The Industry choice

Bulba! bulba at
Thu Jan 6 18:11:51 EST 2005

On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 09:27:49 -0500, Steve Holden <steve at>

>>>I'd go further.  It's not possible to force anyone to share, but the
>>>GPL aims to remove software from a system that instead aims to force
>>>people NOT to share.

>> Nope. IMHO, GPL attempts to achieve the vendor lock-in. For different
>> purposes than another well-known vendor, but it still does.

>Well you are entitled to your opinion. But *my* opinion is that the GPL 
>attempts to ensure that if you re-use code by an author who so desires, 
>then redistribution of your code is only possible by making your own 
>extensions to it available on the same terms. This gives you a clear choice.

I agree with you. However, I don't see how your statement contradicts 

>To put it another way, it allows an author to specify that their code 
>can't be hijacked for proprietary purposes *in distributed programs*. 

How can the source code that is _guaranteed to stay as public
availability_ be _hijacked_?

If it's hijacked, it's not available anymore. 

Making derived work proprietary in no way implies that the base
work is publicly unavailable anymore.

>will specifically point out that there is *nothing* in the GPL that 
>requires you to reveal the source of program you write but do not 
>distribute, even when such programs incorporate tons of GPL'd code.

Again, I don't see why that negates my thesis of vendor lock-in:
whatever software that uses GPLed code crosses inter-organizational 
or inter-personal border, it has to be released with source.

>> It's actually even worse: the only thing you can't share  on a
>> well-known vendor's platform is the software written by that
>> well-known vendor -- you can choose to share or choose not to 
>> share whatever you or other people write on this platform. 

>Well that's way over-simplified. And if you mean Microsoft, *say*( 

Oh can't you take a little joke, why do we have to be so serious..

If my allusion was not funny, well, sorry.

>The GPL folks are quite happy to have you "share" anything that *you* 

Oh absolutely, and I would be happy with them washing my car
for free.  ;-)

>Their simply-stated and elegantly-achieved intent is that you 
>don't "share" anything that *they* create except on the terms they have 
>required for their creations.

But their base work is available anyway, regardless of whatever
I do or don't do.

>So, it seems to me, you are whining because the authors of GPL'd code 
>don't want you to release *their* code except under the GPL.

If that was limited to _primary_ effects, that would be
understandable. Which is why I'm rather fine with LGPL for 

However, an openly stated goal is an indirect effect: achieving
the goal of "all the software in the world being free" (as in
their definition of freedom). 

Which means that indirect, _economic_  result they hope to 
achieve is precisely creating a practical context when this author
would have hard time to release his work under license other
than GPL. 

Why do they call "library GPL" a "lesser" GPL, Steve, and
do not really like it? Is it not for the sake of this goal? 

Watch this carefully: if what you claim was ALL they
care for, there would be no big difference for them between
LGPL and GPL. And yet for them it is quite a big deal.

>What gives 
>*you* the right to dictate to them? 

Conversely, what gives them the right to dictate the authors
of derived works of what they do with THEIR part of work?

>How would you like it if Richard 
>Stallman insisted that you release your code under the GPL? Which, of 
>course, he doesn't.

Oh but he does - just indirectly. He's attempting to create such
context. GPL is a sort of wolf in a sheep's skin, while Stallman
pretends it's not really a wolf, and then preaches how wonderful
it will be when we will sit with millions of such sheep at the
table and vote what's for lunch.

>>> As the MPAA knows, people do want to share, and
>>>forcing them not to do so is impossible without turning the world into
>>>a police state. 

>Socialism is unpopular for many reasons, and many of them are indeed to 
>do with maintaining the separation between individuals and thereby 
>retaining the ability to treat them as separate economic units. But we 
>aren't going to change that by insisting on particular software 
>licenses. Realize this is a very small part of a very large debate.

Absolutely. I have discussed intellectual property rights issues with 
friends to great lengths, not just regarding the software. 
>And that is their choice. They should realize, however, that some 
>licenses (including the more recent Python licenses) are cleared as 
>"GPL-compatible". I believe this means that if I receive software 
>licensed under a GPL-compatible license, I am at liberty to distribute 
>it under the GPL.

>I suspect that this point is far too infrequently stressed.

I really don't find it very important: where the main battle 
is, and where some vendors achieve domination and some
fail are precisely indirect economic effects of what they
>> Actually, I get the impression that GPL-ed software is written by
>> programmers for programmers, not really for end users. 
>Not at all. It's written to be redistributed under specific terms, and 
>anyone who doesn't like those terms has the option of redeveloping the 
>functionality for themselves.

But they won't. And most of the time they never do. That is the very

It's a subtle game: what you are _allowed_ to do intertwines with
practical situations and what you would _will choose_ to do 
given how many factors influence your decisions.

>You can't insist that people give you their intellectual property on 
>*your* terms. 

God forbid! This certainly not what I meant, ever, and if
anybody suggests that, I have this rabbit right here that I 
will release to get them. :-)

>That would be like insisting that the music industry bring 
>down the price of their clearly-overpriced products, or that the 
>Baltimore Orioles stop the concession stands from charging $4.50 for a 
>one-dollar beer. If you want a vote in such situations then your feet 
>are the appropriate instrument. Walk away, and stop whining :-). 
>Insisting will do you no good.


However, what you present is very partial picture: there's much
more to it. 

>> It's a man's life in a Python Programming Association.

>Since I'm taking issue with you, I will end by gently pointing out that 
>there's a substantial minority (? - my impression) of people who might 
>find your tag line (which I am sure is intended to be supportive of 
>Python and the ethic, such as we might agree exists), 
>gender-biased and therefore just as unacceptable to them as the GPL 
>appears to be to you.

You haven't seen the episode of "Owl Stretching Time" by MP I see. 
 :-) No worries, you just need a little re-education. ;-)

It's a man's life in a Python Programming Association.

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