Linked by David Adams on Mon 7th Mar 2011 17:55 UTC
FreeBSD "How long have you been using FreeBSD. Months? Years? Decades? And you love using it because of whatever reason but at the same time you're feeling a bit guilty to use it all for free without giving anything back? Well now you'll have the chance to change that. We at FreeBSD are always in need of new people who are willing to spare some of their time and effort into FreeBSD development."
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RE: maybe its the license
by Valhalla on Tue 8th Mar 2011 09:27 UTC in reply to "maybe its the license"
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I wonder if the lack of development is a product of their license choices. While I don't fault them for their choice, I wonder if it is a barrier to growth.

Well I'm pretty much on that track myself. While corporations most likely love using bsd, mit, licenced code due to the few conditions that comes along with them, there's another thing when a company are about to contribute code. Giving code to prospective competitors whom may enhance that code and use it to compete against you must have a bad ring to it in the boardroom. However, contributing code under a licence that means that your competitors will have to do the same is obviously an easier sell.

In my opinion, that GPL is by far the most popular open source licence is not because so many programmers out there thinks proprietary code is evil, but rather that GPL's tit for tat mechanism makes perfect sense for collaborative projects. If you have no real interest in collaborative development then obviously BSD/MIT are a perfect fit and are often used for such projects like Google with VP8, V8 Javascript engine, Go etc, they are not really interested in people helping them develop this since they prefer to do it themselves (they DO have the resources after all).

Looking past corporations, GPL is attractive for spare time developers aswell, since it means that if anyone enhances their code they will get access those enhancements as the rights given to them as an end user. It also seems to be the licence of choice for software companies which chooses to open source their apps/games after they have left the commercial market (ID Software comes directly to mind and they certainly do not think proprietary code is evil).

Again, I'd say that the VAST majority of people choose GPL for practical purposes (not counting corporations, which OBVIOUSLY does) and not for ideological reasons.

In a perfect world all source code would be open, heck even unlicenced because noone would try to screw someone else over and everyone would be appropriately attributed and/or compensated, but in the world we live in I'd say GPL is generally a more attractive licence to contribute through, than the likes of MIT,BSD.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: maybe its the license
by asdf on Tue 8th Mar 2011 12:38 in reply to "RE: maybe its the license"
asdf Member since:

Yeah, GPL makes it safe for companies to contribute without worrying about competitors taking advantage without giving back. The tit-for-tat puts some restriction on what companies can do but it applies to all and thus enables collaboration. In a sense, it works by giving advantage to the group of companies which are collaborating against the ones which don't.

There would be a lot of other factors but one of the reasons why the effect is so prominent in OS development is that it takes inordinate amount of resource to develop and maintain modern OSes. If a group of company is collaborating on single project, it becomes extremely costly for isolated companies to maintain the same level of competitiveness, and as a result we've been seeing extensive consolidation of OS development effort centered around linux.

More liberal licenses sure work well for some projects but they're usually much more focused smaller projects which don't necessarily require similar level of consolidated effort.

It's really about the economy of things and that's the natural and beautiful part.

Reply Parent Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:

Yeah, GPL makes it safe for companies to contribute without worrying about competitors taking advantage without giving back. The tit-for-tat puts some restriction on what companies can do but it applies to all and thus enables collaboration.

The GPL sure isn't protecting Red Hat from Oracle. There is no tit-for-tat that the GPL ensures, Oracle can undercut Red Hat's subscription revenue without contributing anything.

But it should be noted that Oracle does contribute to the kernel (btrfs), unlike a certain other distro that sounds like a type of African coffee.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: maybe its the license
by Soulbender on Tue 8th Mar 2011 17:22 in reply to "RE: maybe its the license"
Soulbender Member since:

Well I'm pretty much on that track myself.

Surely explains why so many big OSS projects does NOT use the (L)GPL...
Apache and pretty much anything related to it, rubyonrails, python, perl, php,, erlang etc etc.
It would certainly seem like not using the GPL is not a big factor for getting big companies to contribute to your project.

Reply Parent Score: 2