Licensing Open Source in General

Patrik Stridvall ps at
Tue Feb 19 07:55:10 CST 2002

> On Mon, 18 Feb 2002, Roland wrote:
> > I think one of the main reason for the xGPL is that 
> developers have the 
> > fear that their project might be hijacked and their work 
> used to make 
> > profit by some companies. As Brett Glass pointed out, this 
> is not a fair 
> > point of view. After all if a companies adds value to a 
> project by creating 
> > new features why shouldn't it be allowed to sell it and 
> make money out of 
> > it?
> It *IS* a fair point of view - if someone just adds a bit of 
> value, why 
> should they be able to make loads of cash of the much bigger 
> original work 
> without giving anything back?

If somebody just adds a _bit_ of value and are able to make loads
of cash on it I or somebody else are very likely to be easily
able to duplicate the effort.

Try again.

> Selling a proprietary fork of an open source application is 
> much more like 
> stealing a car, giving it a new paint, and then selling it.
> The thief added value (the new paint), so by your argumentation, he 
> should be able to make money of it and what he's doing is 
> perfectly ok.

First of all copyright and theft have very little to do with each other.
Theft by it definition involves depriving somebody from his property.

Secondly if the license is the current licence this is obviously legal.

Thirdly if it just requires a little "paint" to it make money I or
somebody else can duplicate that and make the money instead.
> > The GPL prevents this from happening but where is the advantage in 
> > that?
> Forcing everyone to contribute, preventing this type of theft.

What theft? There is no theft going on.

With the LGPL copyright infringement might be going on but then
as I have trying to explain in countless mails it is easy
to circumvent it even with obviously "trickery" that is obviously
legal. If you trust your lawyers there are even more "trickery"
you can do.
> > I think the GPL retricts software development because many good 
> > projects cannot be done by companies because they are not 
> allowed to use 
> > any GPL code as basis of their products.
> They are, if they choose to go by sane licenses.
> Releasing products as Open Source certainly hasn't hurt 
> companies that 
> aren't scared of doing it.
> On the contrary: Stronghold used to be proprietary before Red 
> Hat bought 
> the company making it. Now it's open source and the moment 
> that happened, 
> the sales numbers actually went UP (and the price is still 
> roughly the 
> same).

Stronghold was presumably a WORKING product. Wine is not.
If you make comparisions compare situations that are similar.
> The problem is that many companies refuse to even consider 
> sane licenses, 
> not that they couldn't do it.

Well, if that is a problem a complex license like
LGPL certainly isn't the answer.
> > Personally I keep wondering if it would be that bad if we 
> had a company 
> > producing a better version of WINE than the free one. Why 
> should this be 
> > bad?
> - it would take users (and therefore potential developers) 
> away from the 
>   real version.

What potential developers? If the source is closed they
can't work on it. If the source is available like Transgamings
why should they work for them without pay. Why not do as Marcus
did and look at the code and reimplement it in the main tree
instead. :-)

> - why should someone who made just a couple of changes make 
> lots of profit
>   from (mostly) someone else's work without giving anything 
> back to that
>   someone else? It's certainly not fair.

Again, if somebody can make a couple of changes and make money
I can duplicate it and make the money instead or for that
matter post it on wine-patches.

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