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Old 04-15-2008, 06:18 AM   #16
tiocsti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n.n.p View Post
Right, that is one part of it that confuses me. For example, if I have an application that I want to release, say under the MPL, and in that application I use a GPL API for some functionality. From my interpretation of the GPL there is no way to distribute my code without licensing it under the GPL. e.g Releasing my app without the required API and saying 'Download this GPL'ed code and place it in this dictionary' would be a no-no. Yes? No?
The GPL does not limit what license your source is licensed under, atleast not with any exclusivity. If you want to be more liberal in your licensing terms, you can. Let's take the example of you wanting to use the bsd license for your code, but linking with a gpl (not lgpl!) library, it's perfectly doable. You simple dual-license all your code as bsd and gpl. The combined work will be gpl, but people can reuse any of your source in the normal ways the bsd license permits.

This does not really help you if you want to make it proprietary but use gpl code, of course, because you still have to comply with the gpl on the work as a whole, but the viral nature is a little less onerous than you seem to think.
 
Old 04-20-2008, 11:09 AM   #17
irlandes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SciYro View Post
From whats been posted, I can see your preaching to the choir. Of course the FSF is a fanatical organization, thats their whole purpose. They don't care about open source, they are not with the open source movement, they care only, and solely about their own goals (free software, as they defined it). The GPL is a tool they used, and they practically admit to it (or at least, its pretty much obvious if you read enough of their stuff), to spread their agenda. So this makes quite a bit of your bashing the FSF rather strange, no one really doubts what you have to say about the FSF, most people don't even listen to the FSF, but the FSF does play its role one way to another for a lot of people.

Now, the open source movement, either spawned as a result of the FSF or not, is not part of the FSF. They have goals more like your own, and much less extreme then the FSF. You seem to be confusing the two, and blaming the result on the FSF.

And as others have stated: if you don't like the GPL, don't use GPL'd code in your project. This is what I meant by "You also seem to think the 'viral' nature of the GPL is bad, but in reality has no effect on any project.". If the GPL'd code is important enough to be used, then comply by the terms, or seek a special license from the author(s). If your unwilling to comply, then don't use it. If the authors of the original code actually wanted you to use the code in the proprietary way you want, they would have used the LGPL, BSD/MIT, MPL, or whatever license. Since they did not, its safe to conclude they don't care about your needs.

Its true that the use of the GPL may also hurt projects for the reasons you describe. No one actually argues against this, except maybe the FSF (they do think a bit strangely like that), but as I said, no one really takes what the FSF says without a heavy dish of salt. Its up to the programmers to know what license to use, the GPL just happens to be used a lot because a lot of projects are hobby projects, and the GPL is (very much arguably) a very good fit for hobbyists. For projects that want to see wide spread use across the industry, they actually do use less restrictive licenses.

This is why I say the GPL's viral nature has no real effect, without the GPL'd code you are trying to use, you are back to square one: implement it yourself or find some other code to use. Its really no loss.
I agree. OP clearly wishes the GPL to be changed so he can adapt the work of others to his own needs for his own profit without complying. The GPL was clearly intended to prevent exactly that event.

This is a total non-event.

And, yes, Linux very existence is indeed a revolutionary event. It's central goal is that no one should OWN software, that it should be open to all. Not owned by a large billionaire company, and only rented by users, which is the case for proprietary.

I remember when Drudge became the most read journalist in the US. There were other journalists who were making sarcastic remarks about wanna-be journalists. This is called green-eyes, because he was more successful. To hear them, you'd swear that like doctors or attorneys only degreed people could be journalists. The same First Amendment which gives them the right to print whatever they want also gives Drudge the right to do what he does.

The proprietary software folks will try anything to stop the open source, free software. In much the same way the music industry wishes to control your access to music, for their own gain, so do proprietary software folks want to stop their competition. Ala OP.
 
Old 04-22-2008, 10:37 PM   #18
Hoth
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Originally Posted by NNP View Post
Hrm, I guess what my main point from that article is, is that open source developers can have 'open source' without all the political/social overtones that come with the GPL and the rather insane 'derivative works' clause.
As a proprietary software developer, I don't see any problem with the GPL. The derivative works clause isn't "insane", it's just like 99% of other copyright licenses. It only becomes counter-intuitive when a library is GPLed, and libraries are typically LGPLed instead, they're usually only licensed as GPL by companies that make money dual-licensing them. Even that's fair enough too, they have a right to make money... I'm not going to quit using KDE because TrollTech/Nokia cashes in on companies which can afford QT's commercial license.

If the creators of a piece of software don't want me to lift portions of it for my purposes, that's perfectly reasonable -- the whole point of copyright law is to allow the creators to dictate such things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irlandes View Post
The proprietary software folks will try anything to stop the open source, free software.
Yeah, we have big meetings where all the world's proprietary developers conspire to find ways to kill open source. And we bring our linux laptops to the meeting, which is advertised on our LAMP servers.

You know, I'd bet the majority of proprietary software developers use Firefox. Tends to be popular amongst any kind of developers.

Last edited by Hoth; 04-22-2008 at 10:47 PM.
 
Old 04-23-2008, 07:30 AM   #19
NNP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoth View Post
As a proprietary software developer, I don't see any problem with the GPL. The derivative works clause isn't "insane", it's just like 99% of other copyright licenses. It only becomes counter-intuitive when a library is GPLed, and libraries are typically LGPLed instead, they're usually only licensed as GPL by companies that make money dual-licensing them. Even that's fair enough too, they have a right to make money... I'm not going to quit using KDE because TrollTech/Nokia cashes in on companies which can afford QT's commercial license.

If the creators of a piece of software don't want me to lift portions of it for my purposes, that's perfectly reasonable -- the whole point of copyright law is to allow the creators to dictate such things.
I agree entirely but I wonder how many projects have been GPL'ed purely because the authors wanted 'open source' and the GPL people just shout the loudest. Of course, if someone wants to release something and is anti-proprietary software or just doesn't want their code used in a proprietary system then that's fine, it is their right and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irlandes View Post
I agree. OP clearly wishes the GPL to be changed so he can adapt the work of others to his own needs for his own profit without complying. The GPL was clearly intended to prevent exactly that event.
No, no I don't. What I want is clearly explained. I want an open source license without all the political and social overtones that come with the GPL. I believe in open source and I truly love the entire concept. I have learned from it, used it and contributed to it. What I don't believe in is all the anti-proprietary propoganda and conspiracies spouted by the FSF or their quest to irradicate proprietary software. Open source projects will survive and flourish whether there is a proprietary market or not. That is a result of the passion and quality of open source developers not the result of a license.

Many open source projects would get by just fine under the MPL or BSD licenses. Sure some people would take parts of the code and include it in proprietary systems but will that have a detrimental effect on the original project? I fail to see how. Yes, they could pour millions into developing all sorts of new features and then charge for them but is this bad for the original project? Under the MPL you would get back any updates to the original that they have made, which to me sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irlandes View Post
The proprietary software folks will try anything to stop the open source, free software. In much the same way the music industry wishes to control your access to music, for their own gain, so do proprietary software folks want to stop their competition. Ala OP.
Yes and I also work for the RIAA, do contract work for the MPAA, drink mohitos with the devil and eat babies on the weekend.

Many large companies (Cisco, HP, IBM etc) back open source initiatives and licences. They also contribute to open source projects and a significant number of companies that produce proprietary software make use of open source projects. They fear of open source is long gone.

(For the record, I don't work for any company producing proprietary software or have any intentions to do so in the near future. I'm working on three projects at the moment. Two of which are GPL'ed and one that will be MPL'ed on release)

Last edited by NNP; 04-23-2008 at 07:35 AM.
 
Old 04-23-2008, 01:26 PM   #20
ErV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irlandes
The proprietary software folks will try anything to stop the open source, free software. In much the same way the music industry wishes to control your access to music, for their own gain, so do proprietary software folks want to stop their competition. Ala OP.
Why in the world might "proprietary folks" want to stop opensource? It is not logical. Opensource saves time and money for proprietary software makers. You know - when you need some functionality, you can take LGPL library where this functionality is already implemented, modify it a bit, and use it. Of course, you'll have to give your changes back, so other might use or further improve your works. Without opensource you'd have to buy every library you use (this will be a loss of money, and there is still that chance that you'll encounter little bug that will make YOUR work impossible, and you'll have no right to fix it, because library is proprietary), or write it from scrath (which will be a loss of time). Opensource allow you to use work of your rivals - if they are using opensource libraries or tools and changing them, they have to make changes available for everyone, including you (but, of course, only if they will release their software to public. They have right to never do this) . I belive even Microsoft use LGPL libs in D3DX part of DirectX SDK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nnp
I'd love to hear some counter arguments/comments/criticism.

The main reason I am more in favour of these is that they lack the viral quality of the GPL and thus don't force any licensing decisions on the programmer once they have decided they would like to use an API.
In my opinion, "viral nature" is a necessary evil. Without it, someone will steal work of the community, because there will be a way to do this. And (according to Murphy's law), "if anything can go wrong, it will". As I understand, the main goal of GPL is to cut off all ways to steal work from the community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nnp
So, the 50,000 line application that contains a few calls to a GPLed math library is now an extended version of that program?
Yes. But in reality, "math library" probably will be licensed as LGPL, so you'll be able to link it dynamically. If it is not LGPL, as I understand, you might try to contact authors and try talk them into releasing their library in different license - a special edition only for you - because copyright holders can do that. (you can contact licensing@fsf.org with questions like this)
If there are too many authors - write the library yourself, from scrath. If you can't do that (everyone can write matrix multiplications and such), this means that the library is much more complicated than "just a few calls", it is a critical component, so your whole application now really IS a derivative work, because it depends on that library. And you'll have to live with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nnp
“To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others. Free software has become the foundation of a learning society where we share our knowledge in a way that others can build upon and enjoy.”
...
seek to portray the intentions of the GPL in a fashion entirely different from its actual legal meaning
The quote you've provided doesn't seem to be part of some kind of legal document. In this case - does it really matter what it says? This quote isn't even in license. Looks like those words are just their own thoughts about GPL and free software, and nothing else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nnp
this quote uses the word ‘right’ where it should use ‘obligation’
No, it isn't an obligation. You do not have to share your knowledge or software, if you don't want to. Read this: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq....anIDemandACopy .

If you really don't like GPL, try to write better license - without those things you don't like in GPL. For example it would be nice to have something that combined power of GPL and proprietary software, for example, although I belive that it is not possible.

P.S. Why don't you just send your suggestions/thoughts to FSF? I believe they should have GPL-dedicate mailing list or something, so it will be the best place to receive counterarguments, comments and criticism.

Last edited by ErV; 04-23-2008 at 01:33 PM.
 
Old 04-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #21
Hoth
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Originally Posted by NNP View Post
Many open source projects would get by just fine under the MPL or BSD licenses. Sure some people would take parts of the code and include it in proprietary systems but will that have a detrimental effect on the original project? I fail to see how.
I'd argue that the GPL does lead to an overall better quality of software than a BSD license. When people aren't required to share their changes, they usually don't bother -- not because they refuse to, but because they're lazy. BSD code will be used by someone in a little free program that's under a closed license but doesn't actually have any commercial intent. Make the code GPL and that same developer will come along wanting to use the code, and will decide to make his program GPL in order to be allowed to do so. This results in the changes/improvements being out there to be taken back and used again by the same or other open source projects.

Don't underestimate how many programmers don't really care that much whether what they write is open source, and may choose closed source just because they're too lazy to want to upload the source and deal with anyone who may ask questions about it. These people can be persuaded by the GPL to share their code. You don't have to hate proprietary software to choose the GPL over BSD/MIT, it can be a purely practical consideration. (Though personally my only open source releases have been MIT-licensed, because they've just been things I didn't care about anymore, rather than things I was trying to grow.)

As for the MPL, frankly license proliferation is just headaches for everyone. We all know what the GPL does because it's a popular standard. BSD/MIT are very simple so easy to deal with. More complex open source licenses that do essentially the same thing as the GPL, with their only advantage being that they haven't been dirtied by the touch of Stallman, just muddles things. The GPL isn't a contract to sell your soul to Stallman, it's just a copyright license.

Last edited by Hoth; 04-23-2008 at 01:48 PM.
 
Old 04-24-2008, 12:04 AM   #22
tiocsti
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In my opinion, "viral nature" is a necessary evil. Without it, someone will steal work of the community, because there will be a way to do this. And (according to Murphy's law), "if anything can go wrong, it will". As I understand, the main goal of GPL is to cut off all ways to steal work from the community.
It's not a necessary evil in general, it's a necessary evil to comply with the desires of the people who choose the gpl. Some people are happy with the original work being free, and what to focus on wide use.

Using (for example) a bsd library as the license intends is not stealing the communities work, it was licensed that way because they expected, and even desired, that sort of use.

The fact of the matter is that the gpl has the goal of ensuring freedom for both the original work and any derived works (that are distributed). The more permissive licenses do not have this as a primary goal, their primary goal is to get the work as widely used as possible, by making it possible to integrate into as many products -- commercial or free -- as possible, with as few strings attached as possible. Neither one is correct.
 
Old 04-24-2008, 12:18 AM   #23
tiocsti
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Originally Posted by Hoth View Post
I'd argue that the GPL does lead to an overall better quality of software than a BSD license. When people aren't required to share their changes, they usually don't bother -- not because they refuse to, but because they're lazy. BSD code will be used by someone in a little free program that's under a closed license but doesn't actually have any commercial intent. Make the code GPL and that same developer will come along wanting to use the code, and will decide to make his program GPL in order to be allowed to do so. This results in the changes/improvements being out there to be taken back and used again by the same or other open source projects.
An interesting theory, but one that does not seem to be based on fact. In my experience with gpl software, most of the changes that are useful come from non-distributing users of the software; or to put it another way, people who are not forced to contribute changes. The changes people are forced to contribute to comply with the license i've found, in general, to not be terribly useful.

It's hard to argue that systems like FreeBSD, embedded sql systems like sqlite, web servers like apache, remote login tools like openssh, and so forth are lower quality because they don't use the gpl.

One thing to keep in mind is that people want to contribute code, if not for altruistic reasons, than simply to save money. Forking a project and keeping your private patches in sync with the changes in the source is quite an expensive and time consuming process. There has to be a very good reason to continue doing that. The other alternative is to do it once, and never get any bug fixes or new features from the upstream. Neither of those two choices are very attractive, and this can be a very strong motivation for non-distributing users of open source software.

In other words, even if you don't have to share, there is a very strong incentive to share anyways, if only out of self-interest. When it's out of self-interest, you have an incentive to make sure your changes are in a form that can easily be merged as well (since it does you no good if you contribute changes but they aren't accepted).
 
  


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