Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Gentoo Forums
Quick Search: in
software licenses as a developer
View unanswered posts
View posts from last 24 hours

 
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo Chat
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
dalu
Guru
Guru


Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Posts: 376

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:14 am    Post subject: software licenses as a developer Reply with quote

I write php scripts mostly.
Now I want to write a few reusable components and put them on github.

I want people to
- be able to contribute
- be able to use the software for their own projects open, closed, non-profit or commercial
- give credit where credit is due which means include the name of the component and the name and urls of its creators no matter what form of distribution they choose.
- be able to mix those components with components licensed under different licenses.

basically I want them to be able to do whatever they want with it but give credit

which license is the right one for me?

I'm not a legal guy and I hate reading documentation :)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
krinn
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 4151

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://creativecommons.org/

Answer the quizz and you'll get a license
Now google for compatible license to find others like the one offered by CC quizz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ant P.
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 18 Apr 2009
Posts: 2278
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MIT/BSD licence.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
steveL
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 2410
Location: The Peanut Gallery

PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to allow commercial companies to distribute and modify your work, while keeping their modifications private, so that any bugfixes and integration work that makes things more convenient for end-users is not shared, then BSD 2-clause/MIT like Ant. P said.

If you want them to be allowed to make closed-source software using yours, but ensure that they contribute modifications to your work back to the community, Affero-LGPL-v3+ imo (ie LGPL with Affero clause.) The Affero clause is the equivalent of the sharing and distribution clause in original L/GPL, in the modern age where pretty much everything in the software development world happens over the network. Without it, you cannot ensure modifications are contributed back; if that's a concern.

Note that they can still make a convenience layer on top of your work and charge money for it, with no concern for the community if it's LGPL (Affero or not) and not AGPL. They'd just have to contribute back, or at least make available under the same license, any modifications to your work like bugfixes, that made it better for them to use. New features: not under A-LGPL, only A-GPL realistically, since they can just make a wrapper library using yours as a base, and not release any of it. (And they will.)

Companies usually end up contributing bugfixes back, so they don't have to maintain the patches, but typically after a significant delay for "competitive advantage." (eg a patch for a bug you never knew about in the last major version, when you've released the next one.) You can't rely on their goodwill, nor even that they will do so at all, under a non-GPL type license (or Share-Alike in CC iirc. Check for yourself, if it matters.) And in today's world, non-Affero type licenses mean that the major users, especially with significant development teams in-house, don't have to release anything.

They're either part of a conglomerate that releases a product which is nothing to do with software, or a major website, and never technically distribute it "externally" even if it's used across the internet with millions of users, or across a global corporate VPN.

(Not quite sure how Affero would work with last case: I think the code would only have to be available to employees using the VPN, but that's normally good enough, since they have the same rights to distribute it further, which they would not with a BSD-licensed and modified work, now with corporate copyright and a different license for the whole.)

Since you sound like all of that doesn't matter, take a look at the licenses on google code: most of those are MIT/BSD-2. So long as you know what you're signing away, and the implications for any community that might build up around it in the long-term, before you release your work.

You'll hear a lot of people say BSD is fine, especially more so nowadays: it seems to have become fashionable and posited as just not being a fuddy-duddy and worrying about GPL. IMO that's just a consequence of the number of companies that make more money off BSD than GPL work, and the fact that most of them are in the "new-media" industry (along with much better propaganda) and not the computer-industry, however much they might like to claim different. (Google for instance, is an advertising company, pure and simple, that makes most of its profits from tax-dodging, imo.) As a result, they love being able to repackage and resell other people's work at a markup. That's practically the definition of marketing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pieterhog
n00b
n00b


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Groningen, NL, EU

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it OK to ask a question that is connected to this? If not, plz tell me and I'll gladly delete my post.

I am in the situation that I develop commercial software partly based on open source software. (I'd far prefer to make everything open as well, but we*have* to cover our expenses). Anyway, if some software doesn't want to be integrated in commercial software, its it OK to have those parts as dependencies and have the clients download and install these themselves? Our would that still be seen as "piggybacking" - which I would never want. Thanks.

To answer your original question: BSD or MIT.

Edit: to be perfectly clear, the ideal situation would be if customers (or anyone) paid for the time and expenses, and we would then release the code. FLOSS is best! But how do you pay the rent?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
baaann
Guru
Guru


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 490
Location: uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may find this a useful article, I am not saying it is the right or wrong way but it is an interesting read along with several other articles on their blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Genone
Retired Dev
Retired Dev


Joined: 14 Mar 2003
Posts: 9005
Location: beyond the rim

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pieterhog wrote:
I am in the situation that I develop commercial software partly based on open source software. (I'd far prefer to make everything open as well, but we*have* to cover our expenses). Anyway, if some software doesn't want to be integrated in commercial software, its it OK to have those parts as dependencies and have the clients download and install these themselves? Our would that still be seen as "piggybacking" - which I would never want. Thanks.

IANAL, but this heavily depends on the real scenario (type of integration, actual licenses involved, core dependency or optional, ...). Having an optional feature requiring a external program to work is one thing, having your core program linked against a GPL library is a very different case.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
steveL
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 2410
Location: The Peanut Gallery

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pieterhog wrote:
I am in the situation that I develop commercial software partly based on open source software. (I'd far prefer to make everything open as well, but we*have* to cover our expenses).

When you say "partly based on" what does that mean? If it is derived from "open" source software then I can understand why you favour BSD/MIT style licensing, as that allows you to take other people's work, add a few modifications, and package it as your own, even though no reasonable coder would view it as such.
Quote:
Anyway, if some software doesn't want to be integrated in commercial software, its it OK to have those parts as dependencies and have the clients download and install these themselves?

No it's not, if your software links to it. As genone said, if your users are just using commands from another package, that's one thing, eg it makes no difference if their userland is GNU. As soon as you link to someone else's code, you have to follow their license. Note that their are exceptions for standard software like gcc and bison runtimes. For instance, if your software required yacc, and the user only had bison installed, that's not your problem, so long as you don't specifically require GNU extensions, but work with any standard yacc. (bison has the ability to generate reentrant parsers, but you cannot use that unless your code is GPL.)
Quote:
To answer your original question: BSD or MIT.

Bear in mind, LGPL code allows all the above (linking) with no restriction on the license of your code. Merely that you make any modifications to the base work available to others in the same spirit that you received the original work. (So does A-LGPL: it just means you cannot weasel out of the distribution clause by claiming that a website is "private".)

The only difference is you cannot derive your "work" from an LGPL code-base, and stick a new license on it like you can with BSD, thereby restricting the users' freedom more than your own.

But be honest, doesn't that behaviour strike you as leeching?
Quote:
Edit: to be perfectly clear, the ideal situation would be if customers (or anyone) paid for the time and expenses, and we would then release the code. FLOSS is best! But how do you pay the rent?

Oh I sympathise. But you have much more chance of making any money with GPL than BSD. Look at MySQL for an example. GPL actually protects your IP much better than BSD does (since BSD just gives it away, so long as copyright notices are kept intact.) You can still dual-license under GPL, so if a client cannot accept GPL conditions, they can pay for a different license agreement. And usually the only reason GPL is not acceptable, is when someone is trying to charge someone else down the line, for modifications to the software they typically had zero part in creating.

But then, I don't know what kind of clients you mean. If your customers don't want to pay for the service, either it's not sufficiently useful, or they're not the right customers (the latter is much more common than people think.)

And no-one wants to pay for something they think they can get free.

To my mind, where the GPL falls down is that it specifically endorses for-profit distribution, while effectively banning for-profit development. That's why there's basically no software houses any more, imo. Software is just a commodity to be bundled into the final package, and developers are instead supposed to be grateful for the chance to get a job at some fat distro corporation that charges "enterprise" customers who are basically idiots (at least the executives who sign the contracts are) $500 a month for a support contract, plus $100 per 'incident' for the software everyone else worked on. IMO they view us as a bunch of marks to exploit: just blather on about "freedom" for a bit, and they'll do all the work and testing for you, and feel special for the "opportunity".

"I mean, c'mon it's free: we give you all this stuff for free." Like they're doing it for altruistic reasons, and we don't end up spending years making their idiot-box software work til they finally realise what was wrong with the approach and start a spangly new project instead, hushing up that they were told what was wrong with it at the beginning.

Personally I'd prefer a level playing-field: if we write it for free, and give it to you for free, then you have to distribute it for free. By all means charge for support and your time in making it work. But don't charge for the software, since you got it for nothing, and you didn't write it; nor do you really give a flying fsck about it, or the craft, or the users: you're just here to turn a buck.

Even the "pure" distributions don't care about programmers.[1] They are their for their "users", including businesses who try to turn Linux into a base for DRM and a channel for exploiting users. After all, they've got to "monetise the income-stream" (that's us, btw.)

Unfortunately the tendency is for those businesses, backed up by finance printed out of thin air that no-one outside the club has access to, to overwhelm the effort, since they're the only ones who can afford to hire full-time programmers. (See? it used to be software houses as well as IT depts, hardware manufacturers et al: now it's distributions, which puts a whole different angle on it.) And in turn, those programmers have a vested interest in not upsetting the apple-cart, even if they are only getting one or two mouldy leavings from the harvest.

---
[1] http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html -- faq 33:
"Moreover, even if free software reduced society's demand for programmers well below the current supply, so what? Automation and increased efficiency often reduce the number of jobs in some category and this is something we accept---buggy whip manufacturers come to mind---and Debian is not a trade union."

I'm happy to discuss the above, and just so no-one accuses me of selective quoting here's the first bit. I just found the above, after reading through the rest of the FAQ, like a slap in the face.

"There is no reason to think that free software puts programmers in the poorhouse. In fact, the economics of the situation argue for quite the reverse! The vast majority of working computer programmers (over 95%) work at businesses that do not sell software: they write software for in-house use, for embedded devices, for driving new hardware, etc. Free software makes programmers more productive, which should have the effect of raising salaries. It also makes programming more fun, since there is less need to re-invent the wheel. "

Two quibbles I'll point out now: we work at other businesses now, because there are no more software houses. So while I understand the position, and agree with the overall direction implied, ie programmers should be a profession, like lawyers, or accountants, who work for other clients in other fields, it misses something. Programming has always been about working on someone else's problem, and secondly you still have accountancy and legal firms, whereas software houses have been effectively killed-off. (No, M$ is not a software house, and it never was. It's a marketing firm, and like most big conglomerates noawadays, basically a front for financial fraud, imo. cf the Porsche case a few years ago, to see what companies really do.)

Secondly, as ever there's that appeal to free-market idealism and what "should" happen, but never does: the classic marketing con-trick of giving you a pretext for why something is worth doing, so you can debate that and not notice the real reasons, which are always about extracting money. Productivity gains never feed back to the people doing the work: just look at the real-term decline in the vast majority of US incomes over the last 40 years of massive productivity gains.

Instead, the "democratization" of programming has led to a glut of crap code, and a debasing of the craft and its perceived value. Mainly because everything has been done under the guise of free-market idealism (eg "free" Word and VBA licenses for the academic sector so we can make sure they never even see the wider CS landscape we stole our code from) instead of education.

I won't even get into the inanity of making it "fun" while we drive your salaries down, and thus make it harder to feed your kids. Very doublespeak. So on the one hand "we're making your life more fun and productive, so you might be able to argue for a pay-rise" (don't mention that productivity gains are usually an excuse to lay people off, and thus a useful way to drive other salaries down [bonus!]) and on the other "we don't care if we put you out of work." All in one answer. 'Chutzpah' doesn't begin to cover it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pieterhog
n00b
n00b


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Groningen, NL, EU

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi steveL (and to the Orginal Poster: if you think your thread is being hijacked - please step in!)

Thank you Steve for the suggestion that the GPL is better (!) than BSD in order to make some money! The project that I am working on - together with several developers - is educational software, that helps teachers to create and publish their courses, and helps students to follow lessons, hand in work, collaborate with other students and so on. Yes, I know that there is a *wave* of new, mostly "cloud based" services in this field - all of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Coursera, and of course the incumbents such as Blackboard, Moodle and so on. So the field is competetive, but we feel that our solution has several unique features that really sets it apart. The clients will be universities.

Most of our work is developed from the ground up by us. So no problem there. That is, our problem is that we hired developers and paid them for their work. So we invested real money. We'd like to recoup at least a part of that investment. For that reason we'll try to sell/license the software to our clients. Who are by the way used to paying HUGE amounts for commercial software.

Now, the question is that we are considering several additional modules/services. Example: Etherpad-like functionality. Etherpad looks like the textprocessor of Google Docs, it is OSS, issued under Apache v2. Is it OK to include it in our commercial software? If not we'll have to build our own take on it, which would make the project more expensive. OR simply refer the clients to use the available OSS offers (Etherpad, etc.), which is not exactly what they want because they like an "integrated" solution.

I know we are no lawyers, and of course I will look for advise from a lawyer, but I'm very interested in views or experiences from developers on this forum.

This is a GENTOO forum, so I suppose we have some people here with a view on OSS and the struggle to be a paid dev... :-)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
steveL
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 2410
Location: The Peanut Gallery

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi pieterhog: I don't think this is off-topic, since it's all on the same subject: how do working programmers make money from Free software, if they are not part of a distribution; just producing the software people want to run, which the distros make a tonne of money from shipping, effectively for nothing. It can be a nightmare, from my understanding: I actually spent quite a while talking with tuomov, the ion3 author about it, a few years ago.

At the time, I just wanted to find out what the issue was with distros shipping old versions of his software. It was very illuminating, and tuomov is a much nicer guy than most people understand. He really did not deserve any of the approbation that was heaped upon him from all sides of the "Free" software "community".

<rant>
Simply put, as in other walks of life, the corporations will eat you up, extract as much revenue as they can, and then spit you out again, back on the floor. That they make their money distributing something we love, does not change their raison-d'etre: to extract as much revenue as they can from every opportunity and if that means being unethical, that's ok so long as you don't do anything technically "illegal" by the rules of the country you live in. (That your actions and the system you end up working for are predicated on fraud and genocide is irrelevant.) Everything's okay, since corporations are immortal entities (after 200 years of lobbying) with more rights than individuals, and often than nation-states, and you can justify any action by the immortal phrase "fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders" even if you do rip them off via the ponzi scheme that is Fractional Reserve Central Banking.
</rant>

How this expresses itself in FLOSS is this: the distros distribute your work, you get paid nothing, they do. They point all support requests your way, so that you end up doing their support work too (remember that: it's the "reason" we want to allow people to distribute our work for a profit, even though we get nothing: so they can charge for support, which we either don't want to do, or apparently don't have the inclination for, even though we're doing it..) On top of that, they distribute old buggy versions, so your codebase is eg on 3.4.x and they're still distributing 2.1.0-alpha1 because they're a "volunteer" effort (apart from the CEO, the accountants, the lawyers, the admins, the designers, the sales people.. basically everyone apart from the people producing the software people actually want to use.)

So not only are you doing ALL the work for them that they can reasonably charge for (the "value-add"), they make it impossible for you even to do that work, since they refuse to update the versions they distribute (and they have a policy of directing people to your support-channel.) In tuomov's case, ion3 is the whole DE: people who use it would not use anything else, and it's the reason many of them are (or were) on Linux.

He wrote it to scratch an itch yes, so what? He worked on it over years and years, and deserved recompense for that effort. Yet not one distro looked at simply cooperating with him to deliver upgraded versions, instead treating him like companies treat their staff: do what we say and don't complain, or we'll bring down the wrath of the nubs on your head.

pieterhog wrote:
Thank you Steve for the suggestion that the GPL is better (!) than BSD in order to make some money!

Most of our work is developed from the ground up by us. So no problem there. That is, our problem is that we hired developers and paid them for their work. So we invested real money. We'd like to recoup at least a part of that investment. For that reason we'll try to sell/license the software to our clients. Who are by the way used to paying HUGE amounts for commercial software.

Bear in mind, once it's GPL anyone can distribute it and modify it, and setup the same business as you. It's only really useful if the clients want to make proprietary extensions (and most Universities will not ime: I don't know your client-base and product though.) So if it's something they might want to sub-license and charge for, then you have a shot (eg mySQL is often embedded into other products, even though it's so technically shoddy..)

But BSD gives you even less of a chance: it's more a "public-domain with credit" license that shows its academic ancestry (since real academics only usually care about being quoted in research.)
Quote:
Now, the question is that we are considering several additional modules/services. Example: Etherpad-like functionality. Etherpad looks like the textprocessor of Google Docs, it is OSS, issued under Apache v2. Is it OK to include it in our commercial software? If not we'll have to build our own take on it, which would make the project more expensive. OR simply refer the clients to use the available OSS offers (Etherpad, etc.), which is not exactly what they want because they like an "integrated" solution.

No afaik you're fine, though i'm not a lawyer either, so usual caveats apply. Apache is more similar to BSD than GPL, from my understanding. Even GPL you can integrate and charge for as a bundle: your clients aren't going to care what's under the hood. You just have to make sure they can access the source, and include all the relevant copyright notices whenever you modify a file to make a derived work. (So if you had a GPL module, you'd have to distribute sources, or make them available on a website for I think 3 years. Don't quote me on that.) The capability to "distribute and charge for" is fundamental to GPL and to all OSS licenses. Only Creative-Commons has a non-commercial clause. Personally I'd use CC-NCSA; we have done for last 6 or 7 years with update, though my boss agreed to loosening it so that NC effectively does not apply to usage, just distribution, after we'd discussed all the above issues for the fifteenth time ;)

I'm not going to reiterate the arguments for and against, as I don't have the time, nor the energy for a row about it from idiots who still live at home with Mom.

If you do derive work from someone else's, bear in mind that you can't just make a minor patch and claim copyright. As mentioned on dev ML a while back, the current "reasonable standard" is a third of the executable logic to claim copyright over the file as a whole (and of course the original authors own copyright too. You can't just keep modifying either and claim it's all yours, but let's not get into that.) Anything under 10 lines is considered a trivial patch, and you cannot claim copyright on it at all. In between you can claim copyright as a contributor for your contribution, not the file itself. Thus the combined work is now partly your copyright; this is the situation with all Linux kernel code, which is thus the copyright of many many individuals, all of whom "released" their work under GPL-2, as it was a condition of the license they got it under.

That's why Linux will never be relicensed under GPL-3 (since it was only ever GPL-2, not GPL-2+). It's also why many people want a CLA, or contributions under a dual-license: so that they can continue to sell their work, or distribute it to others who want to (eg perl iirc), along with patches from the community. That only really works if you have an unequivocal commitment to always release any version using contributed code (ie all of them if you're sane) under eg AGPL-3+ or whatever license is your base Free choice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
pieterhog
n00b
n00b


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Groningen, NL, EU

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi SteveL, thanks a bunch for your thoughts. in this perfectly on topic discussion.

There is hope, though, for developers to make a living off software: offer it as a service "in the cloud". That is what I am considering. Offer the clients a free version or a trial period, and for the rest ask money for using the service: a subscription free, and/or a pay-as-you-go scheme. The client has no worries about updates and security, and I have no worries about free riders..... What's your view on this?

By the way, you write that "the distros distribute your work, you get paid nothing, they do." Is this true? I thought that only RedHat and (perhaps) Suse make money. And that the rest has smaller or bigger financial troubles.

Do these distros make money?
[*]Debian - no
[*]Ubuntu - no (yes it is a commercial business and yes it leans heavily on the volunteer work of the Debian community. But do they make money? I thought it was still a money pitt.......)
[*]other Debian-based distros - no
[*]Suse - yes
[*]openSuse - no (is financed by Suse)
[*]RedHat - yes
[*]Fedora - no (is financed by RedHat)
[*]Archlinux - no
[*]Gentoo - no
[*]Slackware - no

Is this list correct? If not, please enlighten me!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
steveL
Advocate
Advocate


Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Posts: 2410
Location: The Peanut Gallery

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey pieterhog,

pieterhog wrote:
There is hope, though, for developers to make a living off software: offer it as a service "in the cloud". That is what I am considering. Offer the clients a free version or a trial period, and for the rest ask money for using the service: a subscription free, and/or a pay-as-you-go scheme. The client has no worries about updates and security, and I have no worries about free riders..... What's your view on this?

By all means if you can make money at it, go for it. Just be careful about the small-print with cloud providers. Most contracts (labelled 'Terms and Conditions') I've seen give them worldwide non-exclusive copying, reuse, modification and distribution rights to any and all material that you store on their servers. Which is not a good thing for a commercial entity, nor anyone really, imo. Encrypted backups sure. But not a service you intend to charge for, and retain some copyright over. Well, I wouldn't.

Bear in mind that what you're talking about was called "Software As A Service" around ten years ago. Though in this day and age (see below) you've got more of a chance as a small business.
Quote:
By the way, you write that "the distros distribute your work, you get paid nothing, they do." Is this true? I thought that only RedHat and (perhaps) Suse make money. And that the rest has smaller or bigger financial troubles.

Do you really believe that people who work at the commercial distributions don't get paid?

Now bear in mind that the people who did the work, and continue to do the work, get nothing. That's not so bad when we're all working on the software and the distribution company is needed to do exactly that: distribute the software. But this isn't the era of software on a floppy disk, nor even a CD-ROM any more.

Even where people have no fixed net access, mobile phones are available: and many countries will simply skip wired access for quite a while, though they will be using phones with browsers soon enough. And you can bet there'll be laptops.

So commercial distribution, funded enough to cover a CD mastering business, packaging design and materials, ie a small factory and all its support and admin staff, as well as production, technical and let's not forget the biggest resource drain: management, as well as marketing to retail outlets and physical distribution, is not at all relevant any more. Nor does the middle-man need to be there. It's like paying for a message to be sent by telegram, when you have the internet and SMS.

Are we really meant to believe that this many users between us can't decide for ourselves how to make simple, clean, elegant software convenient for our own use?
Quote:

Do these distros make money?
Is this list correct? If not, please enlighten me!

Let's take the purely voluntary ones out:
[*]Debian
[*]Gentoo

Commercial ones (which are what I'm talking about.)
[*]Suse - yes
[*]openSuse - no (is financed by Suse)
[*]RedHat - yes
[*]Fedora - no (is financed by RedHat)

Do you really believe any company spends money it doesn't have to?

In both these cases, the free version is effectively the same as Gentoo unstable. IOW it's where the QA and testing for the forthcoming "enterprise" release happens. They're an integral part of the business, and a great way to get lots of free bug-testing and fixing done.
So yes, all of these make money.

[*]Ubuntu - no (yes it is a commercial business and yes it leans heavily on the volunteer work of the Debian community. But do they make money? I thought it was still a money pitt.......)
I can't say I know enough about Canonical and all its financial ins and outs, no doubt closely tangled with Shuttleworth which allows a veil of 'privacy'. But I'd draw your attention to the Porsche scandal a few years ago, which showed what companies are really about. Apple's recent bond issue comes to mind too (sold at exactly the peak time.)

[*]other Debian-based distros
Too broad a group. Let's lump them in with effectively one-man bands, around a core leader, afaik:
[*]Archlinux - no

[*]Slackware - no
I don't know enough about slackware's structure. I know it's been around since the beginning like Debian.

Yes people start distros to scratch an itch, and fulfil a need. But if they last as a distro, someone has to get paid to work full-time some way or another; more commonly they use the project as a way of making their name and starting a career. They get lots of publicity then move on when they've got a job, or keep the project as their badge. None of it is altruistic.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that of course. But I don't buy the whole "you should be grateful" mantra which is always followed by "the source is out there." So what the fsck do I have to be grateful for, if you're going to act like my needs don't count, sneer at my opinions while ignoring their content, and fsck up the software I use despite being told many times it's a bad idea?
You're not doing this for my sake, you don't even know me. You're doing it for your own reasons. They may be altruistic, they might not. It doesn't really matter: it's none of my business. The point is I don't owe you anything, any more than you do me. That's what Freedom means.

What some people, and this distro and in particular its community, get from me is respect. None of us owe each other anything. We collaborate and spend time talking to each other because we want to, and we enjoy it. A few people become friends, most don't. But at least it's a shared work, we all collaborate on and ask nothing from each other for. And it feels good to help each other in that context.

The way I see the purely voluntary ones is: they're the ones where the community took over, afaict because the originator was not an "uber-coder", and didn't have an ego that precluded other "alpha" figures. People like that are much better at forming a community and keeping it cohesive.

Here's what I, and others, do value about the GPL: that a programmer working with software can use it in their next job without encumbrance from their previous employer. A recognition and acknowlegement of the shared intellectual property that is akin to mathematical theorems, which go back thousands of years and cannot be patented, nor monopolised in any form, for they are simply pure ideas.

After all, "Computer Science is an abstraction of Mathematics and Physics. Both of which are abstractions of the physical world, which is Nature, and neither of which can be patented."

How can you acquire a patent over an abstraction of two non-patentable abstractions? It's a nonsense.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Gentoo Forums Forum Index Gentoo Chat All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum