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Software Open Source Apple News

OS X Notifier App Growl Goes Closed Source 270

First time accepted submitter para_droid writes "Version 1.3 of the popular open source notification system for Mac OS X, Growl has surprised its users by going closed-source and only available for purchase on the Mac App Store. Any users who provide links to bugfixes and source for the previous version 1.2 are being banned from the discussion group, and their messages deleted. Could it be time for the community to create an OpenGrowl fork?" The linked post above about bugfixes and source ends "Hopefully the Growl 1.3 branch from the official Growl maintainers will eventually become open source again and get straightened out so that it works for most users, but if it doesn't, a fork of the project will be able to provide a working Growl to Mac users."
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OS X Notifier App Growl Goes Closed Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:24PM (#37780020)

    Nope, it's BSD licensed. They can do whatever the hell they want.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:32PM (#37780242) Journal

    That's a piss poor excuse. Just run an open git repository and you'll never be bothered with packaging and releasing code again. Also, if people have the source they can help fix the issues that seem to be slowing them down.

    They can slap whatever license they want on it, and make whatever promises they want. The fact remains that if a binary is available, and corresponding sources are not, it is closed source. It might be open source again, maybe even soon, but it's not open source today.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:43PM (#37780478) Journal

    You can do anything with the GPL as long as you include sources. If you disagree with this, you don't have to contribute to it.

    They both include one restriction. Which restriction is least restrictive?

    One guarantees that all users will be able to fix and modify their software if there are problems. The other offeres no guarantees. In terms of enabling people to do things, which is what freedom is all about, the GPL is clearly more free. BSD only enables you to remove the freedom of others.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:57PM (#37780742)

    Interesting how this argument didn't apply in the android discussion isn't it. Google promise to release the ICS source when devices ship... people believe them. Open mac software maker does the same "oh, i's only a promise".

  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:57PM (#37780766)
    Just like a white American male from the South in the early 19th century, the individual developer with a piece of BSD licensed software is more free than the current white American male. He can even choose to release his code as free / have no slaves. However, just as in the south, most people with BSD software are not developers and so they lose certainty of their future freedom for nothing. The BSD society as a whole, which includes a whole bunch of Junos and OS X users, for example, is less free than the GPL society. This even feeds back to the slaver who is unable to live in a society without slavery and is much the worse for it. BSD developers are slightly luckier because there are enclaves, like OpenBSD where real freedom exists but these are always small exceptions.
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:39PM (#37781602)

    In fact, the downstream ('end-users') may ultimately get a license that is more restrictive on further development

    So you're saying that its dangerous because at some point in the future the upstream developer may make the changes closed source and then you won't have access to them? Thats all you can be saying since the license won't/can't be retroactive and take away source that you already have.

    So your bitching that you MAY LOSE FUTURE WORK ...

    So what is the upstream author dies? Does that make you all scared and freighted as well? Thats a fact, its going to happen, the upstream author WILL die at some point, but he may never close the source.

    You're argument is retarded, it rests around the idea that you are losing something just because you aren't continuing to get something for free. You can not 'lose' anything with a BSD license, the worst that can happen is that you no longer get new stuff. No one can make BSD code 'closed', only their own modifications on top of it.

    GPL is the most restrictive license thats considered 'open source' by the majority of people, I do not espouse the merits of using GPL, I do not push my political agenda on others like you do. You also utterly fail to understand the license you're fanboying for and the licenses you're arguing against.

    In short, you don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about

  • by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @04:40PM (#37782686)

    You're so, so close to getting it, but not quite there.

    GPL lets you remove the freedom of developers. GPL enables the freedom of users.
    BSD lets you remove the freedom of users. BSD enables the freedom of developers.

    Pro-GPL people try to argue that it's the freedom of the end user that needs to be protected. After all, making sure the users have the source enables them to fix any problems that software may have. Unfortunately, this means that the freedoms of whoever wants to write software that uses GPL'd code is limited, as they don't have the choice to keep their software proprietary.

    Pro-BSD people try to argue that it's the freedom of the developers that needs to be protected. After all, making sure the developers can maintain their own copyright enables them to use your software freely. Unfortunately, this means that the freedoms of whoever wants to use a derivative work are limited, as they are not guaranteed to have the source code of the changes available.

    So, now which restriction is least restrictive?

    Freedom is a balancing act -- there are very few cases where enforcing the freedom of one group of people won't harm the freedom of another group. Just be careful that you don't assume the freedoms you value are more important than the freedoms that other people value.

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @05:52PM (#37783984)

    That would be what the GPL says.

    You only have to provide source to people you provide binaries to. You are under no obligation to provide future updates of said source (other than to those to whom you distribute binaries build from the updated source).

    Of course you can't prevent those you do provide the source to from distributing it to others.

  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @06:09PM (#37784236) Homepage

    You know who it will also stop cold? The many open-source programs that use Growl. They are not going to want to have anything to do with a closed-source commercial Growl, and will either dump it or fork it.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.