[DB-SIG] Opinion License mxODBC-Module

Magnus Lycka magnus@thinkware.se
Mon, 26 Feb 2001 15:54:37 +0100


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There is a big freedom in developing with free software, also
in a commercial setting. Scunk works can be very important
and I think that most companies that use Python today started
using it without any decisions from management--but on the
initiative of those who understand this best: The programmers.

Maybe the biggest advantage of free software is just this: It
empowers the programmers. As long as they can find some time
(their own free time or some time when they are really supposed
to do something else) they can assemble a big system from
ready made pieces and their own glue code. They can do this
without any budget and without any 'patron'. There is a risk
here, but where would the world be if no one took risks...

As soon as a there is a bill to pay, there will be questions
asked, and that might stop many projects in their infancy. Of
course, I think it's best if systems are developed with the
enthusiastic support of the management, but sometimes it takes
a success to convince them, and then we have a chicken and egg
problem.

Unix was basically developed like this--bottum-up--and I'm sure
many other systems have been as well. Most Linux deployments in
commercial settings came like this, and if it hadn't been for 
the ability to download for free on the net, Linux would never
have been the pet operating system of major corps like IBM, and
Linus would probably still have been in Finland.

Naturally, any software developer may use any licence he or
she chooses for the programs he or she writes. I hope that
Marc-Andre is earning plenty of money on this. He certainly
deserves it. I somehow doubt that it will make him very rich
though... Perhaps making sure that mxODBC has as many users as
possible and making himself and his company known as the best
experts and original developers of the mx-series could earn
him more.

I somehow have a feeling that he understands that many people
will use his software as described above--in commercial systems
that aren't really sanctioned. (But you can't write that in your
licence. :-) In a way that's a bit sad, because it somehow means
that you are promoting cheating, and paying as you should, becomes
almost some kind of charity.

I certainly wish that I could find a way of financing myself and
my family that didn't mean that I had to spend all my time
programming boring C++ applications for my customers, instead
of interesting, free Python code. This is not so easy...

That both MySQL and Zope has gone from commercial to free
licences are promising. (More so then when companies on the
verge of ruin, like Netscape and Corel, reach out to the free
software community like a last straw.)

I hope that we'll soon see a good and really free ODBC interface
for Python, be it mxODBC or something else. In the mean time I
view this as a shortcoming for Python development.

In a way, this half-free character of mxODBC is a problem. If it
wasn't available for free for private use, someone else would have
made an alternative by now... :-(

By the way, the eGenix web site seems to be a bit ahead of things:
The NEWS section is all about things that "happened" next month???
I thought I saw the 2.0 versions released before March 20, 21...
Also, a big gif is not helpful when you want to copy text... Why
such a strange web site mock-up?


/Magnus

Andreas Jung wrote:
> 
> There are lots of small companies who live from one or two products. None of
> them
> could live from open-source alone. 1500 US$ is a lot of money but remember:
> it's still free for private use. When you are working on a commercial
> project then your
> budget should be large enough to pay this sum. I have been involved in
> projects
> where we used open-source software if possible. But in most cases the costs
> for hardware are much higher than the costs for software (except costs for
> own
> development). E.g. when I must pay 250.000 $ for hardware I should have
> enough money
> in budget to pay a "small" license fee to a small company. Open-source will
> also profit
> from this.
> 
> Andreas
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matthias Kirst" <matt@clondiag.com>
...
> > - mxODBC , the quasi-standard ODBC - module has a commercial developer
> > license which costs almost 1500 US$
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