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Re: Recently released QPL

Joseph Carter <knghtbrd@debian.org> wrote:
> It may protect your rights, but it also keeps your code from being useful
> as a shared lib for example to other software which is Free Software but
> is not GPL.  It discriminates against software, even Free Software.  I
> see this as a bad thing.  You disagree.

This only points out that we're working with a definition of free
software which is different from what may be distributed with GPLed code
in a program.

And, I don't see this as a problem with the GPL:

(1) People are free to use whatever license they like for their software.
[True or false?]

(2) If they want to base their work on someone else's work they should
comply with the terms of the license on that work.
[True or false?]

(3) Therefore, some programming tasks are harder than other programming
tasks because of license issues.

I think you're arguing against point 3.  But changing the GPL won't solve
this problem...

[RMS's ideals]
> I wouldn't be here if I thought I had to agree to them in order to use
> GPL software.  However, the GPL license is something I am more than
> hesitant to use for my own software because of those ideals.

No problem: use some other license.

> > > He has already proposed on more than one occasion that Debian get
> > > rid of the nasty (in his mind) point on our social contract to
> > > support people who use non-free software and has taken steps to
> > > cause us to all but delete the contrib and non-free portions of
> > > our archive in potato. It's about time someone stood up and pushed
> > > for just a little bit of realism here.
> >
> > I think he's right on both counts, but I fail to see what erelvance
> > this has to the GPL discussion.
> Then propose we toss out contrib and non-free and change the social
> contract openly, don't try to do it with subversion and "helpful
> suggestions" that have the same effect when combined. You'll be voted
> down of course--but then maybe I'm wrong and you won't be.

Er.. we can do better than we're currently doing in this regard, but 
not till Ian upgrades dpkg.

> > I don't recall RMS ever saying that copyright law is doomed, or even
> > that it ought to be entirely abolished. Further, I once again fail
> > to see what relevance this has to the license discussion, since GPL
> > does take advantage of the law.
> It's relevant because according to RMS the GPL is trying to create
> an environment in which Copyright doesn't extend to software
> artificially. It doesn't work too well.

This is mostly true for a case like Troll (where they very much want to
rely on how copyright law works, to protect their income yet also want
to support free software).  But this isn't the problem RMS was trying
to solve.

> > > Patents apply to software in much of the world. Even in places
> > > where patents on software are illegal (Germany) things like the
> > > mp3 algorithm
> >
> > And what's the point?
> The point is that they are a major threat to the GPL that some
> licenses other than the GPL at least attempt to address. It's also
> the reason no corporation which holds patents can use the GPL on its
> software.

%s/holds patents/holds software patents/

> HAHAHA  You're joking I hope?  (I would release my software freely
> anyway as a matter of principle, however I'm arguing on behalf of others,
> not me)  Money is required to stay in business.  If you can't make money
> off Free Software, then you're going to make it however you can--if that
> means proprietary software so be it, you can make more money by holding
> the next upgrade over your customers' heads that way anyway.

I think this is more a business model issue than an ideology issue.

On the other hand, GPLed software is experiencing exponential growth...
and exponential growth is something that is good for any business which
can deal with the underlying field.  [Yeah, I'm predicting that as time
goes on we'll see more and more businesses getting involved in GPLed
software, and making money at it.]

> Name three companies that make money on writing and selling software
> under the GPL (not distributions of other people's software but sales of
> their own)  I can name only one:  Cygnus  And even they have resorted to
> non-free software now.

How heavily are you slanting your definitions here?

One of the big advantages of GPLed software is that you don't have to
write everything from scratch: you can build on other people's work and
just focus on the issues which are important to you.  If you allow this
kind of business then I think you'd have to recognize that Red Hat is
doing rather well here.  However, if you think that Red Hat is not a
viable example.. I guess I'd have to say that you really don't have a
clue why the GPL is a good thing.

> If IBM started to fully support the GNU philosophy, ported Linux to all
> their hardware, GPL'd Notes, Domino, SmartSuite, ViaVoice, AIX, and
> everything else they produce, could they make 1/10th what they make now? 
> 1/100th?  They rake in several billion a year.  Could that continue?

(1) IBM isn't going to change radically overnight.
(2) 30 years ago they used an even more relaxed software distribution model
than that defined by the GPL.
(3) Even now I think more than half of IBM's money comes from hardware

> So to repeat myself needlessly in the hopes that maybe it might
> actually catch your attention this time, I would like to see another
> GNU license which is more or less middle ground between the GPL
> and the LGPL. The LGPL is a lot like the GPL except that it may be
> used with non-GPL code, even non-free code. I would like to see a
> license which allowed use in any Free Software (as defined by the
> DFSG) program, but like the LGPL would cause the code placed under
> it to retain that license. Essentially a LGPL limited to use in Free
> Software. I am all but certain that had this existed, Qt would be
> under it rather than the QPL.

I presume that you'd like RMS to back you up in advocating this license?

I'd bet that he would, if you can get him to agree that this solves a
real problem.  [As you can see from my above comments though, I think
you need to work a bit on presenting your view of what problem(s) this
solves.  You seem to be headed in the right direction, however.]


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