Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th Jan 2013 01:41 UTC, submitted by lucas_maximus
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "A senior OpenBSD developer has complained on a mailing list that upstream vendors of free and open source software are adding in changes without any thought of whether downstream users could adapt to the change. Marc Espie said this would hurt smaller players by not allowing them to keep up with the changes. Basically what is happening is that numerous changes are being made to Linux and smaller projects like OpenBSD cannot keep up with the changes. And, according to Espie, not all these changes are strictly necessary."
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Developer's point of view
by jessesmith on Thu 10th Jan 2013 17:08 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

There is a lot of talk about licenses and the old war between GPL and BSD going on here, but not a lot of talk about practical reasons or thoughts on what is going on upstream.

I maintain a handful of small projects which have been accepted into Linux distros and some of the BSD port trees. I do my development on Linux and have, from time to time, introduced Linux-isms into my build scripts or code. It isn't an act of malice or a stand for/against a license, I'm just making use of the tools available to me.

Now, luckily, I've heard from some very nice people in the BSD communities who have either made suggestions or sent me patches which would allow me to make my upstream projects more cross-compatible. I am always happy to make these changes. Sometimes it might mean re-writing a few lines or adjusting some functions, but the Linux/BSD tools are similar enough it takes very little effort and, as a result, it opens up my software to a wider audience. It seems like a win-win all around. They get code which works natively without patches and I get a bigger audience. As a bonus I now write cleaner cross-platform code. I seriously don't see why anyone would ignore the obvious benefits of working with the BSD communities to improve their code.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Developer's point of view
by Delgarde on Fri 11th Jan 2013 00:45 in reply to "Developer's point of view"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Sometimes it might mean re-writing a few lines or adjusting some functions, but the Linux/BSD tools are similar enough it takes very little effort and, as a result, it opens up my software to a wider audience. It seems like a win-win all around. They get code which works natively without patches and I get a bigger audience. As a bonus I now write cleaner cross-platform code. I seriously don't see why anyone would ignore the obvious benefits of working with the BSD communities to improve their code.


Because it's not always that easy. Generic programs are usually pretty portable, because they're able to code to standard APIs like POSIX.

But system level programs are harder to make portable, because to work effectively, they need to take advantage of OS specific functionality - e.g using driver interfaces, or using frameworks that simply don't exist on any other platform. You *could* make something work by coding to the lowest common denominator - or you could code to Linux, hit 99% of your target users, and not worry too much about the others.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Developer's point of view
by kwan_e on Fri 11th Jan 2013 04:01 in reply to "Developer's point of view"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

There is a lot of talk about licenses and the old war between GPL and BSD going on here, but not a lot of talk about practical reasons or thoughts on what is going on upstream.
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I seriously don't see why anyone would ignore the obvious benefits of working with the BSD communities to improve their code.


Because the BSD licence can't guarantee the improvements will be passed back, whereas GPL obligates it (upon distribution). I'm not saying BSD don't pass back improvements, because they obviously do, but there's no guarantee.

It is a practical matter what licences to choose, and the guy who made the mailing list post did list licences as one of the major issues.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Actually no it doesn't if the software is used internally by a company.

At my last job I maintained my own fork of (out-dated) GPL JavaScript and CMS libraries when used in an intranet setting. None of the bugs I have fixed were ever ported back.

Reply Parent Score: 2