Open and closed source...

Nitebirdz nitebirdz at
Thu Jan 18 07:46:38 PST 2001

On Thu, 18 Jan 2001, Ghovs wrote:

> You know what open source is about?
> Selflessly giving effort to a community which isn't paying you a single penny
> for it.
> So why complain if companies don't pay you either?
> Most GPLed software is the source of income for a lot of companies.
> Some companies even live off BSD'ed software.
> No, not off the software itself, but without it, they couldn't run a business.

I don't have a problem with companies making money out of it.  I definitely
do have a problem with companies making money out of it without giving
back to it and even launching public campaigns against open source software
as products of inferior quality.  See the difference?  I certainly do.

Most companies that make money out of open source products do _not_ make
comments comparing open source developers to "commies.  Microsoft _does_,
even though they obviously benefit from bundling BSD licensed software
with their OS.

> > Yet another example.  There is an ongoing discussion in Slashdot right now
> > on whether the new MacOS X can destroy Linux on the desktop.  That would be
> > a good example of a commercial entity (Apple in this case) taking some
> > open source software, building a lot of proprietary layers on top of it,
> > and then perhaps destroying the chances of free software in the desktop
> > market.  Something to think about.
> Uhm.
> Right.
> And how exactly am I to be wooed on spending cash on something I can get for
> free?

You cannot get MacOS X for free.  Only the underlying base (Darwin) is
free.  That's precisely the difference beween the GPL and BSD licenses.

> You forget that a LOT of people simply want their current open source OS
> cause they like it, love the principles behind it, buy into the philosophy
> that drives it.
> How are ya picturing me giving that up for shiny ads?

You forget that most users do _not_ care about those principles.  We're
not talking about techies here.  We're talking about Linux on the desktop,
at least in the case of the abovementioned discussion of MacOS X possibly
affecting Linux.

> > Agreed, and correct my statement.  You're right.
> >
> > This is what I mean though.  If we _only_ pay attention to the research and
> > not to how the fruits of our research are going to be used, we're then
> > avoiding responsibility.  The scientists who did space research did _not_
> > have a choice of a license that would stop the authorities from using their
> > research to produce better missiles.  The developer who writes open source
> > software _does_ have a way to avoid that.  It's called GPL.
> Okay, now, will you please tell me how you plan to detect people downloading
> opensource GPL software and using it in their own closed-source projects?
> Or do you intend to sue .mil over using GPLed software for their AI missiles
> after they waxed all of China, since you clearly recognized their trajectory?
> It's not as if a simple license is going to be able to protect software which
> is freely available.
> It's just not realistic to think that forbidding is going to stop anyone at
> all.
> If people have a conscience, they're not gonna be bad.
> If people do not have a conscience (or an insufficient one) they will be bad.
> Being bad includes ignoring legal terms of a license.

Sorry, but this argument is just ridiculous.  You cannot stop people from
illegally pirating commercial software either, but that does not mean that
those licenses are useless.  According to your argument, since people will
still kill we therefore don't need any laws prohibiting people from
killing each other.

The fact that people will act against a law does not render it useless.
When it comes to software, _any_ license will be difficult to enforce and

> Following through with this, the only way to protect the world is to take
> down the publicly available software.
> It's the ancient thing about people trying to halt progress and getting it to
> blow up in their face as a result.
> Besides... after the knowledge of destroying the entire world being landed in
> the hands of the most militaristic countries in the world, what more horrors
> could possibly come?
> How much worse does it get beyond world's end?
> I do wonder for what consequences we'd be evading responsibility.
> How much worse could we possibly make things?


"We all know Linux is great... it does infinite
loops in 5 seconds." (Linus Torvalds)

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