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FSF Wastes Away Another "High Priority" Project

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  • #61
    Originally posted by archibald View Post
    I'll admit to this point of what may be unforgivable: in my day job I write closed source code. I also use open-source libraries (LGPL/BSD) with that code. I also write my own open source programs (BSD-licensed).

    It seems that a lot of people are putting words in the mouths of proprietary developers and open source developers. If I comply with the terms of the licenses (I do), I don't see what the problem is. My company won't allow me to open source our code (we have nothing to gain by doing so), but my boss was happy to employ (part-time) our placement student through his final year to develop an extension to one of the LGPL libraries that we use.

    The way I see it, everybody wins in this situation: my company saves money, we financially support a student when money is likely to be tight (and hold a job open for him when he's done) and the LGPL library gets expanded. I don't see how anything we're doing is bad.
    Please understand ... if you write your own code, it is your code. You may license it however you please, and there is absolutely no problem with this. If you include some LGPL libraries to help, that too is fine, because LGPL libraries explicitly allow you to do this. All is fine and good with that.

    The only problem is when a developer takes GPL code and tries to make a derivative program using that code and then make that derivative program closed source. That is the no-no. The copyright owners of the GPL'd code have expressly forbidden that ... the GPL code is meant for the freedom of the end users, not for them to get ripped off by some downstream proprietary developer sponging of the efforts of the original GPL code authors.

    What you and your company is doing is nothing like that ... you are writing your own code and using LGPL libraries in a way that they were intended to be used. I am sure everyone would join me in wishing you every success (even if we ourselves would not be interested in using yor code or your company's proprietary product).

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    • #62
      Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
      Please understand ... if you write your own code, it is your code. You may license it however you please, and there is absolutely no problem with this. If you include some LGPL libraries to help, that too is fine, because LGPL libraries explicitly allow you to do this. All is fine and good with that.

      The only problem is when a developer takes GPL code and tries to make a derivative program using that code and then make that derivative program closed source. That is the no-no. The copyright owners of the GPL'd code have expressly forbidden that ... the GPL code is meant for the freedom of the end users, not for them to get ripped off by some downstream proprietary developer sponging of the efforts of the original GPL code authors.

      What you and your company is doing is nothing like that ... you are writing your own code and using LGPL libraries in a way that they were intended to be used. I am sure everyone would join me in wishing you every success (even if we ourselves would not be interested in using yor code or your company's proprietary product).
      And FSF has not written a single line of code for LibreDWG. FSF's stubborness = ripping off everyone else.

      No one will hand over rights to FSF after this.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by archibald View Post
        It seems that a lot of people are putting words in the mouths of proprietary developers and open source developers. If I comply with the terms of the licenses (I do), I don't see what the problem is. My company won't allow me to open source our code (we have nothing to gain by doing so), but my boss was happy to employ (part-time) our placement student through his final year to develop an extension to one of the LGPL libraries that we use.
        There is always something to gain by opening the source. As a matter of fact, one of the objectives of GPL is to make sure it is the case. However, whether or not it makes sense to open the source depends on the program in question.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
          Please understand ... if you write your own code, it is your code. You may license it however you please, and there is absolutely no problem with this. If you include some LGPL libraries to help, that too is fine, because LGPL libraries explicitly allow you to do this. All is fine and good with that.

          What you and your company is doing is nothing like that ... you are writing your own code and using LGPL libraries in a way that they were intended to be used. I am sure everyone would join me in wishing you every success (even if we ourselves would not be interested in using yor code or your company's proprietary product).
          My apologies, I misunderstood what you meant. In case anybody's curious, it's an industrial product with a very small circulation, and the companies to which we sell would rather speak to us directly and get us to add features than one of their own staff to do it. The software I write is the configuration tool for that device. I'd like to open-source it, but I have yet to find an argument that will clinch it for my boss. Until I find one, I'm settling for open-sourcing what I can, and migrating what systems I can to open source ones.

          Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
          There is always something to gain by opening the source. As a matter of fact, one of the objectives of GPL is to make sure it is the case. However, whether or not it makes sense to open the source depends on the program in question.
          True, I wrote that too hastily. Past experience with customers has been that when we've allowed them to write scripts to configure some aspects of the system they have bombarded us with requests for support or to debug their code and explain why it isn't working. It got so bad that we were finding it quite hard to find the time to do actual development work.

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          • #65
            The entire purpose of the FSF is to encourage as many people as possible to use the GPL v3 and thereby protect as many users of software as possible from being abused by tivoization or patents. Given that, Michael, why the hell would FSF relicense their software to a license that can be abused by patents and Tivoized? I swear, people don't think this shit through before writing it.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by archibald View Post
              True, I wrote that too hastily. Past experience with customers has been that when we've allowed them to write scripts to configure some aspects of the system they have bombarded us with requests for support or to debug their code and explain why it isn't working. It got so bad that we were finding it quite hard to find the time to do actual development work.
              Hmm. You know, you could use that as an advantage. Open-source things, then when people want you to debug their code, offer them a support package, then hire a few people to work on it. That's how everyone would win.

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              • #67
                Projects probably can't convert to GPL 3

                The reason that the projects in question don't relicense under the GPL 3 is most likely because they don't have control of the copyright for all the code that they contain. They can use it in a GPL 2 product to their hearts' content, but they probably don't have the option of relicensing all the code under the GPL 3. Of course, this issue is the reason that the FSF insists on having copyright control signed over to them for all the software that they accept stewardship of.

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                • #68
                  @CFWhitman, it's not "probably", it's a fact

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by CFWhitman View Post
                    The reason that the projects in question don't relicense under the GPL 3 is most likely because they don't have control of the copyright for all the code that they contain.
                    That's a problem for their project to deal with. They have three options, they can 1) do the legwork to find all of the past contributors and get them to relicense to the updated version; 2) rewrite all portions that can't be cleared; or 3) not use a growing body of open source code that is GPL3 or later.

                    They can also take a page from the BSD's playbook and whine about the existence of licenses with more protections built in, but that's really just an annoying execution of option 3.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by thalaric View Post
                      That's a problem for their project to deal with. They have three options, they can 1) do the legwork to find all of the past contributors and get them to relicense to the updated version; 2) rewrite all portions that can't be cleared; or 3) not use a growing body of open source code that is GPL3 or later.
                      1) isn't an option, as thoroughly explained in the original article.
                      2) isn't an option for FreeCAD and hardly an option for LibreCAD (also explained).
                      3) is the reality.

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