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477 comments

Lawyer he may be... (3, Funny)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641219)

But he is also clueless when it comes to the GPL. What a maroon.

Re:Lawyer he may be... (5, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641327)

What a maroon.

Yes, I could see that. He's not red, because he's not a communist. And he's not yellow either, because he's no coward. He's not blue, because he's not sad. He's not green, because he seems to have experience. Yes, I think "maroon" could be a good word for describing him.

Neeeehhh, What's up, Doc? (4, Informative)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641409)

Google: Bugs Bunny maroon

Re:Lawyer he may be... (5, Insightful)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641733)

I disagree. I think this "maroon" isn't really telling people that "Open Source under GPLv3 is Bad" so much as he is telling people "Open Source doesn't mean what you think it means."

This is very evident in his opening paragraph: "Two recent events should give for-profit companies new reasons to re-evaluate the ways in which they use open source software as well as the extent to which they use it."

This is a "heads-up" to let people know that they need to be more careful with how they use other peoples' work. The GPLv3 doesn't change the fact that they should have been more careful before, but it does make abuse more risky. I think this is what Mr. Walsh is trying to point out.

Re:Lawyer he may be... (2, Insightful)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641993)

Seconded.

Any activity that leverages software for business advantage is likely to restrict the software's freedom
I want to hear him explain this one to Google, Amazon, and Ebay- all of whom use Apache.

What a stupid article (1, Insightful)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641257)

I didn't make it past the first three or four paragraphs, but no PHB is going to read further either. Court cases over GPL violation show that you can't use open source software the way you please? If he thought that before he's a moron and probably a sociopath. And the article seems to go on in that vein.

Re:What a stupid article (4, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641475)

Not only that, he goes on to basically color all open source software as GPL3 software later in the article. There is lots of BSD and other licensed software out there basically free for companies to take and use as they wish as long as they abide by simple rules like keeping the attribution.

Re:What a stupid article (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641881)

And it seems that often they can't even be bothered with those simple rules.

Re:What a stupid article (4, Informative)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642023)

Not only that, but he used the settlements of lawsuits from GPLv2 code to demonstrate what GPLv3 is doing to businesses. He also went on to imply that provisions of the Affero GPL were provisions of the GPL itself. Nothing in this article could be described as informed.

It was basically "I heard some things about the new GPL, and that there were some lawsuits about open-source code, so I'm going to write a definitive article explaining all the nuances and traps that businesses should be afraid of."

Re:What a stupid article (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641541)

but no jew is going to read further either

fixed that for you

Re:What a stupid article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641579)

Mod this moron down.

Article Worthless FUD (0, Troll)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641261)

I read the article. In the first paragraph, the author acknowledges that the scope of the article does not include the changes between GPLv2 and v3.

Reading the rest of the article, the author does not seem to understand the basis of the GPL, and he engages in needless scaremongering.

It's a clueless work.

Re:Article Worthless FUD (5, Funny)

myvirtualid (851756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641585)

I read the article.

Did you? Then how do you justify writing

In the first paragraph, the author acknowledges that the scope of the article does not include the changes between GPLv2 and v3.

? When you do RTFA, note the 6th and 7th paragraphs, from which I quote:

Under prior versions of the GPL, it was generally accepted that open source and proprietary software could peacefully coexist.... Under the new version of the GPL, the proprietary characteristics of software that step into the ring with open source software are knocked out.... Changes in the GPL impose other limits on the ability to leverage a proprietary position when open source is involved. Under the new version of the GPL....

Clueless post, more like.

Do I disagree or agree with the article? Doesn't matter. Though I really do like the closing paragraph:

With the new GPL in place, free software advocates seem willing and able to take action. You should make sure that the use of open source software is ready for the challenge.

Re:Article Worthless FUD (4, Insightful)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641647)

Mod parent DOWN. The author is highlighting the fact that GPLv3 is largely incompatible with proprietary software. Furthermore, he offers a prudent warning on patent use with regards to the legal landscape. Regardless of what you think you know the GPLv3 says, nobody knows for sure until a court rules on it. Judges are lawyers. Lawyers are asked all the time "what do you think a judge will say". Lawyers use the same criteria judges do to render an opinion. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong, most of the time the question is never tested. The article is NOT FUD. It is a qualified attempt to quantify risks.

Re:Article Worthless FUD (3, Insightful)

legirons (809082) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641889)

"The author is highlighting the fact that GPLv3 is largely incompatible with proprietary software."

Not really - most of the text seems to be claiming that it's incompatible with commercial use, which is the opposite of most peoples' interpretation.

(this is achieved in the article by suggesting that commercial anything requires placing restrictions on other peoples' software)

There are plenty of clues that this article differs substantially from the plain language of the GPL, for example suggestions that you could be sued for merely using the software (what does freedom 0 say again?)

Re:Article Worthless FUD (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641729)

I have no idea how you got modded insightful.

He talks about things and mentions court cases that have been discusses on /., often with glee, as he stated in his article.

Either you have lied about reading the article, are purposely misconstruing the article, or you have incredibly poor reading comprehension.

That... against Stanistani's FUD (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641925)

So, just because the author views disagree with your's you claim that the raised points are FUD? You should take a bit of a look at the writer's background. I think he is the kind of person who *might* just know about what he is talking about...

Ed's academic credentials include experience as both an Adjunct Professor and Lecturer in electrical engineering at Boston University, where he taught classes in circuit theory and dynamic systems theory. He was a Fellow of the National Science Foundation and has also been a faculty member for both the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education IP Program and Suffolk University Law Schoolâ(TM)s Advanced Legal Studies Program. Ed has taught a Suffolk Advanced Legal Studies course entitled Maximizing Business Value From IP.
However, feel free to point me to a place where shows that "Stanistani" has some kind of law degree and experience in IP law (no, trolling in slashdot stories does not count).

Reading the rest of the article, the author does not seem to understand the basis of the GPL, and he engages in needless scaremongering.

Typical GPL zealot reaction "Oh noes! you don't understand GPL! you are teh suckzorz!!!"

The fact is that the GPL v3 does have its implications and that such implications become treats to any company willing to use software under such license.

The solution to that is just to stop using such programs, or LEARN about the risks that using them exposes. And that is what the paper is about.

Of course, I did not expect such objective reactions from slashdot...

Re:That... against Stanistani's FUD (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642017)

and just before the gp discredits my whole post because I put a ' in your's, let me correct

yours yours yours yours

There.

p.d. Inglés no es mi lengua materna.
ÂGracias!

Re:Article Worthless FUD (1)

Marillion (33728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642077)

I don't think so. This is an article for lawyers. Of course, Intellectual Property is well understood amongst lawyers. However, most lawyers are only acquainted with using IP for commercial advantage. This shouldn't be a surprise because most lawyers work for organisations that seek commercial success. What is surprising is how few lawyers are acquainted with idea that anyone would try to use IP to prevent someone else from abusing their altruism. For lack of a better word, there is "friction" between those who use IP for commercial advantage and those who use IP to prevent commercial advantage. This article seeks to both inform lawyers about open source as well as caution them about potential risks associated with trying to blend these two different IP models.

GPL 3 (-1, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641263)

the GPL 3 license is NOT free software. It significantly restricts CERTAIN people from using it, thus is clearly NOT FREE.

GPL 3 is nothing more than anti corporate licensing, and has significantly diminished us all.

BSD is truly free license, and GPL 2 closely follows. GPL 3 is a huge step backwards, IMHO.

Re:GPL 3 (4, Insightful)

paulbd (118132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641349)

society Foo is NOT free. it significantly restricts the actions of MURDERERS, RAPISTS and CHILD MOLESTERS. thus it is clearly not free. laws are not nothing more than anti freedom licensing, and has significantly diminished all our freedoms. society Bar is a truly free place. it allows anyone to beat anyone else over the head with a cast iron pipe for no reason other than they enjoy doing it. laws that stop people doing what they enjoy is a huge step backwards, IMHO.

Re:GPL 3 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641439)

Are you really that fucked up to compare commercial activity with child molestation ?

GPL is NOT a fucking free license, you know and I know it and most of all, RMS knows it .

BSD is the license if someone is looking for true freedom.

Stop corrupting the true meaning of freedom with your activist orwelian definition of such ...

Re:GPL 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641495)

Would it have helped if he had instead compared it to fudging on your taxes?

Whether you think the analogy is over the top or not has no bearing on its validity.

That and you're being a dick.

Re:GPL 3 (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641837)

I don't think your rant really applies; companies aren't all murders, rapists and child molesters. I would go so far as to say most haven't done any of those things. The GPL isn't functioning as a punishment for violating some law.

As a developer, if I want to use GPLv3 code, I'm restricted, right off the bat, whehter or not I have actually done any "harm" to GPL'ed software. Also, you can look at the GPLv3 as a tool to restrict those that did adhere to the terms of v2, but in ways the writers of v2 hadn't considered or made clear in v2. Essentially, it looks like they threw a hissy fit, even though v2 was being followed to the letter, because someone else didn't do exactly what the FSF wanted (but didn't encode into the license).

specious analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23642061)

violating a copyright is not murder, rape, or child molestation.

learn to think.

Re:GPL 3 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641405)

the GPL 3 license is NOT free software. It significantly restricts CERTAIN people from using it, thus is clearly NOT FREE.

GPL 3 is nothing more than anti corporate licensing, and has significantly diminished us all.

BSD is truly free license, and GPL 2 closely follows. GPL 3 is a huge step backwards, IMHO.
Amen!

Re:GPL 3 (-1, Troll)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641447)

Please kindly take that FUD and shove it right up your ass. The whole point of GPL v3 was to ensure your freedom of software modification to the hardware of which you own that uses GPL v3 code! So, sure yeah corps can use BSD software, but they sure as hell won't give a damn about giving anything back to the community and don't care if you want to make any modifications to it. They'll keep you locked out of it cause it's their Intellectual property and you as a consumer have no rights as far as they're concerned. Also look at it this way you've got some hardware which is getting old, but is still useful. The vendor dropped support and couldn't possibly care less about you unless you purchase their current line of products. Because they used BSD or any other code that uses a license of which doesn't force them to allow you to make personal modifications to your own hardware (that you bought and paid for) you're pretty much screwed on getting anything resolved.

Re:GPL 3 (3, Insightful)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641451)

The article provides a nice explanation. Free is Freedom , but not for users (or second party developers), but for Software. The software is free to be developed without restrictions.
The article also explains the so called anti-corporate stance. The article says that it restricts the ability of companies to provide differentiated solutions, which is correct. As long as the differentiation exists only in software and the hardware is non-unique (even if DRM locked down), GPL will level the playing field. The differentiation has to be in the product, which I think is acceptable and promotes innovation.
BSD is a free license in the sense that its users are free to do what they want, but restricts the freedom of the software to be developed without restrictions.

Restrictions on which "users"? Muddled arguments (3, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641859)

The article provides a nice explanation. Free is Freedom , but not for users (or second party developers), but for Software. The software is free to be developed without restrictions.
< ... snip ... >
BSD is a free license in the sense that its users are free to do what they want

There appears to be a goodly bit of confusion in this discussion about how the word "users" is employed. Some posts include the word to indicate end users, generally the consumers that purchase the end products and use the software included. Other posts seem to include the word to indicate anyone making use of the software, mostly intimating the developers who would leverage the software as part of producing the end product.

The lack of proper distinction here is causing a real absence of clarity in what people mean. AFAICT, there is as-yet little legal precedent in the US backing up any sort of EULA-type "agreement" that restricts how end users can actually use the end products. Corporations are increasingly trying to dictate various limits, but so far I'm not sure that case law really backs this up. As such, *all* end users are essentially free to do what they want with software under *any* license, within the (admittedly obfuscated, and currently imperiled) bounds of copyright.

Meanwhile, for intermediate users such as developers, there are much more cut-and-dried legal definitions for how and what folks can do. I think TFA is dealing mostly with this aspect (though I haven't completely RTFA). Just in terms of basic ethics, which might well be very foreign territory both for the author of TFA and the PHB target audience, most folks can agree that, if you're essentially selling something that belongs to someone else, that someone else has a say in how you go about doing so.

-----

The assumption that anyone can own what are essentially ideas (i.e. book plots, computer code, artistic designs, etc.) is the foundation of the whole concept of intellectual property. If we accept that such ideas can be owned, then we must accept all the rest of the baggage of ownership that goes with this position -- including the stipulation that selling someone else's things as your own, without proper permission, is in violation of property rights.

The GPL in all its various forms simply attempts to define that proper permission. If folks don't like what such permission entails, fine -- bloody well don't use GPL-covered code. They're still completely free to develop their own code that does what they need it to (note that I'm totally ignoring the whole issue of patents, which is plenty of grist for another mill or twenty). Whining about not getting a free ride just makes people look like wankers. Whine, whine, whinge. Meh.

Cheers,

Re:GPL 3 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641455)

Version 3 of the GPL merely adds a few requirements to those of previous versions in order for someone to *distribute* the licensed work. There's no change at all for users. It continues to protect the 4 freedoms, so is clearly a free software license.

Re:GPL 3 (-1, Redundant)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641485)

sucks for you.

Re:GPL 3 (2, Insightful)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641489)

Sometimes to protect the freedom of something, you must restrict the freedom of something else. At least that's the argument I've heard.

Re:GPL 3 (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641843)

Sometimes to make something seem like something it isn't, you have to make an illogical argument and hope the emotions of the listeners can be preyed upon so they will agree with you.

Re:GPL 3 (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641927)

Hmm.. so you can violate my right to privacy or speech or religon, if you say you're doing so to protect my right to live? I think I'd rather do without your "help," thanks.

Re:GPL 3 (1)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642001)

Sometimes is the operative word. I think you would rather society protect your freedom to live, versus you know someone else's right to kill you. These things must be weighed by society.

Re:GPL 3 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641507)

God bless america!

Re:GPL 3 (1, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641513)

Your definition of freedom is curious. By that definition, you value the particular freedom "to take away people's freedom" the most. Sure, you're less free in some twisted sense without that, but I think freedom is only freedom if it is inalienable, thus if you have the right to take away other's freedom, then you're not free anyway, even though more is allowed.

A free software environment that significantly restricts other people from making it less free, that's all is what GPLv2 or v3 is all about. You've missed the point.

Re:GPL 3 (5, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641639)

If I release code under BSD, that code is always under BSD. If someone else releases a new product based on my code, they have to admit it -- but they can keep their code to themselves if they so wish.

I haven't lost anything, because no one took MY code and told me I couldn't use it anymore. Likewise, I didn't *TAKE AWAY* their ability to do what they wanted with THEIR WORK.

No freedom is lost under BSD.

Under GPL, if someone uses my code to do something else, then their code effectively becomes my code as well, and they have to play by my rules. Therefore, I am restricting their ability to access control over their own time and creative works. I have effectively limited the other developer.

"End users" by the definition probably don't give a crap if they can see the code. If they did anything with it, they'd be developers. I don't see how end users lose out either way -- license arguments really only affect other developers. ... not that I'm biased or anything (checks name again)... nope, not biased at all...

Out of curiousity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641757)

If what you say is true: "then their code effectively becomes my code as well" then how do code forks occur?

Seriously, I am confused about this.

Re:Out of curiousity (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641819)

code forks not withstanding...

however, the original developer, and the original branch of the product can still user whatever the forkers created.

I agree that since data can be replicated infinitely that it makes it slightly harder to draw distinctions as to gain and loss, though.

Re:GPL 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641783)

Oh bollocks. If you're going to put software under the BSD license, you might as well throw it into the public domain. At least you'll be more realistic about your chances of getting anything back from people who use your code for their own purposes without contributing anything toward its development.

It always amuses me how advocates of the BSD license always reserve their strongest vitriol for anyone who dares to use BSD-licensed code in a GPL app, thereby preventing changes being rolled back into the original - even though this is exactly what they profess the superiority of the BSD license to be!

Re:GPL 3 (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641867)

It always amuses me how advocates of the BSD license always reserve their strongest vitriol for anyone who dares to use BSD-licensed code in a GPL app, thereby preventing changes being rolled back into the original - even though this is exactly what they profess the superiority of the BSD license to be!


You must be using a different Internet, because I've never seen this argument at all. No one who uses BSD, or Apache, or any of the other truly free licenses cares about getting contributions back. We just think it would be nice, we don't require it. We allow you to use our code as you wish, not as we wish. That's the point.

Re:GPL 3 (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641797)

As mentioned in a previous post, freedom can be bad. If I have the freedom to kill you and steal your wallet without consequence, is that really better? GPL and BSD licenses are both good in certain situations, but they both fail in others. Get over yourself, this isn't a holy war.

Re:GPL 3 (0, Flamebait)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641887)

Using BSD code isn't ANYTHING like killing me and stealing my wallet. It's like me leaving stuff out on my lawn with a sign saying, "Take what you want -- just tell people where you got it."

BSD license is an invitation to take and use. No, this is not a holy war, but the GPL -- especially v3, is by its very nature political to a level of religious zeal equaled only by supporters of Ron Paul or Barak Obama.

Re:GPL 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641821)

"Under GPL, if someone uses my code to do something else, then their code effectively becomes my code as well"

No, it doesn't. It's still their code, and they can do what they wish with it. It's just that if they want to do things the GPL doesn't allow, then they have to stop using your code to help them.

Re:GPL 3 (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641903)

No freedom is lost under BSD.
Under BSD, you're free to make software. Under GPL, you're free to make free software. Under BSD, you're saying: "Do whatever you want with my code, I don't care". Under GPL, you're saying: "Here is this software I've written, you can use and modify it all you want, but if you distribute it, you need to guarantee the same level of freedom to those who receive the software that you have received". BSD thinks in gratis code, GPL thinks in a free software ecosystem.

Users want to develop on the code aswell. Users can be companies, experienced software developers and even regular old Joe, who just wants to have an annoying bug fixed in his favorite software package. The nonexistent distinction between users and developers is exactly the reason why BSD is less free than GPL.

Re:GPL 3 (0, Flamebait)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641555)

Please, BSD is crap, and GPL3 is great.

The lawyer making the post is 100% hype and false information. The only reason they're interviewing a lawyer is thats the only kind of person who can make a false statement and still defend themselves legally. Thus it's called "bending the truth", especially with phrases such as (from the article) "Open source software had its origins in the free software movement. By now, most open source users understand that free refers to freedom, not to price. The new lesson is that the freedom belongs to the software, not to users. You are not free to do whatever you want with the open source software and may find yourself in a legal fight if what you do restricts the freedom of the software."



What part of having the open source software and doing whatever you can with it to benefit your own company is denied? Nothing. It's a matter of distribution. Nothing at all is stopping you from making changes for your own companies use and not giving it to anyone else. If you sell it to someone (thus commercial), then it is an entirely different ballgame.

From the GPLv3 faq: "Do I have "fair use" rights in using the source code of a GPL-covered program? [gnu.org]

        Yes, you do. âoeFair useâ is use that is allowed without any special permission. Since you don't need the developers' permission for such use, you can do it regardless of what the developers said about itâ"in the license or elsewhere, whether that license be the GNU GPL or any other free software license."

Re:GPL 3 (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641975)

What part of having the open source software and doing whatever you can with it to benefit your own company is denied? Nothing. It's a matter of distribution. Nothing at all is stopping you from making changes for your own companies use and not giving it to anyone else. If you sell it to someone (thus commercial), then it is an entirely different ballgame.


The part where the company wants to develop a proprietary system, hardware or software, and sell it. You know, the part that bit TIVO in the ass.

Re:GPL 3 (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641691)

Yep, GPL3 is the kiss of the death for business. Its 100% political, anti-corporate, and reactionary. I have less sway at my job to promote OSS now.

  Richard Stallman is correct though, he doesnt write licenses for business he writes them for ideology. So the big "year of the linux desktop" to compete with MS or Apple will never come because ideology trumps practicality. RMS doesnt mind OSS being shelved to the hobbyist arena. Some people do, but the "mob" has spoken. Such is ideology.

Re:GPL 3 (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641723)

GPL 3 is nothing more than anti corporate licensing, and has significantly diminished us all.


Tell that to frustrated Tivo users. Don't like GPL3 software? Use software with a BSD license. But getting the code and locking it in so that users can't modify THEIR software inside your box, isn't what we could consider "freedom".

You're still thinking commercially. ALL software should be free. The only reason why companies use "secret" software is so that they can implement their proprietary extensions and charge for them.

You know, like the iPhone.

Re:GPL 3 (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641917)

You're missing the overall point - your ideology requires that everyone agree with you, or be compelled to do so. The opposing ideology says "Do as you will, it's your choice."

I don't see how restricting choice (as the GPL attempts to do) is promoting general freedom. It certainly increases the freedom of a certain class of people, namely those knowledgeable enough to make modifications on their own, however it does so at the expense of nearly everyone else on the planet to choose something else.

I'm certainly not going to throw my support behind a group of elitists like that.

Re:GPL 3 (0)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641999)

If all software is free, who will pay the programmers' salaries? How will programmers make a living?

Re:GPL 3 (4, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641761)

From TFA...

the freedom belongs to the software, not to users


It seems the lawyer gets some of it, GPLed software truly is free software.

As far as BSD vs GPL, they are both open source licenses for free software but they both have their restrictions. If you don't consider GPLed software to be free software then BSD licensed software is not free either as there are still restrictions, i.e. you cannot remove copyrights from the code and claim it to be your own.

The BSD license is more acceptable to businesses who see open source as a resource to be harvested but never invested in. The GPL is not and is designed to keep the software free. Does this mean the GPL in any of its forms is "anti corporate licensing"? Absolutely not, it simply enforces the give and take nature of open source, it in no way stops corporations from using the software to enhance their business as long as they are not in the business of leeching free software and attempting to create false monopolies and false supply limitations with the same software.

Really I find the entire anti-GPL fray to be an outlandish waste of time and effort, the GPL is not forced on anyone, if you don't like the license then stop coveting the code, pay the cost and develop your own stinking code.

Re:GPL 3 (3, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641789)

the GPL 3 license is NOT free software. It significantly restricts CERTAIN people from using it, thus is clearly NOT FREE.

It doesn't restrict anyone from USING it.

It prevents 'other people' from RESTRICTING you from using it. If YOU are those 'other people', it prevents you from preventing other people from using it.

BSD is truly free license

Yeah it is, if you are lucky enough to get something BSD licensed. No guarantee that's going to happen even if all the projects it was based on were BSD, it might be all locked up proprietary when you obtain a derivative software.

People who write GPL software want the end users to be able to modify and redistribute the software. That's freedom. And the GPL ensures that goal is met.

What freedom do you get with the 'truly free' BSD? You get the 'freedom' to restrict people further down the line so that they can't modify or redistribute the software. Ever wonder what people 'down the line' think of this truly free BSD software? Oh wait... they didn't get any. By the time the software got to them it wasn't BSD anymore, it wasn't free anymore.

It's crap (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641269)

FTFA:

For example, implementing proprietary features on top of open source utilities to provide a low-cost computer-controlled product ("smart box"), and distributing a program on hardware that blocks execution of modified software, have proven to be contentious issues. Running commercial Web services using open source software without releasing source code has also caused consternation in some quarters.


That right there should tell you what you need to know about the guy's understanding of 1) the technical issues related to GPL software, and 2) the actual legal requirements of the GPL.

Re:It's crap (5, Interesting)

pavera (320634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641391)

As far as the commercial web services part, there are certainly issue in this area that are not clear and are being raised.

The debacle last month with ExtJS proved this. They relicensed under GPLv3 and then began trying to demand money for a commercial license from everyone who used their javascript library in a commercial web site, stating that you cannot use their library in your website under the GPL unless you open source all of the code used to generate your website (html, css, js, and any server side code like PHP, Ruby, or Python).

Many people contacted the FSF over this issue, and the response was pretty much "we don't know the answer to that, the courts haven't decided it, and it would have to be decided on a case by case basis".

In my opinion it is 100% possible that a GPLv3 project will be able to get a court to rule that if you use open source software to power a web site then all of the source code that generates that web site must be open sourced. Again the FSF has NO ANSWER to this question.

Re:It's crap (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641671)

The debacle last month with ExtJS proved this.

ExtJS is a case where people want the developer mindshare of open-source development without actually releasing their code as open-source. They are trying trick after trick to avoid the implications of open-source development. Right now it's a weird interpretation of the GPLv3. Before that it was "we are releasing under the terms of the LGPL, but you aren't allowed to redistribute as LGPL because we aren't offering it as LGPL, just under the terms of the LGPL". Before that it was another trick. This doesn't mean the licenses in question aren't any good, it means they aren't acting in good faith.

Again the FSF has NO ANSWER to this question.

Of course the FSF has no answer to this question. Courts are the final authority when it comes to licenses. The same was true of previous incarnations of the GPL as well. The same is true of every other license. Until there is case law, it's all speculation.

Re:It's crap (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641817)

The ExtJS example is somewhat special because since it is javascript you clearly distribute their software. That's not the case for your database software, or the software you use to generate your HTML pages. However, even if using ExtJS required that you distributed your code under the GPL that's only problematic if you actually distribute the software that runs your web site.

Basically this sort of thing is pretty old hat in the Free Software community. Lots of companies, including MySQL AB and TrollTech, have proffered interpretations of the GPL that are more stringent than what the FSF has said it believes is defensible in court. The purpose of these interpretations has generally been to encourage people doing proprietary development using the vendor's tools from using the GPL version of the tool.

Personally, I don't have a problem with these tactics. If your project has grown to the point where you are concerned that you might get sued for copyright infringement, you probably can afford a commercial license. Alternatively, you can always use someone else's software.

The point is that just because someone at a Free Software vendor says you need a commercial license doesn't necessarily make it true. It's in their best interest to stretch what the GPL requires. Don't expect the FSF to contradict what the commercial Free Software vendors say either. After all, the folks at the FSF would *love* to wake up and find that a court had ruled in ExtJS's favor. That would give the GPL even more power than it currently has, and it would further their goal of making Free Software ubiquitous.

ExtJS was never open source (1)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641951)

It was - and is - a marketing tool by a privately held company [cnet.com] .

Here's the history for those who don't want to follow the link. ExtJS has developed a JavaScript framework. They originally licensed as "LGPL", but with the added proviso that it was only for non-commercial use. Since the whole point of the LGPL is to allow commercial apps to link with it, this made little sense. Now they've gone to GPL3.0, only for non-commercial use, which is a little more honest about their intent.

Apparently some have tried to fork the original "LGPL" code, but since it never has been released without the "no non-commercial apps" restriction, using any forked code in a commercial product is copyright infringement.

This has nothing to do with the GPL3.0 or the LGPL. It has to do with one company, and the restrictions they've put on their licenses.

And so what? They wrote the code. They get to license it.

It's called the GNU Affero General Public License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23642055)

Read all about it [fsf.org] .

Re:It's crap (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642121)

The debacle last month with ExtJS proved this. They relicensed under GPLv3 and then began trying to demand money for a commercial license from everyone who used their javascript library in a commercial web site, stating that you cannot use their library in your website under the GPL unless you open source all of the code used to generate your website (html, css, js, and any server side code like PHP, Ruby, or Python).
That's a brilliant idea on the part of the ExtJS author. Open source you business rules and face angry customers or pay up for a commercial license. Utter genius. And he released it under LGPL first to build up a user base. And he cleverly got people to assign copyright on any submissions to he was the sole copyright holder and could change the license.

Re:It's crap (1)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641497)

I did not understand your concern with those sentences .
The first "smart box" reference is to Tivo, where linux modifications were rendered unusable to rest of the world using DRM. GPLv3 tries to prevent this from happening. The web service reference is to Google which uses modified Free software internally but has not released (all?) of them externally because GPLv2 does not require them to. This was a concern during GPLv3 creation and was debated endlessly. I think saying that it caused "consternation" is correct.
Could you please expand upon your concerns?

Re:It's crap (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641553)

distributing a program on hardware that blocks execution of modified software
That, right there, is pretty much the definition of the GPLv3. To sum up: GPLv3 means that the end-user should be able to execute modified software as though it were the original software.

That's all. The rest of the GPLv3 is just a bunch of (somewhat readable) legalese attempting to prevent loopholes around this. But the idea is the same, and I've no sympathy for a company who can't grasp at least that much.

Re:It's crap (2, Insightful)

Cabriel (803429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641855)

I'm reading the Wikipedia article on the GPLv3 Criticism [wikipedia.org] . It has this to say:

"Whilst the GPL does allow commercial distribution of GPL software, the market price will settle near the price of distribution--near zero--since the purchasers may redistribute the software and its source code for their cost of redistribution. This could be seen to inhibit commercial use of GPL'ed code by others wishing to use that code for proprietary purposes--if they don't wish to avail themselves of GPL'ed code, they will have to re-implement it themselves."

This quote would seem to indicate that the writer of the article is right and understands the actual legal requirements of the GPL.

How is Mr. Walsh wrong, exactly?

Fear mongering (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641273)

What a load of fear mongering bull. News flash: if you don't obey a software license you could get sued. How does that make GPL software any more or less risky than the proprietary alternative?

Look at it this way, if you violate a proprietary license, you get sued and lose a bunch of money. If you violate the GPL, you get sued, and you have the option to settle and open the code, or lose a lot of money. Seems to me the GPL is the less risky option.

Re:Fear mongering (5, Insightful)

Mariner28 (814350) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641435)

What stands out most to me is, after reading up on Ed Walsh's background, that he is extremely biased: His background, before getting his law degree, was in systems and software development. In his narrow view of the world, the only for-profit companies are those that sell proprietary software. Any other "company" is just an end-user of software. So Walmart, Sears, Barnes & Noble, General Motors, Ford - all these companies, which may or may not use Open Source software for internal business use which gives them an edge over their competition - simply aren't for-profit companies.

And the final straw? I had NoScript enabled in Firefox, and when I first went to Law.com to read the article, I got a 404 error message because scripting was blocked. The kicker? Law.com uses Apache Tomcat server - open source software (albeit not GPL). Either Law.com knows better than Mr. Walsh, or is just too cheap to pay for a proprietary web server - can't afford their own dog food, eh?

Re:Fear mongering (2)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641491)

of course, the least-risky options are

a) write your own damned software if you want to be a scrudge about it, or

b) don't violate the license in the first place.

talks of how to escape punishment after getting caught violating the license are about as productive as talks about how to escape punishment after getting caught robbing a bank.

Its best to just not do it in the first place.

Re:Fear mongering (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641813)

What you forget is that one can license proprietary software and keep one's code closed.

The whole point of the article, which you completely managed to miss, is that if one uses GPLv3 software, one may very well have to open up one's code and hardware, which might result in loosing a lot of money.

The reason the GPLv3 seems less risky to you is because you are not trying to sell software and hardware that uses it.

ROFL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641275)

ROFL

FailZors$.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641397)

short of a miracle new core Is going They're gone Mac These early of Its core Tossers, went out

Base premise is wrong (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641411)

The GPL definitely has no problem with people using software to generate wealth.

Re:Base premise is wrong (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642063)

While true in theory, in practice its kind of wrong, since the GPL pretty much ensures that the normal business models used for software no longer work.

Conceptually Accurate (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641441)

While many posters might quibble about the technicalities of the article, does anyone really quibble about the spirit?

Open source software is at adds with making a profit off of software. It just is. If the spirit of the Open source license is to make sure that the software and the derived works are free, then, it has to be free.

Even if the GPLv3 does nothing to compel web sites who hide their sources behind their pages, to open up, it was considered and it is ultimately coming down the pike from the FOSS community. Even if the GPLV3 does nothing to prevent someone from making a closed application on Linux, such activities are at odds with the spirit of the FOSS community and again, such restrictions are coming.

So the author's central warning is entirely accurate, even if his anecdotal evidence fails to match on some autistic level of detail.

There IS a business risk in investing in open source systems. Businesses invest in property, and if software is not property, or, what you invest in is made to be not property, then, in the sense that a business can earn an advantage and a return off of it, then, why should they invest in it?

Re:Conceptually Accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23641535)

What a heap of bullshit. I sincerely ask you to provide proof for your lame, inane and libelous claims.

Re:Conceptually Accurate (5, Interesting)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641689)

Horsepuckey. OSS is all about protecting and creating wealth and making gobs of money.

I spent 2 years building an embedded panel. We could have bought some proprietary software and gone on from there. Instead we used linux, elinks, and some open source libs. We also used open hardware, and even sponsored the development of additional hardware. All of that allowed us to bring a full-fledged completely industry standard control panel that's ethernet enabled, has an industry standard web server built in, is easily field modifiable, and, best of all, has no license fees. Our competition uses proprietary technology. They have a 300 baud serial connection. We have wifi, 100 mbit ethernet, and web connectivity - all for about the same investment up front, with about the same hardware costs, and we pay no royalties.

Who has the market advantage?

Re:Conceptually Accurate (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641709)

I think you need a lesson in supply and demand.

you write the software once and can sell a billion copies with no overhead costs to you. Do you think dell or apple can sell a million computers without buying a million computer cases? if everyone was a millionare how much would a loaf of bread cost?

Software by it's very nature means unlimited supply of the product thus making it worthless. Novell, IBM, Red Hat, etc are making Billions by not selling software, but by selling the service, and customization of said software for particular needs.

Software doesn't follow standard economic rules of supply and demand. Stop trying to pretend that it does.

Re:Conceptually Accurate (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641963)

I guess all the money Microsoft has doesn't actually exist.

In other words, stop trying to pretend like your way is the only one that works.

Re:Conceptually Accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23642081)

While that is true in a timeframe burst, software does lose value over time. I can sell unlimited copies of a single build of a piece of software right now at little to no overhead, there is a cost for maintaining the perceived value to the market through continued investment of brainpower. The raw material cost of software is the cost of clearing bugs and maintaining the market status quo.

Software doesn't follow the standard economic rules of a service either because services like auto-repair, cleaning your chimney, et al, do not devalue in the public eye over time. Say you have the licence to an early 80s era word processor, if you could distribute it at no cost to society at all who would use it for free rather than pay for it? How many would pay you a small nominal upfront fee, or a fee to fix bugs they discover over time? How much has an oil change devalued over your lifetime, or just the lifetime of your car?

Re:Conceptually Accurate (1)

Jor-Al (1298017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642019)

There IS a business risk in investing in open source systems. Businesses invest in property, and if software is not property, or, what you invest in is made to be not property, then, in the sense that a business can earn an advantage and a return off of it, then, why should they invest in it?
I agree. It's not like we see companies like IBM, Sony, HP, Sun, Dell, etc investing billions of dollars in open source software and systems. Oh wait, you mean they do?

I've said this all along. (2, Insightful)

jskline (301574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641479)

It's another greedy lawyer. His real interest is in covering big business and ways to make sure this "OSS"is made incompatible with current patent law. Ultimately I'm sure he's got lobbyists in Washington pushing to get legislators to want to regulate open source anything and maybe even make it illegal.

Just another damned greedy lawyer voicing is woes at OSS.

FUD and more FUD (5, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641487)

This is obviously written from the perspective of "anti-free software."

"The new lesson is that the freedom belongs to the software, not to users." This is SO bogus and mis characterizes the whole point of the new GPL. The "freedom" is absolutely for the users, especially the end users. The restrictions quoted in the article have nothing to do with users, but everything to do with ISVs taking GPL software and screwing the users.

"Changes in the GPL impose other limits on the ability to leverage a proprietary position when open source is involved."

This is true, so, write it for yourselves then. Don't think you can capitalize on someone else's work and deny then the ability to capitalize on your modifications to their software, that isn't very fair.

I don't get what the issue is. If you want to develop closed source software, then so be it, however, don't take other's GPL code and try to close that off, that's theft. How hard is it for the reptilian lawyer brain to understand this very simple concept.

We even say what is needed to comply. But NOOO, they have to keep up with the FUD.

Last little bit:

"Edmund J. Walsh is a shareholder and a member of the electrical and computer technologies and the IP transactions groups at Wolf Greenfield."

Ahh, now I understand!

Re:FUD and more FUD (1)

midicase (902333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642075)

"Edmund J. Walsh is a shareholder and a member of the electrical and computer technologies and the IP transactions groups at Wolf Greenfield." Ahh, now I understand!
Apparently Wolf Greenfield has even done some patent filing for Microsoft: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/70199000.html [freepatentsonline.com]

Bad assumptions (5, Insightful)

Brett Smith (1081153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641565)

This article is confused and makes all sorts of horrible assumptions. In short, the author seems to believe that the only way people make money off free software by adding "differentiating" proprietary software to it. Since the whole point of the GPL is to prevent people from making the software under its purview non-free, it shouldn't really be surprising, then, that the author finds it a huge pain in the neck. Personally, I'd say the license is a success, and I suspect a lot of the companies making money from GPLed software would agree with me.

-- Brett Smith, License Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation

misleading (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641589)

What a lousy, misleading article. He makes it clear upfront that he's talking about two separate things, but then he goes on to mix them together indiscriminately throughout the rest of the article. (1) If you build your business on GPL 2 software, you'd better read the GPL 2. People who don't are getting sued. (2) GPL 3 is different from GPL 2, and may be incompatible with some business models that GPL 2 is compatible with.

Re #1: Duh. Don't agree to a license without making sure you can abide by the license. Re #2: Similar duh, and it's relatively inconsequential because very little software is under GPL 3 so far. (The typical PHB reading this is probably not going to understand that GPL 2 doesn't automatically update GPL 3, but the article could easily leave you with the impression that it does.)

With the filing of court documents, a philosophical debate about the proper place for software in society has become a business dispute with the risk of substantial consequences.
Well, no, it's not a risk. A risk refers to something you can't predict. If you agree to a license and then violate the license, that's not a risk, that's intentionally shooting yourself in the foot.

For-profit companies using open source software should take notice
He talks about "for-profit" like this all through the article. That's stupid. The GPL doesn't discriminate between for-profit and not-for-profit use. Of course the people getting sued are all for-profit companies. Is this a surprise? A nonprofit probably wouldn't have any motivation to violate the GPL, and anyhow you don't usually pick people to sue who don't have money.

The new lesson is that the freedom belongs to the software, not to users. You are not free to do whatever you want with the open source software and may find yourself in a legal fight if what you do restricts the freedom of the software.
Huh? This is idiotic. Software doesn't have human rights. The GPL also doesn't place any restrictions on how software is used. In fact, you can use GPL'd sofwtware without even agreeing to the license. You only have to agree to the GPL if you want to modify the software and then redistribute it.

Any activity that leverages software for business advantage is likely to restrict the software's freedom
Hmm...say Joe's Garage uses Firefox and OpenOffice. Can anyone explain why that's likely to "restrict the software's freedom?" Or say Barnes and Noble runs Linux on their servers. Does that mean they're "likely to restrict the software's freedom?" What he really means is that if you try to violate the GPL by making OSS into proprietary software, you've got a problem. That's a lot narrower than "leveraging software for business advantage."

and the growing use of open source software by for-profit companies has been a growing irritant for free software advocates.
Oh, God, it just gets dumber and dumber. The OSS community wants users. Everyone I know in the OSS community is typically overjoyed that IBM got on the Linux bandwagon. They're happy that Google is generally OSS-friendly. They love it that more and more OEMs are offering machines with Linux preinstalled.

Re:misleading (2, Insightful)

doctorcisco (815096) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641875)

It's not nearly as biased or misleading as many of the Slashdot crowd want to say it is.

With the filing of court documents, a philosophical debate about the proper place for software in society has become a business dispute with the risk of substantial consequences. He's right about this. If I use ExtJS, am I required to either buy a license or open source my entire website? Yes or no? If I modify but do not distribute GPL3 software, must I release my modifications? Yes or no?

And the real kicker: If I have software patents, and want to be able to enforce them, can I legally use any GPL3 software at all? Yes or no?

These are all risks one must consider before using GPL3 software. Which source code must I release? FSF isn't sure the ExtJS people are wrong that using their stuff touches ALL the code that has ANYTHING to do with my website. So if I use GPL3 stuff on my web server, I could get sued for not releasing proprietary stuff I've developed to make that website work. Guess what -- getting sued is a risk, no matter which way the verdict goes.

GPL3 ain't all that simple, and it ain't all that clear, at the edges. Which source code must I redistribute, and what can I keep to myself? If the FSF can't say, then it's not clear. If I own software patents, can I enforce any of them against a potential Open Source violation of those patents after using any GPL3 software in my business? Probably not. Both of those are pretty big risks to a fair number of businesses.

doc

Re:misleading (1)

Lumenary7204 (706407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642047)

Not to mention this (article single brackets, license double brackets):

>"Companies are also required by the new GPL to license to others all
>patents they own or control related to open source software, even those
>not related to code they add to open source software..."

Wrong. The license mandates that *if* you distribute a work under GPLv3 that is covered by patents that you own, then you must license to everyone the use of the method covered by the patent, on a royalty-free basis (excerpted from the v3 license):

>>When you distribute a covered work, you grant a patent license to the
>>recipient, and to anyone that receives any version of the work,
>>permitting, for any and all versions of the covered work, all activities
>>allowed or contemplated by this License, such as installing, running and
>>distributing versions of the work, and using their output. ...

>"... and even if they did not own the patents at the time they
>distributed the open source software."

Wrong again. The v3 license clearly specifies that the company must only license patents that it owns. If I distribute code under GPLv3 which is already covered by someone else's patent, then I have no authority to release the code in the first place. From the v3 license:

>>... This patent license is nonexclusive, royalty-free and
>>worldwide, and covers all patent claims you control or have
>>the right to sublicense, at the time you distribute the covered
>>work or in the future, that would be infringed or violated by
>>the covered work or any reasonably contemplated use of the
>>covered work.

Re:misleading (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642059)

You miss the mark on a lot of points. I'm just going to pick one:

The GPL also doesn't place any restrictions on how software is used.

GPLv3 most assuredly DOES place restrictions on how you can use the software.

The author is completely correct in his assertion that the GPLv3 is about the software, not the end user. RMS has shouted this very point from the rooftops for decades; only now is it more severely codified in GPLv3.

This article is aimed and business managers, not OSS faithful, or non-profit foundations. Business decision makers are the ones most likely, hell, most motivated, to realize the savings of an OSS project and extend it to their own purposes. In GPLv2, this was absolutely fine until you distributed the software. The loophole is closed in GPLv3. I believe it is closed in ways not intended by Mr. Moglen and company.

The Tivo clause and patent restrictions are proof enough of the severe nature of GPLv3.

Make no mistake, GPLv3 is all about the software, not users, developers, or pink gorillas.

FUD (1)

Klync (152475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641661)

I stopped reading at "... new risks in the irreconcilable conflict between open source software and its widespread use by for-profit companies."

There are people out there who know law *and* understand reality. I can't say much about the author's relation to the former, but on the latter count... Waste of my time.

Look at the bile flowing here (2, Insightful)

endeavour31 (640795) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641707)

A corporate attorney states that businesses which could do certain things under GPL2 cannot do these same things under GPL3 and look at the venom spew. Why all the fuss? He is entirely correct from a legal standpoint to warn business of litigation risk under a clearly more restrictive license.

Business adoption of OS has in the past been facilitated by working around the GPL2 restrictions. How the hell do you build a business advantage over a competitor when you are forced to divulge your developments to everybody?

A previous poster correctly noted that business will be forced to develop everything themselves - or use alternatives which make business sense. How amazing it is when what was a hobby for people becomes mired in profit. This begs a question: will GPL3 ruin open source development in the business world? If they cannot use or protect innovation why would business work in this space?

Is GPL3 a dead end scenario where only the only development is done by hobbyists and business never develop in it? Linux would not be where it is today without business support - IBM for example - so you pay a price for guaranteeing the software itself over all else.

I am sure it is worth it to some.

Author may actually understand.... (3, Interesting)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641715)

From the article:
By now, most open source users understand that free refers to freedom, not to price. The new lesson is that the freedom belongs to the software, not to users. You are not free to do whatever you want with the open source software and may find yourself in a legal fight if what you do restricts the freedom of the software.

I disagree with several statements that the author doesn't understand the GPL. While the article does tend toward "scaremongering" I think the author has a pretty fair understanding and is looking forward from a legal point of view and he's a tad nervous about what he sees as potential areas of conflict.

Re:Author may actually understand.... (3, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641853)

I read it exactly as you did. The author understands the GPL, and its implications, quite well. Trouble is, most FOSS advocates are wilfully blind to those implications, having never run a business that's large enough to have to worry about legal threats.

If I were a PHB, this article alone would be enough to scare me off GPL'd software -- because I would interpret this as a potential threat of unknown magnitude. Remember the average PHB isn't going to distinguish between GPL2 and GPL3, either. A lawsuit against a GPL3 violator WILL be perceived as a lawsuit against ALL companies that use GPL'd software, regardless of which license version. And in at corporate management levels, the perception is what counts.

Re:Author may actually understand.... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641977)

Shhh, let the zealots scream and whine about things they don't understand. It's so much easier than thinking critically about the issues.

Re:Author may actually understand.... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642015)

The new lesson is that the freedom belongs to the software, not to users.
I think the author has a pretty fair understanding...

I think the author is intentionally misleading. The freedom is for the users... not the developers. That is to say, OSS benefits the users of software, not the developers. Anyone developing that GPL code is restricted in a way that continues to benefit the users.

The problem this person has is they are characterizing the developers of software as "users" of that code and the only use for code is to extract money from people in exchange for being able to run it. I don't believe this misuse of terms is unintentional either.

Re:Author may actually understand.... (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642111)

I wish I had mod points. Lawyers are advocates for their clients. Any lawyer worth their salt is going to try and anticipate those areas of the law that may cause problems for their clients in the future.

crying over presents (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641785)

Anyone else feel like the pooooor proprietary software companies are the equivalent of someone complaining about his birthday presents?

Hey, nobody forces you to use it, you know? You can write your own if you don't like the GPL. Different from patents, the GPL doesn't prevent you from coming up with the exact same thing, on your own time and expense.

Re:crying over presents (2, Insightful)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23642097)

I believe that is the exact point the article is trying to make. Businesses may be too keen to think "hey its free! lets use it" without considering the future ramifications that their decisions may have.

Definition of risk (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641823)

Risk to the vendor is defined as the amount of power their customers are going to have over them.

FUD but well founded FUD... (3, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641909)

This article is FUD, but it is actually well founded FUD.

EG, the GPLv3 is specifically designed to limit the "set top box" model, as the provider can no longer treat it as a sealed appliance if GPLv3 code is involved (the anti-TiVo clause).

The GPLv3's patent liscence clause is deliberately broad:
A contributor's essential patent claims are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version. For purposes of this definition, control includes the right to grant patent sublicenses in a manner consistent with the requirements of this License.

Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.

Likewise, the recent lawsuits have made it clear that the FSF crowd has grown more willing to carry the GPL into court, and as another poster mentioned, there is the ExtJS's use of the GPL: Since the Javascript gets into the final product (the page), you can argue that by using ExtJS, your web site page, as rendered, is now GLPv3, the same problem Bison used to have before they changed it from being pure GPL, not to mention the attempt to "atheroize" the GPL because of the "googleization" problem.

I don't see the problem (3, Insightful)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641981)

If a company wants to use software released under the GPL in their own products, hadn't they better understand the licence terms before they start doing anything? What would happen if Microsoft caught Adobe using Excel in parts of Photoshop?(1)


As I see it the creators of some software relesase this software under the GPL, which grants you certain liberties you would not have if the software were released under a more classic closed source commercial licence (think Microsoft/Adobe/Apple...). I think that if you are to use the work of the original creators you should abide by their wishes/terms. If you won't/can't then dont use their work and create your own software doing the same function.

As far as I am concerned, this is a non-issue: it doesn't matter what licence software is released with, you need to understand that licence before using the software in you own products, if at all! The difference between commercial licence and GPL is that the GPL gives you more freedom from the start, while placing certain limits on how much secrecy you can 'afford your products.

1: not likely to ever happen, but play with the thought.

I'd rephrase the conflict (3, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23641987)

..the irreconcilable conflict between open source software and its widespread use by for-profit companies.

I'd rephrase that as ".. the irreconcilable conflict between users and those who wish to limit the maintenance options available to those users."

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