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OT: Thoughts on Open Source? - Mac Programming

Topic: Hardware manufacturers naturally support the open source movement. It provides an easy and efficient way to have new software developed for their platforms without cost. However, it more or less does away with the days where a programmer could make a decent amount of money from a good software application, and also makes it very difficult for individual programmer to develop a reputation or gain credit for his/her work since they are only one of many contributors on any given project. Thoughts? There are no right answers. Just curious what programmers think about this issue. CT...

  1. #1

    Default OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    Topic: Hardware manufacturers naturally support the open source
    movement. It provides an easy and efficient way to have new software
    developed for their platforms without cost.

    However, it more or less does away with the days where a programmer
    could make a decent amount of money from a good software application,
    and also makes it very difficult for individual programmer to develop a
    reputation or gain credit for his/her work since they are only one of
    many contributors on any given project.

    Thoughts? There are no right answers. Just curious what programmers
    think about this issue.

    CT
    Charles Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <doit.wisc.edu>,
    Charles Thomas <facstaff.wisc.edu> wrote:
     

    I don't agree with the second paragraph. Open source is not a
    particularly new phenomenon and there are still a large number of
    developers making a decent income. Some of them are doing so in part
    _because_ of the rise of open source.

    Keep in mind, that open source does not mean that the software is given
    away and any random person who wants the best word processor on the face
    of the Earth can have it after a brief download and a quick "make."
    Source code is a tool and it takes both desire and practice to use it,
    even if not at the same levels as it takes to create.

    Anyone who wants can run down to the store and buy a wrench. This hasn't
    put plumbers out of business en masse.

    G
    Gregory Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    On Fri, 16 Jan 2004, Charles Thomas wrote:
     

    I disagree with this. Even when software is free for the end user, it
    does not mean that the programmer was not paid for it. For example Apple
    has engineers working on the BSD layer of OS X, or on KHTML and they sure
    as hell get paid.

    Fred
     

    Frederick Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <comcast.net>,
    Gregory Weston <com> wrote:
     

    However, far too many people release software under the GPL because
    they incorrectly think that "that's how you make something open
    source."

    Most developers today who want to make something "open source" are
    generally talking about making it available for other developers to
    use. They wrote a library and they want it to be used by as many other
    developers as possible. However, in their inexperience, they
    discourage its use by releasing it under the GPL.

    In short, if you're going to release something, make sure to understand
    that there are lots of licenses available to you - not just the
    GPL-based ones. Heck, you can even write one yourself.

    If you're going to use the GPL or even the LGPL, make sure you
    completely understand it. For example, you might release your software
    under the GPL because you don't want "rich, greedy corporations" using
    your code. But it also means the starving college student that wanted
    to use your software in the shareware utility he's going to charge $10
    for can't do so. It means the group of guys struggling in their spare
    time to bring out a cool game which they hope to one day make
    commercial can't use your software. Etc, etc.

    Wade
    Wade Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <170120042258262925%spam.dogwatchsw.com>,
    Wade Williams <spam.dogwatchsw.com> wrote:
     
    >
    > However, far too many people release software under the GPL because
    > they incorrectly think that "that's how you make something open
    > source."[/ref]

    I suppose that's a fair point. I have an extreme aversion to GPL and
    won't go anywhere near it from either side of the process. Exactly as
    you indicated in the following paragraph (which I've snipped). But...

     

    Erm. It doesn't actually mean either of those two things. It does
    certainly complicate the eventual recasting of a product as commercial
    software but doesn't deny it and doesn't mean someone can't charge for
    the software. Take a close look at item 2 (and, to a lesser extent, 3)
    under the Terms and Conditions.

    And LGPL is a very different beast.

    Your main point stands of course, people shouldn't assume "open source"
    implies GPL.
    Gregory Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <doit.wisc.edu>,
    Charles Thomas <facstaff.wisc.edu> wrote:
     

    I think people like Linus Torvalds and Larry Wall might dispute the idea
    that one can't gain a reputation based on open source work. I'd dispute
    it in general, and in fact suggest that the opposite is true. That is,
    if someone has contributed meaningful work to an open source project,
    they can legitimately point to that as proof of their skill. If you
    doubt that they know their stuff, check the CVS logs yourself.

    As far as making money goes, I note that the availability of Linux and
    OpenOffice have yet to put Bill Gates into the poorhouse.

    --
    Tom "Tom" Harrington
    Macaroni, Automated System Maintenance for Mac OS X.
    Version 1.4: Best cleanup yet, gets files other tools miss.
    See http://www.atomicbird.com/
    Tom Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <tph-0E14A7.16161418012004localhost>,
    Tom Harrington <no.spam.dammit.net> wrote:
     
    >
    > I think people like Linus Torvalds and Larry Wall might dispute the idea
    > that one can't gain a reputation based on open source work.[/ref]

    Oh, come on. Most people can't even pronounce Linus correctly. How much
    of a reputation can he possibly have? :)

    G
    Gregory Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    Wade Williams wrote:
     

    I recently released an open-source library
    (http://homepage.mac.com/paullalonde/b/index.html) and went through the
    exercise of comparing licenses. My conclusion was that the GPL was by
    far the best choice for what I wanted to accomplish.
     

    I would say that in that particular case there is a mismatch between the
    stated goal and the license chosen. Some licences are better than
    others at achieving certains goals.

    There's a useful summary of goals and licenses here:
    http://www.dina.dk/~abraham/rants/license.html
     

    This isn't the whole story. If you hold copyright on a piece of code (a
    library you wrote for example), you can license it under different terms
    to different people. You can license under the GPL to some and under
    some other license to others. This is how dual-licensing schemes work.
    Succesful examples of this include Berkeley DB, Qt, and MySQL. People
    who develop open-source projects can use these products without charge;
    those who don't want to abide by the terms of the open-source license
    (GPL in the case of Qt and MySQL) can pay for the privilege of not
    having to release their source.

    In other words, the GPL is an excellent choice if you want "rich, greedy
    corporations" *paying* to use your code, while at the same time allowing
    open source developers to use it without payment. The copyright holder
    can even choose to accomodate the needs of the "starving college
    student" if he wants.

    Truly, the GPL is a wonderful thing...


    Paul

    Paul Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <comcast.net>,
    Gregory Weston <com> wrote:
     

    I understand. But honestly, how many people writing commercial
    software, or even shareware, are willing to release their source code,
    as the GPL requires?

    So while GPL defenders can say, "it doesn't prevent you from writing
    commercial software and making money," the reality is, for 99% of
    developers, it does.

    And yes, the LGPL is very different and I'm very glad it exists.

    Wade
    Wade Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <CIGOb.56587$videotron.net>, Paul Lalonde
    <com> wrote:
     

    Hmm...I'm not sure how I'd do that. What you're essentially saying is:

    "This product is licensed under the GPL if you're creating a commercial
    app and have money. If on the otherhand, you don't have money, you
    qualify for my special license." I'm not sure how you'd administer
    that. I guess you'd have people fill out an application for a license,
    and you'd decide which license and fee schedule applies based upon
    their intended use for your code and your perception of their ability
    to pay up.

    You could split it between commercial and shareware licenses, but
    there's some small struggling commercial companies out there, and a few
    highly successful shareware outfits.

    I do think that many open source advocates throw out the baby with the
    bathwater. In their insistance that Company X release their source
    code to their commercial product if it uses open source library Y, they
    forget that Company X is NOT going to give away its intellectual
    property, and will therefore, either go purchase a commercial library
    of similar functionality, or will take the time to develop their own.
    The end result is the commercial application takes longer to be
    delivered and costs more because that additional development time or
    library licensing charge is passed on to the consumer.

    I just far prefer the following licensing scheme:

    1) Use it as a library for free in the following types of applications
    (i.e. educational or shareware)
    2) The cost for using it as a library is X
    3) The cost for source code is Y.
    4) The cost for support beyond casual email is Z.

    Wade
    Wade Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    Wade Williams wrote: 

    The MySQL people seem to do it the other way around -- if you are
    a commercial organisation and want to make money then you pay for
    their special licence. Otherwise you can have the source as GPL.

    Ashley.

    Ashley Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    Wade Williams wrote:
     

    It's more like "This product is licensed under the GPL" by default. In
    the absence of other arrangements, the GPL is in effect. Anyone, even
    "rich, greedy corporations", can license it under the GPL provided of
    course they abide by its terms. Anyone, rich or poor, who doesn't like
    those terms for whatever reason, can enter into a commercial licensing
    arrangement with the copyright holder. The exact terms of a commercial
    license (including any fees) aren't relevant here, as long as they meet
    licensees' needs that aren't met by the GPL.
     

    Again, the GPL is only a bad choice if it doesn't enforce one's reasons
    for writing the software in the first place. Folks who license software
    only under the GPL may be doing so for political or other reasons, and
    that's perfectly fine. It's their choice.


    Paul

    Paul Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    In article <CIGOb.56587$videotron.net>,
    Paul Lalonde <com> wrote: 

    Only if the version of the code that rich-greedy-corporation wants to
    use hasn't been extended by others. If the GPL is used per its originally
    stated intentions, other programmers may well fix bugs and extend
    your code base. If copyright ownership to all those changes cannot
    be determined and dual licensed, then you won't get paid for your 99%
    of the original hard work.

    If there is a open source license out there which requires that the
    copyright to all modifications be granted back to you in writing, then
    that might be a better choice for the above purpose.


    IMHO. YMMV.
    --
    Ron Nicholson rhn AT nicholson DOT com http://www.nicholson.com/rhn/
    #include <canonical.disclaimer> // only my own opinions, etc.
    Ronald Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: OT: Thoughts on Open Source?

    Ronald H. Nicholson Jr. <rahul.net> wrote:
     
    [..] 
    >
    > Only if the version of the code that rich-greedy-corporation wants to use
    > hasn't been extended by others. If the GPL is used per its originally
    > stated intentions, other programmers may well fix bugs and extend your
    > code base. If copyright ownership to all those changes cannot be
    > determined and dual licensed, then you won't get paid for your 99% of the
    > original hard work.[/ref]

    Then it's your own fault for not protecting your copyright, not the
    fault of the GPL. You have to have clear copyright ownership before you
    can effectively license the work in any way, whether GPL or otherwise.

    <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#AssignCopyright>

    Of course, the way things end up happening is very different... I wonder
    how many projects on sourceforge have a copyright policy.
    Paul Guest

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