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6 Reasons To License Software Under the (A/L)GPL

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the do-not-remove-this-tag dept.

Programming 367

Henry V .009 writes with a link to Zed Shaw's "newest rant," which gives a cogent description of his reasons for choosing the not-always-popular GPL for his own code: "Honestly, how many of you people who use open source tell your boss what you're using? How many of you tell investors that your entire operation is based on something one guy wrote in a few months? How many of you out there go to management and say, 'Hey, you know there's this guy Zed who wrote the software I'm using, why don't we hire him as a consultant?' You don't. None of you. You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it. You don't give out any credit, and in fact, I've ran into a vast majority of you who constantly try to say that I can't code as a way of covering your ass."

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Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690899)

Frost byte

Get a job, you hippie! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690903)

Nothing more to say.

wow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28690907)

Can I get my random blog on the front page of Slashdot?

(Of course, if my name were Bennett Haselton, I could just use the front page of Slashdot as my blog.)

Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690911)

Zed, man, we gotta talk. Your site has changed since Slashdot last led me to it [slashdot.org] . Back then I thought it was black and had huge scrawled letters over the top of it that said "Zed's So Fucking Awesome!" So what happened to ZSFA? Also, now when I click that link you seemed to have replaced [zedshaw.com] your badass rant against people with an apologetic explanation of your "parody" and you won't grant poermission to publish it? That's a shame I quoted the best part [slashdot.org] on the Slashdot story.

What happened to you, man? You used to be cool! Where's all the in your face swearing and abrasiveness? You used to be hardcore! Your 'music' is so alive with raw power but now your site is somehow more respectable.

And now in your latest rant you're complaining that by writing Mongrel you weren't given a consulting job? You weren't handed a company to destroy? Well, way to stick it to the man, my friend. You seem to enjoy bashing the hell out of developers trying to get a job done for not standing up and screaming "Zed's So Fucking Awesome" but now you are complaining that didn't win you a job.

You, are a great software developer. Much better than I in all probability. You are a complete and utter asshole in nearly every other respect (yes, even in your music) and it should come as no surprise that you cannot land a job on a team. I would not pay money for your projects since I don't use them but I will send you $20 to stay in a hole, write software and restrict yourself from communicating with the outside world. Really, the world would be a better place.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691003)

Hey - don't forget that he's a boxer and could kick your ass, too.

Presumes a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691971)

a) that eldavojohn isn't
b) that the laws against assault with a deadly weapon do not apply (professional boxers hands are deadly weapons in the eyes of the law)
c) that you can't just beat his whiney ass anyway.

Seriously on (c). I have NO TRAINING yet I've managed in a "friendly" fight to beat a brown belt. After the first few failures (overconfidence cost him those), he started playing to win. And still lost.

Re:Presumes a lot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692053)

Nice try. No one's hands are deadly weapons in any state. Get your facts right.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (4, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691021)

Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691489)

Haha nice, one of the best movies ever.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692071)

How many of you out there go to management and say, 'Hey, you know there's this guy Zed who wrote the software I'm using, why don't we hire him as a consultant?' You don't. None of you. You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it. You don't give out any credit, and in fact, I've ran into a vast majority of you who constantly try to say that I can't code as a way of covering your ass."

Boss: Who's stuff is this?
You: It's code, baby.
Boss: Who's code is this?
You: Zed's.
Boss: Who's Zed?
You: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.

(Ref.) [youtube.com]

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692325)

It's not code baby, it's a library.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (0)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691041)

I will send you $20 to stay in a hole, write software and restrict yourself from communicating with the outside world. Really, the world would be a better place.

Wow, that's a bit harsh. Who's the asshole again?...

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691121)

That's a sweet handle you have there. Don't worry that your UID is so high that you had to have been born in the late 90s to miss the boat by that much. Don't worry that you come across as an arrogant little shitbagger before even getting to your post. Say, if I wanted to send mail to Zed, can you reach up from your position between his legs and just hand it to him?

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (4, Interesting)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691071)

Oh my god, this is THAT loser?

Zed Shaw convinced me I never wanted anything to do with open source development. That very rant you just linked helped me decide it was better to use what was available then fuck off leaving open source in the dust. I concluded if you don't have complete, absolute control over your project then the Zed Shaws of the world are going to take all of your successes and mar them with whiny drama antics.

Slashdot does itself a great disservice publishing this sort of story. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Sometimes, no matter how bad you think a whiner is, he has supporters who want to keep hearing him whine.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691737)

Let me tell you a little secret. Proprietary software developers are just as big assholes.

Sometimes even worse, because sociopathic bosses and the economy make their contribution as well.

In the closed source world you almost never have complete control of your project. What happens if the OS, language, or vital module of your project is dropped by the maker? If you work on .NET for instance, then one day it could be abandoned, to be replaced by something newer and shinier. In comparison, C and Perl are ancient and aren't going anywhere.

Re:Awww, What Happened to Badass Zed? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691089)

You forgot to repeatedly mention, and link to, his new project.

Nobody hired you? (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691157)

Have you ever stopped to think that if you have fantastic technical skills and nobody will hire you, perhaps it isn't your technical skills that need work?

Re:Nobody hired you? (4, Interesting)

k10quaint (1344115) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691437)

Have you ever stopped to think that if you have fantastic technical skills and nobody will hire you, perhaps it isn't your technical skills that need work?

^^^there isn't enough bolt font in the world to give this quote it's due attention

Dear Mr Z,
My boss knows exactly what software we use in our product. So does our legal department. So does IT, because they make all the source code in it available. Investors know what powers the company as well, in fact the CEO probably brags to them about the companies extensive use of open source (like Oracle, IBM, and Google).

Mathematicians are plagiarists. We copy theories and proofs all the time. Welcome to the universe.

And I used to think that all open source developers were selfless. BOY WAS I A MORON.

Re:Nobody hired you? (5, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691787)

Actually, having met Zed once, I was surprised at how personable the guy was--I'd be surprised if there was a group he couldn't work with. I chalked it up to the Maddox Effect: Maddox [xmission.com] writes as a bombastic douchebag, but is a pretty shy and soft-spoken dude in person.

This seems to be a fairly common problem (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692037)

Tech types that think they are god and this means that they shouldn't have to be nice to anyone. No, sorry, not how it works. While there are some very few jobs where you don't have to deal with other people at all, there are extremely rare. For the most part, any job involved people skills. This is particularly true in the case of tech jobs. In every tech job, you are customer support to some extent or another. It may be supporting people internally only, but it is still support and thus people skills still matter.

Now great tech skills can make up for an attitude to some extent. People are often willing to put up with some shit from someone if that someone does good work. However, at some point, it doesn't matter. If you are just a caustic asshole, it doesn't matter how good you are, they'll decide they can find someone else to do the job who isn't such a problem.

I'm not saying it is easy, I certainly am not the master of people skills, but it is something to be conscious of and work on, rather than feeling like you shouldn't have to.

Don't bust on my excuse. (4, Funny)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690935)

I can't code is my excuse! Don't go messing that up for me! I have a good thing going.

Not really for that (5, Interesting)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28690997)

Licensing as BSD, MIT or Creative Commons Attribution is as much valid as a way to get recognition for your work as licensing as GPL. The only thing the later adds is that not only your work can be freely (as in the 4 freedoms) distributed but also the improvements on your work must also be.

If recognition is all you want, by all means, just choose any attribution license. If having your work used by the most people is more important, use a BSD style one. Now, if your goal is to assure that your code will be always free, use GPL, LGPL or AGPL.

Re:Not really for that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691257)

Now, if your goal is to assure that your code will be always free, use GPL, LGPL or AGPL.

Your code may be free, but you can hold your breath and see your efforts being duplicated by someone using a more permissive license.
Thus, rendering your code irrelevant, eventually.

Also, if your boss allows you to write open source code, you might want to pick a more permissive license, so that you can freely use your own code once you leave the company.

Re:Not really for that (5, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691659)

I guess I have some 30 seconds now before heavy airborne objects thrown by the GPL and BSD advocates bring this thread into a total mayhem, but I'll try to make an unorthodox argument there, anyway.

IMHO, both GPL-like and BSD-like licenses protect the freedom equally. The question is, whose freedom it is. Roughly speaking, GPL protects the freedoms of users by restricting the coders, while BSD protects the freedom of the coders, which might result in restricting the rights of the users. Which is more important, that's a whole new problem, but it's not about one license being "better" than the other.

Another, no less interesting way of looking at the problem is asking who do we exactly mean by the "users" of the code - the people "using" the resulting binary, or the people taking the code and "using" it to create new code? Or maybe both? This question alone puts the issue in a new light, and it's not an obvious one.

Many times I've seen people fighting over the GPL/BSD issue here and not ever once they agreed beforehand what do they mean by "users", "freedom", "better", etc. - heavy object throwing took over.

Re:Not really for that (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691855)

Quite -- the author even cites "being able to license your code how you like" as a basic right of programmers... And yet, what the GPL does is tells the people who contribute code back how they must license *their* code.

The GPL isn't telling them squat (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692013)

They told themselves by taking this GPL'd code and reading the license (that allows them to take the code) and agreeing that their code should be licensed under the GPL too.

If you take the lines wholly copyrighted by you and put then in another project, YOU CAN.

The GPL isn't telling you how to license your code. It's telling you the terms if making a derived work from others' code.

Re:Not really for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692097)

Nobody is forced to contribute to a GPL project, thus nobody is forced to GPL their code.

Re:Not really for that (0, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692033)

If you want to ensure your code is always free you don't use *GPL.

GPL isn't about your code, its about you wanting other people to comply with your idea of freedom by restricting them.

BSD licensed code will always be free, and I wish douche bags like yourself would stop implying that it can somehow be made 'not free'.

Just because someone can use your code in a closed source project doesn't make your code any less free. They don't get ownership of the copyright. They can't make anyone else stop using it. All they can do is make THEIR PORTION OF THE CODE not-free.

Stop acting like *GPL is more free than a BSD license. It is less free, intentionally. It adds restrictions to ensure that everyone has to contribute back to the pot. Thats roughly the same as saying 'Get a years worth of gasoline for free!!! (when you buy this new car from us)'.

Thats not free, thats a scam. You are continuing the scam.

GPL isn't the problem here, its a very valid and useful license, but douche bags like yourself are twisting it and manipulating it into something its not for your own wishes.

Use BSD/MIT if you want attribution for your work and you just want to give people something to use anywhere. Use GPL if you are more concerned with making sure no one builds an entirely new product based around/using your code without giving back to the community.

The two licenses serve different purposes and can serve them well, but using one to push your agenda by propagating falsehoods about how one is 'more free' than the other is wrong, especially when you have it backwards be pretty much every possible definition.

If you want your code to be 'free' as in 'libre' you use BSD/MIT. If you want to make sure someone doesn't just swallow your code and take all of your work and contribute nothing back then you use GPL with its added restrictions.

Money quote (4, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691033)

But the days of quick-flip corporations and ingrate programmers making money on my software are over. My new motto is:

        Open source to open source, corporation to corporation.

If you do open source, youâ(TM)re my hero and I support you. If youâ(TM)re a corporation, letâ(TM)s talk business.

A very sensible position, IMHO. Dual-licensing always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

Re:Money quote (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691479)

Dual licensing is like dual booting or being bisexual. If you look at dual license (open/closed) projects, every on uses the GPL as a tool to encourage closed source usage. I don't know about you, but I'll stick with the vagina, thanks.

Re:Money quote (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691513)

The problem with dual-licensing is that it practically kills reciprocation: If you use the open license, you can't contribute back, because then the merged code base can no longer be dual-licensed, unless you do what the original author just rejected: Allow someone else to make money on your work while you get nothing. Big projects often require that you sign over your rights to patches or they won't consider them for inclusion. It's a form of "do as I say, not as I do."

Re:Money quote (0, Flamebait)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691561)

Standard quotation marks always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

OSS 101 (4, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691569)

Dual-licensing always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

This cannot be emphasized enough.

Businesses have money. Their sole purpose is to make it and not use it. If you give them the option to not use it, they will gladly accept. But if you don't give them that option, they will gladly pay, if what you are offering is worth the price.

Nothing is personal about a business, and it seems many GPL programmers expect some transaction on some personal level, like an IOU or something. But if you take the money element out of a business transaction, there is no human element left. Unless the law requires it, they owe you nothing, and they have better things to do than console you.

If you don't dual license your OSS, then you are not interested in making money. You are making it clear, and you cannot expect anything in return. If you do dual license, then you are asking for money from those who make it. They will review your value proposition, and either accept, or go to a competitor.

Make your intentions clear with the licenses you choose, not with your mouth or your blog.

It is that cut and dry. There really isn't much to rant about.

Re:OSS 101 (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691813)

If you do dual-license your OSS, you just made it damn impossible for anyone to contribute back.

Ain't that a bitch?

Re:OSS 101 (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692167)

If you do dual-license your OSS, you just made it damn impossible for anyone to contribute back.

Not necessarily. You can just pay them for any of their code you want to integrate. Given that you are going to make money off of it (through the non-OSS license), it's only fair if you give the contributors their share, isn't it?

agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691035)

I could not agree more...

The BSD, MIT licenses (even if more open) are for mugs who end up having their code "stolen" !
By this I mean that some half-witted asshat will grab the source tree, make some minor changes to it and then resell it as his own work.

Pretty idiotic and frustrating for the developer who put in all the work and ends up as a unwanting slave who receives no credit and no monetary reward...

Just my 2c.

Re:agreed (1)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691189)

You don't even need to change it to resell it. That's how the license works.

I guess all the guys releasing code under the BSD license are slobbering idiots who can only benefit from your mighty opinion. It's too bad they didn't think the situation out as well as you did.

Re:agreed (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691205)

I could not agree more...

The BSD, MIT licenses (even if more open) are for mugs who end up having their code "stolen" !
By this I mean that some half-witted asshat will grab the source tree, make some minor changes to it and then resell it as his own work.

FUD less. Both the MIT and BSD licenses are "Attribution required" licenses. If the guys is passing it off as his own work and not giving you credit (as opposed to money), he's breaking the license.

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692261)

I don't think the guy selling your software cares that your name is on it.

Re:agreed (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692319)

And if my software is under the BSD license, I obviously don't care that he's selling it. If the buyer cares, that's between him and the seller.

The original assertion that he can legally "resell it as his own work" is plain FUD.

Re:agreed (1)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691303)

Yeah, if only those BSD and MIT licenses would somehow protect the credit of the authors. I don't know. Maybe they could have a condition saying something like: redistribution must reproduce the copyright notices. If only...

Not that simple (1)

pem (1013437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691465)

I didn't particularly like the rant, but those licenses (except for old 4 clause BSD) DON'T have such a thing, UNLESS you're delivering source. Pay attention -- the guy is ranting about people who DON'T deliver source.

Re:Not that simple (2)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691535)

"Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution."

Re:Not that simple (1)

pem (1013437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692145)

You're right -- my bad. Not enough coffee yet -- I was conflating my "perceived reality" with the legality of the situation.

The legality is that the notice has to be appended.

The perceived reality is that, whenever I receive pre-compiled commercial software with BSD-licensed components, I CAN find the license somewhere in the documentation, but it's completely uninteresting because I can't recreate the entire package anyway, and even if I were interested enough to track down the source for the component, it would be the unmodified source, perhaps not matching, and in any case, nothing in the license says exactly how important that BSD licensed package was to the overall effort. In short, the license text is one more piece of boring text in a large licensing document.

GPL licensing can be similarly boring, but with GPL components, I can at least get the exact version the vendor is using, and any of his code that links directly to it, so, qualitatively, it "feels" different.

Writing this up just made me realize something about the original rant -- if people are, indeed, calling him a "bad programmer" (perhaps because he delivers a 95% solution and they have to fix a few bugs themselves?) then the GPL would, in fact, probably be a better license for him if his ego would calm down enough for him to review changes that his customers make and apply some of them upstream.

Re:agreed (3, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691631)

The BSD, MIT licenses (even if more open) are for mugs who end up having their code "stolen" !

You claim this but the BSDs get countless contributions back from people and corporations that use their code. This is just GPL FUD.

Comparison shop (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691043)

I like to implement open source, show them what it would've costed, and then ask the company to donate to the project so we can continue to get updates or support. Usually larger companies have some money sitting around so it's pretty easy to get 40-100 bucks to send to an individual for a good package. FYI, The last one we contributed to was jqGrid [jqgrid.org] , because it's awesome.

Re:Comparison shop (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691481)

The last one we contributed to was jqGrid [jqgrid.org] , because it's awesome.

Firefox can't find the server at www.jqgrid.org

Hopefully they'll use some of that donation for a beefier server :P

I do! (4, Interesting)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691073)

Every chance I get to tell my manager that my team has used an OSS product for one thing or another, I mention it. I'm trying to get him to stop usign the term, "freeware" or "shareware" which implies something less than ideal.

Sure, we use multi-thousand dollar products for development, but there's always some tool, some image, some utility, some code that is just better and licensed under GPL or CL.

Like I always say, "why improvise when you can plagiarize."

Re:I do! (2, Interesting)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691301)

Yeah, same here. I am trying to change the misconception open source software has at my place of employment, so you can bet your ass I make sure everyone knows this great new-fangled-thingy they're using is open source. Although, I admit, I do sometimes wait until they've actually used it and tell me "how great it is"/"what an improvement it is" before I drop the f(ree)-bomb.

Re:I do! (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691945)

Valid point. Since the misconception is that "free == cheap", I usually wait until something is up and running well before I mention it.

Sadly, my software developers (my staff) still haven't embraced Linux as much as they should. (Maybe it is because one of my main developers has a brother who works for the Evil Empire.)

Don't know, don't care (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691175)

I never heard of any of this guy's software, I don't use it, and I don't care. Sounds like he has an inflated sense of his own importance.

Let's not reinvent the wheel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691195)

You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it.

Or it's code re-use taken to sensible extremes.

Let's fact it, you might have written an engine/framework, but that doesn't make an implementation as easy as installing it. The effort is in specifying the behaviour, sitting through tedious meetings, etc, and then implementing that behaviour using your engine/framework, because reinventing the IT wheel is so 1990s.

Oh wow, it's almost exactly why I don't like GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691203)

Especially the 'lets pretend to be free software but charge certain people for their freedoms' part. The GPLv2 is a measure to prevent people from taking away freedoms in our modern, copyright-dominated world. That's fine and all; except that now we get people whining about attribution as well as people that feel they are justified in charging extra for 'proprietary' licenses. In my opinion it's two-faced to at one point call yourself a free software project, using the GPLv2 ostensibly to keep free free, and then charge companies to make it non-free.

He continues to whine on about attribution and how it's so bad that some guy in some corporation can use his software without him getting attribution that he thinks he deserves (protip: you don't). If he really wanted it, he'd start a corporation selling his software as proprietary, locked-down blobs like the proprietary software corporations he whines about a lot.

Note that I say GPLv2. v3 is Stallman's attempts at controlling hardware through the copyright regime.

Re:Oh wow, it's almost exactly why I don't like GP (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691497)

v3 is Stallman's attempts at controlling hardware through the copyright regime.

close. v3 is Stallman's (actually it was written by many thousand of volunteers world-wide) attempt to not let hardware control the software.

Re:Oh wow, it's almost exactly why I don't like GP (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691603)

Or just write/use a license that requires attribution... Am I a genius? Cause this guy sounds smart and he didn't think of it.

With sympathy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691209)

Cry baby cry
Cry baby cry
Make your mother sigh
She's old enough to know better
So cry baby cry cry cry cry baby
Make your mother sigh.

She's old enough to know better
Cry baby cry
cry cry cry
Make your mother sigh
She's old enough to know better
So cry baby cry.

What (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691217)

You mean people are dishonest and misleading? Next thing you'll tell me is that politicians lie.

Technically, it's part of the risk of writing OSS. You know going in that someone somewhere will capitalize and profit from your hard work and sweat. If you feel that is the case and it bothers you, change the license and charge for the product. And when an OSS is used, I see it more used as a starting point to tackle a unique issue that can't be solved by any existing product. When that comes into play, whatever code I needed to add/change, I submit it back to the OSS developer.

What does the GPL have to do with ANYTHING here? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691229)

Mod me a troll if you want, but the GPL has aboslutely NOTHING to do with his complaints. The GPL will not guarantee him to be hired, or his code praised. His attribution rights are the same as under an LGPL or BSD license. He is still just as liable to be called a hapless codemonkey who produces nothing but broken code, as if he had released under any other license. People will use his code to cover their asses in exactly the same fashion, whether its GPL or BSD or any other license. ALL the GPL does is make the code of the company free just as his code was free.

A GPL supporter uses it to keep software free. If your expectation of it is to somehow improve your career or reputation that you otherwise cannot support, you are not a free software enthusiast, you're just a loser.

Reason 7 (2, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691259)

The way the GPL has turned out is:

You use a product written by people who didn't foresee what you were going to use it for and they end up integrating changes to benefit someone whose use they didn't foresee. By keeping the code free over the long haul you get fascinating cooperation at the code level.

The GPL doesn't say that! (0)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691271)

After Mongrel I almost need companies to have to admit they use my software. I would actually rather nobody use my software than be in a situation where everyone is using my gear and nobody is admitting it.

Or worse, everyone is using it, and at the same time saying I can't code.

If you're worried about that, you should use the "noxious" four clause BSDL, not the GPL, because unless someone distributed the code AND people look at the copyright notice, nobody will know or care. Even the new GPL-friendly BSDL does as much to protect you from people "not admitting" they use your software as the GPL. Heck, the BSDL even protects you from GPL projects hijacking your code. :)

Heck, most of those reasons seem to be based on a misunderstanding of the GPL except for the one where you get to dual-license your GPL code and make money from corporations who want a special deal. Which is perfectly reasonable and lots of people are doing it, but hiding it in a bunch of bogus verbiage about attribution?

Re:The GPL doesn't say that! (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691341)

Heck, the BSDL even protects you from GPL projects hijacking your code. :)

This is a new one on me, unless you mean the old 4-clause one. Do elaborate. I am interested.

Re:The GPL doesn't say that! (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691861)

Pretty sure he's wrong.

Personally, I've taken to using the CDDL. It's not GPL-compatible (and I like it that way), but provides all the benefits of the LGPL with none of the annoying drawbacks.

Whining (4, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691277)

Oh God! I hate whining bastards! They just WHINE WHINE WHINE!

Re:Whining (0, Redundant)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691315)

And then, they whine some more. I mean, will it ever stop?

Why they have to whine so much? WHY WHY WHY?!

Re:Whining (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691863)

Enough of that. I would like some cheese now.

Some good advice (5, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691331)

Here's some good advice for anybody who does anything creative, be it programming,art, writing a story, anything...

Do _not_ create something and then expect the masses upon which you bestow your baby to be happy.

I've seen tons of open source coders quit because their public was only complaining about features and bugs. So don't start out with such expectations. You should create something because _you_ want to make something. If anybody praises you afterward then count your lucky stars. But the only way how you can remain a creative person is by doing it for yourself in the first place.

I'm sure some of my code/programs are being used in the wild. And that makes me happy. I haven't gotten a lot of positive feedback, but that's ok. I'm happy because writing it made me happy.

Re:Some good advice (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691589)

> But the only way how you can remain a creative person
> is by doing it for yourself in the first place.

Right on. I think Jamis Buck did a good thing along those same lines when he announced that he was burned out on Capistrano and would stop maintaining it [jamisbuck.org] . There's no reason why he should feel obligated to run himself into the ground sorting out Git-on-Windows bugs; just letting go was the right thing to do.

That's one of the nice things about GitHub - a project owner can just stop working on something and if it's useful, someone else will fork it and pick it up. It's a new dynamic around forking projects, and it seems to work.

Re:Some good advice (1)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691877)

But I thought the whole point of creating software and releasing it like Mr. Zed, was simply cause then the world knows how awesome you are, and that you can finally have the huge ego stroke you know your entitled too.

Give me an example (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691389)

"How many of you tell investors that your entire operation is based on something one guy wrote in a few months?"

Yeah, I'm sure there are so many companies like this. Maybe small companies use OSS, but do these small companies have a developer on staff? I don't think so. This sounds like a fantasy made up by some little kid who has no clue how the things really work. Show me one company that has it's "entire operation" based on software simple enough to be made by one person in a few months. I'd love to see it.

I rate this story a -5 Delusional Troll.

Re:Give me an example (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691887)

Any RoR shop using Mongrel is essentially doing that.

Re:Give me an example (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691911)

He specifically cites Ruby on Rails (and he wrote Mongrel, which is a server somewhere in the RoR stack.)

RoR isn't exactly "one guy," but the principle is the same. People take an off-the-shelf system and claim to be wizards when it works as designed.

What probably happened (2, Insightful)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691391)

HR Person (to Zed): "We see on your resume that one has paid you to do rails development in the last year and a half, and that you've been writing some "mongrel" thing in your spare time. We're really looking for someone with more relevant and recent Ruby-on-Rails experience."

Re:What probably happened (2, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691595)

Or, we read your rant about how ruby on rails is a ghetto so you obviously don't want to work with the technology, so why did you apply?

Re:What probably happened (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691871)

If that's what you got out of his rant, you didn't read it too closely.

Typical Programmer EGO (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691393)

This is nothing more than typical programmer entitlement EGO issues.

I want credit for this, I want credit for that, I want a job at your company, because I made XXX.

But what about the OTHER people who made YYY, so YOU could do XXX?

What about all the other libraries, API's, and documentation YOU used? Did you give credit to them?

Get off the high-horse, and get rid of all this entitlement you THINK you deserve.

Sadly this is the truth (1)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691427)

"There is no honor among theives," as the saying goes.

I've had the displeasure of witnessing senior management at my company throw a fit over the fact that a key piece of code that we needed was GPL'd. At the time, I was pissed too, as our schedule was at risk. "If you're going to tease us with this working and tested subsystem, it should be 'licensed' so that we can use it."

Then after the deadline passed I stepped back and thought, "My gawd, we were angry that someone published their code for all to see, but we were forced to read it, understand what it does before implementing a similar (but wholely custom) mechanism." We should've been ecstatic that we didn't have to reinvent the wheel from the ground up, but being the selfish, ungrateful users of open source that we are, we got mad that we actually have to put some effort into doing it. I'm ashamed.

Gone are the days of, "if its not invented here, we don't trust it." Now it's, "You invented that?!!!?1one!!! Why didn't you use an open source project?"

Re:Sadly this is the truth (1)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692309)

Hmm, I'd venture to say that your bosses got mad because they came to rely on a piece of software that would cause them to have to open source their entire project. And as for re-implementing it, I wonder what the GPL says, as anyone who's worked with the code in question is effectively contaminated.

Compromise? (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691433)

It is your choice. Be larger than life or become mediocre. Greatness is NOT easy. That is why we don't have many great people. It isn't even within everyone's reach in their lifetimes. It is perfectly fine to not be great. At least you yearned for it. But if you want to be considered larger than life, life will ask of you a sacrifice.

It is your choice...It takes a certain kind of person to, for example, write open source for either the simple pleasure of writing it or for the simple pleasure of making things better. Not all of us are that person, and that's okay.

Got my attention (1)

ears_d (1400833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691487)

I seldom log in to Slashdot yet I did after reading your words. I think you're right on, but then again I also have problems with pent up anger.

Why to not use GPL (1, Troll)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691501)

Because you'll never get recognized in a corporate environment. It doesn't matter if the GPL portion is 1 line out of a million written by paid developers, all those millions of lines have to be made available because they were so "blessed" with your greatness for a tiny portion of the project. There are no shortage of non-viraly licensed projects out there that I don't need your GPL version.

There are a ridiculous number of GPL projects that are essentially trying to copyright "hello world." And an even more absurd number of GPL projects out there that just simply don't work. You can't throw trash out there, expect everyone else to fix it for you and then demand credit for "your work."

If you license your code in away that doesn't muck with how I can license my code then I'll be happy to take a look, fix it, and if it's apparent you made a real effort to get your project to work, I'll give you credit.

Re:Why to not use GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691681)

That's a sensible position. Don't use what you don't need. The author of the article is talking about code which IS being used though, so apparently there are some GPL programmers which do contribute more than "a tiny portion" or "1 line out of a million".

If you've read the article, you must have realized that giving software away in an attempt to be recognized in a corporate environment is not all it's cracked up to be. The recognition which programmers receive if they use more lenient licenses is almost always zero, if not negative. Businesses will blame you if something goes wrong, even if they fucked up. They will not visibly acknowledge your contribution unless they are forced to do so. How is that something to strive for? It's better to put a big "no software for you if you don't reciprocate" sticker on your work and negotiate alternative paid licensing.

Re:Why to not use GPL (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691715)

There are no shortage of non-viraly licensed projects out there that I don't need your GPL version.

Then what's the big deal? Just let them use their little license and ignore them.

Honestly I just don't understand the hostility from any side, coding is supposed to be fun people, stop getting all worked up!

If your code... (2, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691519)

is anything like your writing capability, it's no wonder people say you can't code.

I've ran into a vast majority of you who constantly try to say that I can't code as a way of covering your ass.

Editors. When you see something so blatant, please use [sic] after it so people will know it's not you doing the mangling the English language.

Fuck off, Zed (whoever the hell you are) (4, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691611)

You don't. None of you. You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it.

No, asshole, some of us think it's important for our employer to know which third party libraries and tools we're using (whether they are open source or not), so they aren't blindsided with a lawsuit. I conjecture that you're projecting your own need to be the hero onto the rest of us.

First "I wrote stuff and didn't get rich" rant... (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691613)

... that is pro GPL.

Well, times change. Those rants used to be against the GPL and we used to slap "use a BSD license and write code for fun" in their faces. They used to complain about the GPL not being enforceable and companies ripping them off, now they think it is and they'd rather not see their code used than someone else getting rich with a company using GPL code.

While I do see a great value in having GPL software available for everyone, the fact that it is actually for the most part used intentionally to prevent businesses from building some (non-GPL'd) products using GPL software, makes me sad because it prevents good quality code from spreading, only to be replaced by (probably) crappy closed source code or (hopefully!) good quality BSD licensed code.

Next time I buy, say, a WLAN router, do I want it to be using good quality code? Hell, yeah. Would I prefer one with GPL'd software if it has a competitive price? Of course. Will I have the choice to buy one? Nope... (right now I use Tomato, which has a slightly confusing license [wikipedia.org] ).

Sponsorship decals? (2, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691647)

Sadly, none of Mongrel's success mattered for me. Even though everyone was using my software, the vast majority of firms using Mongrel were startups. The last thing a startup wants to admit is that they don't own their intellectual property. They want everyone, especially the VCs and investors, to believe that they're all geniuses who "innovated" everything they run.

So if I build the next great NASCAR engine, I should credit Craftsman(TM) for making the sockets I used to assemble it? Maybe these startups should also credit the RAM, mobo, and PS manufacturers for the parts in the server.

License (1)

Spacepup (695354) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691657)

If his code is really that great, and he really has such a huge chip on his shoulder about not getting any accolades for his time and effort writing it, then he shouldn't have put it under the GPL license. If his code is really worth having, he could use a more traditional software license and sell his product for the big bucks.

me too (1)

hany (3601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691771)

After reading the article I can say "me too".

Now I just have to take a look at all the open source projects I'm releasing ... :)
(almost none but not zero)

OSD? (2, Insightful)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691781)

I think Zed needs to read this as he seems to have lost the spirit of open source entirely:

1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.
2. Source Code
The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.
3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
7. Distribution of License
The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.
10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.
The Open Source Definition [opensource.org]

"I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again" he says. (3, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691811)

He says: 'I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again'.

Well then maybe you shouldn't release your software with no marketing what-so-ever?

First of all: You wrote a HTTP library for Ruby. Big fat hairy deal. Frankly, I never knew and I couldn't care less. Second of all: The Rails crowd gained traction and scored bizar amounts of hype for one reason - and one reason *only*: They had, by standards of open source - a massive marketing campaign to push Rails into the FOSS webdev field. They have a website that, for *once* in the FOSS field, didn't look like shit (and changed the FOSS-Project-Website & Enduser Awareness Game for ever - God bless them!), they pratically invented the concept of screencasts to showcase their FOSS webkit in short understandable fashion and they abandoned all snotty-nosed elitist crap in favour of building a community for webdevs while at the same time doing huge inroads into the Java & academic community who needed Ruby to boost their ego and to seperate themselves from the PHP crowd. And who, until the rails hype, weren't aware of any FOSS webkits. Of which Rails, btw., isn't a particuarly new, good or innovative one anyway. Other kits from ages ago are still leading the field by far technology wise - with nobody careing. Due to, guess what?, no marketing.

Your conclusions are wrong, Mr. Shaw. People care squat about what you licence your software under. If you want money, you demand money. If you want attention, you demand attention. Rails did it, you didn't. Your Mongrel site isn't bad, by FOSS standards that is, but it doesn't look particuarly interesting either. Learn you lesson, licence with whatever you want - wether it's the GPL or not *nobody* of *any* importance fucking cares - and do a little marketing and reasearch before you push your next FOSS tool. That, and nothing else, will enable a business on top of it.

My 2 Euros.

Re:"I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again" he says. (0, Offtopic)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692069)

My 2 Euros.

You do realize the whole reason for the "My 2 Cents" is a play on words for sense, as in common sense.. My 2 Euros defeats the whole purpose of the saying...

Re:"I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again" he says. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692299)

He says: 'I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again'.

And he was successful: He got a Slashdot story.

Because I want to... (4, Insightful)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691825)

From the article:

That's my first reason I use the GPL:

Because I want to, and if you disagree with it then don't use my software. It's as simple as that.

You know Zed, that's all you have to say. The rest was at best... silly.

I got yer back Zed (1)

molotovjester (1273662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28691865)

Hey Zed -
I whole heartedly agree.
I think that the problem is bigger than the open source community. It has a lot to do with today's sense of entitlement that the internet has created.
Today's kids grew up watching their older siblings and parents downloading "free" software and music without understanding the implications of it.

Mod me down for my libertarian views, but not for my desire to earn my living through my own work and not through the work of others.

MJ

The GPL is cancerous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28691975)

If it weren't for Mozilla's anti-patent zealotry and their wide market share, HTML 5 would have had a standardized video codec two years ago [arstechnica.com] . It's not as if they can't afford licensing fees at this point.

When compiling a kernel driver for BSD or Windows, you will never, ever, ever see anything even remotely like "FATAL: modpost: GPL-incompatible module foo.ko uses GPL-only symbol 'usb_register_dev' [lwn.net] ".

There are countless other examples of the GPL stifling innovation, and it's the end-user that really loses out in the end. This would be perfectly fine if GPL advocates weren't influencing policy-makers, or using their market share in part to push their crusade.

Do I tell my boss? (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692017)

Of course! To not tell opens the company up to various potential lawsuits. That does however mean that as soon as we hear "GPL", that project gets dropped. LGPL gets consideration though.

Zed may not be GPL compatible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28692029)

Zed's not really talking about the GPL. The GPL is less encumbered than the license he's effectively trying to enforce. Zed's license should be called the "free to use except you have to listen to me whine and dump on you and give you a guilt trip".

In other words, the GPL is probably the right license for most of us to keep *using* and the wrong license for Zed to release under.

Good (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692055)

Good to see that developers are starting to realize that those lasts years big companies are using open sorurce but not giving back any substantial part of his owns developments.

That's why i encourage to use the AGPL v3 license for any piece of code that could be executed on a server related to internet. Starting by the Linux kernel ASAP!

Coding + Credits (1)

JosedeNoche (1597445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692073)

indeed coding programs or scripts does requires hardwork and dedication, but its up to you in decide to make it public or not.

My Philosophy on Corporations Paying (1)

strimpster (1074645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28692229)

Never... ever suggest they don't have to pay you. What they pay for they'll value. What they get for free they'll take for granted and then demand as a right. Hold them up for all the market will bear.

Lois McMaster Bujold

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