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Open Source In the Datacenter: It Was Never About Innovation

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the it-was-all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Open Source 100

An anonymous reader writes "The secret to open source innovation, and the reason for its triumphal success, has nothing to do with the desire to innovate. It's because of the four freedoms and the level playing field (and agility) that was the end result. It's like Douglas Adams' definition of flying: you don't try to fly, you throw yourself at the ground and miss. This article explains why it was never about innovation — it was always about freedom. Quoting: 'When the forces of economics put constant downward price pressure on software, developers look for other ways to derive income. Given the choice between simply submitting to economic forces and releasing no-cost software in proprietary form, developers found open source models to be a much better deal. Some of us didn't necessarily like the mechanics of those models, which included dual licensing and using copyleft as a means of collecting ransom, but it was a model in which developers could thrive.'"

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LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557335)

Open sores in the datacenter? So that's how the NSA got its backdoors into Google and Yahoo?

Groog the Closed-Source Troglodyte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557353)

Groog the Closed-Source Troglodyte says:

DATACENTERS ARE COMMUNIST

Most Software Is Shit (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557357)

90% of everything is crap, but at least with open source you can find out why instead of waiting for the developers who can't reproduce your problem.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557367)

99% of open sores software is worse than a week-old, dried-up dog turd.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557787)

That's why my week-old, dried-up dog turds are under a proprietary license.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#45557469)

90% of everything is crap, but at least with open source you can find out why instead of waiting for the developers who can't reproduce your problem.

Don't forget a total lack of license management, the purgatory of IT. Essentially, with Open Source, you can spend less time dealing with how to get the software, and more time working on interesting stuff.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45557595)

It's not even about just getting the software, it's about preempting lawsuits. Better to just go GPL/BSD/PD since they are easier to comply with.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557713)

Remember GPL is a license to redistribute, not a EULA. Nothing to comply with if you're just using the thing.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#45557809)

Unless it's AGPL, in which case it does, for most normal people's definition of "using".

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45557879)

yup.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558545)

3 years later, when your product requires it, management wants to sell an actual product rather than a service and legal goes apeshit over finding GPL and creates a huge headache. A little bit later, all GPL is banned, making the job worse to work in. But don't worry, it's not enough for natural selection to remove the business from the ecosystem, but it means fewer people get to use Linux and other GPL tools. Great job!

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558611)

One less crap rent-seeking MBA-run software package to worry about. Great job!

Re: Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45560115)

What kind of a dumb fuck management does not think that far into the future?

Would this same dumb fuck management decide to distribute, at no cost, partner-provided commercial code as part of their product because it makes more business sense to not pay for it? Probably.

Re: Most Software Is Shit (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 9 months ago | (#45565131)

of course.

and the MBA mind thinks of GPL software like so: "we got it for free, so we should be able to mark it up and sell it for a squillion dollars...and lock it up so we've got a monopoly".

that's why they love the BSD license, and why there's so much corporate propaganda promoting BSD.

(there's nothing wrong with the BSD license. it's just easily exploitable - by design - by MBA arsehole types)

The BSD license is perfect for MBA types who think that externalising expenses (like software developer salaries) is a great thing...the goal is to, as ever, privatise the profit, while socialising expenses.

More Shit for/from US economics! (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | about 9 months ago | (#45574375)

Capitalism requires innovation, for added-value or decreased cost, to increase profits.

Increased cost increasing profit is exploitation externalization for a corporate-welfare economy/state [IOW: Screw the consumer].

The present un-American economic model of US is flawed and crippling our progeny, failing posterity, and externalizing US providence.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558663)

The purgatory of IT? Sounds like either you've never worked in IT or you're just an assets asshole.
 
Come back when you can really talk what the problem is for most in-house IT shops.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#45562365)

The problem of IT is too much work with not enough resources. (Big Shock) But of the work you have to do, license management is the most soul sucking. Even help desk is better because anger and resentment are at least emotions... The only way you feel anything with license management is if you repeatedly bang you head into the desk.

PS: I have probably been in IT longer than you have been masturbating. Which actually says a hell of a lot...

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45559693)

"90% of everything is crap, but at least with open source you can find out why instead of waiting for the developers who can't reproduce your problem."

Everybody is skirting the simple and fundamental truth: without sufficient freedom (i.e., with no alternative to corporate lock-up of tools and resources), innovation simply would not happen. So trying to artificially separate the two is just nonsense. Without any competition, there is virtually no motivation to innovate.

Innovation comes from motivation (which often means competition). If there is no competition, there is no motivation, and innovation simply doesn't happen.

I mean, Jesus Christ, America. We can see it happening right now in China. They were shit in the world economy (and their own economy, for that matter) until the government started letting businesses actually profit and compete with others (i.e., more capitalism). All while America has become more Corporatist (Mussolini's "fascism"), meaning less competition, less capitalism, etc. and our own economy has suffered entirely predictable downturns as a result.

What does it take to wake people up?

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45560003)

Competition motivates (or rather drives) innovation -- it does so by putting a cost on lack of innovation. But so does any other pressure of the environment, not only competition. A person in a desert, while being completely alone, is encouraged to innovate by sheer forces of physics. A virus threatening our species survival would encourage innovation in a country based on capitalism or communism. Or probably any other system, maybe with the exception of theocracy.

The only thing that ever happens is people with more power win. It is a constant of every country or market based on capitalism. When a balance of power is struck between some two powers, people start banding together to form groups of people, and then groups with more power win. Nothing much changes through addition or subtraction of laws -- only power shifts from one group to another, while the system remains exactly the same. It's just that sometimes you have to employ more muscle to protect Your cartel, or You have to employ more yuppies that know laws loopholes backwards and forwards. A market based only on an oligarchy corporations is the end result of capitalism, and an unescapeable one. And much harder to dismantle than the monolithic corporation of the Chinese Peoples Party.

The funny thing is, the laws that You are so adamantly trying to overturn are usually in place to try and protect small firms from larger ones (I mean the laws that were not bought by corporations).

The Americas predicament is the result of its hubris as a worlds superpower. It is the next Titanic: a ship so grand and amazing that it is unimaginable to see it sinking. Read about the collapse of Spain as a superpower, You will know exactly what is happening in America now, and why. And about waking people up: doesn't Your wonderful constitution give You the ability to form an armed rebellion against the government if it turns out to be evil all along? Go and protest! Light yourself on fire! Come on You capitalist crusaders, let's see a little smoke. If what you believe is true (that lack of competition is the source of lack of innovation), go and create competition to The Big Government, and may the best person win. I'm sure they will try to innovate a solution, and not act like a capitalist -- that is smack You down with its unfairly distributed power.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45560255)

"Competition motivates (or rather drives) innovation -- it does so by putting a cost on lack of innovation."

This was a big part of my point.

" A person in a desert, while being completely alone, is encouraged to innovate by sheer forces of physics. A virus threatening our species survival would encourage innovation in a country based on capitalism or communism. Or probably any other system, maybe with the exception of theocracy."

The problem with your speech here is that you are postulating only scenarios that foster innovation. Monopoly and oligopoly actively suppress innovation, because any freedom- or competition-leaning change in the status quo threatens their hold on the market.

"The funny thing is, the laws that You are so adamantly trying to overturn are usually in place to try and protect small firms from larger ones"

And what laws would those be? It's funny, because I haven't mentioned anything of the sort. Though I could, if you want to go there. But don't make assumptions about what I'd say, because you would very likely be wrong.

"The Americas predicament is the result of its hubris as a worlds superpower. "

This isn't "The Americas" predicament. What a foolish thing to say. It may be what certain politicians are trying to do, but if you think they have the support of The American People (North or South) in doing it, you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground.

The predicament of "The Americas" is precisely that their governments are not doing what their people want. That situation will not last forever. But I will repeat: if you make the mistake of thinking that what our governments have been doing represent "the will of the people", you had better start re-thinking a few things.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45561421)

The problem with your speech here is that you are postulating only scenarios that foster innovation. Monopoly and oligopoly actively suppress innovation, because any freedom- or competition-leaning change in the status quo threatens their hold on the market.

The same monopoly (and oligopoly, when monopoly isn't possible) which is the goal of every force on the free market. Therefore increase in capitalitic freedoms results in a greater push towards monopoly and oligopoly.

"The Americas predicament is the result of its hubris as a worlds superpower. "

This isn't "The Americas" predicament. What a foolish thing to say. It may be what certain politicians are trying to do, but if you think they have the support of The American People (North or South) in doing it, you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground.

The predicament of "The Americas" is precisely that their governments are not doing what their people want. That situation will not last forever. But I will repeat: if you make the mistake of thinking that what our governments have been doing represent "the will of the people", you had better start re-thinking a few things.

And You think You represent the Will of The American People, North, South, East, West And All The Other Directions? Everybody seems to say they represent it, strangely.
Actually, it is a very well known assertion done by the brain, which can be summed up in one sentence: "most people think the thoughts that I think". And, it is generally false.

The predicament of The People is that "The People" is created of ordinary people, and they do not know what they want, or rather: what they need to do. So requiring a government to do exactly what its people want is sheer lunacy. The usual fallacy is saying here "because ordinary people are stupid", but it is not so. Humans are kind towards other humans, usually are experts is several directions, that is to say, they are capable of rationally choosing the best course of action in some limited areas. The problem is that the statistical distribution of talent in an area is a gaussian at best, and a Zipf's distribution at worst.
Since choosing the best course of action requires being an expert in that area, and the expertise of talent is, let's say, distributed along a bell curve, most people cannot choose the best option, and even funnier: might not be able to realize who's an expert in the field and who isn't. Not because they are stupid, but because they are, shall we say, experts in different areas. A professor of Mathematics, while being an expert in his field, might not be an expert in Foreign Policy and he might not even recognize the difference between the solutions proposed by an expert and a non-expert. Or realize the repercussions of choosing this or that solution.
With this in mind, "the will of the people" is almost always a selfserving opinion of a mass of non-experts...oh. I do have to apologize, You most definitely represent The Will Of The People. Well done.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45560263)

"Come on You capitalist crusaders, let's see a little smoke. If what you believe is true (that lack of competition is the source of lack of innovation), go and create competition to The Big Government, and may the best person win. I'm sure they will try to innovate a solution, and not act like a capitalist -- that is smack You down with its unfairly distributed power."

You have obviously never read Adam Smith. Or if you did, you didn't understand it.

Even Smith knew that capitalism would require anti-trust regulation, and he stated as much quite clearly. Monopoly, or its friends "corporatism" and its alias "Crony Capitalism" are not actual capitalism, at all. They are, quite exactly, what Mussolini described when he defined the term "Fascism".

Re:Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45561217)

Obviously You have _only_ read Adam Smith. And maybe Atlas Shrugged.

I love it when people are trying to say that monopoly is not the goal of capitalism. Every firms goal in the free market is to dominate the whole market. Not to create the best product, or provide competition, but to earn the most money, and the best way to do that is a monopoly.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45561911)

"I love it when people are trying to say that monopoly is not the goal of capitalism. Every firms goal in the free market is to dominate the whole market. Not to create the best product, or provide competition, but to earn the most money, and the best way to do that is a monopoly."

Congratulations. You've won the "Didn't Read What The Other Person Just Wrote" award.

You DO know that Adam Smith is the person who defined capitalism, yes?

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45561937)

"Obviously You have _only_ read Adam Smith. And maybe Atlas Shrugged."

I mean seriously? Saying "You've only read Adam Smith about capitalism" is kind of like saying "You've only read J.K. Rowling about Harry Potter."

Re: Most Software Is Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45562337)

It is the companies goal, but not necessarily the systems goal. The system can be regulated to avoid some of the negative aspects.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

ilguido (1704434) | about 9 months ago | (#45560543)

I mean, Jesus Christ, America. We can see it happening right now in China. They were shit in the world economy (and their own economy, for that matter) until the government started letting businesses actually profit and compete with others (i.e., more capitalism).

The Corporatism part is quite right, after all the corporatist state envisioned by Mussolini was a system of lobbies, regulated by formal mechanisms. However, when Deng Xiaoping turned China towards a market economy (but not really a capitalist one) in the 80s, China was already doing comparatively better than India or Brazil, two capitalist states that a few decades early were in a better position than post-revolutionary China. The actual Chinese economic system is a bit complex and not really capitalist, its big players are state owned and the banking system (that is the capitals) is mainly state-owned or under the firm grip of the state.

Re:Most Software Is Shit (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45561985)

"The actual Chinese economic system is a bit complex and not really capitalist, its big players are state owned and the banking system (that is the capitals) is mainly state-owned or under the firm grip of the state."

That's why I didn't write "capitalist". I wrote "more capitalist". The people who run companies today are allowed to keep (some of) the profit. They allowed capitalist incentive to infiltrate many of the markets.

But remember what the U.S. government has often seemed to have forgotten: capitalism requires non-interference from government in order to work. India, China, and Brazil all had too much government intervention in the economy for true capitalism to function. The more capitalist they have become, the better their economies have worked.

In contrast, the less capitalist the U.S. and UK have become, the less well their economies have been doing. I'm not claiming an absolute cause-effect relationship here, but the correlation is pretty much undeniable if you're an honest person.

this is "news"? (2)

murdocj (543661) | about 9 months ago | (#45557389)

This is just an opinion piece, not even remotely news.

Re:this is "news"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557407)

You must be new here...

Re:this is "news"? (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 9 months ago | (#45557419)

This is just an opinion piece, not even remotely news.

And is it "stuff that matters"? Not to me it isn't.

Re:this is "news"? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45557587)

This is just an opinion piece, not even remotely news.

And is it "stuff that matters"? Not to me it isn't.

You fellers (or whatever) are stuck in the past. The closest thing to a motto on the front page now is at the bottom, and it says Slashdot is a Dice Holdings, Inc. service.

Why FOSS? (3, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | about 9 months ago | (#45557669)

One thing I don't get - if there is a downward pressure on prices on developers, how does adapting an Open Source model help them? It's not like they get extra money for it if they reveal their source code.

Also, the 'four freedoms' have never been about making better software, as RMS never tires of pointing out (and it shows). They've been an end in itself. If you write a software - no matter how bad, but simply put it under a A/L/GPL license, RMS would be pleased. Your software respects the 'freedom' of your neighbors, who you must help, as per Freedom 2.

But I doubt that the desire to put Open Source in the datacenter had anything to do with any 'freedom'. It was about putting better software out there. Since the existing datacenter hardware was tied to the support contracts that a Microsoft or Sun/Oracle or HP would provide, moving to FOSS meant that any datacenter that adapted it would determine its own support timelines, since the open source meant that they could hire their own developers to maintain it beyond upstream support, and also, the upstream projects had no strong reason to EOL a version, unlike commercial entities.

The innovation part - this part is not completely true about FOSS, since there ain't millions of programmers interested in the project, and so the software usually doesn't get examined except by its developers, and maybe some very interested customers. Where FOSS helps is that if a customer has esoteric hardware, the software can usually be ported to it to exact the maximum life out of the system, as well as provide a uniform software platform for heterogenous computing environments.

Re:Why FOSS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558285)

One thing I don't get - if there is a downward pressure on prices on developers, how does adapting an Open Source model help them? It's not like they get extra money for it if they reveal their source code.

Its not the developer's source that needs to be open, its what they use. Where I work we use C#, but were almost set up with python and other FOSS. Its only because the python guys were idiots wanting a TON of money (more than IIS and SQLServer would have costs with others) for not knowing what they were doing we stayed with C#. Next time the same question comes up I would be shocked if python/MariaDB doesn't win just because setting up a web site with that is a fraction of the cost. C# worked for us ONLY because we already had the investment in it and the on site talent for it. If those weren't the case python would have won.

In other words, when bidding a new web site, python + apache offers a $10K-$50K reduction in startup costs depending on what you are doing. That cost also is MySql (MariaDB) vs SqlServer. If you could bid $50K less than you competition it would win for you every time if the results were equivilent.

Thats the "real" reason FOSS will eventually win. Its almost a no-brainer now, but not quite there yet.

Re:Why FOSS? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45559125)

One thing I don't get - if there is a downward pressure on prices on developers, how does adapting an Open Source model help them? It's not like they get extra money for it if they reveal their source code.

That suggests (maybe even begs) the question, can they get extra money for it if they reveal their source code? You always reveal your source code to your employer in a "traditional" programmer-getting-paid relationship involving corporations (or at least companies) and groups of programmers, marketers, et cetera.

Re:this is "news"? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45558031)

The cost of OS software is not a major factor in Data Center budgets the cost of the plant plus the power costs are much much more important

Re:this is "news"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45559991)

You might look at it that way, but try another, especially when time-sharing in the cloud is cheap. Try looking at the cost of software vs. the cost of operating the business. Much of the time, for a lot of companies, the difference in cost of open vs. closed source means whether or not they can submit a competitive proposal to to get the business in the first place. The costs of closed source, not to mention licensing headaches, can be like a massive ball and chain to drag around.

Or, just look at your local graphics artist making websites and what-not. How much money in software fees can they save while becoming more competitive by learning to use FOSS, while ditching Adobe + Apple/Microsoft as much as possible in the process, I know I did years ago when I started developing Drupal on LAMP/LEMP. And my customer love the final product that they actually own. To be clear, I have both Windows and Mac workstations because they have certain applications I use. However my costs to Adobe are very low now, and that's not being passed on to anyone.

Re:this is "news"? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45562503)

But PS is so much more efficient and higher quality than GIMP its the standard for a reason. Compared to the cost of employing a graphics artist (at 2 or 3 times their base salary) for a year the cost of PS/Adobe is trivial esp as you can amortize the cost over say 2 or 3 years and off set it against your tax.

Re:this is "news"? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#45558153)

Yeah, the article mixes a couple different subjects that don't really have a whole lot to do with each other much of the time - development and datacenters. Most developers aren't doing anything remotely relevant to the datacenter.

Open source works in the datacenter because it's cheap, relatively easy to manage, and because tools are available that let it scale up fairly easily.

And while there are successful, large projects that are open source... it's harder to see the argument that open source is the tool of choice for developers - at least those who are trying to make a living at it. Maybe if you limit the scope to hobbyists or side projects...

Re:this is "news"? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45560387)

it's harder to see the argument that open source is the tool of choice for developers

It depends on the developers. Certainly here in the land of slashdot groupthink you can see that some of them have wised up to the relative ease of Open Source software development. People fix bugs for you in the best case, and at minimum you get to benefit from the work of others when you link OSS libraries or what have you.

It's notable though that OSS is only getting more popular in development tools. You're more and more likely to be using OSS compilers and even IDEs today when you do software development. And that has the effect of lowering the bar substantially; when I was a kid with a DOS PC and no money (we was po and I lived in Santa Cruz, which was an expensive place to live) I could either write assembler for free or I could pony up a whole bunch of money for a development suite. I did neither, I had no mentor. I've studied x86 ASM since and I don't think I would have enjoyed it at all :)

Re:this is "news"? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45562513)

Um not if your doing serious HPC you use the expensive INTEL compilers and not the open source ones

Re:this is "news"? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45562893)

If you're doing serious HPC you might well be using a language that Intel doesn't even have a compiler for.

Re:this is "news"? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45562941)

Serious HPC uses FORTRAN some of the kids on the variety club bus (the one with the tasty windows) seem to want to switch to C++ but thats a world of butt hurt.

Re:this is "news"? (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45563179)

You can prototype in python with numpy which is what a lot of people do nowadays.

CopyLeft ransom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557401)

Could someone explain how CopyLeft ransom works?

Re:CopyLeft ransom? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#45557503)

Could someone explain how CopyLeft ransom works?

I'll explain to you how CopyLeft works if you pay me.
If you pay year-after-year, I'll keep you updated with how it works over the time and... I'll even allow you to call me twice per year.

Everyone wants something for free (1)

js3 (319268) | about 9 months ago | (#45557451)

Why pay when you can have it fo free?

Re:Everyone wants something for free (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#45557603)

Is not about money neither. Is about who is in control, who really owns your data.

Re:Everyone wants something for free (4, Interesting)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about 9 months ago | (#45557759)

Close. In my case, as head of technology and development at a small outfit then using SCO Unix, it was a combination of factors. First, and most important, was gaining some level of control of the underlying software stack. A couple of examples: We installed the SMP package on a customer's system. Random crashes and panics became too common. We replaced the server - no joy. Having a support agreement with SCO ($$$), we called them for assistance and their response was "re-install the SMP package". When I explained that we'd already done that, they said "well, do it again". Another time, we needed their DDE-RPC package to run some CSTA software. When I tried to buy a copy, they said "nope, we discontinued that package". I offered several options: we'll pay for it, but not ask them for support, etc. No, no and no. It was about this time one of my techs who'd been singing the Linux song finally handed me the pack of Yggdrasil floppies and once I finally got it loaded and started looking at the source code for *everything*: kernel, compiler, utilities, etc. my jaw hit the floor and I knew that the world had shifted forever. We started then on a migration project - which took a couple of years - and we've never looked back. Worth every penny that we didn't pay to SCO, but did pay to our engineers.

Re:Everyone wants something for free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558533)

The real reason Linux took off it is Low Cost and Work while *BSDs were Low Cost only and does not Really Work Well!

Re:Everyone wants something for free (1)

NotBorg (829820) | about 9 months ago | (#45558159)

Most open source is NOT free (as in monetary cost). It's almost good enough so you modify it (at the cost of development time). The expense of maintaining that modification encourages sending your modifications back upstream. The difference is that it's cheaper to pay your own developers to do it than it is to ask some proprietary vendor to modify their stuff for you. Cheaper wins.

Re (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 9 months ago | (#45558597)

Not everything in the cloud is open or free. Amazon Web Services are proprietary and metered, for example, and lots of people still use them. Why is that?

I think it's because AWS decided to support two of the four freedoms, and those are the important ones. Basically, give people tools, and let them build what they want with them, without having to ask anyone for permission.

Re:Re (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 9 months ago | (#45562529)

and its the Gillette model AWS starts out cheap but costs can rack up quickly

Re:Everyone wants something for free (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#45558991)

>Why pay when you can have it fo free?

I will sell you the letter "R" for $500 bucks!

No! Its about me knowing what's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557483)

Its about kicking MS ass, man!

My way! Your way uses the wrong libraries and language.

choice? what do you mean? my way is clearly the only best way.

Innovation rarely exists. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#45557491)

When people say Innovative, we think of something that when we see it, we go Wow this is so cool I would never think of of that myself, and usually throws the rest of the industry in catch up mode.

Now the iPhone (not the iPad) was an innovative idea. Phones before the iPhone had external keyboards, at the expense of of screen size, or thickness. The idea of very few real buttons at the time was very foreign to us. And using gestures seemed almost impossible, as many early gesture systems had a lot of complicated gestures to get tasks done.
The iPhone wasn't innovative based on its features, there were other companies that had phones with more features or better hardware. But the innovation was able to successfully make a phone, that the advance feature were accessible and to the end users. The idea of say browsing the web on your phone, or have it as your main method to check for email seemed silly before, today it is quite common.
What happened after the iPhone kicked off, it threw the Industry in catch up mode. It took years for good Android phones to get into the market to start competing, and these new phones all are based on the iPhone.

Now the iPad isn't that innovative, it was easy to realize you take your iPhone and just give it a bigger screen, and fit better processing.

Other innovative products.
ID software 3D shooter. Wolfinstine 3d and Doom. They had some wire-frame attempts, and a few polygon based games. But games before that for the most part where 2d sprite based (Side Platform like Mario, or top down like Zelda), specificity for fast paced action games.

Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike the Atari and other predecessors it didn't give any allusion that it was a person computer, just a straight game console. Priced more affordable than the others, and focusing on games.

Innovation is very rare. Most of the time it is copying someone else idea and tweaking it so there are different set of trade offs. Now their tweaks may change the market, but not as much as a innovative product.

How you choose to license your product, isn't really that big of a deal. Open Source, sure people can tinker with it coming with some new ideas. Commercial Software will have paid employees trying to come up with something new.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557679)

In my opinion, the problem is the misdefinition of the word "innovation".

An innovation is something new. Something revolutionary that changes everything.
The transistor was an innovation. Rounded corners and ultra-thin device form factors are not.

In the world of free software, tools, apps, and other software constructions don't overtly aspire for this goal. They just want to get X task completed. Most tools and products start as ugly assed hacks, thrown together with haste.

The magical alchemy of free software, is that if somebody else expends the energy making that ugly hack, and shares it for free, others can snag up that hack, look under the hood, and either use it as-is, or use the energy they would have used to create their own ugly hack to beautify and refine the hack they just found, and make it better for servicing the unique twists of that person's requirements when doing that task. This could be anything from adding new features, to fixing dirty code work and inefficiencies in the logic. Des not matter. The effect is the same.

Over time, the dirty hack becomes something the original author never envisioned, but increasingly more innovative, as more people look at it, and add clever improvements. It does not come into the world to change anything, just to do a job.

It is an organic, evolutionary process. Something "barely fit" for the function undergoes selective pressure, and unrestricted replication, and intelligently guided evolution. The latter part is why it reaches "innovative" local maxima solutions to problems quickly.

Trying to upset the applecart, just to upset the apple cart and change the world is a monumentally difficult task to "just do". FOSS does this effortlessly, one clever hack at a time. The payment the innovators receive in return, is better employment of their time (for the few minutes or hours of time they invest each, they all get demonstrably better software than they could have produced from scratch in that period of time, and if they improve the software and release under the license terms, then the time they spent adds value to the next person in the chain. It isn't about monetary compensation; it's about time use.)

Proprietary software tries to leverage the time and energy of a small group of talented people, to prduce a product of greater sophistication than an individual software hack can produce in a sensible amount of time, and extort money out of them for the service of providing an already made package that should suit thier needs. (Should). This is done to get a slightly higher amount of monetary valuation of "time" from the customer, and offer a "bargain" in time expenditure vs value to the customer.

(The software company pays their employees a certain financial compensation per hour worked, which is summed to help arrive at a production cost figure for the product. The proprietary vendor then amortizes that cost over an estimated userbase, and arrives at an MSRP, and from there a transaction for the finished product can be conducted. The msrp is higher than the amortized cost per unit, the price of the product for the customer is considerably lower than the valuated figure for the time it would have taken them to mae the product themselves. Both walk away with value.)

With foss, this methodology is disrupted; there is no money seeking middle man. The value added by each small successive evolutionary step improves the software. They get the benefit of many times this investment, the longer the product stays in active development. Linux Kernel alone constitutes millions of man hours of coding time. If you spend 1 hour making a small improvement to current trunk, and have it accepted, you still have over 1,000,000:1 value return on the time. The next person gets 1,000,001:1 return. Etc.

This feedback allows foss to grow and evolve radically faster than proprietary software could ever hope to achieve, especially as the development life of the product increases. Proprietary software has recurring costs in deveopment. FOSS has recurring returns.

FOSS is a true innovation in software development.
Thin screens and gestures pale in comparison.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558697)

We had FOSS before there was FOSS. What you think of as FOSS use to be the standard in the industry at one point in time. You just needed to find something to pull your own dick over and you're doing it by trying to rewrite computing history.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (1)

loom_weaver (527816) | about 9 months ago | (#45562271)

> Proprietary software tries to leverage the time and energy of a small group of talented people, to prduce a product of greater sophistication than an individual software hack can produce in a sensible amount of time, and extort money out of them for the service of providing an already made package that should suit thier needs. (Should). This is done to get a slightly higher amount of monetary valuation of "time" from the customer, and offer a "bargain" in time expenditure vs value to the customer.

Yes for the core product. But a lot of the value that proprietary corporations provide is in the area that the talented people often don't want to do. Things like support, bug fixes, documentation, improvements of mundane old features, and customizations for a select few.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558271)

Innovation comes after copying a lot, e.g you talk about ID, before ID made 3D they made 2D Nintendo copies fro the PC.

Before being able to innovate, the Beatles worked super hard for ten years on a club, mostly coping other people's work.

The US of America first had to copy the British machines(copied from Duch before) before creating their own industry.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 9 months ago | (#45559147)

Now the iPhone (not the iPad) was an innovative idea. Phones before the iPhone had external keyboards, at the expense of of screen size, or thickness. The idea of very few real buttons at the time was very foreign to us.

The 7710 [gsmarena.com] says you're wrong. (As if being 2.5 years earlier wasn't enough, it had more pixels, too. And it's not as though that's some fluke that was promptly abandoned, as its descendants, while not as minimal as the iPhone, were definitely of a piece with the later iPhone/Android/WebOS/etc. "big screen, few buttons" concept. By the time the iPhone came out, the N800 was current, which while not a "phone" as it no longer contained a GSM radios (being made for tethering to a phone), was up to 800x480, and the non-screen elements on the front were down to 1 D-pad, a 3-button panel (back, home, and menu, equivalent to the capacitive buttons on most Android phones) and front-firing stereo speakers. The N810, in the works at the same time as the iPhone, and released some months after, reduced the front-face elements to the screen and a single, two-button rocker along one edge, as they moved the speakers to the sides, and the d-pad and other button to the new slide-out QWERTY.

And using gestures seemed almost impossible, as many early gesture systems had a lot of complicated gestures to get tasks done.

That's more true. The capacitive touch sensor was the big thing there, mainly because it permitted multitouch gestures -- previous touchscreen phones generally used single-touch resistive touch sensors which had a much more limited repertoire of simple gestures. Previous systems with similar capabilities to the capacitive touch sensor (mostly camera-based, and too bulky for use outside research) did have similarly useful and simple gesture sets, so IMO it was mainly an issue of hardware finally catching up to make decades-old innovation practical.

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#45560021)

..didn't give any impression of being something else?

you forget about rob? it was a chore for them to invent something so that the usa release of famicom would seem something else than just a games console because "just games" console market had just crashed badly!

and you forgetting touchscreen motorolas, touchscreen nokias, treos.. what was big thing was that the manufacturers of touch tech managed to embed capacitive in thin screens and without too much power use around the time iphone came to market..

it's iteration that's the thing. open source was always in data centers post 1990(and much earlier) in some form and it got iterated and iterated... in the early days whoever got the profit from the datacenter didn't even know it most of the time.

it's cheap though. why would someone take a bsd licensed sw and make it part of their commercial unix distro and not rewrite it? why would someone use an os that doesn't need (so much)license renegotiations when they fire up a new cluster? fucking economics. it's about economics first and freedom second(or about economic freedom).

Re:Innovation rarely exists. (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45560375)

You were doing well until you mentioned the iPhone, which was not the first of anything in its class. The closest it gets is being the first commercial product to use a stripped-down version of the full OS on the phone; iOS is derived directly from OSX, but other examples like Windows CE are not. That's not innovative, though; it's evolutionary, and was bound to happen when the phones became powerful enough.

Unfortunately, you mentioned it in your second sentence, which means you went off the rails early.

You know what was an innovative product? Pong was innovative. You know what else was innovative? The goddamned electric turkey carver. But the iPhone was not. Innovation is not what Apple does these days, not since the original Mac really, maybe some of the software developments on the Newton. Apple Refines and Markets, those are their functions. It's not clear they'll be able to do the first of those without Steve Jobs...

GNU GPL FTW (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557519)

When I write code for personal reasons, I always release it under the Affero GPL v3+ [gnu.org] .
It saves me the time and effort of attempting to monetize or control every little snippet of code that I write just for fun or just to learn something.
It also ensures that nobody can commercially exploit the code without A) paying me for a non-GPL license, or B) contributing back to the community.

As a side effect, it makes a great way to show off my coding skills to potential employers.
They can look me up on GitHub and evaluate my code and skills, but they still have to pay to play.

I'm not a libre software zealot. I don't believe that everyone is under a moral obligation to release their source code.
However, I do find the Affero GPL effective at protecting my non-commercial interests and providing an assist on my commercial interests.
That is why I use the license, and encourage other software developers to do the same.

Re:GNU GPL FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557585)

As a potential employer, I appreciate when people use the AGPL. It's an easy (and legal) way to filter out assholes.

Re:GNU GPL FTW (1)

game kid (805301) | about 9 months ago | (#45557681)

Oh I'm sorry, did their license break your pilfering concentration?

Re:GNU GPL FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557715)

Oh I'm sorry, did their license break your pilfering concentration?

GP was finished, and wants to allow you to retort.

Re:GNU GPL FTW (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 9 months ago | (#45558001)

How exactly does that work? You provide a package under AGPL3. I pick it up & use it, and run it - maybe on your server, maybe on mine. Everything I do is internal facing - I put it on an Intranet, but not the internet As a result, nobody other than me & my colleagues get to use it, I don't add a thing to it, so your source code is available to anyone who wants to see it - my colleagues, while they run it on as many computers as needed. Instead of paying for a closed source package, I got yours for free, and use it. I don't contribute any code 'back' to the community, since I don't write it, and since I'm not distributing it, your AGPL license works just fine.

AGPL - the way I understand it - is that if I provide a software, but hosted on my server, not downloaded, I have to provide the source code to anybody who runs it, if it is on my server. If they then take that source code, add things and put it on their server, they have to provide the source code. However, your model doesn't touch those who use your service - if there is one - for purely personal consumption, and neither redistribute in the form of code, nor as a service. Such people would be fine, whether it's under GPL/AGPL/LGPL w/o paying you for anything, unless you charged them for the software in the first place (but they can still get it for free from a third person)

Re:GNU GPL FTW (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 9 months ago | (#45558865)

An innovation is something new. Something revolutionary that changes everything.
The transistor was an innovation. Rounded corners and ultra-thin device form factors are not.

The problem is that you're stuck on the rounded corners and just being to ignorant to see the innovation. Your personal bias abounds.

It wasn't that any one thing was 'new' it was that they made something that wasn't a piece of shit. They made it work. They made it work WELL. And then they made AT&T give unlimited data for $40/month rather than $30 per kilobyte they were doing previously. And then they took control of all the crapware on phones out of the phone companies hands ...

Basically Apple came alone and fixed all the shitty parts of using a smart phone, and then all of the sudden the rest of the world looked like douche bags. The previous industry dominator is going out of business in 6 years because of their simple changes. Everyone else had to copy them, its 6 years later, and Android still suffers from stupid shit that plagued phones before the iPhone.

They did like the BASF tagline. We don't make the things you use, we make the things you use BETTER.

Gnu.org = biased view (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557553)

Seems like a lot of open source stories lately are coming from highly questionable, if not zealot types of sources.

Let's cover two points before ya'll mark this as troll or flamebait.

GNU is the lesser evil:
A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

There's no "closed source is evil, propietary software is designed by money grubbing capitalists, all software wants to be pirated" point of view.

Richard Stallman himself however does have an "evil" agenda if you will. (from wikipedia)
Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, which uses the principles of copyright law to preserve the right to use, modify and distribute free software, and is the main author of free software licenses which describe those terms, most notably the GNU General Public License (GPL), the most widely used free software license.

The GPL violates all four points in that:
1. The GPL prohibits commercial use or sale of software without releasing the source code "somewhere else for free so I never have to buy it"
2. The GPL has viral components to it that, even if you make changes to it, someone who wants to benefit from that change must accept the GPL or not use the change, even if they are simply studying the code. So this means that if you want to develop something that works like or with the the GPL software, you can never study the GPL software without making your software GPL too.
3. The GPL makes it impossible to charge money for any part of software, be it source code, art assets, music, sound, or video. Every part of a "GPL" program must be redistributed without fee, so even someone who mis-appropriates something from the public domain can "GPL it" and and render the PD invalid.
4. Nobody benefits from software that they have a license-gun to their head.

Nobody should be using any GPL software, less what you make become GPL too. If you're fine with that, then maybe the GPL is for you, but for the vast majority of people who just do not want to deal with political footballs, the GPL is quite evil. People who wish to make games in particular and not have their game pirated, ransacked by chinese gold botters, and utterly destroyed two days out of beta can not use any GPL software whatsoever, because access to the source code means someone just adds a "letmecheat=1" to the source code and your game is ruined.

There are some really good reasons to have things like GPL operating systems,GPL compilers and GPL drivers, because these are the parts that make a computer something more than a blackbox. Past that point, mandating that everything compiled with GPL compilers that runs on the GPL OS must be GPL licensed and free is folly.

Copyleft ransom ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshold_pledge_system )

Is the act of giving copyrighted works away for free, but not producing it in the first place unless a set threshold of money is given. Basically what everyone is doing with Kickstarters today.

There is nothing wrong with this.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557579)

I used to share opinions like yours, but then I bought a 10-pound dildo and suddenly I stopped caring. Perhaps it would work for yr problems, too.

Partly BS (1, Informative)

sgrover (1167171) | about 9 months ago | (#45557697)

Some of your premise is correct - charging for "copyrighted works" is perfectly fine, and even supported by the idea of Open Source. But, your GPL Violations list and general dis'ing of GPL is BS, IMO.

1. GPL does not prohibit commercial use of software. GPL simply states "respect the applicable licenses".
2. Making use of a GPL library does NOT automatically make my code assume a GPL license. If I use libraryX that is GPL'd, then yes, I need to respect the license for that library and ensure I include the source code for that library with my package. Any changes I may feel I need to make to that library fall under the license for the library and needs to be included in the source code. However, the rest of MY code get's whatever license I want to give it - I just can't override the license for the library itself.
3. Given point 2, then your point three is utterly wrong. If I can set the license for my app as I choose, while respecting the licenses of any sub-systems I may use, I can still charge what I want for my app.
4. Apply your point 4 to Microsoft. After all, you can't say they don't keep the license gun to your head and they clearly benefit nicely. But then apply the same to Red Hat, who is a billion dollar company built using GPL based software. Nobody benefits - yeah right.

You need to understand the licensing quagmire better rather than just spewing out someone else's story. Yes, that is someone else's story - I've heard this one too many times over the past 20 years and every instance has proven to be crappy propaganda put out by those whose bottom line is threatened by Open Source and Free software.

Re:Partly BS (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45557893)

You are absolutely wrong about point 2. A GPL licensed library does not give you the freedom to license your code "however you like." The LGPL does that. Don't confuse the two.

If you use a GPL library, you're required to use the GPL license for your code as well. This is not an accident or a "mistaken interpretation" of the license. It's clearly stated and has been known since the first version of the GPL license was released.

Re:Partly BS (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45557903)

There is nothing requiring a library to use the LGPL. That's why it's properly referred to as the "Lesser GPL", not the "Library GPL."

Re:Partly BS (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 9 months ago | (#45558913)

If you use a GPL library, you're required to use the GPL license for your code as well.

Strictly speaking, the grandparent is absolutely correct and you're wrong. You can pick aaaaaaaaaany license you want, as long as you respect the license of the remaining code meaning you can pick MIT, ISC, Apache, LGPL or any other GPL-compatible license for your code. He's still wrong about the third point though, all of these licenses require you to hand out your code and the distribution rights to your code the moment you deliver a binary to anyone, or else they wouldn't be GPL-compatible.

Re:Partly BS (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45560533)

From the GPL:

All other non-permissive additional terms are considered “further restrictions” within the meaning of section 10. If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term. If a license document contains a further restriction but permits relicensing or conveying under this License, you may add to a covered work material governed by the terms of that license document, provided that the further restriction does not survive such relicensing or conveying.

In other words, you can put additional restrictions on your code, but if someone doesn't like them, they can still use it under the terms of the GPL. So the only modifications that make sense is to grant additional permissions, such as a dual-license of GPL or commercial use.

That is not "however you want". It is within the confines of the originating GPL license, not a free-for-all.

Re:Partly BS (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45560537)

In other words, you can license your code under as many additional licenses as you like, but it must be available under the terms of the GPL.

Re:Partly BS (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45560559)

Where it gets real interesting is the recent decision against Oracle over the Java APIs. That ruling says that you can implement a GPL library's interface under a non-GPL license. So if you license your code under terms other than the GPL, people who rely on those other licenses are free to replace the GPL library with a non-GPL library that is compatible with your terms.

However, in such a case, you are no longer using the GPL code. It would be interesting in court to see how that would play out as to whether the third-party's code using your code is required to abide by the GPL, or if they would be required to specify the specific libraries they are linking to in order to avoid GPL compliance.

Re:Partly BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45607335)

That's always been true. See libc and its hundred implementations. Oracle vs Google was just confirmation and adding that if there's only one or two obvious implementations then you can't claim copyright on that either.

Re:Partly BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45560245)

I wish GPL had a clause that let it mix with other open sauce licences. If you incorporate a file from a GPL'd program, it would be much nicer (free-er for the developer) if your whole program then did not have to be GPL, but something like Apache or MIT would be fine. (Of course, that might open a legal can of worms if the program is further combined with other programs.)

GPL is not the one true licence. Yet RMS seems to want to 'crush' the other licences with it.

Just read the fucking license, people. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45559959)

2. Making use of a GPL library does NOT automatically make my code assume a GPL license.

Where the hell does this bullshit keep coming from? The license isn't that fucking hard to read.

Here's a direct quote from the motherfucking license:

The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

Thus, if your program contains any GPL code whatsoever, it is considered to be a derivative work by the GPL.

These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

Thus, if you use any GPL code at all, the GPL considers your program to be a derivative work, and demands that it assume the GPL license.

Granted, the license doesn't make this as clear as it could, but there's not a whole lot of debate about it. Just go ask the glibc people what they think about you compiling a program with -static and then not releasing the source code.

This is what people are talking about when they complain about the GPL being a viral license. There's no reason I shouldn't be able to take my BSD licensed program and copy one GPL licensed file into the source tree and keep the BSD licensed code under the BSD license and the GPL licensed code under the GPL license. However, I can't do that, because the GPL demands that the entire project become GPL licensed. It's bullshit because it only results in code that was previously available under a more liberal license having more restrictions added to it.

Re: Just read the fucking license, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45560135)

What, why is it bullshit? It is what BSD license allows you to do. Anyone can stripmine BSD code and not contribute anything back. Take care when thinking of BSD licenses!

Re: Just read the fucking license, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45562927)

What, why is it bullshit? It is what BSD license allows you to do. Anyone can stripmine BSD code and not contribute anything back. Take care when thinking of BSD licenses!

Indeed. That's why I created my own license: The Antiviral License [ecstaticlyrics.com]

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45557747)

Very imprecise, particularly this part:

"Nobody should be using any GPL software, less what you make become GPL too"

Clearly, nobody should use GPL software as a building block if they don't want their own software to be GPL. That is obvious, from the license. But this does not prevent you from usingGPL software. You can develop commercial software (games, accounting packages) all day using linux servers and workstations. GPL software on your file server (or development tools) does not spread into your own project somehow. A GPL word processor doesn't taint your documents in any way either.

If I develop something on a windows platform, it does not get magically tainted with a microsoft licence either. Unless, of course, I include the windows system itself into my product. As long as I don't do that, my software stays clean. It is the same way with GPL software too. You can use it safely - just don't make it part of your product binary.

You can make commercial games while using a GPL development platform - and see no problems with license. The development tools do not force GPL onto your game. That sort of thing only happens if you take some existing GPL game and build on that. So don't do that - if you want a commercial game. Write your commercial game from scratch - like you would do on any other platform. No problems then.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45557813)

1. No it doesn't. It says that users of binaries with gpl code in them have a right to the source upon request. The vendor has the right to ask a small distribution fee for this.

2. Well, yes, it is viral. So are many closed source licenses. This virility protects the freedom inherent in any original code remaining in the program after the changes. You would say this to anyone wanting source access to closed applications, right? For those, you charge money, for GPL the cost is your code, which then keeps the application and its evolution free for others to use and modify. The point is to maintain this freedom of access and use to everyone. If you don't want to distribute your changes to a GPL program, don't distribute your binaries. You could also ask the author for an alternative license as he still holds the copyright.

3. No, it doesn't. You can GPL software and charge money for access.. What you can't do is limit what the user does with it afterwards other than demand he respect the GPL (thus you get access to your user's changes). Obviously this won't work if your goal is to drive value by artificial scarcity of access. If so, that's fine, but then the GPL isn't for you. It's not a danger. Just don't use it. As far as other assets go, the author can choose what parts are licensed in any way he chooses. The GPL does not prevent this, nor can it. For example, the quake3 source code was released under GPL by id software, but the data files were not. Years before this happened, id software distributed quake3 binary only on linux and was in full compliance. There are plenty of binary only applications that run natively and legally on linux/gnu userland.

4. If so, then the only 'license' that works for you is public domain/no license at all. You're welcome to do that with your own code.

The rest of your statement is based on your broken presuppositions. It also sounds like you're demanding that OSS developers release under a BSD like license just so you can take their code, use it to compete against them, and give nothing back. Well, again, it's up to the authors to decide, but obviously a bunch of them want to be paid for their work in 'code' rather than in cash in order to keep the project's evolution open. If you're an end user who has not distributed changed binaries, you are not under any obligation to anyone.

Btw, there is also the LGPL, which allows dynamic linking to GPL libraries without having to comply with the GPL for your application's source. This has been around for decades now, so I am surprised you haven't heard about it. Many GPL libraries are licensed under this. The GPL does not demand that code compiled with GPL tools be GPL'd. Where do you get this bullshit misinformation?

As far as anti-cheat/gold mining goes, closed source binaries don't seem to do much for that either, since 100% of that has been done on closed source games, and 100% of it has been defeated. Blaming the GPL for this is mind numbingly stupid.

I see nothing wrong with kickstarter projects. I think it's great. The community gets an open product that will last through many generations of hardware/platforms as long as there is interest, and the developers get paid for their work. Sure beats paying over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for SaaS crapola that basically has no value as it could disappear at any time.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558603)

For those, you charge money, for GPL the cost is your code

Only costs.. It's not free.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 9 months ago | (#45558885)

1. No it doesn't. It says that users of binaries with gpl code in them have a right to the source upon request. The vendor has the right to ask a small distribution fee for this.

Effectively making it impossible to actually sell GPL'd software.

Sure, technically you can, but no one is going to buy it cause some other dude will buy one copy and then distribute it to everyone else.

You do yourself no favors and win over no hearts by trying to play that card. Everyone knows its bullshit, no matter how loud RMS screams.

2. Well, yes, it is viral. So are many closed source licenses.

I've never in my life ran into a license that required me to license my software under the same license. I've never heard of anything like that, unless you mean that it doesn't let me give out their code with mine since it isn't open source? No, I doubt that, you're just making up stupid shit.

3. No, it doesn't. You can GPL software and charge money for access.. What you can't do is limit what the user does with it afterwards other than demand he respect the GPL (thus you get access to your user's changes).

And again, from a practical perspective, theres no way you can charge shit. Someone else will pay once and redistribute your crap for less or free. Just because you repeat it doesn't make it true

The rest of your statement is based on your broken presuppositions.

As opposed to yours, which is entirely based on broken presuppositions.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (2)

Minwee (522556) | about 9 months ago | (#45557815)

"Christmas" has an H in it, Mr Baldrick. And an R. Also an I and an S; also a T, an M, an A, and another S. Oh, and you've missed out the C at the beginning. Congratulations, Mr Baldrick! Something of a triumph, I think -- you must be the first person ever to spell `Christmas' without getting any of the letters right at all.

Oops... Wrong conversation. Let me try that again.

Congratulations, Mr. Coward! Something of a triumph, I think -- you must be the first person ever to write a GPL troll without getting any facts right at all.

Re:Gnu.org = biased view (2)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#45558421)

Having worked in the game industry using GPL components, including respecting the spirt of the licenses and giving back to the community, I have to say.... no. There are plenty of ways to use GPL components within a game without having to give out the parts game parts, GPL is fairly explicit about what boundaries the license crosses and which it does not.

Now, granted, we did not allow GPLv3 based projects to touch our code, and I would argue that GPLv3 can be pretty bad for people who want to integrate it into larger software packages. Great for people who do server stuff since it was built to handle that crowd, but yeah, games and such, not so great.

I don't get it (1)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45557655)

The bit about developers using "copyleft as a means of collecting ransom,".

This doesn't sound like a complaint from the end user (data center) for all the nice, free software. It sounds like butthurt from proprietary s/w vendors who can't find a way to take open code back into a closed product.

Open source got monetized (1)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45557835)

What really happened was that new ways were found to monetize open source. Most of them involve advertising. Some of them involve spyware. Others involve making programs dependent on "the cloud", or on an endless stream of patches, so some company can cut off your air supply unless you pay.

Re:Open source got monetized (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 9 months ago | (#45557909)

..or they built a business around natural scarcity, such as network presence that requires things like bandwidth, server maintenance, and support. Nothing wrong with that.

Scarcity of access really doesn't work that well with media, software, or ideas...even with a police state.

"Whatever." (1)

Slartibartfast (3395) | about 9 months ago | (#45557869)

I don't see why he's contrasting things that, instead, worked together with synergy. Strikes me as a really short-sighted way to approach the success of Open Source software.

$.02, etc.

-Slarty

Open Source doesn't work (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | about 9 months ago | (#45558033)

The idea of open source is good - take a product that is useful to you and have the ability to modify it as you see fit. Or contribute to an open source product with like minded people for the benefit of the whole. In reality though, open source is destructive to innovation because of "the fine print". Programming is now less about writing good and innovative code than it is about the licensing. Companies have to find ways around this licensing in order to use the open source code in order to churn out a product that they can use to make a profit. When a software company can't make money selling software - they don't last long. After observing this model in action over the past years, open source is destructive to the laws of nature that drive innovative people to found companies based on a product that would otherwise thrive based on simple supply and demand. Finally, open software and "free software" is most destructive to good software engineers themselves. What a foolish thing to do - to take your talent and assign it a NULL value. Being able to write good software is a gift that few people possess. We should be paid well to do it, but instead we are handing the ability to make money over to lawyers and sales crews. Engineering is now a group of replaceable cogs. If you're truly talented, you're wasting your time in this field. Make software proprietary and of great value. Then we'd start to see gifted and talented people making an effort to use their talents in STEM careers.

Re:Open Source doesn't work (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 9 months ago | (#45558649)

Being able to write good software is a gift that few people possess. We should be paid well to do it

Most good coders love to code. Getting paid is great for putting food on the table and all that boring stuff, but I don't share the "I think I should always get paid for my code". Most would work for free/fun if they could. Good coders should not feel entitled, but they should at least be given the choice. GPL effective forces programmers to drink the Koolaid, or to not participate. Kinds of sucks. Be excluded or be forced to not give out your talent for free. GPL is NOT free, but pretty close.

Kind of funny that most big name projects that run on Linux are actually BSD licensed.

Re:Open Source doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45559165)

Kind of funny that most big name projects that run on Linux are actually BSD licensed.

Not to be picky, but citation appreciated. AFAIK, most linux-based projects are GPL.

Re:Open Source doesn't work (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | about 9 months ago | (#45563141)

But doctors love to save lives, teachers enjoy making that connection with a kid and watching his light bulb go on... People should love what they choose as a career path - but why is software engineering different? I DO love to code, but I feel as though I should be paid well to do it - since the fruits of my labor are making SOMEONE a lot of money. Why is it wrong to think that I deserve a piece of that? I honestly believe that software engineers are the worst business people in the world (as a generalization). My curse is that most of my colleagues think in the manner that you described, and thus I'm lumped in with them - treated more as a work horse than the scientific genius that I should be.

Correct, it was never about innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45558109)

It was about paying as little as possible. Given the choice between licensing something for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars or paying nothing, most people will opt to pay nothing.

But then again, computing itself was never about i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45560393)

n.T.
BTW: Does /. support umlauts? öüä

fifth freedom (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 9 months ago | (#45561203)

* Freedom to change shitty design decisions by the author(s). *cough*GIMP*cough*

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