Open Source License Question
danperl at rogers.com
Fri Oct 29 22:11:18 CEST 2004
"Joachim Bowman" <usenet.0.lho at spamgourmet.com> wrote in message
news:2ue65gF28i9f7U1 at uni-berlin.de...
> Dan Perl wrote:
>> "Michael Foord" <fuzzyman at gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:6f402501.0410271123.5a7e68d9 at posting.google.com...
>>>A lot of people use python as part of their job and are active
>>>participants in teh python community. A lot of what I write are
>>>library modules to do a particular job. Using the GPL means someone is
>>>unable to use your work in a business setting. i don't expect other
>>>people to sell products containing my work - but neither do I want to
>>>prevent them from being able to use it.
>> Fair enough. LGPL, X, or BSD should allow you to do that.
> So does the GNU GPL. Freedom/Open Source and commercial use are two
> orthogonal concepts. The two don't interfere in any way.
I beg to differ. Let's take a possible scenario. Let's say that my company
has a complex software product that sells for $1M a piece. And let's also
say that I need some encryption for the product. I find an encryption
library that is free and is GPL licensed. What happens if I use it?
Correct me if I'm wrong in any part (and I genuinely admit that I may be
wrong). I have to release my entire product under a GPL license and I have
to publish the entire code (I assume that the use of the encryption library
is not isolated to only one part of the product). Would my company want to
do something like that? I don't think so. Sure, we are still entitled to
try to sell the product but who would pay $1M when with a little effort they
can put the entire product together from the code and any support that we
could sell is never going to be worth the money we are asking for?
Red Hat can make money from selling their Linux distribution, but apart from
companies that have deeper pockets and for whom getting the support and
warranties that Red Hat offers are worth a relatively small fee, how many
small consumers buy the commercial distribution when they can just download
the same thing for free? No wonder that Red Hat also sells things like mugs
So getting back to my scenario, leaving theory and "orthogonality" aside,
practical reasons will stop many companies from using GPL licensed code in a
commercial product. I think that constitutes interference.
> You can have Free Software (under the GPL) that is used and distributed
> commercially, Free Software that is used and distributed in a non
> commercial way (Python), proprietary software that is used and distributed
> commercially (think about MS Word), and proprietary software that is used
> and distributed free of charge and without a commercial background
> (sometimes called freeware).
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