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Re: what's the killer app for GNU/Linux systems?

John Hasler wrote:

If you explicitly release it into the public domain you have licensed it.
If you "release" it with no license at all it will never become popular
because no one will distribute it.

Maybe not, maybe so. If they did, how would I know or stop them? Certainly just because you say they wouldn't, doesn't make it true.

The reality is, the only reason anyone would be worried about redistribution is largely because of both the real issues *and* the FUD created by the endless GPL debates, right?

Look at the (much) bigger picture here. If licenses weren't ever made a big deal (by "evil" corporations and GPL fans alike), they wouldn't be.

Again, I'm a GPL fan to some extent. I am *not* arguing against it. I'm simply stating that licenses are only as important as people think they are, and if someone's code is posted without one, and you can reasonably be assured that they simply don't care about that code, you could read it, use it, modify it, or do whatever you want with it -- with virtually zero chance anything "bad" will ever happen to you.

Whether or not you *wish* to do that, is completely a personal decision. I respect yours, and I agree that *I* would never do it, but we open-source zealots often don't realize that our own attitudes create much of the FUD surrounding software distribution worries.

RMS (and the GPL group) use FUD just as much to their advantage as do the commercial interests. Would Stallman or any of the regularly interviewed "open source early visionaries" even have positions of prestige/respect if they hadn't helped spread FUD about licensing?

You're helping that along by saying "no one" will distribute unlicensed code. ALL code was once unlicensed... and TRULY Free. I realize that is never going to be true again, but we should remind ourselves from time to time that licensing and the so-called "need" for it came about as a result of the "battle" between open and closed source projects itself. The code itself was always (and is) still Free if posted in a public setting.

Copyright (like all other laws), automatic or otherwise, is only important if enforced. Plenty of unenforced, badly written laws on the books. So really -- the chance of Copyright enforcement then must be weighted, just like any other business or personal decision.

Roll through any stop signs without coming to a full and complete stop in your car lately? You broke the law. Anyone see it (or care)?

Just like everything in life, the stakes may be high or low. If you did it in an empty intersection at 2AM... that's a different level of risk than doing it in plain view of a peace officer in rush-hour traffic.

I'm not recommending anyone break the law, or have no personal integrity. I'm only saying that it happens every day without a shadow of a doubt. Code copying included.


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