Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

FSF & Conservancy Launch Copyleft.org To Promote Licenses Like The GPL

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #11
    Originally posted by staalmannen View Post
    The biggest issue I have with copyleft is that it introduces "incopatibility bugs" between licenses that are similar in spirit. As a case in point: the super annoying license incompatibility between ZFS and Linux. Here Sun apparently explicitly worded the license in such a way that it would be GPL-incompatible.
    Well, in this case it is the Sun license that introduces the incompatibilty bugs, not the copyleft license.

    This incompatibility was the primary design goal for the ZFS license, Sun wanted to protect Solaris against its largest competitor.
    No matter what license had been in use by Linux, the ZFS license would always have been worded in a way to create a conflict.

    Cheers,
    _

    Comment


    • #12
      Originally posted by zanny View Post
      There is a difference between free as in beer and free as in speech. Nothing says you cannot sell your GPL program - IE, that through the principal channel to get said software, you cannot get the binary or the source without paying for it. What you cannot do is deny source access to those who have binaries.

      That is fine. But software freedom means that once you have sold it to someone, they now have the right to modify and redistribute your software as well.

      That does not mean they will, and it does not mean you cannot sell it as a convenience and still see people buying it. Of course most people would realize its free software, and can get it elsewhere for beer free, but if you get enough money from client #1 who was the first to receive it to justify the development costs, than everybody wins. Client #1 gets software they want, you get paid, they get a perpetual community of maintainers to bug fix and improve it, and the world gets free software. Assuming that either you or client #1 ever distribute it. If nobody distributes GPLed binaries, then you have no obligation to provide source since no one should legitimately have the binary.
      That's nice... In theory, in practice just selling free software doesn't work because you're relying on a web of trust and eventually someone is going to break it.

      In practice entities wanting to sell licenses in the open source market that are using the GPL will utilize an opencore approach where they have an open source "lite" version of the application and then a proprietary full featured version that they're using a CLA to set up.

      The FOSS community understandably doesn't like this and a permissive license that lets you doing that rather than setting up a CLA is going to be the preferred route.

      Ultimately though most companies in FOSS make their money through support contracts because selling licenses is a just plain dicey business in open source, and even worse in free software.

      Comment


      • #13
        Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
        That's nice... In theory, in practice just selling free software doesn't work because you're relying on a web of trust and eventually someone is going to break it.
        I don't know, last time I checked the Joomla plugins directory, it was full of paid GPL software. They seem to do just fine with that.
        Note that getting software from third party channels always holds a risk of the code having been modified.

        Comment


        • #14
          Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
          That's nice... In theory, in practice just selling free software doesn't work because you're relying on a web of trust and eventually someone is going to break it.
          Not sure what you mean by web of trust, but I think it depends mostly on the target platform.

          It is unlikely to work e.g. on Linux where (a) there is easy access to development tools needed to build an application, (b) a large portion of the user base capable of doing that and (c) an established modus operandi of having 3rd parties providing binaries (Linux distributors).

          On other platforms this is not equally true.
          E.g. access to development tools on Windows is not as common, same for skills and there is no established player for providing pre-built Free Software packages.
          It gets even further away on mobile platforms where distribution is often centralized and guarded and requires financial and organisational efforts.

          Cheers,
          _

          Comment


          • #15
            Originally posted by anda_skoa View Post
            Not sure what you mean by web of trust, but I think it depends mostly on the target platform.
            It's quite simple really, the software licensing model requires that you are or effectively are the single legitimate source, a proprietary license usually insures this. The problem with using an open source license is that you are giving your customers full capability to break your monopoly either by a company deciding it will compete with you on your own product, a free software zealot releasing it publicly which then has the potential to rip your product out from under you if a community builds around it and so on. If you're trying to sell binaries while having an open repo then you're going to go nowhere fast.

            Now you do have options with licensing open source:
            1). OpenCore
            2). Use a specialized license, and basically control repo access like how the Unreal Engine is being handled
            3). Use a non-commercial license with a CLA for your public repo and then sell a proprietary version of the software

            Or... you could always just use a support basis as opposed to attempting to sell licenses

            Comment


            • #16
              One reason a corporation contract for open source on custom software

              I can see one obvious reason a big business would go with open source when contracting for custom software: If they do not trust the developer to exist or remain competent long enough to maintain it in perpetuity. There are a lot of instances where you cannot duplicate someone's final product just because you have their software. Example: Suppose Coke uses a custom program to control a bottling machine. Having the program won't like you copy Coke even if you have the bottling machine. Even if the program controls the mixing of the syrup, you would also need the program's input data, that is to actual recipe by ingredients for Coke to make a soda that tastes exactly like Coke and can be sold as a knockoff. The use of the program by makers of Pepsi or house brand soda does not harm Coke as they make different sodas with different buyers. If the program lowers everyone's costs, either soda gets cheaper (and more is sold) or all soda makers get higher profit margins. If Coke can keep the program secret, they might gain an advantage, but if the software vender goes belly-up, they have trouble on their hands. It's not unheard of to have a contract that failure to maintain to code or stay in business opens the code. I think that's how Blender became open source.

              Now let's suppose Coke is buying software to operate an excellent machine that is going out of production, and they snapped up the remaining stock. Keeping the software to run it closed would now be a serious risk. If the software is open, and especially if Pepsi uses it too, they reduce the risk of having to throw away all those bottling machines due to unmaintained software developing a future problem. In the end, opening this code means lower costs for all the companies using it. What's in it for Coke is simple: if they wait for Pepsi to contract for it the program might never exist at all, and something has to run those machines.

              The initial contractor gets to decide what the program does, what features are desired, etc. Anyone else using it is free to modify these, but first buyer gets it essentially made to order, with a good chance of getting the later maintainance for free from the community.

              Comment


              • #17
                Originally posted by staalmannen View Post
                The biggest issue I have with copyleft is that it introduces "incopatibility bugs" between licenses that are similar in spirit. As a case in point: the super annoying license incompatibility between ZFS and Linux. Here Sun apparently explicitly worded the license in such a way that it would be GPL-incompatible.

                Totally unnecessairy and annoying.
                "Use GPLx or later" solves that.
                It does not allow sublicensing in order to prevent circumvention of its restrictions on rights that allow removal of any of four freedoms. This is also why next GPL versions are often more restrictive compared to previous. GPL priority is freedom, not rights.

                Also, no other similar license (copyleft one) allows that (sublicensing) to my knowledge. Two solutions - CLA (which may easily be misused and is not required with GPL) and multiple licensing (which defeats the purpose of copyleft if any included license is weaker).

                So, its not a bug, its a feature.

                Comment


                • #18
                  Originally posted by zanny View Post
                  Assuming that either you or client #1 ever distribute it. If nobody distributes GPLed binaries, then you have no obligation to provide source since no one should legitimately have the binary.
                  This restriction can be waived of per GPL itself.

                  GPL is very easy to understand - sell your work, not the right to make copies.

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X