Re: Debian BSD.. cool idea
I'm not a fanatic, no.
I don't even know why licenses were brought up. But they were.
My friend Eivind Elkund is the best at explaining the faults of the GPL,
and I saved one of his explainations and it is as follows:
--- cut here ---
I don't hate the BSD license, I just think that the GPL is better for
everyone as a whole, rather then the individual. I really don't
understand why your so upset about this, it's not taking food out of
your mouth? Can you explain why GPL code can hurt you?
Taking the long view: The GPL creates a total fork between proprietary
software and free software. By blocking proprietary derivates, you
create a baseline where a certain level of functionality (the level of
the GPLed program) is required to be free. Let's call this level N.
A user wanting to get functionality level N+1 and not caring about
whether they use proprietary software or not will have to pay for N+1.
If only a minority segment are willing to pay the accumulated cost of
N+1, they may not be able to get N+1 because there isn't enough of
them to pay for the relevant risk for developing N+1. If there were no
forced free alternative, all users would pay for N+1, and this might
push the cost down far enough that it overall low enough to not matter
(development cost divided by a large number of users is low;
development cost divided by a small number of users is high.)
This blocks the developer that could be involved in developing N+1
part if there were no free (as in free beer) "competition". It also
blocks the developer that could be involved in developing the +1 part
if there was a free (as in freedom to keep his changes) source base to
And all of this for no gain for open source, because the developer of
+1 will have two parts of the +1: Strategic and tactical changes. The
strategic changes are the changes the developer actually gets revenue
from; the changes that add value to the user. The tactical changes are
changes that are just needed to get the strategic changes in place and
out to the users. These, the smart developer would give back to the
comunity, as this gives him the following benefits:
* Decreased merge costs.
Have you ever tried to merge between divergent sourcebases?
Merging is expensive. And if the developer do not merge, the open
source product will (assuming it is being actively developed) move
past the proprietary derivate - and the users will go open source.
* Goodwill in the open source community.
I have given code back before (now defunct properitary derivate of
FreeBSD, used in an embedded system); this do give benefits -
other developers are willing to help you solve your problems. I've
had the best engineers of one of our competitors trying to help
out in getting things to work, and have helped them in return -
because all of us were interested in getting the main sourcebase
to work as well as it could.
* Goodwill among the employees.
Who do a company that want to do proprietary derivates of a free
software system employ? Us. Yeah, that's right, the open source
developers. Guess how happy we would be if changes that could be
given back with no ill effects were kept proprietary, and we had
to spend our days merging these back in.
* Increased popularity for the open source codebase.
From a company perspective, you can read this as "Increased amount
of development we do not have to pay for, but which do give us an
edge compared to companies working from other codebases."
So, a smart developer will give back, and thus both the developer and
the open source community will be enriched. And really: Are we scared
of stupid proprietary developers?
P.S. We have ended up giving back >90% of the changes we did - the
remaining being tweaks that have no value to the overall community,
but would allow a direct competitor doing a clone (and nothing but a
clone) of our product to get a faster or better result. We did not
know beforehand how much of our changes would end up in which category
- so without the ability to keep changes proprietary those 90% would
never have happened.
I don't see what a discussion of licenses makes me a fanatic.
On Thu, Feb 10, 2000 at 09:39:52PM +0100, Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:
> What is this ?????
> GPL doesn't prohibit anything but prohibiting.
> You are anti-GPL fanatic, aren't you ?
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