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Jolla's Sailfish OS Ported To The Gemini PDA

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  • #21
    Originally posted by DrYak View Post

    The current trend on such platforms (where the source happens to be visible for technical reasons), which started back with Palm's webOS (mostly local HTML5 webapps) and is continued with Jolla's Sailfish OS (mostly QML apps), is *NOT* to release modified version of the code (that could be problematic due to the lack of licensing), *BUT* to release the modifications : basically a patch (but with some extra packaging sugar around). That's how first webOS and then later Sailfish evolved a patch system (see PatchManager).

    Such patch only contain *the modification* that the developers wrotes. i.e.: lines that they have written and upon which they control the licensing. And not the original unlicensed app.
    (patches end up being licensed under some permissive license such as MIT)
    There is no legal danger to the developers if they ever only release lines that they've written.

    The Open Source patches and PatchManager is interesting. It's a nice workaround. It still doesn't match proper FOSS software though. Some scenarios that might not be handled by it:

    - the user wants to pay a developer to improve their software. How does the developer get the closed source but source available (CSBSA) software? The license for the closed source software may explicitly prohibit making copies or sharing copies with other people. The license may say that only the original purchaser can have access to it.
    - multiple users are running slightly different versions of the same CSBSA software. The Open Source patch that user A developed to improve his software might not work with the slightly different version of the CSBSA software that user B is running. How does user B reconcile this issue?
    - a very obvious problem: what if a CSBSA software user simply wants to share their CSBSA software with another user? They probably can't.

    I'm sure there are loads of other potential issues too.

    I definitely appreciate that it's better when the source code is available even if it's restricted by a closed source license. I also think this Open Source patching idea is a nice workaround to improve the situation. However, I think there are considerable advantages to having actual Open Source software as opposed to CSBSA software. If Jolla do ever Open Source all software and apps, then the users will be far more protected now and in the future even if Putin, Obama & the Queen of England buy out Jolla and attempt to impose some nefarious plot on the old Jolla users.