Re: Documentation Standards was Re: [ox-en] UserLinux
- From: "Niall Douglas" <s_fsfeurope2 nedprod.com>
- Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 03:14:51 -0000
On 8 Dec 2003 at 21:10, Russell McOrmond wrote:
You are confusing a freedom with a business model. It needs to be
understood that collecting royalty payments is simply one business
model among many, and for software it is a poor business model.
There is nothing in the GPL that says you cannot commercialise the
software, and all the commercial companies working with GPL software
including my own is proof of that. What you can't do is charge
royalty fees on the software, and can't take rights away from your
customers that were granted to you.
Companies producing GPL software are a tiny fraction of overall
production. I would expect that BSD/MIT production by commercial
entities is far bigger.
The majority of all software production is for bespoke solutions -
yet very rarely will they use a GPL library though in fact releasing
the source would cause no harm as a bespoke solution is part of a
much larger solution and thus won't hurt the company's position.
There's a reason for that, it's because most bespoke solutions
generate their real profit through supporting it. A company with the
development contract wants the support contract and so will tend to
keep as much secret as possible to ensure they get it even though it
wouldn't make any difference. Since programmers are rarely CEO's,
this mentality won't change.
Meanwhile, all those companies duplicate functionality which has been
written thousands of times before. When I think of "free software",
the biggest most important characteristic is that we eliminate this
inefficiency. The GPL creates that, therefore if for no other reason
the GPL is broken.
You charging a royalty fee for my work is an infringement of my
creative rights that is in many ways far worse than simple
non-payment forms of copyright infringement. This is why I very
deliberately use copyleft licenses for software where I am the
originator of the project. I will sometimes not contribute to
existing projects because of non-copyleft licenses like the BSD/MIT
license, and run Linux over BSD largely because of the use of the
GPL over BSD license.
The true engineer uses the right combination of tools of all those
available. I endeavour to use any language, OS or provider to achieve
the best solution possible though obviously, I have personal
To not do so produces substantially inferior work. You should
seriously question how good your programming can ever possibly be
with those attitudes.