL. I'm just glad that it
was released. :)

> http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails
>


--
Sau Sheong

http://blog.saush.com
http://read.saush.com
http://jaccal.sourceforge.net
C1e5a9e9344b6d31b9df7303e6dc378a?d=identicon&s=25 Craig White (Guest)
on 2006-04-11 20:34
(Received via mailing list)
On Tue, 2006-04-11 at 23:06 +0800, Chang Sau Sheong wrote:
> > > > > that is
> > The problem is, that it's *not* an incorrect term. Consider the term
> > similarly neutral.
>
> use some GPL code in your own or link to it unknowingly. If you don't
> community) and you can readily release your code with another license.
> Point is -- *no one else can*, except you. You can even release it
> under the MIT license later.
>
> Having said as much, I'm happy that Rails is released under MIT but
> I'll be equally happy if Rails is released under GPL. I'm just glad
> that it was released. :)
----
It is the pejorative usage of the term viral, the negative connotation
that has all of the detractors affixing the term to the GPL license in
an attempt to frame the argument itself which is unfair. It is not
**correct** to refer to GPL license as viral, only convenient for those
who wish to characterize the license negatively by adopting language
furthered by it's detractors, such as Microsoft.

The simple fact is that contributing code to a GPL licensed project
means that your code contributions cannot be used commercially without
the commercial product also disclosing their code base too.

This was affirmed by Cisco/Linksys in their usage of Linux in their
routers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys

and I note that they have since switched the base code from Linux so
they would not have to disclose their code in the future, as is their
right.

I am quite certain that much of the Linux kernel development would not
be as pronounced if it weren't GPL license. In fact, I would say that
the GPL license is a likely reason that Linux kernel development pace is
much more rapid than say BSD kernel development.

Craig
A0ed1bbfe42f4f87e6db0a16706246e2?d=identicon&s=25 Michael Greenly (mgreenly)
on 2006-04-11 23:09
>
> I am quite certain that much of the Linux kernel development would not
> be as pronounced if it weren't GPL license. In fact, I would say that
> the GPL license is a likely reason that Linux kernel development pace is
> much more rapid than say BSD kernel development.
>

I completely agree.  Some people may have a dislike of the GPL but
without it I seriously doubt we'd have such a rich open source eco
system.
Eeba234182bcbd7faed9ff52e233394d?d=identicon&s=25 Douglas Livingstone (Guest)
on 2006-04-12 02:13
(Received via mailing list)
2006/4/11, Craig White <craigwhite@azapple.com>:
>
> The simple fact is that contributing code to a GPL licensed project
> means that your code contributions cannot be used commercially without
> the commercial product also disclosing their code base too.
>
> This was affirmed by Cisco/Linksys in their usage of Linux in their
> routers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys
>

The take away of that really must be that Cisco/Linksys were not
"contributing code to a GPL licensed project" intentionally, to them
it must have felt like they were infected by the GPL, and had to shed
the whole thing to protect themselves.

GPL code doesn't get into applications by itself, and it doesn't need
a host to run, so by two counts it isn't viral. Perhaps "trojan horse"
is a better description - if you let GPL code into your distribution,
Troy will burn.

Douglas
31ab75f7ddda241830659630746cdd3a?d=identicon&s=25 Austin Ziegler (Guest)
on 2006-04-12 03:38
(Received via mailing list)
On 4/11/06, Douglas Livingstone <rampant@gmail.com> wrote:
> the whole thing to protect themselves.
>
> GPL code doesn't get into applications by itself, and it doesn't need
> a host to run, so by two counts it isn't viral. Perhaps "trojan horse"
> is a better description - if you let GPL code into your distribution,
> Troy will burn.

There are virii which require positive action by the host to acquire.

Between the two choices given so far ("trojan horse" and "viral"),
"viral" is the far better.

I do not think that the GNU GPL is necessarily a bad choice, and I think
that the "viral" nature is a *feature* to ensure that certain software
can't be abused by others. But it *is* something to be cautious of.

-austin
C1e5a9e9344b6d31b9df7303e6dc378a?d=identicon&s=25 Craig White (Guest)
on 2006-04-12 03:53
(Received via mailing list)
On Wed, 2006-04-12 at 02:11 +0200, Douglas Livingstone wrote:
> The take away of that really must be that Cisco/Linksys were not
> "contributing code to a GPL licensed project" intentionally, to them
> it must have felt like they were infected by the GPL, and had to shed
> the whole thing to protect themselves.
----
this is all conjecture as we have no explanation for why they chose
Linux in the first place or that they felt burdened (or *infected*) to
release their code. I merely recounted that they complied with the GPL
license.
---
>
> GPL code doesn't get into applications by itself, and it doesn't need
> a host to run, so by two counts it isn't viral. Perhaps "trojan horse"
> is a better description - if you let GPL code into your distribution,
> Troy will burn.
----
hardly a 'let' situation - if the code maintainers are so slack as to
'let' GPL code into a project that they didn't want to license under
GPL, they are at best ignorant.

In fact, the Linux based code base on the Linksys routers was part of
the acceleration of the many open source implementations - see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WRT54G

Linksys ultimately decided to use VxWorks to get by with less RAM/Flash
and ultimately make a cheaper product and that seems to follow the
industry.

There is no reason to conclude that Linksys is not interested in a Linux
router and in fact, they retooled their WRT54G into the WRT54GL
(L=Linux) and they are selling quite well.

Craig
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