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Apple Businesses

OSI Approves Apple, IBM Licenses 202

Posted by timothy
from the they're-like-tribbles dept.
Thought the GPL was a nice license for your software project, one that fit with your thoughts about software freedom? Perhaps the BSD license was more to your taste? Well, even if you confine yourself to the ones approved by the Open Source Initiative, you can now choose from a grand total of 23 different licenses. Two new licenses have been blessed by the OSI: IBM's Common Public License Version 0.5, and the Apple Public Source License 1.2. Both may fit the OSI's definition of Open Source, but Free? Neither one uses that word. Richard Stallman isn't kidding when he says Open Source is not synonymous with Free Software. Clearly, there is nothing to stop every software company in the world from writing its own Open Source license. So here we are with at least 23, and rising.
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APSL Approved By OSI

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  • by Roblimo (357)
    Link errors noted and fixed.

    Thanks,

    - Robin
  • The GPL is specifically not a contract. It does not impose any restrictions that are not already in existence due to copyright. It merely offers a conditional grant of other rights in excess of those that would normally be enjoyed.

    The example you gave -- "all are permitted to redistribute this work, in original or modified form, so long as they do not remove this notice, including the copyright notice and disclaimer" -- is no different. It also offers rights beyond what would normally be available to others under copyright law, conditioned on certain actions (preserving the notice). It's just that the conditions are somewhat different.
  • If you read further down on that page:

    You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use them privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they exist. If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way.

    And, in the APSL commentary section - http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/apsl.html [fsf.org]:

    In January 2001, Apple released another version, ASPL 1.2. This version fixes two of the fatal flaws, but one still remains: any modified version "deployed" in an organization must be published. The APSL 1.2 has taken two large steps towards a free software license, but still has one more large step to take before it qualifies.

    Disrespect for privacy

    The APSL does not allow you to make a modified version and use it for your own private purposes, without publishing your changes.

  • I do not want to impose any terms on anyone else's software.

    You don't have the right to impose terms on other people's software, anyway. People can distribute whatever they like in patch form, no matter how the original source is licensed.

    This was tossed around a bit when Minix still had a non-free license and people were pondering how to make it into a useful system instead of just an academic toy. The idea was, you'd buy a specific release of Minix (it came with source code) and then apply a huge patch. Of course, then Linux came along and BSD freed itself of its encumberances, so Minix was just left by the wayside and it became a moot point.

    I want to prevent the terms of my software from being changed

    Likewise, no one can change the terms of your software unless you specifically assign rights to them. That's why the BSD folks say: But, the original source is always there! Just because someone released a proprietary version based on BSD code does not make the original BSD code proprietary as well.

    And yes, I realize that means Microsoft could use my software, not distribute any source, not acknowledge it, and never even tell me about it, all legally.

    It sounds like you're asking for the BSD license.

  • by Frodo (1221)
    What's bad in having 23, or, for that matter, 230 licenses? So RMS doesn't hold a monopoly on determining what open source is and what it is not, big deal. If we don't need software monopoly, why do we need license monopoly?
  • For that matter, it's worth pointing out that the GPL actually restricts my freedom! I cannot do just anything with GPL-ed code. So Stallman's blathering about "free" software is a little disingenuous. What he really means is that he (or the FSF) should dictate how we use software. ... But let's be completely honest: GPL-ed software is not literally and wholly free. It is "mostly" free (yes, I can distinguish between free beer and free speech). I can't do just anything I wish with it.

    I guess the USA isn't a free country. I can't freely go around killing people! :( Does a free country have no laws? Free doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Can you use it? FREE! Can you base another software program on it as well? FREE! Stallman only asks one thing of you and that is you can't undermind his copyright. If he allows you to use the code you can't take that away from others.

    Course you want to be able to use someone else software to lock up the code. To not release the source. To make it un-free. You think that it's unfair that you can't take his code an take it away from him. Your just another BSD troll saying the GPL is viral. The BSD license makes restrictions as well.

  • by slothbait (2922)
    > I think RMS is just a little out of touch today anyway.

    Possible.

    > He's too unyeilding, and that never leads to success.

    Boy, you got that right. When will people learn that revolutionaries never win? That's why Massachusetts still pays taxes to England, and Texas is still a part of Mexico.

    > you DO have to balance a company wanting to make money with open source work, and the community.

    No you don't.

    > I'm surprised someone hasn't lambasted id/Carmack for releasing the code to their games, and yet not making it Free.

    Last I checked, id's release of Quake was under the terms of the GPL. By definition, that code is free software.

    --Lenny
  • by slothbait (2922) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @09:32PM (#230958)
    > To the extent that he denies a software author the right to do with his code as he pleases, the man is a maniac.

    And tell me how he denies any programmers of their rights? Is he somehow denying them by not letting them redistribute his software under a license not of his choosing? No, he's *granting* them rights to his software. You can argue that BSD or Artistic licenses grant *more* privelidges, but the GPL certainly doesn't *take away* rights, it merely grants more limited rights. Don't confure less positive with a negative.

    > As it is, he can be a royal pain.

    Has he been calling you up and bothering you lately? Has he been threatening you personally? No, he just states his mind. People seem to think that Stallman is "out to get" other software projects, but mostly people go to him and say "do you like this non-GPL license?", to which he will say "no". Big surprise there. We wouldn't hear nearly as much out of Stallman if people weren't constantly seeking his opinion.

    > But the bottom line is that free code is a GIFT.

    So is "free code" this amazing new concept of your's, or are you just trying dodge the phrase "free software", which was defined by Stallman himself? The gift philosophy is more or less the BSD mindset. That's great, but that's not "free software". By definition, what Stallman is pushing is "free software".

    > For that matter, it's worth pointing out that the GPL actually restricts my freedom!

    That is a blatant lie. Without the GPL you have no rights to the code. With it, you are granted limited rights. If the license was BSD, you would arguably have more rights, but the fact of the matter is that the GPL is *adding* to your rights. So, effectively, you are whining because Stallman isn't giving you all that you want out of him. You seem to want him to give you *his* software on *your* terms.

    > So Stallman's blathering about "free" software is a little disingenuous.

    Who, precisely, is more qualified to comment on free software than the man who created the term to begin with, and founded the Free Software Foundation?

    > What he really means is that he (or the FSF) should dictate how we use software.

    No, they are dictating how you use *their* software. Sorry if it cramps your style, but the GPL grants us a whole heck of a lot of rights.

    > If he would change his focus from one of religious zealotry to one wherein he encourages developers to give gifts

    He's not interested in gifts, he's interested in freedom. Not just freedom in the here and now, but *sustained* freedom. That is where the BSD and GPL camps really diverge. The GPL makes provisions to ensure *continued* freedom. You may feel that the provision is to onerous, but atleast understand it's purpose.

    -Lenny
  • > I just love the way sexism is endemic to this community

    Sexism is endemic to most of human society, and there's no reason to think this community is any better . . . or any worse. As an anonymous coward pointed out, in your responce, you made the assumption that a person being raped must be female, another sexist view.

  • For that matter, it's worth pointing out that the GPL actually restricts my freedom! I cannot do just anything with GPL-ed code.

    Still, some people seem to have problem understanding "free software". It was never ment to mean that you could just take it and do with it as you wish (as in beer).

    It's the *software* that is free, and the fact that it's freedom blocks your freedom in some areas (you can't "imprison" it in "un-free" software) seem to be the source of this annoyance.

    But there's no way I can ever tolerate his distorted vision for the future of software. To the extent that he denies a software author the right to do with his code as he pleases, the man is a maniac.

    I assure you that this is complete nonsense, of cource you can do as you wish with your code. It's the code of *others* that you can't do with as you wish.


    --
    echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln80~Psnlbx]16isb15CB32EF3AF9C0E5D7272 C3AF4F2snlbxq'|dc

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @10:03PM (#230963)
    But there's no way I can ever tolerate his distorted vision for the future of software. To the extent that he denies a software author the right to do with his code as he pleases, the man is a maniac.

    People don't become maniacs simply by having ideas about property rights that differ from yours. Nor does Stallman deny authors anything. What he does is provide a model license that gives authors the option of sharing their software in a way that ensures everyone who partakes of it must also share. This is a common virtue we push in elementary schools; it only becomes anathema, apparently, when we suggest that adults might want to voluntarily be nice to their fellow adults. Of course, people have been killed for less, but what the hell.

    Stallman's use of the word 'free' can be a bit counter-intuitive, but as countless thousands of people have noted, English lacks native words for all but the crudest notions of freedom and cost-free-ness.

    The GPL has its place. I don't agree with Stallman's belief that all software should be GPLed, but the abuses of "free" and "open source" software by large corporations over the past couple of years clearly demonstrate that if you give an inch to greedy, unethical suits, they'll take a mile, every time. Maybe this matters in some cases, maybe it doesn't. The GPL is available for those cases when it does.

    If you want truly free software in the commonly understood sense of the word, you need to prepend these words to your source code:

    I, Joe Developer, hereby release this software into the public domain.

    The problem is that the vast majority of the people who decry the restrictions of the GPL as unfree are seldom willing to actually go that far and make their own software absolutely free. There is a lesson to be drawn from this which will probably not sit well with rigidly doctrinaire libertarians, so I leave it as an exercise to the reader.

    --

  • >But there's no way I can ever tolerate his
    >distorted vision for the future of software. To
    >the extent that he denies a software author the
    >right to do with his code as he pleases, the man
    >is a maniac.

    You mean how dare I demand the same treatment from you as you got from me, I.E. the publication of any source code derived from my work?

    How dare I, as a software author, attach a price tag to my work which you only have to pay if your code incorporates my own?

    Nobody ever said you had to include any GPLed code in a program you write, and if that's your attitude about it I seriously hope you never do.

    Rob

  • >This is exactly the point, though. Stallman calls
    >his software 'free', but as you well point out,
    >it comes with a price tag. I am not arguing
    >whether or not it this price tag is reasonable -
    >I agree that if you give me something, you should
    >be able to attach any conditions you wish to it.

    Yes, and in a truly "free" society murder wouldn't be a crime, would it? Otherwise, you'd be free to commit it.

    I believe that's called "anarchy". If you stop and think about it, the bill of rights is just a list of behaviors that are prevented. (Can't censor people. Can't take people's guns away. Can't stop people from getting together in large groups...) What a totalitarian document.

  • What is your point? No where did I say that programmers don't, or should not, have that right to determine the terms and conditions of their software. Stallman, however, clearly has issues with this with his objections to copyrights (well all intellectual property, but copyright is much narrow and harder to confuse with other issues), despite the fact that he uses it in employing the key part of the GPL (the "viral" elements). This is something of a contradiction, whether or not its advocates admit it or not. In essense, they want to have their cake and eat it too.

    The argument that GPL is only necessary because of intellectual property laws is misleading and fallacious. Firstly, if this is true, then BSD-style licenses work just as well. Secondly, there is nothing in a IP-free world that mandates the opening of source code (never mind the production of it) by derivative works.
  • This is what puts you and bill gates between a rock and a hard place. You want to steal his code and use it for your own ends but you can't without releasing your changes to it.
    Since when is it that anyone that critizes something must have a direct personal interest? I have no reason or desire to use GPL code. Quite frankly, most of it, especially that which I would employ in the course of my work, sucks. Furthermore, I believe in intellectual property, so I respect his right to control his own IP, even it is an idealistic, unreasonable, and hyprocritical scheme that I disagree with.

    He is hoping the world will say to him "you have no right to dictate how your code is used by others once you have written it it's not yours anymore". Nothing would make him happier. The way to take away the power or the GPL is to destroy the IP laws as they exist today. Quite brilliant I think.
    Oh bullshit. Where is that written? Even if it is, who says every word the man writes is his honest intention? Maybe he really does want to have his cake and eat it too. He wants intellectual property to protect his right to make things just so, in his own view, but not for others. Even if you accept this silly theory, Stallman is saying one thing and doing another. You can't honestly say man has no right to own an idea, yet assume ownership of your own (and others) ideas by commanding others to do a little dance for him. While you may assert this is just a means to an end, it still hypocritical, not to mention unsubstantiated.

  • Show me where specifically he has stated that he CREATED the GPL to actually INFLICT damage on the IP system. [As opposed to merely using IP laws to bolster the GPL, quite different.] Anyways, that's besides the point, I find it very hard to believe that even Stallman thinks his little theory is going to turn the IP world on its head. I don't buy it.

    He IS saying one thing and DOING another, even if he thinks the ENDS justifies the MEANS. It's like saying murder is absolutely unethical, then murdering a murder. Some people choose to take the higher road.

    What's more, if he truely believes his "free" philosophy creates better software, he should put his money where his mouth is. If pure GPL software consistently produces better software (from any and all perspectives), who is going to spend time and money buying propreitary software? Even if closed source companies "steal" open source, surely they have nothing to add, right? It'd just be a cheap immitation of the real thing, right? If one truely believes this, then BSD-ish license would be the way to go. In other words, he could still turn the world on his head (if he believes in the absolute superiority) without ANY IP protection.
  • And tell me how he denies any programmers of their rights? Is he somehow denying them by not letting them redistribute his software under a license not of his choosing? No, he's *granting* them rights to his software. You can argue that BSD or Artistic licenses grant *more* privelidges, but the GPL certainly doesn't *take away* rights, it merely grants more limited rights. Don't confure less positive with a negative.
    Clearly he doesn't physically strip anyone of their rights. However, it's reasonably clear from his numerous past statements that he has absolutely no respect for anything other than his tunnel-vision view of "free" software. What's more, I don't think it's terribly unfair to call RMS a zealot that would strip them of their rights to be non-free if it were in his power.

    As far as the GPL itself goes, the GPL does, as a matter of fact, put certain burdens on consumers of GPL source code that do not exist in other licenses and schemes. Now you can call that "less positive", or anything you wish, but that doesn't change the fact that it does impinge on my right to take GPL source code, modify it, and do whatever I want with it. However, that is not to say that RMS and others should not be entitled to do so. Quite the contrary, the same exact argument can, and should, be made for proprietary software. The producers/coders/developers of the product make it, they should be free to do whatever they want with their code, even if that means imposing certain legal fictions, because, when you boil the issue it down to its fundamental, it's just an option, not something that is imposed on you. Options are a good thing, so long as they don't fundamentally TAKE from others.

    I suppose the fundamental difference between Stallman and some other people, is that Stallman basically takes the approach that the mere existing of anything other than his approach is harmful and evil, whereas others are far more permissive of other approaches. I, for instance, think we are better off having options. If you want software that is "free" you can have it. If you want software that does what you, as the consumer, want, you can have that too, most likely it'll come from propreitary software. By and large, the two co-exist and put little burden on each other. They fill seperate needs. They are largely developed differently. They don't generally compete for the same resources. If anything, their relationship is more symbiotic, the existence of the other bolsters their unique strengths. Let the better option prevail, this is the true spirit of capitalism.
  • .... Quite the contrary, the same exact argument can, and should, be made for proprietary software. The producers/coders/developers of the product make it, they should be free to do whatever they want with their code, even if that means imposing ....

    But they do have that right. They just don't have the right to continue ... appropriating ... other people's code. And I have the right to prefer Free software or Open software. I don't always exercise it, but I have the right.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • 1) Write a game server engine
    2) Write a game client
    3) GPL the client
    4) Charge to hook into the server.

    That's sort of bare bones, but the principle should be clear.

    OTOH, it might be difficult to prevent cheating.
    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • No, it isn't a free market. Is this a surprise?

    I know that there is a lot of flag waving and pontification about the virtues of a free market, but the people who do it the most have a government subsidy check in their pocket and lots of nice laws custom made to suit their needs.

    Do not expect a power structure to create a level playing field. That is not, and never has been, their goal. (There may exist brief [1 ruler long] exceptions, but that has not been proved to my satisfaction.)

    The first purpose of an organization is to survive. If it doesn't do that, then you will never hear about it. This is an always true.

    So don't be surprised if the world looks like that. Recognize rhetoric, and don't invest belief in it.

    I am commonly called a cynic, so you don't need to believe this, but you probably look like an unfair competitor too. (I can practically guarantee this, if I am allowed to choose the viewpoint character.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • That's basically a pretty good license, but a few quibbles:
    What is the maximum value of N that would qualify the product as free? If 10^10 is acceptable, then all software is free, no matter what the laws say.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • I'm not opposed to RMS but I want to release my software without some of the impositions that GPL has. LGPL might be closer, or maybe the modified BSD licence or the Apache license.

    The way I want to have my restrictions work is that if any recipient of my software (or any modification of my software), merges in their own modifications, they are not obligated to release the source code of their modifications. They will also not be obligated to distribute my original source code. If they do choose to release their source code integrated with my code, they must distribute that under the same terms (but if they distribute separate, e.g. my code and their patch, they may use any license terms they wish for their part). I want to prevent the terms of my software from being changed, but I do not want to impose any terms on anyone else's software.

    And yes, I realize that means Microsoft could use my software, not distribute any source, not acknowledge it, and never even tell me about it, all legally.

    Suggestions?

  • Proprietory software developers (who are the only ones who are disadvantaged by the GPL vs say, the BSD license) dont need community development software.

    What about the most famous, or at least the most visible/talked about here on /., proprietary software developer, Microsoft? IIRC, they used the BSD TCP/IP stack as the base for NT's TCP/IP stack.

    --
  • Am I the only person who wishes that, as part of certifying a license, OSI would provide a concise explanation of what it means in practice? Obviously you still need to read the license IF you are going to use it, but in choosing a license for a brand new project it would be useful to have a summary of key features to help decide.

    One of the reasons I always use GPL or MIT (depending on context) is that they are well-understood in the community, and so we don't get bogged down in legalese.

    Could this be a case of diversity being harmful for the community (but, I'm sure, being beneficial to the initial developers in some way)?
  • > To the extent that he denies a software author the right to do with his code as he pleases, the man is a maniac.

    How does he do that?

    > For that matter, it's worth pointing out that the GPL actually restricts my freedom!

    Which perhaps explains why they call it a "license".

    --
  • You live in a Free Country. But you are not free to steal; you are not free to shoot your boss or rape his wife.

    Completely off-topic, I know, but I just love the way sexism is endemic to this community - the guy writing that post didnt deliberately make a sexist comment, but what he said came out very much like raping the boss's wife was just another way of being nasty to the boss.

    What it should have been, of course, is:

    You live in a Free Country. But you are not free to steal; you are not free to shoot your boss or rape her.

  • I havn't looked into that license but it could well be Free. There are Free Software Licenses other than the GPL. There are even Free Software licenses which are incompatable with the GPL. See the FSF's page [fsf.org].

    --Ben

  • By definition, open source has nothing to do with free.

    Where's that definition?

    There's just plenty of people who don't mind working for nothing. Apple wants to make money, so they'll do that. If you don't like their open source model, then don't help out. There's nothing wrong with companies using open source for profit.

    And neither is it wrong with free software companies using free software for profit. There are also a lot of free software companies today selling free software for profit. So I don't understand what you're arguing.

    And anyway, darwin is free, which is what's released under Apple's Open Sourece license, so there's no reason why the rest of OSX has to be free (as your post implies).

    There has always been a need for free software. That's why we have GNU/Linux today, and lots of companies selling free GNU/Linux distributions.

    Oh, and in case you haven't got the point yet, "free" in this context was never about price, it's about freedom. This was what was mentioned in the article, and what you completely failed to realize. I'd recommend reading up a bit on the the definition of free software [fsf.org]. There you have a definition.

  • Both may fit the OSI's definition of Open Source, but Free? Neither one uses that word. Richard Stallman isn't kidding when he says Open Source is not synonymous with Free Software. Clearly, there is nothing to stop every software company in the world from writing its own Open Source license."

    By definition, open source has nothing to do with free. There's just plenty of people who don't mind working for nothing. Apple wants to make money, so they'll do that. If you don't like their open source model, then don't help out. There's nothing wrong with companies using open source for profit. And anyway, darwin is free, which is what's released under Apple's Open Sourece license, so there's no reason why the rest of OSX has to be free (as your post implies).


    Depends on your definition of free. For example, the OSI definitions of Open Source software explicitly state that an OSI licensed work cannot be charged for:

    From www.opensource.org:

    Definition of Open Source

    1. Free Redistribution
    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

    Rationale: By constraining the license to require free redistribution, we eliminate the temptation to throw away many long-term gains in order to make a few short-term sales dollars. If we didn't do this, there would be lots of pressure for cooperators to defect.


    Simon
  • Im afraid you're in the wrong market then. Proprietary consumer productivity software is dead as a market. There you're stuck between Microsoft on one side that will implement your programs if they're useful and bundle them with windows, opensource on another side who will implement it if anyone cares about the software and will give it away for free, the problem that this type of software becomes pretty much 'finished' on the third side, and consumer reluctance to pay for each and every little component in a system.

    Id advise you go into consulting, some vertical market, entertainment markets or some market that doesnt have the same dead end mechanics built into that market.
  • Well, IANAL either, and 3 minutes isnt enough to figure out a license really, but from a quick reading it seems you're right.

    Looks pretty much like GPL, but with less work done on specifying problematic technical software issues like linking, and with more work gone into the disclaiming and patent parts. If you read it more carefully, you cannot change the license on binaries. You can issue a disjointed license on binaries but then it has to conform to both, and there is nothing preventing that on GPL software either (Ie, you can say "I will provide warranty for this software in the form distributed by me" in your extra license and that would be ok for both GPL and this IBM license).

    Of course, the GPL deals with these issues too. So, yet another license that isnt saying anything original but which is very likely incompatible with the GPL (the license revocation clause was the first thing I thought of).

  • If Wacky Hacker develops a copy of your product and releases it for free and drives you out of the market, that's not a crime

    Correct

    despite that the effect is the same.

    The effect is not the same. In the dumping example once the competition is forced out of the market prices will go up, in the free software example this does not happen.

    I don't see the logic.

    The point is to efficiently utilise resources in providing goods and services to the consumer, not to protect the capitalist. The profit is an incentive to the capitalist to provide things the consumer wants. If the consumer can get those things from elsewhere for less cost, or no cost, then they will and the capitalist loses but that's okay because it's the consumer that the system is intended to benefit (and we're all consumers, though not necessarily of this particular product).

    Dumping is only a problem because it allows someone to distort the market in the short term against the interests of the consumer in the long run. Free software does not do this, the consumer gets software that they are happy with for the price, if they are willing to pay more for something better then they can do so, if they are not then they've got what they want.

    There is no difference between this and if the rival software was being sold at a much lower price than yours but on a long term sustainable basis.

    If consumers would rather have the competing software for nothing than your software at the price you are charging for it then you will go out of business. This is a unfortunate for you personally but it is exactly the outcome that the market is supposed to produce.
  • Some lawyers have argued that, as the copyright act provides no method for explicitly placing a work into the public domain, that words to that effect have no effect. Obviously, at the copyright infringement trial, you'd have a hard time arguing that you intended to enforce any copy rights if you claimed that your work was in the public domain.
    -russ
  • Then why is the warranty language there? You need a contract to disclaim warranty.
    -russ
  • Actually, it *is* dumping when a company does it. The purpose of it is to remove vendors of proprietary works, in order to avoid having to compete with them, at least when a company does it. Will Ximian be able to charge monopoly prices for their services when they put Microsoft out of business? Possibly. There's a lot of money to be made from .NET. If Ximian can provide those services, they will experience nearly unlimited growth.
    -russ
    p.s. and yes Microsoft does it too, and no, I don't agree with the author of the parent of the parent of this article.
  • You're right, we don't have the resources to produce these summaries. We can't ask the license submittors to provide them, because then they would have legal force, and could be used to substitute for the license in court. So, feel free to contribute these summaries. We'll be happy to put them up on opensource.org with your name in lights.
    -russ
  • The problem comes when you try to reuse open source code. Even though both licenses may be open source, you might be unable to distribute a work derived from both of them.
    -russ
  • It's the *software* that is free,

    Yup. It's as if the software was sentient, and owned itself. We don't permit people to sell themselves into slavery, and we don't permit GPL'ed software to sell itself into slavery. Arguably, this is sometimes needed to survive (both for people and software), but those circumstances are not present in most of the world today. Slavery survives in the world, but it is probably not voluntary, compensated slavery.
    -russ
  • I'm the vice president of OSI, and as far as I am concerned, free software and open source are synonymous. Now, RMS (whose definition of "free software" is accepted by a large number of hackers) has a problem with the APSL because it requires publication of source even if binaries are not distributed. He says that people using "free software" have a right to privacy also. Well, I disagree that a free software license must also not deny privacy rights. I have made the case that this requirement increases the amount of free software. RMS says "not at the cost of privacy". But practically, the only privacy it infringes is that of a corporation which "deploys" software only to its employees. Well, what kind of privacy is that!
    -russ
  • by macpeep (36699) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @11:03PM (#231011)
    Neither should they moderate the parent down. The parent post was a very good one. You may or may not disagree with the views of the writer but that's not a base for moderation. Moderation is about rating the quality of the post, not the content of the post.
  • "Where it gets weird is that IIRC Stallman doesn't believe in legally defined intellectual property at all."

    The genious of stallman was to turn the concept of intellectual property back on itself. He truly does believe that all software should be in the public domain and no soaftware should be hidden from anyone. He of course realized that this goal might take generations to achieve. In the mean time he invented the concept of a copyleft and the GPL. The purpose of the GPL is to make sure a huge codebase can never be hidden from the public and he put in the viral clause to make sure the this pool of software could grow. Until IP laws are abolished he has a tool to fight it. Once the IP laws are gone so is the utility of the GPL. Of course since the GPL is dependent on IP laws it will not disappear until IP does.
    It's just freaking brilliant. He says in effect "Hi I have just planted this big ugly onorous anti-business GPL in your midst, I have made sure it will grow till it gets in your way, all you have to do to make it go away is to take away my right to own my own code". Of course once his right to own code goes away so does everybody elses.
  • What stallman wants is to make sure all software is free for everybody. He created the GPL to achieve that end. If the GPL becomes onorous enough (which it is apparantly becoming to MS and you) then the world can get rid of it simply by denying RMS his right to release his code under the license of his choice. This is what puts you and bill gates between a rock and a hard place. You want to steal his code and use it for your own ends but you can't without releasing your changes to it.
    He is hoping the world will say to him "you have no right to dictate how your code is used by others once you have written it it's not yours anymore". Nothing would make him happier.
    The way to take away the power or the GPL is to destroy the IP laws as they exist today. Quite brilliant I think.
  • "So does Microsoft, just today I got *granted* the rights to use Outlook Express Hooray!"

    You are right. MS does not have to let you use their software for free. They can make you pay for it if they want. They are being nice to you by granting the right to use this piece of software. You have no inherent right to use other peoples software.
    By the exact same token RMS is granting you the right to use his software. Except he goes further then MS and not only lets you use it but it lets you see the code and modify it. He even let's you redistribute the the code or the binaries (which MS does not) if you are willing to do one simple thing and that is make sure you distribute the code with the binary.

    you seem confused by the word restrict. You have no right to other peoples code. No right to use other peoples software, no right to see other peoples code, no right to sell or redistribute other peoples software. MS gives you very limited rights if you give them a bunch of money. RMS gives you a whole lot more rights for free but limits you ability to redistribute (not to modify for your own uses). Public domain software gives you unfettered access to do whatever you want.

    All of these licenses GIVE you something not take something away from you because as long as IP laws exists you have ZERO rights ot other peoples labors.

    BTW I have never heard RMS whine about anything. People ask him questions and he answers, people attack him and he defends himself. If I was him I would be shooting people who still confused open source with free software which despite the billions of words written on the subject every single MS employee and reporter in the world is still confused about.
  • GPL is the best license if you object to working for other people for free. If you release your code to the public domain or under a less restrictive license you are providing free labor to a corporation. Great for the corporations but not all people want to provide free labor for corporations. I would never volunteer to clean exxons toilets in my free time and I would never want to code for them in my free time either.
    For people like me the GPL is only vehicle this guarantees this. Of course I could make up my own license but the GPL does what I want and the FSF is commited to defending it. If I made own license it's effectiveness is only as good as my ability to defend it court which is ZERO.

    Luckily for both of us we still have a choice. You could continue coding for companies that don't pay you and I could continue coding for everybody else that does not pay me.
  • Well duh isn't that exactly what I said.
    I object to other people making obcene profit off of my code. I want them to use it, I want them to extend it, I want them to debug it (if they want) but I don't want them to ungodly profit off of it. I realize that the GPL does not really forbid profits but it does discourage price gauging and overcharging.

    Like I said I would never volunteer to clean any companies toilets for free no matter if they are big or small. By the same token I don't want the provide programming either. There is pleanty of other code out there they can steal and use any way they want. They are also paying big bucks to programmers and should demand that those people produce good quality code for them.
    They do nothing for me and I do nothing for them. See it works our wonderfully.

    The GPL does pretty close to what I want and it's backed by a well organized if underfunded organization. By using that license (or even better by turning my code over to the FSF) the license can be defended better. If I made own no commercial license I would be laughed out of court the instant the judge found out what my bank account balance was.

  • Look I realize that the janitor analogy is not perfect (which anology is?). the bottom line is that the GPL comes closest to what I want to do. Yest I mind it if some corporation takes my code and uses it internally but no license is going to stop them from that. How would I know? How could I stop them? I don't have lawyers and I don't have a million dollars sitting around in some offshore bank account. By GPLing my code I can let the FSF fight them if they attempt to redistribute the code or if somehow some product that they ship becomes contaminated by my code. I am hoping that the fear of contamination will stop them from using my code at all and go steal code from somebody who does not mind so much.
    In the end most businesses don't give a shit about right and wrong they just want money. They will steal any code they think they can, they will do anything they think they can get away with in order to provide shareholder value. For some corporations this means killing people for others it means fraud and theft, for most it means sleeping with a guilty conscience because you spent the entire day lying to everybody you spoke with and screwed over half of your customers. I don't want to be associated with cretins like that in any way whatsoever.
  • It's neither hypocritical nor unsubstanciated. He has said many times that he the IP laws of this country have got be seriously overhauled. He has also stated many times that the GPL was invented to use IP laws against itself. As long as IP laws exist as they do today the GPL is an effective tool to minimize their damage. The minute IP laws are changed the GPL will not be needed. There is no doubt in my mind that the GPL is a means to an end just like GNU and FSF are means to an end.

    Stallman is NOT saying one thing and doing another. He has found a way to poison the IP well using IP itself. It's recursive not hypocritical.

  • No he has never said said that free software is inherent superior then non free software. His quest has nothing to do with quality. What he has said many many times is that free software is better for the society as a whole, better for human beings. He wan't to create a society whereby knowledge is not hidden from people where everybody can see, learn from, improve and use information. The current state of IP laws allow corporations to hide information from the people. He created the GPL in order to prevent corporations to benefit from free software without giving something back.

    Originally GPL was called copyleft. He has said many times that the idea of copyleft and GPL is use IP laws against itself. GNU is a recusive acronym, and the GPL is a recursive license. I guess we should expect that from a person whose favorite language is lisp.

    Neither I nor He gives a flying fuck what you find it hard to believe but everybody admits the man is on a crusade. People who don't believe passionately don't devote their lives to causes. Stallman wakes up and works like a dog every day even at the age of 60 in order to make this world more like what he thinks it ought to be. Most people like me go to work, do our 9 to 5 and sit in front of the tube. He is a believer and I (and the other 95% of the world) are users.
  • 23 of em.... and all of them have something wrong with all of them.... its sort of like governments.
  • Seems like "free software" [gnu.org] to me. So what am I missing?
    • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).Yep, there are no restrictions in this license.
    • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1).Yep, specifically stated in section 2.1.
    • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).Would appear so, especially as related to section 2.2.
    • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. (freedom 3). Section 4 specifically says you can do this.

    Please, if I'm missing a crucial factor here hit me with it, but I'm after specific non-redundant replies, not flames.
  • The development library was Crystal Space and that was a lot longer ago than "a few months back". My mother wouldn't know what a "console" is either and even my brother (who actually does play games) would look at me strangely if I used the word "console". If you want to understand RMS's opinion on libraries you should read the warning on the LGPL [gnu.org].
  • read the transcript (or listen to the oog) of this story [slashdot.org] in the yro section. He seems pretty in touch with reality to me. He just doesn't care about games. If someone started talking to me about graphics programs and refered to some aliasing algorithm, I wouldn't know what the hell they were talking about and I wouldn't consider it valid for them to say I was out of touch with reality. Out of touch with graphics programming maybe, but I dont think graphics programming is such an important part of life that I just must know things about it and obviously RMS doesn't think gaming is such an important part of life. Does this make him out of touch? Yer, maybe, about as much as my dad is out of touch. Hardly a reason to forsake someone's opinion.

  • by Dwonis (52652) on Friday May 11, 2001 @04:22AM (#231038)
    Exactly. The GPL was even geared to a different audience than the BSDL. Not a many years ago, most "freeware" authors hid their source code and forbade any kind of commercial exploitation of their software. They would certainly never place their work in the public domain (or use the BSDL), because they were deathly afraid that Microsoft et al. would make tons of money from their program.

    The GPL was geared more-or-less toward these people, and because of the GPL, these people are now free software / open source developers, and these people felt pretty generous.

    The idea behind the GPL is "I've been generous by giving you this code, and I expect the same level of generosity from you."

    I really wish these GPL vs BSDL/PD wars would end. People involved in them usually believe that all OSS developers have the samegoals and interests, which is clearly false. There are legitimate reasons to use either of the BSDL/PD and the GPL, and I wish people from both camps would accept that.
    ------


  • This code is published under the "Don't Even Talk to Me about Java" license.

    You may use this code in any way you like, but if you use it in a commercial application, you must acknowledge that I wrote it.

    You may translate this code into Python, Lisp, Smalltalk, TOM, or even PL/1 with Swahili keywords, and I'll probably even encourage you to do so.

    If, however, you contact me for help porting this code to Java, I will send a goon squad to beat you about the head and shoulders with a copy of "The Mythical Man-Month" and/or "Anti-Patterns".

    By communicating to me any intention on your part of porting my code to Java, you agree to the aforementioned beating, you promise to submit to surgery to ensure your sterility, and further agree to waive all right to refute my public declaration of your uselessness.

    You have been warned.

    -jcr
  • BTW, I release my code into the public domain. Many programmers have been fed a lot of lies about liability and told things like "if you don't GPL it, proprietary companies can take it for themselves," without really thinking about what things like that mean. GPL is just the default by sheer publicity, no other license (much less the public domain) has a dedicated cadre of propagandists working for it.

    Congratulations. I hope you'll permit me the right to control my code the way that I want to. And if I want to release my code under the terms that you're allowed to use it if and only if you don't proprietize it, what's wrong with that?

    I get a kick out of people who proclaim that anyone who uses GPL or believes the tenets of the GPL is somehow restricting other people's rights. My use of the GPL does not prevent you from using any license on your software, or releasing it to the public domain. But because I prevent you from using my software under conditions that I don't approve of, you think I'm the zealot? You're trying to take my code, use it, and not contribute back. You're trying to take the work of others and proclaim it for yourself. And I'm the one impinging on your rights?

    You live in a strange world.

  • I think you're both being needlessly religious ... GPL is wonderful for many, many things, and many people enjoy using it. On the other hand, many people don't want to use it.

    I, personally, and (I think) many other people are drawn to the GPL for mostly pragmatic reasons ... in most cases it can be better, cheaper, faster than commercial software, and still be commercially viable in some way. That, aside from the fact that insisting people be 'free' is ethically perilous.

    However, if the GPL doesn't work in some cases, it shouldn't be used. I think, for example, it would be very difficult to make money writing GPL'd games. And you have to make money to do things ... you can't rely on the spare time of geniuses (as linux did in the early days, and still does now) to write all your software.

  • Yeah, I know ... I really want to write open source games, and there are a multitude of ways to make money from an open source game.

    However, not *all* games can be both open source and money-making. Pretty much any game you don't want to play online is unlikely to be a big money maker.

    Also, having the source available for the client makes it easier to make an open source dupe of the server ... and one thing the OS game dev community can do is make clones of existing products :)

  • Thanks OSI for telling me exactly what to think! Oh, is IBM's license approved by you now? Then I'll consider it for my next project!

    Please...

    People, if you want to release a project, look at all the licenses out there. Don't go GPL because everyone else is doing it. Don't listen to OSI. Don't let anything but the licenses themselves influence your decision. Read them, choose what seems right for your needs.

    You want your shit closed, you say? Think it will get you a wad of cash, or get you something else? Do it. Don't let /. or anyone else be your guide.


    --
  • by dimator (71399) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @11:26PM (#231044) Homepage Journal
    The moderation is supposed to be related to how much the post contributes to the topic

    You mean how much the post reinforces the most common ideas here on slashdot, so we can all proceed to kiss our own asses, instead of stating an opinion which might be self-generated and against the status-quo?

    I dont think openly insulting someone contributes anything.

    "Nevertheless, he is a genius."

    I wish more people would insult me that way.


    --
  • I fully disagree the idea that we should make a distinction between those terms. For me it is a conceptual and strategical mistake. free software should not mean GPL'd software or software using a FSF license. Not even RMS restricts the word "free" to the licenses from FSF.

    Eric Raymond used the term opensource as a synonym for free software. As he said, the single reason for adopting this term was that it would be more easily accepted by the business world. It was meant to be a synonym and I see no interest of changing that (except by enemies of opensource/free software).

    The reasons I see why people tend to see a difference between these two terms are:

    • "free software" == "software using a license from FSF". Mistake: free software should simply mean software which is free. And software using licenses other than those from FSF (BSD, artistic, NPL, etc) are called "free" by RMS himself [gnu.org]. I fully disagree the idea that we should make a distinction between those terms. For me it is a conceptual and strategical mistake. free software should not mean GPL'd software or software using a FSF license. Not even RMS restricts the word "free" to the licenses from FSF.

    • "free software" == good software for RMS, "open source" == good software for ESR. Mistake: disputes such the one involing the license used by Apple should not be a ground for splitting those concepts. If you take two people from FSF and ask if you can do something with GPL, you will often get two different answers (go check gnu.misc.discuss). Licenses are a tricky subject. RMS and ESR do disagree on some issues, but we should not "make" them disagree more than they actually do... and not extend this disagrement to basic concepts like free or opensource software.

    The first effort to establish a definition to free software was DFSG [debian.org]. As far as I know both RMS and ESR fully agree with DSFG (though OSI definition [opensource.org] carries some changes). One calls it "free software" the other "open source". We should call it the way we prefer and not try to extract two different concepts out of them.

    Just say no to Intelectual Property! I hope the author of this sig doesn't mind...:-)

  • "open source" is now a superset of "free software"

    We should not let this happen. The term "opensource" would never have been gained acceptance in our community if it was meant to be a synonym for free software. The interest of the community should be greater than the ambition and the narcisism of two individuals (ESR and RMS).

    We should not let ESR decide alone what is good or bad in the name of "opensource". Finally a lot of what we do is call "opensource" by people from outside. If OSI accepts licenses that we do not like let us ask for a more representative organ, and not let it decide what it wants in the name of the rest.

    Too many people have contributed for free/opensource software. I don't see why we would give two people the liberty to decide what these terms should mean. Free software shouldn't mean software with a license from FSF, or software adhering to the "free software movement started by RMS", or software that RMS likes. Opensource software shouldn't mean OSI approved.

  • Of course it's Darwinism, it's the name [apple.com] of the kernel released under Apple's ... [apple.com]

    ;)

  • Of course it's Darwinism, it's the name [apple.com] of the kernel released under Apple's APSL [apple.com]...

    ;)

  • by Xenex (97062)
    Why do you keep saying "MaxOS" in reference to Apple? There is already a bad Linux distro [maxos.com] called that, and it's pretty obvious where they got their name from.

    If you mean "Mac OS X", type Mac OS X.

  • Sounds like the "Artistic License" to me.

    Rich...

  • You write:
    GPL is the best license if you object to working for other people for free. >
    I do not understand how you could make this statement. By using the GPL, you are making it available to all end users of the code -- the overwhelming majority of the people and (yes) corporations who will ever see or use it -- for free. It seems to me that you are singling out and discriminating against only one vanishingly small group -- commercial programmers -- to exclude!

    If you release your code to the public domain or under a less restrictive license you are providing free labor to a corporation.
    You are doing this if you use the GPL as well. You are providing your work to all corporations except to one very specific kind of individual or corporation: one that sells (or tries to sell) software as a way of making a living rather than using it in house. And, of these, you're most hurting not the large corporation (which can afford to rewrite things that have already been written) but the "little guy" -- the small developer without the staff, money, or time to do that. Someone like you. In what way is this a good thing?

    If you do not want corporations to benefit from your work, but do want others to be able to, it seems to me that a different license (some form of "anti-corporate" license) would better fulfill your intent. Of course, discriminating against corporations as such might not accomplish your ends either. Some individuals incorporate, and there are corporations out there that are "good guys."

    --Brett Glass

  • by Ghoser777 (113623) <[fahrenba] [at] [mac.com]> on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:46PM (#231063) Homepage
    "Both may fit the OSI's definition of Open Source, but Free? Neither one uses that word. Richard Stallman isn't kidding when he says Open Source is not synonymous with Free Software. Clearly, there is nothing to stop every software company in the world from writing its own Open Source license."

    By definition, open source has nothing to do with free. There's just plenty of people who don't mind working for nothing. Apple wants to make money, so they'll do that. If you don't like their open source model, then don't help out. There's nothing wrong with companies using open source for profit. And anyway, darwin is free, which is what's released under Apple's Open Sourece license, so there's no reason why the rest of OSX has to be free (as your post implies).

    F-bacher
  • I wonder if moores law applies in this situation, ie. every 18 months the number of opensource licenses doubles....
    ---
    boris at darkrock dot co dot uk
  • Open Source Intiatitive's [opensource.org] real URL is http://www.opensource.org/.

    Let the pork jokes begin...

  • Why not take a look at the 23 licenses at the OSI site and see which one best suits you? Or do what everyone else does and make up you own brand-new license that no one will understand.

    I don't think any of those licenses have the combination of restrictions you have. GPL is close, except for the "cannot release code under the same name". But you could easily just say "This code is released under the terms of the GPL, with the additional restriction that any modified versions must be released under a different name.

    Also, when you refer to "code", are you talking about executables, object code, or source code (or all of the above)? GPL says nothing about what people can charge for the binaries, but requires that source code be made available at no additional charge to anyone to whom you distribute binaries.

    -- Kris

  • Why DO you have to balance a company wanting to make money and the community? GNU/Linux & BSD was created by the community for the community not for company this or that. So if companies want to release software under non-GPL licenses being OSI approved or closed source, well nothing is stoping them since all the basic and important libraries are LGPL or BSD. But there is no need for the community applauding their actions. The community uses (L)GPL and BSD licenses and these companies can use whatever license they wish. They just have to realize that by using other licenses they make their code mostly uninteresting to the community and minimalize the chance of community involvement.
  • I would have to agree. Unless I'm trying to make a profit off it, I release all my new software in the public domain. "Here you go, I don't care what you do with it, I'm writing this for my own knowledge and to better the software world, not to push some agenda."

  • 23 licenses to choose from? further proof that the open source movement is nothing but a front for those anarchist, anti-American Discordian bastards.

    PS---this is not a troll. It is an ogre.

  • by kstantfw (187237) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:34PM (#231087) Homepage
    Is someone trying to say something by linking to the Ontario Swine Institute (osi.org)?
  • by TheOutlawTorn (192318) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:38PM (#231089)
    be it 23 or 2300, developers will use the license that makes the most sense to them AND lets them work with the people they want to, so I really don't see many of these licenses lasting for the long term. Watch them fade into obscurity.
  • 1.No freedom is absolute. You have freedom of speech, yet cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theatre.

    Oh yes I can - if the theatre is on fire!

  • I think RMS is just a little out of touch today anyway. He takes too much credit for himself, makes sure to put his ego first. Yeah, he's made good contributions, but it's not 1970 anymore. He's too unyeilding, and that never leads to success. I agree 23 licenses are a bit much, but you DO have to balance a company wanting to make money with open source work, and the community. I'm surprised someone hasn't lambasted id/Carmack for releasing the code to their games, and yet not making it Free. Sometimes Free is better than Open, and sometimes Open is better than Free.

    --
  • by Segfault 11 (201269) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:43PM (#231094) Homepage
    At the moment, the links I see for both GPL and BSD point to the /. front page. It sure seems like these Perl [python.org] hackers have a hard time with HTML [w3.org]...
  • First of all, I really doubt the actual quicktime engine/algorithms makes many api calls to the OS, whether its carbon/coco/whatever. If it did it probably couldnt be called "quicktime". I also am pretty sure that it existed before the carbon standard. Second of all, I was refering to killer apps, not the mountain of useful but sometimes hobby quality unix apps. Third of all, I was posing a question for a debate, I didnt want to make you angry, very sorry about that. Although you did reinforce my antagonistic argument by saying

    "oh wait, the whole catching on thing doesn't work when only 5% of all computer users can use the program." My argument was- what if opensource (for lack of better term) was more guarded with its license, would it still be such an underdog

    And thank you for finally making it clear to me that much of the intelligent debate about "stuff that matters" has been ported from /. to http://www.kuro5hin.org/

    Oh, and sorry for the maXOS think, I of course meant OSX, I've got too many acronyms to remember and I think some of them are starting to share the same storage in my brain.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday May 11, 2001 @12:11AM (#231101)
    I'd like to release my code under a specific licence. Does any of the current ones say this?

    1. Its free, you can't charge for it, but you can charge for distribution, just so long as you don't charge for the code itself.
    2. If it all screws up, its not my fault. Blame someone else
    3. You're welcome to hack it about and redistributed it as you see fit but:
      1. You must release the code under the same licence as this
      2. You cannot release the code under the same name (as it won't be my "official" release) and I don't want to deal with people going "x v1.55 doesn't work!" when i'm only on 1.22 myself.
    4. No warranty etc. etc.

    Is there anything like that out there? I wouldn't say my licence is restrictive, just avoids some potential headaches.

    Can anyone advise?

    --

  • It's good to see some variety in OSS licenses, although there needs to be somewhat more stringent standards in defining exactly what Open Source is. I'm just waiting for there to appear on the scene, the 'Microsoft Open Source License'

    Everything microsoft sells under it's developer license is actually Open Source right? Sure... But that's OK because we all know that (in the bill gates universe) Open Source is Bad [slashdot.org]. But in all seriousness, the BSD license is more 'free' and less 'Open Source' than the GPL. It is far more conducive to centralized corporate development of a product where the company seeks to solicit the 'assistance' of the OSS comunity. One of the nice things about the GPL is that it's stringent requirements for distribution, have the effect of reducing code forking (which whas one of the big MS objections to OSS) by forcing a closer colaboration of the developmwnt comunity. Part of the beauty of the GPL is that it is as much a social contract as a legal one. It's legal provisions foster comunity growth, through it's code distribution and attribution requirements.

    --CTH

    --
  • You know, it would solve a lot of problems if people went and read what RMS has to say [gnu.org] rather than spouting off demanding to know why he's so apparently illogical.

    The IBM Public Licence 1.0 is filed under "GPL Incompatable Free Software Licences". In short, RMS has no objection to it, though would find more it convenient if it could be updated to be compatable with the GPL.
    --

  • As I'm not a lawyer, I'm not qualified to do this. However, if you go to the link I quoted, you'll see RMS's explanation of why it isn't GPL compatable.

    And who's arguing that Open Source licences should be compatable with the GPL? All that's being said is that IBM's isn't compatable with the GPL, not that it should be. If you're using the GPL, and planning to incorporate code you've seen in an IBM PL project, you'll need to know that.
    --

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday May 11, 2001 @02:09AM (#231110) Homepage Journal
    Funny. The FSF have an evaluation of different software licences here [gnu.org].

    There are 34 licences listed as being free, although the FSF encourages you not to use a handful of them because of perceived flaws (such as the original BSD licence which had the "advertising clause") The licences specifically discouraged are the NPL, IPL, NOSL, LPPL, OpenLDAP, original BSD licence and derivitives like the Apache 1.0 and 1.1 licences.

    That still leaves more than 23 Free licences to choose from!
    --

  • eMacs the ulitmate development tool for delivering eSolutions!
    See? We can easily modernize Stallman's work. It's all in capitalization man!
  • by shorti9 (307602) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @09:00PM (#231118)
    In the original version of this story(hopefully fixed by now), Timothy had a link to the Ontario Swine Improvement site, instead of the Open Source Initiative's site.

    At first I thought this was just a simple acronym mix-up, but upon further analysis, I realized it was much d eeper than that. If you check out the FAQ, the OSI is commited to helping improve Ontario's pigs in an open manner. For example, they're all about sharing source material [osi.org], as especially noted in their pricing strategy [osi.org] -- they charge you extra if you're not sharing your source material!

    In fact, they even provide some how-to in their FAQs [osi.org]

    Of course, this project is merely Open, since the material can never be truly Free. They would like to be Free, but apparently their product relies on IP from an external source, and they just can't get their vendor to agree to the terms of the GPL. Something about "thou shalt not lie with a beast" or some such.

    There are rumors He's open to petitions though.

  • Free Software with conditions isn't free under any definition of the word "free."

    I guess, by your reasoning, that since I can't yell "fire" in a crowded theatre, I don't have freedom of speech.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Some of my potential customers then come to me and try to get my software for practically no cost. Indirectly referring to or threatening with the "free software on the internet".

    That's called "competition in a free market".

    Deal with it.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • Well, the problem is that "open source" started to be used for things that are not free, and so became more broad in scope than "free software". That's why we need to start distinguishing between the two, since "open source" is now a superset of "free software".

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by ryants (310088) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @09:20PM (#231122)
    I cannot do just anything with GPL-ed code. So Stallman's blathering about "free" software is a little disingenuous.
    1. No freedom is absolute. You have freedom of speech, yet cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theatre.
    2. The "restrictions" are there to promote the GPL. That's the whole point.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • by ryants (310088) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @09:53PM (#231123)
    This is not a free market.

    Where are you... 1980s Soviet Union?

    My competitors do not compete on equal terms.

    Nobody ever competes on equal terms. I'm stronger than you, therefore I'll win the bench press competition. I'm smarter than you, therefore I'm going to get higher grades on the exam.

    This is life. Not all are equal.

    They have salaries coming from elsewhere (another company, government, unemployed, studying) and can afford to dump the prices without risking their financial situation.

    Sounds like they've figured something out that you didn't. Too bad.

    It is impossible to compete with people on those terms, driving all commerical vendors out of a given market.

    Gee, that's too bad. Such is the free market: if you can't compete, you go out of business.

    I cannot see how this is a good thing,

    If you cannot see how lower prices + superior products are a good thing, then you need to brush up on some basic economics.

    Ryan T. Sammartino

  • This is not a free market. My competitors do not compete on equal terms. They have salaries coming from elsewhere (another company, government, unemployed, studying) and can afford to dump the prices without risking their financial situation.

    "Dumping" is carried out by companies and countries that want to temporarily undercut prices so that they can later have a monopoly position in the market and charge more for their own products. Free software may end up taking over a market by being cheaper, but by its nature, nobody can charge monopoly prices for it--it is and remains free. Furthermore, the users of free software pay for it, directly and efficiently, in their own contributions, avoiding the overhead of commercial software development and corporations. We call that "competition", not "dumping".

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has engaged in something one might call "dumping": they have temporarily undercut competitors, swallowed the losses temporarily, and later (effectively) raised prices on their products.

    It is impossible to compete with people on those terms, driving all commerical vendors out of a given market.

    And that's the way it should be. Once the development costs of a piece of software have been amortized, it costs nothing to make an additional copy. In an efficient market, the price of software should therefore go to zero. Open source software is simply one of several means by which that happens.

    The fact that Microsoft and a few other players continue to make big bucks with old technology is an indication that either they aren't selling software (maybe they are selling services or something less tangible like membership in a "user community"), or that they are engaging in monopolistic practices.

    Then everyone has to rely on freely developed software, without support or someone interested in the "customers".

    Providing support for free software costs money, and that's why it isn't free. That's also why it is a great opportunity for consulting and for making money.

    The enemies of the free market are people like you, not free software. You have unreasonable expectations of the big bucks you can make with software development, and you expect the government to protect you from cheap competition. Well, things fortunately don't work that way. Get used to it, and maybe find a more profitable market niche.

  • But let's be completely honest: GPL-ed software is not literally and wholly free. It is "mostly" free (yes, I can distinguish between free beer and free speech). I can't do just anything I wish with it.

    What are you complaining about? When you get GPL'ed software, you get good software, its source code, and a limited redistribution license. That's a great deal better than you get with most commercial software; Microsoft, for example, doesn't even let you redistribute their software, let alone modify its source, even though you paid them for it.

    Maybe the GPL license doesn't fit your needs. In that case, you can exercise your own choice: don't use the GPL'ed code. Nobody is forcing you. If you like, you can even create your own, proprietary implementation of a GPL'ed library, an option you generally don't have with closed source software.

  • I still think that giving away competing products for free removes the incentives for making a business out of it. At least I have experienced that.

    If someone figures out how to sell the same product as yours cheaper (free in this case), of course your incentive should go away; that's the way the free market works. That's why people who start businesses generally try to have a diversified product line and look very seriously at issues like cost of entry.

    Thinking that you can drive a serious business on poeple's donation and good will of a few % of the population is just foolish.

    If that's your idea of how free software gets created, you are confused. Free software isn't usually created out of "good will" or from "[charitable] donations", it is usually created by real businesses to address real needs.

    For example, a lot of free software is in-house software that was created because commercial software licenses were more expensive than in-house development, or because the commercial software didn't do what the user needed. Once created, it is often economically rational for the creator of that software to share it freely (and derive benefits from community-based enhancement and support) rather than to incur the overhead of trying to build a business around it.

    Free software is already at a serious disadvantage compared to commercial software: there is little support, little documentation, and no marketing. If your product can't compete with that, I think it really doesn't deserve to be around. I mean, what value are you adding?

    On the other hand, if you can't beat them, join them: many companies are willing to pay handsomely for consulting, support, and documentation. Consider offering those services for the competing free software system, or freely distribute your own system and offer those services for it.

    This is based on some sort of idealism, not capitalism.

    The idea of free software may have been born out of idealism, but it wouldn't be succeeding in the marketplace if it wasn't economically rational for all involved.

    And not everything that is free and good succeeds; for example, I predict that both TrollTech's Qt and Apple's Darwin will fail in the end as free software projects: while they may be "free" or "open source", the projects do not seem to derive significant benefits from being released that way. In different words, if a free software license makes no economic sense, it won't help the software.

  • This is why I've seen very little success in the customers who have chosen the "free software" route. It is not free, it has to be adapted to suit your needs. I, on the other hand, provide both the software and the services to go along with it, and no, I cannot survive on "support".

    Quite true: free software has costs. And your potential customers determine, rationally, whether the costs of free software are larger or smaller than the costs of your product. If your potential customers conclude that the costs associated with free software are smaller than what you charge, they will choose free software unless you lower your prices. If you can't lower your prices and stay in business, you are not an efficient participant in the market and you should go out of business. The free market does not guarantee that you get an honest wage for an honest day's worth of programming: if you produce the wrong product or if you work inefficiently, your labor is worthless. That's the way the free market works and that's how the free market eliminates inefficient players.

  • public domain = anyone can do anything with the stuff. no ownership. no rights. no protections. no warrantees. no responsibility. no restrictions. this is what "free" means: no strings attached.

    Free Software with conditions isn't free under any definition of the word "free." Free means I can take the code and embed it into my $1.5m project, stamp my name on it and resell it, or whatever. Anything less isn't free, by definition. Amusing that the Free Software Foundation doesn't actually promote Free Software, it promotes zero-cost software.

    If you want your code to be free, stuff it into the public domain! Let it wander off into the distance, with no hope of renumeration in the future.

    Just don't call something free when it isn't.
  • Which perhaps explains why they call it a "license".

    In essense, a license is a waiver of prosecution. Essentially a binding statement "although what you are doing is a crime, we won't bother you about it." For example, driving a car on a public road is, by default, a criminal act, but your license makes you an exception to the rule.

    The term "license agreement" has come to mean a contract granting some license, usually to copy software. To call it simply a "license" is misleading.

    In particular, the so-called "General Public License" is a full-fledged contract (in theory... it may yet prove legally invalid), placing an eternal obligation on you to provide matching source code to any and all users to whom you distribute object code.

    In contrast, a statement like "all are permitted to redistribute this work, in original or modified form, so long as they do not remove this notice, including the copyright notice and disclaimer" is a true public license. If someone removes the notice and redistributes it, they aren't breaking a contract, but doing something prohibited by default which they don't have permission for. There are no obligations imposed upon the distributor, it is just that the permission granted him is limited.

    If the GPL was a license, it wouldn't be so restrictive. So let's not start saying licenses are restrictive by definition.

    (IANAL,IAABT)
    --
  • by valrama (411504) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @09:52PM (#231132)
    You live in a Free Country. But you are not free to steal; you are not free to shoot your boss or rape his wife.

    Freedom has to be defined in a context of "fairness". Your freedom to do as please is tolerated only so far it does not encroach on another person's freedom. Governments draw the line, and enforce it.

    The analogy to Free Software should be obvious. RMS is doing the job of drawing the line. He is my hero for it.

    I think it is /you/ who needs to get a grip of matters pertaining to GPL.
  • by Tachys (445363) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:42PM (#231145)
    What we have 23 choices? Oh no we all know how much the FSF hates choice
  • by reposter (450888) on Thursday May 10, 2001 @08:43PM (#231148)
    I personally don't question the man's genius. I love Emacs, and anyone who can write a compiler (particularly one as good as gcc) is a hacker's hacker as far as I'm concerned.

    But there's no way I can ever tolerate his distorted vision for the future of software. To the extent that he denies a software author the right to do with his code as he pleases, the man is a maniac.

    I love free software; I love the quality of it. I deeply appreciate the time that the authors of it have invested. But the bottom line is that free code is a GIFT. It is not an obligation. It is not more ethical than proprietary software (note that this is absolutely different from the business practices of companies and individuals, which can be positively immoral). That is not where its superiority lies. The superiority is in the code.

    For that matter, it's worth pointing out that the GPL actually restricts my freedom! I cannot do just anything with GPL-ed code. So Stallman's blathering about "free" software is a little disingenuous. What he really means is that he (or the FSF) should dictate how we use software. Of course, a software author has the right to release his code (if he does so at all) under whatever terms he wishes. But let's be completely honest: GPL-ed software is not literally and wholly free. It is "mostly" free (yes, I can distinguish between free beer and free speech). I can't do just anything I wish with it.

    Stallman needs to get a grip. If he would change his focus from one of religious zealotry to one wherein he encourages developers to give gifts, he would be a lot more tolerable. As it is, he can be a royal pain.

    Nevertheless, he is a genius.

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