Discussion:
Android mythbusters
(too old to reply)
Dante Lanznaster
2009-11-06 01:32:56 UTC
Permalink
http://is.gd/4Oser

Interesting slides from a talk about how Google
basterdized what most people think about when
they say GNU/Linux...
David Brown
2009-11-06 14:38:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dante Lanznaster
http://is.gd/4Oser
Interesting slides from a talk about how Google
basterdized what most people think about when
they say GNU/Linux...
Actually, a good way of describing Android is Linux without GNU.
Perhaps RMS should be playing off of this, because it actually makes
his point quite clearly.

Android isn't a Posix system. It is a small embedded OS for
cellphones that happens to run on the Linux kernel.

I'm not really sure why it bothers people so much. It's not supposed
to be a Linux system. Why does nobody complain about the Palm Pre,
which also is based on the Linux kernel, but is only programmable
through web apps. Perhaps it is because Google is freer about
allowing even native apps, even if it is their own environment.

David
Deke Clinger
2009-11-06 18:39:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by Dante Lanznaster
http://is.gd/4Oser
Interesting slides from a talk about how Google
basterdized what most people think about when
they say GNU/Linux...
Actually, a good way of describing Android is Linux without GNU.
Perhaps RMS should be playing off of this, because it actually makes
his point quite clearly.
Android isn't a Posix system. It is a small embedded OS for
cellphones that happens to run on the Linux kernel.
I'm not really sure why it bothers people so much. It's not supposed
to be a Linux system. Why does nobody complain about the Palm Pre,
which also is based on the Linux kernel, but is only programmable
through web apps. Perhaps it is because Google is freer about
allowing even native apps, even if it is their own environment.
David
Second this...Is something like Voyage Linux an abomination just because
it's not a good desktop distro?

-Deke
Tracy Reed
2009-11-06 19:55:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Deke Clinger
Second this...Is something like Voyage Linux an abomination just because
it's not a good desktop distro?
I don't know anything about Voyage but I might say that Android is an
abomination because it isn't UNIXy.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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David Brown
2009-11-06 20:49:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Deke Clinger
Second this...Is something like Voyage Linux an abomination just because
it's not a good desktop distro?
I don't know anything about Voyage but I might say that Android is an
abomination because it isn't UNIXy.
By why is Android an abomination and Palm OS isn't? Palm OS also runs
on a Linux kernel. It's less UNIXy than Android is. Android will at
least give you a small shell.

David
Tracy Reed
2009-11-06 21:19:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
By why is Android an abomination and Palm OS isn't?
PalmOS is also. But at least Android is a little more open and can
give you a shell, just as you said.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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John H. Robinson, IV
2009-11-06 21:34:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by David Brown
By why is Android an abomination and Palm OS isn't?
PalmOS is also. But at least Android is a little more open and can
give you a shell, just as you said.
PalmOS is not Linux. You might be thinking Palm webOS, which is the operating
system for the Palm Pre and the soon-to-be-release Palm Pixi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_OS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebOS

-john
Tracy Reed
2009-11-06 19:55:24 UTC
Permalink
Why does nobody complain about the Palm Pre, which also is based on
the Linux kernel, but is only programmable through web apps.
Because they have never made the claim that it is open? (afaik)

Just yesterday I heard two Android commercials on the radio. Pretty
impressive. They do play up the freedom thing quite a bit.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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Tracy Reed
2009-11-06 20:33:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Actually, a good way of describing Android is Linux without GNU.
Perhaps RMS should be playing off of this, because it actually makes
his point quite clearly.
I have often said that I wanted a machine running just the kernel and
no GNU software on me someday when I can encounter RMS so that I could
say "I love Free Software! This computer runs Linux!" and when he
inevitably corrected me I could prove him wrong. Now I guess I could
have such a device. Although I wanted it just to prove a point and not
as something I would ever really use.

Anyway, here is a review of Verizon's DROID:

http://nerdworld.blogs.time.com/2009/11/05/motorola-droid-review-verizon-wireless/?cnn=yes

Note:

Processor: Arm Cortex A8 processor 550mHz
Memory: 256MB built-in, ships with 16GB microSD card (expandable to
32GB)

I look forward to seeing how the processor does. Although I think they
are confusing RAM with flash storage in that memory info.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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David Brown
2009-11-06 20:51:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
I have often said that I wanted a machine running just the kernel and
no GNU software on me someday when I can encounter RMS so that I could
say "I love Free Software! This computer runs Linux!" and when he
inevitably corrected me I could prove him wrong. Now I guess I could
have such a device. Although I wanted it just to prove a point and not
as something I would ever really use.
As far as I know, the Android indeed runs _non_ of RMS's code. They
are very aggressive about no GPL in userspace, to the point of doing
dumb things, like writing a broken udev instead of just using the real
one.

David
DJA
2009-11-06 23:06:46 UTC
Permalink
Android isn't a Posix system. It is a small embedded OS for
cellphones that happens to run on the Linux kernel.
I'm not really sure why it bothers people so much. It's not supposed
to be a Linux system. Why does nobody complain about the Palm Pre,
which also is based on the Linux kernel, but is only programmable
through web apps. Perhaps it is because Google is freer about
allowing even native apps, even if it is their own environment.
David
I agree. Isn't the whole FOSS + GPL thing supposed to invite and embrace
this type of thing? What's with the "I want source and I want it
GPL-licensed so I can use it as I see fit, but everyone can use it only
for the things /I/ approve of; any other use is an abomination!" BS?
This kind of logic sounds a bit too religious. I don't see any morality
clauses in the GPL.

If I reuse some FOSS code, especially GPL'ed code, and abide by all the
legal requirements, why should someone get their panties in a bunch
because they don't like my particular application of it?
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-07 01:32:20 UTC
Permalink
I don't see any morality clauses in the GPL.
Apparently we need to read GPLv3... :\

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
Chris Rebert
2009-11-07 04:01:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
I don't see any morality clauses in the GPL.
Apparently we need to read GPLv3... :\
Eh, if you want real morality clauses, check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacktivismo_Enhanced-Source_Software_License_Agreement

I'm not sure what you're referring to in the GPLv3 though, unless you
mean the tivoization or software patent bits; the former is has good
arguments both ways, the latter is to avoid supposedly "free" software
becoming unusable in practice due to patent-encumbered contributions
and thus more of a "don't do sketchy/tricky stuff to subvert the
entire point of the license" clause than a morality clause.

Cheers,
Chris
--
http://blog.rebertia.com
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-07 09:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by DJA
If I reuse some FOSS code, especially GPL'ed code, and abide by all the
legal requirements, why should someone get their panties in a bunch
because they don't like my particular application of it?
Look, the whole point of the GPL is to restrict you from doing certain
things with it--mostly commercial stuff because that's really the only
realm in which you might want to use and modify the code but not give
the modifications back.

Those of us who don't subscribe to that use BSD (or similar) rather than
the GPL.

I don't know why you are so surprised that people who use GPL are
extremely opinionated about how you can use the code. That's the whole
*point* of the GPL.

-a
Todd Walton
2009-11-07 12:41:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Look, the whole point of the GPL is to restrict you from doing certain
things with it--mostly commercial stuff because that's really the only realm
in which you might want to use and modify the code but not give the
modifications back.
I don't know why you are so surprised that people who use GPL are extremely
opinionated about how you can use the code. ?That's the whole *point* of the
GPL.
I think you're confusing two things here. You're right that the whole
point of the GPL is to restrict you from doing that one thing: giving
people software without the right to modify it. That's about a sense
of morality between people.

But this discussion about cell phone software is about how the
software gets used by those who have it, Google in this case.
Everyone (I think) agrees that Google is sharing where sharing is
appropriate. The question is not about the GPL. It's about what
they're doing with the software. They're not building the usual kind
of distro that the Linux kernel normally gets included in. They're
doing unusual things, and limiting their developer community. They're
putting up some barrier to getting involved. Does that make sense?
Does that make for a good phone? That's the point here.

The GPL and what you do with your software are two separate things.
Richard Stallman himself has always emphasized that as long as you
share the code he believes you have the right to do whatever you want
with your software, including commercial things, dumb things, and
unusual things.

--
Todd
Tracy Reed
2009-11-07 19:35:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I don't know why you are so surprised that people who use GPL are
extremely opinionated about how you can use the code. That's the
whole *point* of the GPL.
What I find odd is that these same people don't spend nearly as much
time griping about things like the Microsoft EULA which is FAR more
restrictive in what you can do. I think it is an underdog thing. In
the world of software licensing the GPL is the most popular and
everyone likes to take a shot at it.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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SJS
2009-11-07 20:03:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I don't know why you are so surprised that people who use GPL are
extremely opinionated about how you can use the code. That's the
whole *point* of the GPL.
What I find odd is that these same people don't spend nearly as much
time griping about things like the Microsoft EULA which is FAR more
restrictive in what you can do.
That's just money. You can *get* a distribution license from
Microsoft, and you don't have to give M$ distribution rights
to your code.
Post by Tracy Reed
I think it is an underdog thing. In
the world of software licensing the GPL is the most popular and
everyone likes to take a shot at it.
Nah. It's because the extremist GPL advocates are *trying* to get
all code everywhere into the GPL, by hook and by crook. This makes
a lot of non-GPL-fans rightly nervous. It even makes some GPL fans
nervous, or at least annoyed.

I'd rather argue with my customer that they *ought* to give
something back to the community (once development costs have
been covered) than to tell them they'e going to be *forced* to
give something back to the community.

As soon as I say "...and you're required to give out the source
and the right to distribute that source to whomever the recipient
wants..." they shut it right down. Nearly every customer I've
worked for would rather budget thousands of dollars for a license
that won't grant someone else unlimited distribution rights.

BSD and friends form a 'gift culture'. The GPL doesn't.
--
Still not happy on the rename of the Library GPL.
Stewart Stremler
David Brown
2009-11-07 20:16:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Nah. It's because the extremist GPL advocates are *trying* to get
all code everywhere into the GPL, by hook and by crook. This makes
a lot of non-GPL-fans rightly nervous. It even makes some GPL fans
nervous, or at least annoyed.
I wonder how many people realize that Android's userspace is largely
rewritten _because_ of the GPL. GPL is not allowed in Android
userspace, and the rest is basically shortcuts to get something
working without rewriting _all_ of libc and numerous other parts.
It's actually impressive how much they did rewrite.

David
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-07 22:18:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
you don't have to give M$ distribution rights
to your code.
I'd rather argue with my customer that they *ought* to give
something back to the community (once development costs have
been covered) than to tell them they'e going to be *forced* to
give something back to the community.
Doesn't one's definition of extreme behavior depend on one's definition of
reasonable behavior?

Our current system gives creators strong monopoly rights over distribution.

If one things the current system is reasonable, then anything that goes against
that is unreasonable.

I've heard it explained that the current system is what is
unreasonable. If one believes that, then the GPL is what is "reasonable".

cs
SJS
2009-11-08 07:16:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Post by SJS
you don't have to give M$ distribution rights
to your code.
I'd rather argue with my customer that they *ought* to give
something back to the community (once development costs have
been covered) than to tell them they'e going to be *forced* to
give something back to the community.
Doesn't one's definition of extreme behavior depend on one's definition of
reasonable behavior?
Nope.

One can argue that the most reasonable behavior is an extreme one.
This may or may not be the case, but it's a valid position.

The inverse of extreme is 'moderate', not 'reasonable'.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Our current system gives creators strong monopoly rights over distribution.
No, it gives them a *limited* monopoly.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
If one things the current system is reasonable, then anything that goes against
that is unreasonable.
No. There may be other, reasonable, approaches.

There may even be other moderate approaches.

That is not to say that all other approaches are moderate,
or reasonable, or even something short of batshit crazy.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
I've heard it explained that the current system is what is
unreasonable.
Yah, I've heard a lot of that too. Generally, the 'explanation'
isn't very convincing.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
If one believes that, then the GPL is what is "reasonable".
No. One could also believe that the current system is unreasonable,
in that the granted monopoly is too limited.
--
So when will GPL software start entering the public domain?
Stewart Stremler
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-08 15:34:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
I've heard it explained that the current system is what is
unreasonable.
Yah, I've heard a lot of that too. Generally, the 'explanation'
isn't very convincing.
*If* you were convinced that the current system was extreme, would you
be open to possibility that attempts to subvert the current system like the GPL
may therefore *not* be extreme?

cs
SJS
2009-11-08 16:56:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Post by SJS
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
I've heard it explained that the current system is what is
unreasonable.
Yah, I've heard a lot of that too. Generally, the 'explanation'
isn't very convincing.
*If* you were convinced that the current system was extreme, would you
be open to possibility that attempts to subvert the current system like the GPL
may therefore *not* be extreme?
I'm always open to the possibility, depending on a good argument.

But if I take "the current system is extreme" as a given, no, that doesn't
make the GPL less extreme from my viewpoint. The GPL *depends* on the current
copyright system, and does not seek to moderate it -- so you'd have to come
up with a novel interpretation of how the current system is extreme.

Can you get MORE extreme than the GPL? Yes. Lots.

Does that make it a moderate approach? Not really.
--
The next question - "Is extremism always bad?" - I leave to the audience.
Stewart Stremler
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-08 17:09:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
But if I take "the current system is extreme" as a given, no, that doesn't
make the GPL less extreme from my viewpoint. The GPL *depends* on the current
copyright system, and does not seek to moderate it
The GPL uses the current copyright system to subvert said copyright system.

It doesn't do this because it supports the current copyright system but rather
as a method of attack.

And, yes it does seek to moderate it....it does this by creating a creative
commons via a social contract (enforced by copyright) with different rights
than the default system. Why don't you see that
as trying to moderate the default system?

cs
SJS
2009-11-09 05:59:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Post by SJS
But if I take "the current system is extreme" as a given, no, that doesn't
make the GPL less extreme from my viewpoint. The GPL *depends* on the current
copyright system, and does not seek to moderate it
The GPL uses the current copyright system to subvert said copyright system.
Mmmmhmm. Don't buy it for a second.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
It doesn't do this because it supports the current copyright system but rather
as a method of attack.
I don't recall ever reading anything by RMS that claimed this.

I'm sure you can provide a citation of RMS claiming that his purpose in
creating the GPL was to subvert copyright, and not to ensure that users
had the source code to the programs they used.
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
And, yes it does seek to moderate it....it does this by creating a creative
commons via a social contract (enforced by copyright) with different rights
than the default system. Why don't you see that as trying to moderate the
default system?
Because it isn't.

Why don't you see that it isn't?
--
Your anti-copyright bias is showing.
Stewart Stremler
David Brown
2009-11-09 16:31:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
It doesn't do this because it supports the current copyright system but rather
as a method of attack.
I don't recall ever reading anything by RMS that claimed this.
I'm sure you can provide a citation of RMS claiming that his purpose in
creating the GPL was to subvert copyright, and not to ensure that users
had the source code to the programs they used.
RMS very much wished to eliminate copyright:

This speech is got some of it:
<http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-kth.html> especially where he
feels that copyright on non-material objects is morally wrong.

However, he's kind of changed his position a bit, and feels that the
copyright system can be used to protect the user's right.

David
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-09 16:55:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
<http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-kth.html> especially where he
feels that copyright on non-material objects is morally wrong.
However, he's kind of changed his position a bit, and feels that the
copyright system can be used to protect the user's right.
Yes. Whether he wants to eliminate or tweak it, he certainly is not happy with
the default situation.

cs
SJS
2009-11-10 04:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by SJS
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
It doesn't do this because it supports the current copyright system but rather
as a method of attack.
I don't recall ever reading anything by RMS that claimed this.
I'm sure you can provide a citation of RMS claiming that his purpose in
creating the GPL was to subvert copyright, and not to ensure that users
had the source code to the programs they used.
<http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-kth.html> especially where he
In the years that followed I was inspired by that ideas, and many times I
would climb over ceilings or underneath floors to unlock rooms that had
machines in them that people needed to use, and I would usually leave
behind a note explaining to the people that they shouldn't be so selfish
as to lock the door. The people who locked the door were basically
considering only themselves. They had a reason of course, there was
something they thought might get stolen and they wanted to lock it up, but
they didn't care about the other people they were affecting by locking up
other things in the same room. Almost every time this happened, once I
brought it to their attention, that it was not up to them alone whether
that room should be locked, they were able to find a compromise solution:
some other place to put the things they were worried about, a desk they
could lock, another little room. But the point is that people usually
don't bother to think about that. They have the idea: "This room is Mine,
I can lock it, to hell with everyone else" and that is exactly the spirit
that we must teach them not to have.

Sheesh, RMS is an ass.

What *really* happens is that someone is _told_ "This room is YOURS. YOU get to
decide who gets in and who doesn't." They are told this by the people who paid
for the building, the cleaning, the lights, the air conditioning, the computers
in the room, and the power to run those computers. The people, in fact, who
*get* to say "this room is yours".

RMS does not *know* why the appointed owner chose to lock the room. He does
not ask. He simply *takes* what he wants, and to hell with the people who
own the building, the room, the computer.

This is the thinking of a thief:

"You have something. I want it. I *need* it. Therefore, it's immoral
of you to keep it from me."

I'm surprised that he didn't smash open desks and lockboxes for the
same reason. Wait, he all but said he would, didn't he?

Jmr: I am looking for a microphone, and someone tells me it is
inside this locked box.
Rms: Now in the old days at the AI lab we would have taken a
sledgehammer and cracked it open...

Hmm.... farther down gets interesting too...

But that danger we managed to defend against, only to be destroyed by
something we had never anticipated, and that was commercialism. Around
the early 80's the hackers suddenly found that there was now commercial
interest in what they were doing. It was possible to get rich by working
at a private company. All that was necessary was to stop sharing their
work with the rest of the world and destroy the MIT-AI lab, and this is
what they did despite all the efforts I could make to prevent them.

RMS thought it a good thing to keep hackers from rushing off and getting
rich? That explains a lot about the GPL.
Post by David Brown
feels that copyright on non-material objects is morally wrong.
Ummmm... copyright is all about non-material objects. You copy
arrangements of letters, or notes, or blobs of pigment....

Ah, here it is.

But the analogy that was chosen was the analogy with books, which have
copyright. And why was this choice made? Because the people that had
the most to gain from making that particular choice were allowed to
make the decision. The people who wrote the programs, not the people
who used the programs, were allowed to decide, and they decided in a
completely selfish fashion, and as a result they've turned the field
of programming into an ugly one.

Yup. Ass.

But then, I'm a bibliophile. I *like* the idea of programs-as-books.
They're little stories well tell our idiot children.

And I want my favorite authors to be fabulously rich, so they can write
all the damn time.
Post by David Brown
However, he's kind of changed his position a bit, and feels that the
copyright system can be used to protect the user's right.
He might have acquired something worth owning now.
--
I'll take Knuth over RMS any day of the week. Knuth *likes* books.
Stewart Stremler
Neil Schneider
2009-11-09 17:41:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
BSD and friends form a 'gift culture'. The GPL doesn't.
I disagree.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
SJS
2009-11-10 03:43:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
BSD and friends form a 'gift culture'. The GPL doesn't.
I disagree.
Then you're being gratituously stupid.

Gifts don't have strings.
--
Don't let your ideology get in the way of your intelligence.
Stewart Stremler
Neil Schneider
2009-11-10 04:50:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
BSD and friends form a 'gift culture'. The GPL doesn't.
I disagree.
Then you're being gratituously stupid.
Gifts don't have strings.
BSD comes with string, Apache comes with strings, so where's the gift culture?
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-07 20:40:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
I think it is an underdog thing. In
the world of software licensing the GPL is the most popular and
everyone likes to take a shot at it.
I'm going to make you back that up. I seriously doubt that the GPL is
that much more popular than the BSD and BSD-alike (MIT, Apache, X, etc.)
licenses in toto.

The big gripe from the GPL folks, probably rightfully, is that people
are using GPL code and then making an end run around the spirit of the
GPL when they get to where they want to be. This manifests in
"dual-licensing" schemes as well--the copyright holder *doesn't* have to
play by the GPL. Or in the case of Android, Google almost certainly
used GPL code to bootstrap, and then ripped out all of the GPL code in
userspace as it matured.

In addition, businesses are banning GPL code use more and more. I agree
with them. This is simply pragmatic. The GPL forces me to *care* about
the license and think about compliance. That's money. Therefore, I
will *NEVER* use GPL code in something that might eventually go outside
the company. BSD doesn't make me think or spend money.

The GPL is an opinionated license. It should be unsurprising that many
people don't agree with that opinion.

-a
Tracy Reed
2009-11-08 03:56:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I'm going to make you back that up. I seriously doubt that the GPL
is that much more popular than the BSD and BSD-alike (MIT, Apache,
X, etc.) licenses in toto.
http://www.blackducksoftware.com/oss/licenses/

Even if you add up BSD, MIT, Apache and any other license you choose
it isn't as much as BSD.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
In addition, businesses are banning GPL code use more and more. I
agree with them. This is simply pragmatic. The GPL forces me to
*care* about the license and think about compliance. That's money.
Not that I have noticed. MS EULA and any other proprietary license
requires even more attention to be paid to license and they aren't
getting banned.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Therefore, I will *NEVER* use GPL code in something that might
eventually go outside the company. BSD doesn't make me think or
spend money.
That's understandable if you want to lock up your users, which many
companies do. Not really much of an argument against the GPL though.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-08 04:06:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I'm going to make you back that up. I seriously doubt that the GPL
is that much more popular than the BSD and BSD-alike (MIT, Apache,
X, etc.) licenses in toto.
http://www.blackducksoftware.com/oss/licenses/
Even if you add up BSD, MIT, Apache and any other license you choose
it isn't as much as BSD.
I assume you meant to say GPL at the end.

Here is another factoid page based on Black Duck Software stats...

http://johnhaller.com/jh/useful_stuff/open_source_license_popularity/

"the GPL/LGPL is the most popular license by a wide margin"

I realize they don't distinguish between GPL and LGPL. Still, GPL/LGPL
buries BSD/MIT by ~600% by their metric.
Post by Tracy Reed
That's understandable if you want to lock up your users, which many
companies do. Not really much of an argument against the GPL though.
+1

Well said.

cs
SJS
2009-11-08 07:09:07 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
In addition, businesses are banning GPL code use more and more. I
agree with them. This is simply pragmatic. The GPL forces me to
*care* about the license and think about compliance. That's money.
Not that I have noticed. MS EULA and any other proprietary license
requires even more attention to be paid to license and they aren't
getting banned.
I haven't heard of a non-GPL EULA that makes you give up your source
code if you create a derivative product. Sure, you may have to pay
license fees to distribute your derivative product, but that's just
a matter of writing a check. Businessmen understand writing a check.
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Therefore, I will *NEVER* use GPL code in something that might
eventually go outside the company. BSD doesn't make me think or
spend money.
That's understandable if you want to lock up your users, which many
companies do. Not really much of an argument against the GPL though.
Well, the BSD folks aren't trying to steal his company's unrelated
product when they try to add in some functionality to let said product
integrate with BSD system. User's don't benefit immediately from
source, they benefit from functionality.

(Yes, that's a mean-spirited way of looking at it, but so was your
interpretation of what he said. Turnabout is fair play.)

The GPL has a few key flaws:

1. linking to GPL code is infectious, and even if you release all the
actual changes to GPL code, that's not enough. You can't _use_ GPL
code without a special exemption.

2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.

3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.

4. the GPL is hostile to other licenses. When an open-source license
conflicts with the GPL, the GPL advocates demand that the other
license change, and never the GPL. There is no compromise, there is
only the GPL way, and everyone else just needs to suck it up.

5. the GPL says it applies to code that dynamically links to it.
That's just wrong. Evil, even. (It also means I can't legally make
a GPL'd replacement library that is used by a proprietary program.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.)

What the GPL gets right:

a) users can have someone look at the source of the programs they
run. Most of 'em don't, but they *could*.

And, finally, what do I really want in software?

I want source to be shipped with software. Compilable source. I
don't need immediate royalty-free distribution rights -- I'm fine
submitting my changes back to the vendor to be incorporated into
the next product release.

I want a right of first sale. If I build a product that *uses*
some software, I ought to be able to sell my product without
having to give my product back to the software vendor. Granted,
to sell 10 of my product, I'll have to obtain (through legal
channels) 10 copies of the software it uses, but that's just
part of the cost of my product.

I want a license that can play well with software that has a
different license. I don't want a software license to be a tool
for some antisocial group to impose their political/economic beliefs
on to everyone else.

I want usable source code to end up in the public domain while
there's still some value to that code.
--
I rarely get what I want.
Stewart Stremler
Chris Rebert
2009-11-08 07:49:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
[snip]
Post by Tracy Reed
In addition, businesses are banning GPL code use more and more. ?I
agree with them. ?This is simply pragmatic. ?The GPL forces me to
*care* about the license and think about compliance. ?That's money.
Not that I have noticed. MS EULA and any other proprietary license
requires even more attention to be paid to license and they aren't
getting banned.
I haven't heard of a non-GPL EULA that makes you give up your source
code if you create a derivative product. ?Sure, you may have to pay
license fees to distribute your derivative product, but that's just
a matter of writing a check. Businessmen understand writing a check.
Post by Tracy Reed
Therefore, I will *NEVER* use GPL code in something that might
eventually go outside the company. ?BSD doesn't make me think or
spend money.
That's understandable if you want to lock up your users, which many
companies do. Not really much of an argument against the GPL though.
Well, the BSD folks aren't trying to steal his company's unrelated
product when they try to add in some functionality to let said product
integrate with BSD system. ?User's don't benefit immediately from
source, they benefit from functionality.
(Yes, that's a mean-spirited way of looking at it, but so was your
interpretation of what he said. Turnabout is fair play.)
1. linking to GPL code is infectious, and even if you release all the
actual changes to GPL code, that's not enough. ?You can't _use_ GPL
code without a special exemption.
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.
True, selling software /per se/ becomes harder; but did selling bits
ever make sense given the cost of digital duplication is nil? However,
as Red Hat and others have proven, there's still plenty to be made in
support, consulting, and ancillary products for the GPL'd software
(and if it's not AGPL'd, offering it as a hosted service).

Cheers,
Chris
--
http://blog.rebertia.com
SJS
2009-11-08 15:34:36 UTC
Permalink
begin quoting Chris Rebert as of Sun, Nov 08, 2009 at 01:40:50AM -0800:
[lots of un-replied-to stuff chopped]
Post by Chris Rebert
True, selling software /per se/ becomes harder; but did selling bits
ever make sense given the cost of digital duplication is nil?
Plenty of non-GPL software is being sold. You've confused the argument
for piracy with the argument for the GPL.
Post by Chris Rebert
However,
as Red Hat and others have proven, there's still plenty to be made in
support, consulting, and ancillary products for the GPL'd software
(and if it's not AGPL'd, offering it as a hosted service).
That's not programming. Support is a different skillset, which may or
may not overlap.

Plus, I don't *like* RedHat anymore. I used to be a fan, but I lost that
as successive releases became more complex and less useful, driven, in
part, by RedHat's need to obtain support contracts.

I don't like where that road leads. I didn't like it when I saw IBM
doing the same thing back when I got started in this whole business,
and I don't see why it's any less unethical now, just because the
community *I* am in offers it up as the only alternative to make a
wage.
--
When I was unemployed, the GPL sounded wonderful. Then I got a mortgage.
Stewart Stremler
Chris Rebert
2009-11-08 07:49:49 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Nov 8, 2009 at 1:09 AM, SJS <***@stremler.net> wrote:
<snip>
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
Pretty much every EULA in existence (and other open-source licenses
such as BSD & MIT) disclaims those obligations; what makes the GPL
worth singling out here?

Cheers,
Chris
--
http://blog.rebertia.com
David Brown
2009-11-08 17:25:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
How does this apply to the right of first sale. If I received a GPL
program (whether I pay for it or not), properly compliant with the
GPL, I can redistribute it freely as I see fit.

There are obligations on whoever distributed it to you: to provide
source. They are obligated to provide it to no only you, but even to
anyone else you may distribute to.

The GPL explicitly disclaims a warranty. Usually if you're paying
money, its to get some kid of warranty or support.
Post by SJS
3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.
You make the assumption that the only business model here is in
licensing individual copies of the software and making money off of
that. Much software certainly works this way.

Somebody obviously makes enough money off of GPL software to pay me
full time to work on it.
Post by SJS
4. the GPL is hostile to other licenses. When an open-source license
conflicts with the GPL, the GPL advocates demand that the other
license change, and never the GPL. There is no compromise, there is
only the GPL way, and everyone else just needs to suck it up.
One of the GPLv3 explicit purposes was to allow more compatibility
with other licenses. Generally the conflicts with other licenses are
because of restrictions in those other licenses.
Post by SJS
5. the GPL says it applies to code that dynamically links to it.
That's just wrong. Evil, even. (It also means I can't legally make
a GPL'd replacement library that is used by a proprietary program.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.)
Call it whatever you want. But understand it is _very_ intentional,
and pretty much for the exact reason you specify.

The GPL doesn't prevent me from having a proprietary program I have,
dynamically link to a GPL library. The only real constraint is that
the proprietary program cannot be distributed directly with that
functionality.

One example is readline. RMS has used readline as a sledgehammer to
get several other programs to be GPL. So, NetBSD wrote Editline,
which is mostly API compatible. A program that could dynamically link
with either library would be fine, since it doesn't depend on the
functionality of readline. This is part of where the LGPL came from,
since they realized that the GPL wouldn't work for the C library,
since most systems at the time already had a C library.

The GPLv3 also explicitly spells out that the license doesn't forbid,
in any way, how the code may be run. I can personally link a bunch of
stuff together with incompatible licenses and use it myself. The GPL
only forbids me to distribute a binary of the resulting work. Oddly
enough, this allows Gentoo to include packages that most other
distributions can't really distribute.

The thing a lot of people misunderstand about the GPL is that it's
focus is on the rights of the recipient/end-user, not the developer.
The authors believe that the user should have the specified rights,
and that those trump the rights of the developer. Whether this makes
sense in a practical or economic point of view is a different issue.

David
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-08 18:34:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
The GPL doesn't prevent me from having a proprietary program I have,
dynamically link to a GPL library. The only real constraint is that
the proprietary program cannot be distributed directly with that
functionality.
The GPLv3 also explicitly spells out that the license doesn't forbid,
in any way, how the code may be run. I can personally link a bunch of
stuff together with incompatible licenses and use it myself.
That is a very observant and subtle point that bears repeating. The GPL's
provisions only kick on when someone attempts to distribute code.

cs
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-08 18:39:39 UTC
Permalink
Furthermore, if you don't like Red Hat, aren't web services such as Google the
painfully obvious example of a business model that can make money with GPL
software?

cs
David Brown
2009-11-08 22:28:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Furthermore, if you don't like Red Hat, aren't web services such as
Google the painfully obvious example of a business model that can
make money with GPL software?
I'm not sure which part of Google you're referring to, and I don't
think Google is a good example of a company that makes money off of
the GPL, per say. Perhaps free software, since they do make plenty of
that, but as far as I know, the only GPL software that Google deals
with is the Linux Kernel itself.

Most of their libraries and other code are either proprietary, or
under the Apache license.

Now, they likely make heavy _use_ of lots of GPL software, but they
aren't making money writing GPL software.

Codesourcery might be an example of a company making money off of GPL
software. Ada Core Technologies has been a good example for quite some
time, but I'm not sure how well they are doing these days.

Actually, probably the most prolific developer of GPL software would
be IBM. Companies that release GPL software to support their hardware
seem to have the most realistic GPL-based business models.

David
SJS
2009-11-09 06:14:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Furthermore, if you don't like Red Hat, aren't web services such as
Google the painfully obvious example of a business model that can
make money with GPL software?
I'm not sure which part of Google you're referring to, and I don't
think Google is a good example of a company that makes money off of
[chop]
Post by David Brown
Codesourcery might be an example of a company making money off of GPL
software. Ada Core Technologies has been a good example for quite some
time, but I'm not sure how well they are doing these days.
Actually, probably the most prolific developer of GPL software would
be IBM. Companies that release GPL software to support their hardware
seem to have the most realistic GPL-based business models.
The GPL works great when software is not your primary product. IBM makes
hardware, RedHat sells support, etc. -- I'm not entirely sure with Ada
Core Technologies are selling, but it seems to be access to Ada experts.
--
"Making money using GPL software" != "Making money selling GPL software"
Stewart Stremler
David Brown
2009-11-09 16:33:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
The GPL works great when software is not your primary product. IBM makes
hardware, RedHat sells support, etc. -- I'm not entirely sure with Ada
Core Technologies are selling, but it seems to be access to Ada experts.
Actually, they main product is support for the GNU compiler's Ada
front end. Much of it is quick response to bugs, often turning around
a build in a day or so. They do provide access to Ada experts, but
that's only a small part, and that costs extra.

Last I checked, their support contracts were priced similarly to a
commercial compiler, such as Arm's RVCT.

Their business model is about as close as I imagine to RMS's ideal
software business model.

Unfortunately, most companies don't seem to be willing to pay for
support for a compiler, especially the gcc front end. I don't know
how well CodeSourcery actually does, but I tried in vain to convince
my company to pay them for support.

The thing is, we'd actually get something for it. Paying ARM for
their compiler doesn't get you any meaningful support. You can report
bugs, such, but you can report bugs against gcc without paying anyone.

David
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 21:25:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Unfortunately, most companies don't seem to be willing to pay for
support for a compiler, especially the gcc front end. I don't know
how well CodeSourcery actually does, but I tried in vain to convince
my company to pay them for support.
I don't know about CodeSourcery, but Cygnus (before being bought by
RedHat) used to do quite well porting the gcc toolchain to new embedded
systems or processors.

This seems to be a reasonable market. CodeSourcery seems to do some of
it. IAR systems seems to do it. There are a couple of others.

-a
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-09 15:16:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Furthermore, if you don't like Red Hat, aren't web services such as Google the
painfully obvious example of a business model that can make money with GPL
software?
Google is a company that started with search, and then discovered they
could make metric tons of cash by advertising.

When you look at Google as what it really is, an Internet advertising
juggernaut that eats PhDs and poops interesting web services (hey,
gotta do something with all that cash!), you realize that it really
doesn't matter AT ALL what software they started with or use today.

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
Tracy Reed
2009-11-09 17:24:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
When you look at Google as what it really is, an Internet
advertising juggernaut that eats PhDs and poops interesting web
services (hey, gotta do something with all that cash!), you realize
that it really doesn't matter AT ALL what software they started with
or use today.
Even if I did agree with that (which I'm not sure I do because I'm not
sure they would exist if Linux did not) Google is a company making
money with GPL software as Chris pointed out. That was his point.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 21:27:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Even if I did agree with that (which I'm not sure I do because I'm not
sure they would exist if Linux did not) Google is a company making
money with GPL software as Chris pointed out. That was his point.
Why? The BSD distributions (especially FreeBSD) do *the exact same
thing* as Linux from the point of view of Google.

The primary advantage you get from Linux is that a few extra people you
can hire have used it.

-a
Tracy Reed
2009-11-09 21:36:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Why? The BSD distributions (especially FreeBSD) do *the exact same
thing* as Linux from the point of view of Google.
And BSD didn't support SMP well (or at all, I don't recall) when
Google was getting started. MP3.com started on BSD around the same
time and switched to Linux when we started deploying SMP servers. And
Linux has more hardware support/drivers. Those two things alone would
be pretty significant for someone like Google.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
The primary advantage you get from Linux is that a few extra people
you can hire have used it.
And then there's that.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 21:46:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Why? The BSD distributions (especially FreeBSD) do *the exact same
thing* as Linux from the point of view of Google.
And BSD didn't support SMP well (or at all, I don't recall) when
Google was getting started. MP3.com started on BSD around the same
time and switched to Linux when we started deploying SMP servers. And
Linux has more hardware support/drivers. Those two things alone would
be pretty significant for someone like Google.
The fact that Linux was a better choice than FreeBSD is a different
argument from "Google wouldn't exist without Linux".

Google built cheap servers with custom failover tolerance.

I'm not even sure they used SMP on the first iterations. Too expensive.

And, in 1998, FreeBSD supported most of the hardware that any *company*
would buy. Yeah, there was some ultra-crappy, ultra-cheap-ass stuff
that FreeBSD never supported. However, practically everything even
close to optimal price/value point was supported.

In case you don't remember, there were major faults in the Linux
networking stack during this time. IIRC, Google submitted quite a lot
of fixes for that. If SMP on FreeBSD had been their pain point, I'm
sure that they would have fixed that instead.

-a
SJS
2009-11-10 05:01:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
When you look at Google as what it really is, an Internet
advertising juggernaut that eats PhDs and poops interesting web
services (hey, gotta do something with all that cash!), you realize
that it really doesn't matter AT ALL what software they started with
or use today.
Even if I did agree with that (which I'm not sure I do because I'm not
sure they would exist if Linux did not) Google is a company making
money with GPL software as Chris pointed out. That was his point.
Ever see a picture of their first "cluster"? It had a SunOS box in the
middle. I'm sure Google does not in any way depend on Linux for its
success, but only for a few percentage points of its profit margin.

I have never given Google money.

They do not make their money from GPL software, even though they use
it. They make their money from advertising. The GPL is of benefit to
them, but it is not their *business*.
--
Else, might not I claim you make your money by killing kids in China?
Stewart Stremler
Tracy Reed
2009-11-09 07:06:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
I haven't heard of a non-GPL EULA that makes you give up your source
code if you create a derivative product. Sure, you may have to pay
license fees to distribute your derivative product, but that's just
a matter of writing a check. Businessmen understand writing a check.
Name one company who has been forced to give up their source code. As
far as I know anyone who finds themselves violating the license they
agreed to when they used the software has been given the option to
simply stop using the code.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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SJS
2009-11-09 16:31:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by SJS
I haven't heard of a non-GPL EULA that makes you give up your source
code if you create a derivative product. Sure, you may have to pay
license fees to distribute your derivative product, but that's just
a matter of writing a check. Businessmen understand writing a check.
Name one company who has been forced to give up their source code. As
far as I know anyone who finds themselves violating the license they
agreed to when they used the software has been given the option to
simply stop using the code.
SV-Chipkarten Betriebsund Errichtungs GmbH

...

And "give it up or throw it away" is certainly force.

Most companies are (hopefully) smart enough to check. And if it's not the
letter of the law that drives a lot of them away from the GPL, it's the
*intent* of the community to take percieved violations to court.

Ending up in court is a failure condition.

So then we get lawyers recommending that businesses go with Microsoft
Technology Solutions only. And the world is a little bit worse off.
--
When there's no room for negiotiation, everyone loses.
Stewart Stremler
Tracy Reed
2009-11-09 17:40:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
SV-Chipkarten Betriebsund Errichtungs GmbH
And "give it up or throw it away" is certainly force.
Nobody forced them. There was no court order and nobody put a gun to
their head. They very well could have chosen to deploy their software
on Windows instead of Linux. Or if they wanted something more
POSIX/Unixy/non-GPL-licensed they could have migrated it to BSD or SCO
(can one still license SCO?) or Solaris x86.

But they chose Linux and the GPL and the terms it offers. Should "but
I didn't read the license and did not realize what it entails" be a
defense in court when a person gets caught distributing Windows 7 on
bittorrent or running their entire business on just one single user
license? What if I build my whole enterprise on Windows and Microsoft
comes knocking? Sure, I could close up my whole business or spend the
time and money to migrate to something else. Is that any different? I
would have even fewer options in the MS EULA than in the GPL violation
case it seems.
Post by SJS
And if it's not the letter of the law that drives a lot of them away
from the GPL, it's the *intent* of the community to take percieved
violations to court.
It is the intent of Microsoft to do the same. Nobody voices these
complaints about them. And from what I can see no significant number
of companies are being driven away from the GPL because of this. GPL
software has been adopted in a massive way.
Post by SJS
So then we get lawyers recommending that businesses go with Microsoft
Technology Solutions only. And the world is a little bit worse off.
The Microsoft license is far more restricting and demanding of the end
user and far more people have gotten into trouble with it
inadvertantly. Just ask Ernie Ball, the guitar string manufacturing
company.
Post by SJS
When there's no room for negiotiation, everyone loses.
gpl-violations.org has held negotiations with many companies and
worked out many solutions without going to court. Microsoft has a far
worse track record as they have gone to court more times than I could
ever determine.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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Todd Walton
2009-11-09 21:10:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by SJS
And if it's not the letter of the law that drives a lot of them away
from the GPL, it's the *intent* of the community to take percieved
violations to court.
It is the intent of Microsoft to do the same. Nobody voices these
complaints about them. And from what I can see no significant number
of companies are being driven away from the GPL because of this. GPL
software has been adopted in a massive way.
And GPL copyright holders don't go making vague threats about
*possible* infractions that you'll just have to take a chance on, as
has Microsoft.

--
Todd
SJS
2009-11-10 05:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Walton
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by SJS
And if it's not the letter of the law that drives a lot of them away
from the GPL, it's the *intent* of the community to take percieved
violations to court.
It is the intent of Microsoft to do the same. Nobody voices these
complaints about them. And from what I can see no significant number
of companies are being driven away from the GPL because of this. GPL
software has been adopted in a massive way.
And GPL copyright holders don't go making vague threats about
*possible* infractions that you'll just have to take a chance on, as
has Microsoft.
Sarcasm upon sarcasm.

I so love dry humor.
--
It's like alum for the soul.
Stewart Stremler
David Brown
2009-11-09 16:33:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by SJS
I haven't heard of a non-GPL EULA that makes you give up your source
code if you create a derivative product. Sure, you may have to pay
license fees to distribute your derivative product, but that's just
a matter of writing a check. Businessmen understand writing a check.
Name one company who has been forced to give up their source code. As
far as I know anyone who finds themselves violating the license they
agreed to when they used the software has been given the option to
simply stop using the code.
It is what people _fear_ from the GPL, despite never having happened.
Since there are no court cases saying it can't be interpreted that
way, people fear some court _might_ say that.

David
Neil Schneider
2009-11-10 04:47:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
It is what people _fear_ from the GPL, despite never having happened.
Since there are no court cases saying it can't be interpreted that
way, people fear some court _might_ say that.
People fear that the sky will fall.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
David Brown
2009-11-10 06:46:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by David Brown
It is what people _fear_ from the GPL, despite never having happened.
Since there are no court cases saying it can't be interpreted that
way, people fear some court _might_ say that.
People fear that the sky will fall.
The difference is that the fear from the GPL has had numerous and
significant impact on business decisions. I doubt that could be said
of a fear of the sky falling down.

David
Neil Schneider
2009-11-10 22:04:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by David Brown
It is what people _fear_ from the GPL, despite never having happened.
Since there are no court cases saying it can't be interpreted that
way, people fear some court _might_ say that.
People fear that the sky will fall.
The difference is that the fear from the GPL has had numerous and
significant impact on business decisions. I doubt that could be said
of a fear of the sky falling down.
Smart business people don't make decisions based upon fear. They make
decisions based upon verifiable facts.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
David Brown
2009-11-10 22:24:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by David Brown
The difference is that the fear from the GPL has had numerous and
significant impact on business decisions. I doubt that could be said
of a fear of the sky falling down.
Smart business people don't make decisions based upon fear. They make
decisions based upon verifiable facts.
Then perhaps fear isn't the right word here. To their perspective
these are legitimate concerns about possibilities that haven't been
addressed explicitly by the courts. Calling it fear is actually
somewhat loading the language.

David
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-11 00:05:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Smart business people don't make decisions based upon fear. They make
decisions based upon verifiable facts.
Wrong. Smart business people make decision based upon *risk*.

Using GPL code automatically constrains my future business decisions.
That's a risk.

Using BSD code does not constrain my future business decisions. That is
a lack of risk.

And, while you all think that the Microsoft is the typical business use
of code, it is not. Most of the time when I license code I get quite a
lot of latitude in how I can use it.

In fact, practically the only thing I can't do with the code is
redistribute the source publicly. I have even had a few cases where I
*can* redistribute the source if someone is willing to sign a
non-disclosure agreement.

The GPL (and especially the GPLv3) is *NOT* particularly pleasant
relative to the kind of licensing agreements that small companies tend
to use with one another.

-a
Neil Schneider
2009-11-11 06:37:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by Neil Schneider
Smart business people don't make decisions based upon fear. They make
decisions based upon verifiable facts.
Wrong. Smart business people make decision based upon *risk*.
They must access risk, true. But I was addressing what someone else wrote. I
stand by my statement.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
Neil Schneider
2009-11-09 16:34:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
How is this different from most proprietary licenses?
Post by SJS
3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.
4. the GPL is hostile to other licenses. When an open-source license
conflicts with the GPL, the GPL advocates demand that the other
license change, and never the GPL. There is no compromise, there is
only the GPL way, and everyone else just needs to suck it up.
You can choose not to build derivative works on top of GPL software and still
run it on GPL licensed OS. What's the problem?
Post by SJS
I want source to be shipped with software. Compilable source. I
don't need immediate royalty-free distribution rights -- I'm fine
submitting my changes back to the vendor to be incorporated into
the next product release.
Most companies that want to sell closed source software won't allow this
except at a very high price, some not at all.
Post by SJS
I want a right of first sale. If I build a product that *uses*
some software, I ought to be able to sell my product without
having to give my product back to the software vendor. Granted,
to sell 10 of my product, I'll have to obtain (through legal
channels) 10 copies of the software it uses, but that's just
part of the cost of my product.
I don't think anyone can take that away. It's the law.
Post by SJS
I want a license that can play well with software that has a
different license. I don't want a software license to be a tool
for some antisocial group to impose their political/economic beliefs
on to everyone else.
That's what copyright law does. Get over it.
Post by SJS
I want usable source code to end up in the public domain while
there's still some value to that code.
Work to change copyright law, then.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 21:36:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
How is this different from most proprietary licenses?
It's not. But "Tu Quoque" is not a valid argument.
Post by Neil Schneider
You can choose not to build derivative works on top of GPL software and still
run it on GPL licensed OS. What's the problem?
At least in the embedded space, this gets touchy.

What is "linked"? What is "uses only the API"? These things tend to be
very tightly tied together on small systems and are subject to issues.
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want a license that can play well with software that has a
different license. I don't want a software license to be a tool
for some antisocial group to impose their political/economic beliefs
on to everyone else.
That's what copyright law does. Get over it.
However, putting things out with a BSD license circumvents that fault.

-a
SJS
2009-11-10 04:26:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
How is this different from most proprietary licenses?
I don't accept the "everyone else is doing it, therefore it isn't bad"
argument. I haven't since I was five. You should've listened to your
mother when you were a child.

And not all proprietary licenses are that bad.

(At a minimum, anyone who licenses software should be obligated to
provide at least security patches for as long as that software is
not in the public domain. But that's a different discussion.)
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.
Hard point to contest, isn't it.
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
4. the GPL is hostile to other licenses. When an open-source license
conflicts with the GPL, the GPL advocates demand that the other
license change, and never the GPL. There is no compromise, there is
only the GPL way, and everyone else just needs to suck it up.
You can choose not to build derivative works on top of GPL software and still
run it on GPL licensed OS. What's the problem?
That doesn't stop the GPL advocates from their shrill demands that
the other licenses change so that the GPL community can suck in all
that software, enriching the GPL community, without enriching the
other community.

And, no, absorbing another community does not count as "enrichement".

[transitional point deleted without indication]
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want source to be shipped with software. Compilable source. I
don't need immediate royalty-free distribution rights -- I'm fine
submitting my changes back to the vendor to be incorporated into
the next product release.
Most companies that want to sell closed source software won't allow this
except at a very high price, some not at all.
So you're conceding the point, then?
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want a right of first sale. If I build a product that *uses*
some software, I ought to be able to sell my product without
having to give my product back to the software vendor. Granted,
to sell 10 of my product, I'll have to obtain (through legal
channels) 10 copies of the software it uses, but that's just
part of the cost of my product.
I don't think anyone can take that away. It's the law.
Can't do it with GPL software.
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want a license that can play well with software that has a
different license. I don't want a software license to be a tool
for some antisocial group to impose their political/economic beliefs
on to everyone else.
That's what copyright law does. Get over it.
Oh, up yours.

Copyright law is *not* a tool for imposing political and/or economic
believs on to others. It's a freakin' limited monopoly on duplication;
not a tool of conversion.

Copyright is a compromise, and the GPL does not compromise.
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want usable source code to end up in the public domain while
there's still some value to that code.
Work to change copyright law, then.
Yes.

But how I'd change the copyright laws would not be GPL-friendly.
--
Microsofties always say "get over it" when you point out flaws.
Stewart Stremler
Neil Schneider
2009-11-10 05:12:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
2. GPL code embodies the worst sort of interpretation of "license";
if you buy a GPL program, you do not own that program, it is merely
licensed to you, but there's no warranty, rebate, guarantee, or other
obligation on the providers of the software. This completely bypasses
the Right of First Sale normally associated with copyright, which ought
to be cause for concern. It isn't.
How is this different from most proprietary licenses?
You didn't answer my question. Name another piece of software you can buy that
you own. Nobody sells their software, the merely license it. That was my
point, which you apparently didnt get. Also, every EULA I've ever read
specifically says, no warranty, not guarantee or any other obligation on the
providers of the software. Oh, and by the way, you opened it, you bought it.
Try getting a refund on software because if failed to perform as advertised.
Post by SJS
I don't accept the "everyone else is doing it, therefore it isn't bad"
argument. I haven't since I was five. You should've listened to your
mother when you were a child.
That wasn't my point. You're complaining about the GPL and nearly every other
software company on the face of the planet has a worse license. So WHAT IS
YOUR POINT, other than to complain about the GPL?
Post by SJS
And not all proprietary licenses are that bad.
Really? Do tell?
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
3. the GPL is hostile to the business of selling software. The only
people who can reliably make a profit selling GPL software are the
aggregators, who sell indexed collections of GPL software. All GPL
software eventually ends up free-as-in-beer.
Hard point to contest, isn't it.
You can just use statically linked libraries and not use the GPL, you have a
choice. What are the licenses for other libraries like?
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
4. the GPL is hostile to other licenses. When an open-source license
conflicts with the GPL, the GPL advocates demand that the other
license change, and never the GPL. There is no compromise, there is
only the GPL way, and everyone else just needs to suck it up.
You can choose not to build derivative works on top of GPL software and still
run it on GPL licensed OS. What's the problem?
That doesn't stop the GPL advocates from their shrill demands that
the other licenses change so that the GPL community can suck in all
that software, enriching the GPL community, without enriching the
other community.
And, no, absorbing another community does not count as "enrichement".
I'm beginning to detect a trend. You didn't write the license, so you don't
like it. Don't the people who actually write the software get a choice in how
it gets used? Isn't it their right to not allow other people turn their work
into proprietary products that have onerous licenses that they themselves
would never agree to? You don't like the GPL, don't use it. Use the license
you like.
Post by SJS
[transitional point deleted without indication]
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want source to be shipped with software. Compilable source. I
don't need immediate royalty-free distribution rights -- I'm fine
submitting my changes back to the vendor to be incorporated into
the next product release.
Most companies that want to sell closed source software won't allow this
except at a very high price, some not at all.
So you're conceding the point, then?
I missed the point apparently. You're bitching about GPL. You like closed
source software? You like non-responsive software companies with licenses that
are more onerous that GPL?
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want a right of first sale. If I build a product that *uses*
some software, I ought to be able to sell my product without
having to give my product back to the software vendor. Granted,
to sell 10 of my product, I'll have to obtain (through legal
channels) 10 copies of the software it uses, but that's just
part of the cost of my product.
I don't think anyone can take that away. It's the law.
Can't do it with GPL software.
How so? You have the right of first sale afaik.
Post by SJS
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
I want a license that can play well with software that has a
different license. I don't want a software license to be a tool
for some antisocial group to impose their political/economic beliefs
on to everyone else.
That's what copyright law does. Get over it.
Oh, up yours.
You're the one complaining, not me. I'm just pointing out that the producer of
the software gets to choose the license he uses. He produced it, he gets to
choose. You're complaining that you can't incorporate his product in yours,
without having to comply with the license. That's copyright law. You don't
like it, get the law changed.
Post by SJS
Copyright law is *not* a tool for imposing political and/or economic
believs on to others. It's a freakin' limited monopoly on duplication;
not a tool of conversion.
Copyright is a compromise, and the GPL does not compromise.
Oh, yeah. Copyright is a compromise. for everyone that doesn't have the money
to pay to get the law changed. Disney if fine with creating derivative works
from other people, but heaven forbid anyone do the same with their products.
So they pay to get copyright law extended. Money talks, bullshit walks.
--
Neil Schneider pacneil_at_linuxgeek_dot_net
Key fingerprint = 67F0 E493 FCC0 0A8C 769B 8209 32D7 1DB1 8460 C47D
"Work to eat, eat to live, live to bike, bike to work." -- Naomi Bloom
Chris Rebert
2009-11-10 05:42:59 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
Post by SJS
I want a right of first sale. If I build a product that *uses*
some software, I ought to be able to sell my product without
having to give my product back to the software vendor. Granted,
to sell 10 of my product, I'll have to obtain (through legal
channels) 10 copies of the software it uses, but that's just
part of the cost of my product.
I don't think ?anyone can take that away. It's the law.
Can't do it with GPL software.
How so? You have the right of first sale afaik.
(*dons amateur lawyer hat*)

My understanding is that by /distributing/ his software that is
statically linked (or whatever metric for "derivative work" we/the
courts are using) to GPL'd code, he'd be indeed be required to license
his code under the GPL (or stop using the GPL'd code).
However, if he /dynamically/ linked his code (again, depends on how
the judges end up ruling) or just sold source code to his product
(possibly under a restrictive license) with the intention that buyers
compile it themselves against the GPL'd code, everyone'd be in the
clear since the buyers here aren't distributors of code and the
distributor's work alone isn't derivative enough (indeed, in
principle, the GPL'd code could be replaced with a compatible
reimplementation).

No idea how this all interacts with the right of first sale, but from
what I can gather, it seems just exactly how said right is applied to
software is rather ill-defined.

(*tosses hat back into the corner*)

Cheers,
Chris
--
IANAL and if you rely upon this as legal advice, you're some kinda moron.
http://blog.rebertia.com
David Brown
2009-11-10 06:41:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rebert
My understanding is that by /distributing/ his software that is
statically linked (or whatever metric for "derivative work" we/the
courts are using) to GPL'd code, he'd be indeed be required to license
his code under the GPL (or stop using the GPL'd code).
However, if he /dynamically/ linked his code (again, depends on how
the judges end up ruling) or just sold source code to his product
(possibly under a restrictive license) with the intention that buyers
compile it themselves against the GPL'd code, everyone'd be in the
clear since the buyers here aren't distributors of code and the
distributor's work alone isn't derivative enough (indeed, in
principle, the GPL'd code could be replaced with a compatible
reimplementation).
Dynamic and static linking aren't different in GPL. In fact, RMS, and
many others even consider RPC type mechanisms to constitute a
derivative work, and require the entire work to be distributed under
the GPL. The LGPL is what allows dynamic linking.

Where the GPL doesn't contaminate is if no binaries are ever
distributed. It could be argued that languages that are compiled upon
run (scripting languages) don't cause GPL pollution because the
resulting work is not distributed.

Of course, I've had lawyers ask me if a Makefile was statically or
dynamically linked in the program, so people's understanding varies
quite a bit.

It's fortunate that the COPYING file for the Linux kernel specifically
excludes userspace that uses "normal system calls" from being under
the GPL.

David
Chris Rebert
2009-11-10 06:54:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris Rebert
My understanding is that by /distributing/ his software that is
statically linked (or whatever metric for "derivative work" we/the
courts are using) to GPL'd code, he'd be indeed be required to license
his code under the GPL (or stop using the GPL'd code).
However, if he /dynamically/ linked his code (again, depends on how
the judges end up ruling) or just sold source code to his product
(possibly under a restrictive license) with the intention that buyers
compile it themselves against the GPL'd code, everyone'd be in the
clear since the buyers here aren't distributors of code and the
distributor's work alone isn't derivative enough (indeed, in
principle, the GPL'd code could be replaced with a compatible
reimplementation).
Dynamic and static linking aren't different in GPL. ?In fact, RMS, and
many others even consider RPC type mechanisms to constitute a
derivative work, and require the entire work to be distributed under
the GPL. ?The LGPL is what allows dynamic linking.
Where the GPL doesn't contaminate is if no binaries are ever
distributed. ?It could be argued that languages that are compiled upon
run (scripting languages) don't cause GPL pollution because the
resulting work is not distributed.
Of course, I've had lawyers ask me if a Makefile was statically or
dynamically linked in the program, so people's understanding varies
quite a bit.
It's fortunate that the COPYING file for the Linux kernel specifically
excludes userspace that uses "normal system calls" from being under
the GPL.
It's an open issue, one more of "what makes a work derived?" than
about linking per se (as I said pointed out in parens), but the
possible boundary lines discussed are often linking-based:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPL#Linking_and_derived_works

Cheers,
Chris
--
http://blog.rebertia.com
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-10 05:36:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
And not all proprietary licenses are that bad.
That doesn't stop the GPL advocates from their shrill demands that
the other licenses change so that the GPL community can suck in all
that software, enriching the GPL community, without enriching the
other community.
I've heard your complaints about the GPL "sucking" in software.
I'm curious why you don't complain just as loudly about proprietary software
"sucking" in BSD software (e.g. TCP stack in Windows).

Ironically, you made the comment above that not all proprietary licenses are
that bad.

cs
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 09:30:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I'm going to make you back that up. I seriously doubt that the GPL
is that much more popular than the BSD and BSD-alike (MIT, Apache,
X, etc.) licenses in toto.
http://www.blackducksoftware.com/oss/licenses/
Even if you add up BSD, MIT, Apache and any other license you choose
it isn't as much as BSD.
I'm going to raise an eyebrow on that data because it doesn't have any
listing of code or projects under the old BSD w/ advertising clause
license. There is a *LOT* of code under the old BSD license--at least
20 years worth. And a lot of that code is *very* important (things like
the Fortran algorithm repositories, Lisp archives, etc.) that I would
*still* grab if I needed it.

However, I will point out that forced sharing(GPLs) vs non-forced
sharing (LGPL, Perl, BSD, Apache, and MIT) are about 55% to 30%. So,
yes, the GPL is the top, but not by a huge amount, and with the original
BSD license completely AWOL.
Post by Tracy Reed
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Therefore, I will *NEVER* use GPL code in something that might
eventually go outside the company. BSD doesn't make me think or
spend money.
That's understandable if you want to lock up your users, which many
companies do. Not really much of an argument against the GPL though.
What? That isn't even a *remotely* logical conclusion.

Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to consult
with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".

-a
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-09 16:32:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to
consult with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".
We'll just have to add "GPL Compliance Audit" to the list under "SOX
Compliance Audit", I guess. Wonder if it'll stay there when belts get
tightened.

Here's a ponderable:

Given the full number of installed systems based on the GPL (so,
practically speaking, all Linux systems), what percentage are in use
because the license of the system strikes a cord with the person who
installed it, vs. the percentage that are in use because it was free?

I'll think you'll find that despite the best intentions of the GPL,
the only thing that most of the computing world (that uses GPL
software) cares about is the fact that it's free-as-in-beer.

To the GPL advocates and RMS apostles: does that bother you? Do you
care whether someone is using GPL software *because* it's GPL, or
using it because it's effectively no-cost?

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
Tracy Reed
2009-11-09 17:43:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
I'll think you'll find that despite the best intentions of the GPL,
the only thing that most of the computing world (that uses GPL
software) cares about is the fact that it's free-as-in-beer.
That is fine by me and I bet it is fine by RMS. While both of us would
probably prefer they appreciate it for being Free as in Freedom it is
just fine and better for me that they use it than if they use Windows
because it drives the knowledge base, hardware support, and demand for
Linux based software.
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
To the GPL advocates and RMS apostles: does that bother you? Do you
care whether someone is using GPL software *because* it's GPL, or
using it because it's effectively no-cost?
Nope. That's just fine.
--
Tracy Reed
http://tracyreed.org
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Todd Walton
2009-11-09 21:15:53 UTC
Permalink
Given the full number of installed systems based on the GPL (so, practically
speaking, all Linux systems), what percentage are in use because the license
of the system strikes a cord with the person who installed it
"chord" As in resonance.
To the GPL advocates and RMS apostles: does that bother you? Do you care
whether someone is using GPL software *because* it's GPL, or using it
because it's effectively no-cost?
No, not I. Using it for free-as-in-beer is a perfectly good reason to
be using it, when taken in context.

--
Todd
David Brown
2009-11-09 16:38:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I'm going to raise an eyebrow on that data because it doesn't have
any listing of code or projects under the old BSD w/ advertising
clause license. There is a *LOT* of code under the old BSD
license--at least 20 years worth. And a lot of that code is *very*
important (things like the Fortran algorithm repositories, Lisp
archives, etc.) that I would *still* grab if I needed it.
Important doesn't mean that it's large in volume. Modern software
tends to be vastly older than most much older software, often by many
orders of magnitude.

BlackDuck's claim is to have a database of _all_ open-source sofware
that they can find, and to never delete the information. If *you* can
still grab it from somewhere, they should have it already.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to
consult with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".
You only really need a lawyer if you want to do something other than
simply comply with the direct terms of the GPL. If you distribute the
entire source with the GPL, you have complied.

If you link together a bunch of other software, yeah, it gets messy.

David
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-09 16:57:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Important doesn't mean that it's large in volume. Modern software
tends to be vastly older than most much older software, often by many
orders of magnitude.
s/vastly older/vastly larger/

cs
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-09 21:17:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
I'm going to raise an eyebrow on that data because it doesn't have any
listing of code or projects under the old BSD w/ advertising clause
license. There is a *LOT* of code under the old BSD license--at least
20 years worth. And a lot of that code is *very* important (things
like the Fortran algorithm repositories, Lisp archives, etc.) that I
would *still* grab if I needed it.
Important doesn't mean that it's large in volume. Modern software
tends to be vastly older than most much older software, often by many
orders of magnitude.
Hmm, okay. That I might buy.

However, I'd bet they're counting projects, not lines of code.

I still think they're missing a bunch of BSD stuff. There was a *LOT*
of BSD and MIT licensed stuff before the GPL even existed.
Post by David Brown
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to
consult with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".
You only really need a lawyer if you want to do something other than
simply comply with the direct terms of the GPL. If you distribute the
entire source with the GPL, you have complied.
Except that the GPL interacts badly with patents. And it interacts
badly with code that I may license from another source. And ...

If I need a new network stack for my embedded system, and it won't work
with the GPL, I'm completely stuck if I'm on the GPL. The GPL
constrains business decisions *I have yet to make* even if I want to
share the code.
Post by David Brown
If you link together a bunch of other software, yeah, it gets messy.
Um, and exactly how many projects *don't* link together other software?

That's pretty much the definition of programming, nowadays.

-a
DJA
2009-11-10 01:17:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to
consult with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".
You only really need a lawyer if you want to do something other than
simply comply with the direct terms of the GPL. If you distribute the
entire source with the GPL, you have complied.
Except that the GPL interacts badly with patents. And it interacts badly
with code that I may license from another source. And ...
Because patents relate badly to software. Hopefully the SCOTUS will go
the right direction with /Bilski/.
SJS
2009-11-10 04:26:28 UTC
Permalink
[snip]
Post by David Brown
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Yeah, keeping the source to myself is one option. But so is
distributing the source. And with a BSD license I don't have to
consult with lawyers to ensure that I am "compliant".
You only really need a lawyer if you want to do something other than
simply comply with the direct terms of the GPL. If you distribute the
entire source with the GPL, you have complied.
You have to check with a lawyer *before* you distribute the entire source.

It's easy to distribute just the changed source (which you can do with
the BSD license... "these are the bits I changed to make it work"), but
if you distribute the *entire* source _before_ checking with a lawyer,
you're likely to be (rightly) fired.

And just *asking* to talk to the lawyer (as you'd be obligated to do)
costs big money. Asking on /. doesn't count, for some silly reason.
Post by David Brown
If you link together a bunch of other software, yeah, it gets messy.
Or if you *might* be linking in some other non-GPL software at a later
date... and you don't want to tell the boss that you can't use the shiny
$10,000 product that he's just acquired a distribution license for, on
account that it's incompatible with the GPL.
--
The GPL works fine if you're living in your university office.
Stewart Stremler
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-10 22:55:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Post by SJS
Gifts don't have strings.
BSD comes with string, Apache comes with strings, so where's the gift
culture?
The old (4-clause) BSD license indeed had a string, requiring you to preserve the "advertising clause" from the Regents of the University of California. The current BSD license does not. So, anything with the current (3-clause) BSD license has no string, unless you're thinking of something else I'm not aware of.

The Apache license appears to have a similar string to the old BSD license, namely:

* include a copy of the license in any redistribution you may make that includes Apache software;
* provide clear attribution to The Apache Software Foundation for any distributions that include Apache software.

Insofar as "strings" go, neither the old (4-clause) BSD license nor the Apache license are nearly as imposing or onerous as the GPL. Basically, all you have to do is say "This includes software from the Apache Software Foundation, see included license <here>," and you're golden. I'd term it less a "string" than a "thread" or a fuzzle.

With both licenses, you can make whatever modifications you want, and redistribute them to whomever you want at your choice. You are not required to provide your modifications upstream, downstream, or cross-stream, and nobody can legally force you to do so. You are not required to provide source at all, if you choose not to.

Definitely more of a gift than GPL, though if you really want a gift, stick to software licensed with the 3-clause BSD or the MIT licenses.

GPL doesn't so much come with a string attached as an anchor chain. Anchor chains are useful, but not always practical.

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
John H. Robinson, IV
2009-11-10 23:12:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Definitely more of a gift than GPL, though if you really want a gift,
stick to software licensed with the 3-clause BSD or the MIT licenses.
Or public domain.

-john
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-10 23:44:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Definitely more of a gift than GPL, though if you really want a gift,
stick to software licensed with the 3-clause BSD or the MIT licenses.
Or public domain.
The problem is that public domain requires that the copyright expire.
There is no other way for software to become public domain.

Consequently, there is *NO* public domain software.

Several software authors have tried to put their software into the
public domain immediately, and, it turns out, they cannot. It is not
possible to disclaim your copyright.

It's an odd little corner to the law.

-a
David Brown
2009-11-10 23:58:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Definitely more of a gift than GPL, though if you really want a gift,
stick to software licensed with the 3-clause BSD or the MIT licenses.
Or public domain.
The problem is that public domain requires that the copyright expire.
There is no other way for software to become public domain.
Consequently, there is *NO* public domain software.
Well, not in the US, and some other places.

It makes for an interesting license for SQLite. The author declares
that the code is public domain, and that's that. If you aren't happy
with this, he will gladly sell you another license.

Hard to say how the courts would interpret what amounts to a license
of declaration that the code is public domain.

David
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-11 03:56:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Consequently, there is *NO* public domain software.
Well, not in the US, and some other places.
It makes for an interesting license for SQLite. The author declares
that the code is public domain, and that's that. If you aren't happy
with this, he will gladly sell you another license.
Hard to say how the courts would interpret what amounts to a license
of declaration that the code is public domain.
Qmail author tries to put code in public domain too. The problem is actually
worse than it seems....

"Why the Public Domain Isn't a License"
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6225

A major problem is that it is illegal to give away software that is dangerous
in some way even by accident. The creator can be liable for damages.

As a creator you really want to make legally clear that software is given "as
is" without anything resembling a warrantly. That is what you can do with a
license like the BSD/MIT. That is much safer for developers than some half-ass
touchy feely README that says you want some code in the public domain.

cs
John H. Robinson, IV
2009-11-11 00:10:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Definitely more of a gift than GPL, though if you really want a gift,
stick to software licensed with the 3-clause BSD or the MIT licenses.
Or public domain.
The problem is that public domain requires that the copyright expire.
There is no other way for software to become public domain.
Consequently, there is *NO* public domain software.
Several software authors have tried to put their software into the
public domain immediately, and, it turns out, they cannot. It is not
possible to disclaim your copyright.
It's an odd little corner to the law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Computer_Software_Rental_Amendments_Act

By comparing paragraph (a) and (c), one can see that Congress
distinguishes "public domain" shareware as a special kind of
shareware. Because this law was passed after the Berne Convention
Implementation Act of 1988, Congress was well aware that newly-created
computer programs (two years worth, since the Berne Act was passed)
would automatically have copyright attached. Therefore, one reasonable
inference is that Congress intended that authors of shareware would
have the power to release their programs into the public domain. This
interpretation is followed by the Copyright Office in 37 C.F.R. S:
201.26.

Seems that it can exist.

-john
chris at seberino.org ()
2009-11-11 03:57:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Computer_Software_Rental_Amendments_Act
By comparing paragraph (a) and (c), one can see that Congress
distinguishes "public domain" shareware as a special kind of
shareware. Because this law was passed after the Berne Convention
Implementation Act of 1988, Congress was well aware that newly-created
computer programs (two years worth, since the Berne Act was passed)
would automatically have copyright attached. Therefore, one reasonable
inference is that Congress intended that authors of shareware would
have the power to release their programs into the public domain. This
201.26.
Seems that it can exist.
See this for counteropinion...

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6225


cs
John H. Robinson, IV
2009-11-11 14:41:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by chris at seberino.org ()
Post by John H. Robinson, IV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Computer_Software_Rental_Amendments_Act
Seems that [public domain software] can exist.
See this for counteropinion...
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6225
... there is nothing that permits the dumping of copyrighted works into the
public domain, except as happens in due course when any applicable
copyrights expire.

Sorry, he cites nothing. Not even a single judicial review. Meaningless
article.

Title 17 of the U.S. Code
Sec. 805. Recordation of Shareware

(c) DEPOSIT OF COPIES IN LIBRARY OF CONGRESS- In the case of public
^^^^^^
domain computer shareware, at the election of the person recording a
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
document under subsection (a), 2 complete copies of the best edition (as
defined in section 101 of title 17, United States Code) of the computer
shareware as embodied in machine-readable form may be deposited for the
benefit of the Machine-Readable Collections Reading Room of the Library
of Congress.


Emphasis my own.

-john
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-10 23:02:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by SJS
Post by David Brown
However, he's kind of changed his position a bit, and feels that
the copyright system can be used to protect the user's right.
He might have acquired something worth owning now.
What's most amusing to me is how universal that change is in people who have transitioned from "have not" to "have." There are, of course, exceptions, and exceptions to rules are what make the universe hum.

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-10 23:12:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Dynamic and static linking aren't different in GPL. In fact, RMS,
and
many others even consider RPC type mechanisms to constitute a
derivative work, and require the entire work to be distributed under
the GPL. The LGPL is what allows dynamic linking.
Interesting... So, then, if I wrote, as a business concern, an application that utilized XMLRPC calls to a web service, and *that* web service happened to be built entirely of GPL-licensed components, I would be required, under RMS's view, to GPL my code?

So, the GPL is now virulent enough that *talking* to it could violate the GPL? Almost enough to make me tempted to toss any GPL-licensed OSes serving NFS shares, as that's very specifically RPC. Wait, how does Sun get away with Solaris NFS clients talking to Linux NFS servers? Why hasn't the FSF taken them to court? IT'S A VIOLATION!

Yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek right now.
Post by David Brown
It's fortunate that the COPYING file for the Linux kernel
specifically
excludes userspace that uses "normal system calls" from being under
the GPL.
Makes me wonder if "normal system calls" are those defined in the Single Unix Specification, POSIX, and other "industry standards", and excludes any system calls that are unique to the Linux kernel.

Just where is the edge of that slippery slope?

Do you imagine many BSD users worry like this about the 3-clause BSD license? :P

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
David Brown
2009-11-11 00:01:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Makes me wonder if "normal system calls" are those defined in the
Single Unix Specification, POSIX, and other "industry standards", and
excludes any system calls that are unique to the Linux kernel.
Just where is the edge of that slippery slope?
It's not really that slippery, since Linus has clarified it before.
Basically, all of the existing system calls are "normal". What he
doesn't want someone doing is making a new system call that links
userspace directly with the kernel. Essentially, as long as the
system call actually has a system call boundary, it's OK.

I mean, ioctl can be awful close to doing arbitrary things.

David
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-11 00:10:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Just where is the edge of that slippery slope?
It's not really that slippery, since Linus has clarified it before.
Linus' opinion doesn't count.

The fact that Linus won't sue you has no bearing upon whether what you
are doing is compliant with the license or not.

-a
David Brown
2009-11-11 00:36:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
Post by David Brown
Post by Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
Just where is the edge of that slippery slope?
It's not really that slippery, since Linus has clarified it before.
Linus' opinion doesn't count.
It does very much. At least according to the lawyers I've had to sit
through meetings about. They care very much what he's said, as long
as it gets published.
Post by Andrew Lentvorski
The fact that Linus won't sue you has no bearing upon whether what
you are doing is compliant with the license or not.
Depends on what you think it means to interpret a license. Is there
any interpretation other than what would be decided through court or
negotiation that would matter?

David
Andrew Lentvorski
2009-11-11 01:00:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Brown
Depends on what you think it means to interpret a license. Is there
any interpretation other than what would be decided through court or
negotiation that would matter?
Linus' opinion has no bearing on whether you are compliant with the GPL
or not.

Linus' opinion matters about *Linux* because he is the copyright holder.

So, even if you are *not* compliant with the GPL according to RMS, Linus
can grant you what you need to declare that you are compliant with him
for Linux.

-a
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade
2009-11-10 23:14:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Schneider
Smart business people don't make decisions based upon fear. They make
decisions based upon verifiable facts.
And it's a verifiable fact that the GPL is a great unknown when it comes to making business decisions. Hopefully that will get clarified as various court decisions come down.

Unrelated: I'm having a *lot* of fun on this list this week!

Gregory
--
Gregory K. Ruiz-Ade <***@unnerving.org>
OpenPGP Key ID: EAF4844B keyserver: pgpkeys.mit.edu
Ian Kelling
2009-11-24 04:40:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dante Lanznaster
http://is.gd/4Oser
Interesting slides from a talk about how Google
basterdized what most people think about when
they say GNU/Linux...
Ok, I didn't read the whole thread, but I can't believe it if no one brought this
up. Android still requires GNU compiler collection to compile the kernel, so its
still GNU/Linux. From the GPL's point of view, the compiler is part of whats
required in the source code distribution, unless the program is part of an
operating system with already includes the compiler, so Android will still always
be GNU/Linux.

Here is the relevant section of GPLv2

"For an executable, the required form of the "work that uses the Library" must
include any data and utility programs needed for reproducing the executable from
it. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include
anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the
major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which
the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable. "

- Ian Kelling
Ian Kelling
2009-11-24 04:46:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dante Lanznaster
http://is.gd/4Oser
Interesting slides from a talk about how Google
basterdized what most people think about when
they say GNU/Linux...
Ok, not totally 100% sure that gpl section applies, but basically the kernel is
still dependent on GCC, so even if its just the kernel, GNU/Linux is still valid.
David Brown
2009-11-24 05:19:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ian Kelling
Ok, not totally 100% sure that gpl section applies, but basically the
kernel is still dependent on GCC, so even if its just the kernel,
GNU/Linux is still valid.
Hardly. But, the kernel is under the GPLv2.

But the compiler doesn't run on Android, it runs on a fairly ordinary
Linux desktop machine. The GPL is a bit oddly worded, since in 1989,
they probably couldn't imagine something like a cell phone being able
to run as much as it does (or for that matter, something like a cell
phone).

Google faithfully distributes gcc, both as a nicely pre-built version,
and a bunch of source. But the part of gcc that links against
programs explicitly allows those programs to be covered under a
non-GPL license. I know this because I had to scan for every single
one of them, thanks to some wonderfully anal laywers.

Gcc is not usually what is considered GNU/Linux, even though it's
really the most significant product of the FSF. Probably what makes
it GNU/Linux would be certainly glibc, which everything uses, and a
bunch of the core userspace utilities. Android eschews all of these.

Yes Android could be called a Linux system, but as far as I know,
there's not a single line of GNU code in the entire device. There's
absolutely nothing GNU about it.

I personally hope that gcc eventually fades away. RMS made some
horrible design decisions for political reasons. It's not the best
compiler out there, but it's ubiquitous. I don't know if llvm will
get there, but it'd be nice to have a compiler produced by a team that
actually makes it better each time they release it.

David

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