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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 13:36:29 -0500

"Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message news:98Gfl.1079$_a5.884@newsfe17.iad...
amicus_curious wrote:
I think that this kind of activity will go on simply
> because it is fun for the participants to do so.
> They care not for any licensing or other restrictions.

Are you deliberately missing the point? These people are able
to do what they do because the machines they run GPLed software,
and they are using the sources to make and distribute changes.

But they could and would do that anyway without the GPL.

The FSF, on the other hand, has a philosophy that essentially mandates the disclosure of one's innovations in software applications and design.

The patent office also mandates the disclosure of one's innovations
and designs.

But a patent does not allow anyone to copy the technology protected therein for free. Disclosure of source and release from copyright does do that.

> The SFLC and FSF now are harassing companies who are merely using the
> GPL products as is, though, and confusing the situation to no end.

Complying with the GPL is extremely simple. Cut a CD with the source
code on it and ship it with the product. Put the source code on the
web site right next to the binary download. What I find confusing is
how any company doing business would fail to check and comply with
the terms of third-party software which they are copying and shipping.
Their laziness, irresponsibility, or outright deliberate violations
are not problems with the license. The SFLC is not confusing anything,
they are asking that companies who are copying and transmitting
copyrighted code in violation of the license comply with it.

Well they are also trying to extort some money from the violators, too. The only people they are nabbing are the inadvertent violators of the licenses.

My company... If it were a truly free and open situation, such as the MIT license or freeBSD license, I think there
> would be much more sharing.

As has been explained many times, the FSF does not exist for the
advantage of companies. The FSF exists to help provide users with
the four freedoms. To the extent that your company does not want
users to have the four freedoms, the FSF is pleased to hinder it
as much as possible by preventing it from sharing in the advantage
of free software.

Realistically, there isn't anything in the FOSS arsenal that is truely marketable on a licensing basis. They might be preventing some ease of copying a lot of ho-hum code from existing sources and forcing a re-write of a proprietary version of the same thing although Java and .NET system classes have gone a long way to eliminate that need.

Are you saying that I am a greedy sort bent on denying pleasure to the poor, tired, and hungry masses yearning for free stuff? That is hardly the case.

See above. When you distribute software to your users, do you want
them to have the four freedoms? If not, then the FSF does not want
to do anything to help you.

I want my customers to benefit from using my software. They might be able to do something that they couldn't otherwise do at all or else might save a lot of money doing it my way instead of some previous way. In either case it is only fair to ask them to pay some small share of the benefits that they receive in return for my innovation and effort. The FSF, in the guise of Stallman, specifically believes that I somehow owe the world my invention.

I am just sick and tired of the noise surrounding what I think is an unimportant issue.

It is really very simple. GPLed software may be copied and distributed
only under its terms. An organization exists to help enforce compliance.
People with philosophical objections to the GPL ought not to use it.
People with philosophical objections to the GPL who complain that others
ought not to use it or comply with its terms when they do use it are the
source of the noise.

The GPL lures the ignorant and unsophisticated developers into a trap. It is a cancer.

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