Have Free Software ideologues lost the plot?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by impossible, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. impossible

    impossible Guest

    GPL3 is creating some sharp divisions in the open-source community. Richard
    Stallaman's Free Software Foundation, which is never inclined to trifle with
    business practicalities, revels in the new licensing provisions intended to
    bar "TiVo-ization" of code and Microsoft/Novell-type patent-protection
    deals. But not everyone, it seems, is enthralled with this approach, since
    it runs the risk of alienating customers who prefer to base their IT
    decisions on less ideological foundations. Linus Torvalds, for one, went on
    record from the outset of the GPL3 debate as stating that the Linux kernel
    would not be released under the revised licensing scheme, because it imposed
    impractical restrictions on both developers and end users. I believe
    Torvalds has since conceded that it might be possible to release 2 versions
    of the Linux kernel -- one under GPL2 and one under GPL3 -- but he
    cautions against the maintenance nightmare this would create. Authors of all
    the GPL'd drivers, utilities, and applications packaged with the various
    distros face a similar problem now in apparently having to either "choose
    sides" in this debate--GPL2 or GPL3-- or else straddle the fence and inherit
    an unwanted versioning burden. And you thought the compliance costs of
    administering proprietary EULA's were bad! No matter how excited some
    peoople get at the prospect of tweaking Microsft's nose, I think that in the
    final analysis it is open source development that is really going to be
    screwed over by GPL3.
     
    impossible, Jul 10, 2007
    #1
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  2. Numbers developing for Windows noticeably down, at least in North America
    <http://informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=HOKIQZCHFM1AEQSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=200900215>.
    Platform showing largest measurable increase is Linux.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 10, 2007
    #2
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  3. impossible

    impossible Guest

    You need to turn off your knee-jerk change-the-subject switch, Lawrence.
    What's the matter? Nothing to say about the debate in the open-source
    community over GPL3?
     
    impossible, Jul 10, 2007
    #3
  4. impossible

    Nik Coughlin Guest

    I think it's more reflective of a gradual shift from client side to web
    applications.

    Just read the article, yep seems to agree with me.
     
    Nik Coughlin, Jul 10, 2007
    #4
  5. impossible

    JohnO Guest

    Didn't say they were down. It said the number targetting was down.
    I.e. a reducing growth rate. If 64% are targetting Windows then less
    than 36% are targetting Linux so the absolute numbers state that the
    difference in number of Windows programmers over Linux programmers
    will continue to *increase* for the time being.
     
    JohnO, Jul 10, 2007
    #5
  6. impossible

    peterwn Guest

    No big deal here. It does not really matter if Linus and his team stick
    to GPL2. in any case, Linus has in a 'preamble' indicated his
    interpretation of GPL2 which differs from how others may interpret it.

    It is really over to the individual authors and maintainer groups.

    There may be 'sharp divisions', and they may be in public, but this is
    the nature of running a bazaar, as distinct from a cathedral where the
    Dean and Chapter must have comprehensive control over the facility.

    The licences do not cause any problems to those wanting to write code
    and contribute it back to the community under GPL.

    OK, it is troublesome to those who do not wish to disclose source code
    or want to keep their code proprietary, but depending on their needs and
    markets, they would need to take the trouble to work around these
    strictures. This applies to driver writers too, they can make
    commercial decisions as need be, noting in particular that they are in
    the hardware market.
     
    peterwn, Jul 10, 2007
    #6
  7. From the article:

    ...Andrews said his firm has been tracking where North American
    developers invest most of their time and effort for eight years and
    their interest in Windows peaked in 2004. That year, they devoted 76% of
    their efforts to the Windows platform, both server and desktop versions.

    In a two-month survey of 440 developers completed June 30, Evans found
    that 64.8% were targeting Windows, down from the 70% to 74% level that
    the Microsoft platform recorded in the 2006 surveys.

    That's a reduction in the actual _number_ of developers, not in the growth
    of number of developers. That is, growth in Windows developers is
    _negative_. Windows development is not growing, it's shrinking.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 10, 2007
    #7
  8. impossible

    Shane Guest

    What debate?
    The fact someone can choose to release their software under _any_ license
    they choose?
    The fact that there is nothing on earth to stop people writing their own
    license?
    Or the fact that some people who release their software under one version of
    someone elses license, will not be changing to a new version of that
    license.
     
    Shane, Jul 10, 2007
    #8
  9. impossible

    impossible Guest

    Yes, but Torvald's objections to GPL3 are more substantive, don't you think?
    There is a world of difference between GPL2 and GPL3 when it comes to
    restricting what developers and end users can do, and this is his concern.
    Well, if someone writes code and releases it under GPL3, then it **may** be
    a problem for developers and users downstream -- I think that's the whole
    point.
    Yes, but now you're talking about virtually everyone who makes a living from
    open source development, so this is no small issue. I guess we'll just have
    to see how things play out.
     
    impossible, Jul 10, 2007
    #9
  10. impossible

    impossible Guest

    It's always a good idea to read the OP and not Lawrence's edited version,
    which in this case deleted the original post entirely (a childish habit of
    his). For your convenience I've restored the OP, which summarizes the debate
    I was referring to. The answers to your rhetorical questions are, of course
    no, no, and no -- that's not what I meant.
     
    impossible, Jul 10, 2007
    #10
  11. impossible

    Shane Guest

    I did read it.
    And of course your answers are the point. There is no big deal. Some
    people like the new license and have already changed. eg.
    http://news.samba.org/announcements/samba_gplv3/
    Some dont, and wont.
    As with any licensed software, some people will agree to the terms and
    happily use the software, others wont and wont.
    No.. big.. deal..
     
    Shane, Jul 10, 2007
    #11
  12. impossible

    peterwn Guest

    How? In particular how is it likely to be a problem for users? Neither
    the FSF or any other GPL licensor has ever sued or threatened a mere
    user and are very, very, very unlikely to. It is only sharp practice
    outfits like SCO and Micro$oft who are likely to try this stunt.

    Also which is riskier - having BSA or a gentle but firm Ivy League law
    professor banging on the door to enforce valid IP rights?
    Agreed that Micro$oft who wishes to 'make a living' from open source
    code is finding this 'no small issue'. If anyone else who wishes to
    make a living from software development is scared of the GPL, there is
    nothing to stop them developing their software on some other platform.

    Any sensible person would agree that a person should not be able to make
    a living by plundering the GNU and Linux resources (ie not put anything
    back).

    There are valid ways of developing proprietary software on a GPL base,
    in fact this would seem to be less risky from a legal and business point
    of view than developing it on a Windows base.
     
    peterwn, Jul 10, 2007
    #12
  13. So... What did you mean?

    People can choose to license their software under whatever license they
    wish.

    The fact that FOSS projects such as Samba have stated that their next
    release will be under the GPL3 is, IMHO, a good thing, and is entirely
    their own call.

    If people don't want to respect the licensing terms of those developers
    then they shouldn't use that software - unless they want to have their
    arse sued into oblivion.
     
    Jonathan Walker, Jul 10, 2007
    #13
  14. impossible

    Peter Guest

    From your post, it appears you don't understand the open-source community,
    where people have the freedom to hold and debate differing views. There
    have been some major polarising debates, such as KDE v gnome, or vi v
    emacs.
    This isn't a problem, it is a sign of a healthy community.
    For further insight, you should read about the cathedral and the bazaar ...
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/

    Vigorous and free debate about GPL3 is good, it thrashes out the issues. If
    it is found that GPL3 is not right, then the community debate will come to
    that conclusion. But it is not necessary for all projects to use the same
    license, as illustrated by the variety of licenses already found in a
    typical Linux distro.

    HTH

    Peter
     
    Peter, Jul 10, 2007
    #14
  15. impossible

    Peter Guest

    Actually, for some idea of what it is like in a situation where freedom of
    thought is suppressed, you should read this link ...
    http://rcpmag.com/features/article.aspx?editorialsid=741

    :)


    Peter
     
    Peter, Jul 10, 2007
    #15
  16. impossible

    Fred Dagg Guest

    Not true.

    That stat says absolutely nothing about the number of Windows
    developers - you would need to know the change in the population to be
    able to work that out.

    Apart from the fact that this is a self-selecting poll and therefore
    most likely completely wrong (let's face it, Linux users like to waste
    more time than Windows users, and hence will be more likely to reply
    to one of these bullshit "polls"), the fact of the matter is that,
    since 2004, more have been developing for web applications than
    anything else.
     
    Fred Dagg, Jul 10, 2007
    #16
  17. impossible

    peterwn Guest

    Hey, look, are you trying to cause trouble?

    You will have Fred Dagg throwing gumboots, just like Steve Ballmer
    throws chairs.
     
    peterwn, Jul 10, 2007
    #17
  18. I thought that "Fred Dagg" throws paddies like Steve Balmer throws chairs
    - far too often.
     
    Jonathan Walker, Jul 10, 2007
    #18
  19. impossible

    impossible Guest

    Device manufacturers who face any kind of product liability laws in their
    country are surely not going to be happy to discover that the open-source
    embedded software they're using has been converted to a new license that
    leaves them open to a lawsuit when some customer's tech fiddles dangerously
    with critical code. Either they will have to stick with whatever GPL2
    version of the code they have, and cut themselves off from new developments,
    or else go proprietary.

    Nor will many other buisness customers necessarily want to be bound to GPL3
    prohibitions on patent protection deals they consider prudent.
    If that were true, then there would be no need for GPL3.
    That would be a silly gamble.
    Business end-users make a living from open-source software, plundering the
    GNU and Linux resources, and then "giving back" in the form of service fees.
    Anything wrong with that? Point is, ideological commitment of the sort FSF
    is insisting on may be a distraction.
    I think we'll let individual businesses make that judgment.
     
    impossible, Jul 10, 2007
    #19
  20. impossible

    E. Scrooge Guest

    Just can't help yourself can you?
    You're not called a mentally disturbed fool for nothing.

    There's 1 Linux user that Linux can well do without.

    E. Scrooge
     
    E. Scrooge, Jul 10, 2007
    #20
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