Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

No, the dangers are hidden and the rhetoric misleading.

Author:Brett Glass
Posted:8/23/2000; 5:33:55 PM
Topic:Next survey: Are you an open source developer?
Msg #:20029 (In response to 20026)
Prev/Next:20028 / 20030

Dude, if you don't like Open Source or Free Software or whatever then don't use it.

Unfortunately, in the case of GPLed software, there is already no choice on most computing platforms. GCC, for example, has driven most C compiler vendors from the market, leaving users of many platforms (such as BeOS, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, etc.) with no choice but to use it. This is an example of the destructiveness of the GPL.

What's more, the GPL hurts developers whether or not they use the code, because it destroys their markets and prevents them from being rewarded for making incremental improvements.

Your entire argument seems to be that you can't make any money off of code that has been GPLed, because noone will buy your code if they can get it for free. If this is the case, then don't use free code. This isn't a hard thing to grasp.

I think that you are either failing to grasp or intentionally ignoring what I am saying. What's more, you are being vague in that it is unclear what you mean by "free code."

As mentioned above, developers are hurt by GPLed code whether or not they use it. On the other hand, code which is licensed under a truly free license, such as the MIT X License or BSD License, is beneficial to developers as well as to users.

A piece of software that is Open Sourced retains full value for the end users.

You're being vague here in several ways. When you say "Open Sourced," you do not mention under which license the software has been released. (The GPL is not, as I've mentioned, an Open Source license, but some people mistakenly believe it to be so.) Also, you are confusing intrinsic value with market value. A product which is available at no cost may have intrinsic value, but its market value is zero -- and it drives the market value of equivalent products to zero as well.

It has limited sale value for the developer,

It is unclear what you mean by "sale value." If you mean "market value," then the value is not "limited" but rather "zero." One can sell the media, but the software itself has zero market value.

but since users aren't in the habit of useing software just so a developer can sell them something, it is of little matter to the user.

It should matter to the user whether the product will be enhanced or supported. It should also matter to them whether using the product will deprive them of future choices. Users should avoid GPLed software in favor of ethically licensed software, because if they do not they will find themselves with no alternative.

You can't go "in the hole" by releasing freely what you have already developed.

That wasn't my original statement. However, if you destroy the value of something you own and have not yet covered the expense of producing it, you may well go "in the hole" by doing so.

As for sabotage, it can't be sabotage to explicitly TELL someone what will happen(as the GPL clearly does) if they use the code, then follow through on the terms of the license.

Those who advocate dual licensing usually do not explain the implications -- which, alas, are not obvious. The GPL is a long, convoluted document, rife with legalese. And its implications and effects are subtle and very dangerous. What's more, the GPL is deceptive from the start in that its "preamble" claims that its purpose is to enhance freedom, when in fact its purpose is to destroy.

The author can't lose, because the author put the code under GPL in the first place, expecting things like that to happen.

Again, not correct. Authors who dual license are generally deceived into doing so by claims that they can make money from licenses to commercial developers. When those customers never materialize, it is too late.

--Brett Glass

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