Home > Open Source > An open-source call to arms An open-source call to arms Eugenia Loli 2004-06-03 Open Source 18 Comments Do you need open-source legal protection any more than you need meteor insurance? Advocate Bruce Perens predicts a widespread attack on open source from proprietary software vendors. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 18 Comments 2004-06-04 12:21 am … if there are currently any covert Adobe employees gaining the trust of the Gimp community and intentionally contributing proprietary code to the project so they will be able to attack in the future with a lawsuit. I wouldn’t expect it would be any time soon because the longer they wait, the tougher it is going to be to remove the code. </conspiracy theory> 2004-06-04 12:22 am Yes, but will they attack with meteors?! 2004-06-04 12:51 am If the fear of being shaken down by the patent-wielding mob makes me have to buy protection, I mean, insurance from this other mob of new friends of the free software movement (an old ones looking to make a quick buck), either way the developer and end-user loses. If Bruce Perens and Co truly care for the future of free software, what is needed is an ongoing campaign of protests, sit-ins and civil-disobedience so that this becomes an issue of debate in our political culture. Without changing the laws, something that will take the kind of societal outrage that was needed to defeat segregation, we just stand to get ripped off and ripped apart by either the SCO or SCO-like mob or the protection mob. A company’s business is making money. Given that Bruce Perens’s new employer stands to profit from the current regulatory climate, they have no incentive to change it and defeat software patents, which is what we really need. Say no to software patents, tell SCO to go to hell, say no to profiteering. 2004-06-04 1:09 am This may look off topic but it is related to the idea of making a common cause with smaller proprietary developers that was mentioned in the article. I have always been a strong advocate of the idea that TrollTech should introduce a “Shareware” commercial development license to fit between their expensive professional license and their GPL/QPL free licensing policy for QT under Linux.(probably in the 90 to 200 dollar pricing area.) I believe that the creation of this inexpensive “Shareware” development license for QT by troll tech would be a very good way to get the smaller developers interested in linux and on our side against larger proprietary interestl like Microsoft and Cisco in this software patent mess. 2004-06-04 1:15 am That might not be a bad idea. I suggest that you get in touch with them. Change often comes from ideas such as yours. 2004-06-04 1:28 am I’m not sure Lloyds of London would write that policy. Simply put; There are going to be a ton of issues with copyright etc. in the years to come. It’s absolutely inevitable to happen. Once you introduce $$$$$$$ into the mix, the nonsense associated with it is sure to follow. Like it or not this open source/linux/community project, is going to slam smack into the guys with a fist full of cash, and a ton of lawyers. (geek hating bastards) I’m NOT a Linux fan and many here are well aware of that; but at the sametime I am NOT at all in favor of software patents tearing the entire open source project to shreads just for the sake of doing so. The entire issue is UGLY, and it’s not just about Linux. There are no shortage of open source projects underway that have zero to do with Linux. 2004-06-04 1:28 am This is really stupid, no offense bruce, man. in your email you sounded pretty sane to me but this is kinda weird. it seems more and more venders are supporting open source, like sun, hp, ibm, novell, apple, oracle etc. the only ones not supporting it are small tiny proprietary software companies as well as microsoft… yeah tiny companies like SCO and other ones will try something but yeah, sure, let me get my gun to go fight a war over this (figure of speach) while my friends and relatives and dying overseas due to our leaders. 2004-06-04 1:33 am “compete on technical” Linux is surperior to Solaris and FreeBSD. my LORD. That’s a dumb comment. Solaris x86 is comparable to linux, but not solaris on opteron and sparc. sun had to disable alot of features that allowed solaris to be faster and scale more. read a book mr. perens. netbsd is faster on alot of other platforms probaly over a hundred. you gpl people can make the excuse of it will cut costs and let you hire more employees all you want. I suggest people who work with linux only and tout the GPL and exclude all licenses because its ‘surperior’ and live in an environment in which linux is there life may think that. .Rock on Solaris! I tried solaris and its wayyy faster 2004-06-04 1:41 am TrollTEch sould have no intention to make a cheaper version of their toolkit because aside of their commercial developer version (which incorporetes also shareware apps, which are, just that commercial), they offer a truly free (beer and freedom) version under the GPL. Commercial developers eager to keep their code proprietary and not give _anything_ back to the community which code they used to develop their app, should then pay another commercial developers who built Qt. Doing just _anything_, even betray the principles the OpenSource community grew big on, just to attract some proprietary commercial shareware fuzzys to develop their 300th proprietary text editor or email client for linux, and bashing TrollTech for choosing a Free Software license for their product is ridiculous! As i perceive the current situation, many of you wouldnt even mind if Linux got drowned in proprietary software in a few years, just to get Microsoft on their knees. 2004-06-04 2:35 am …if microshaft can even patent a trivial thing like double clicking, after having used it for years, along with many other programs and operating environments. If IBM had been as enthusiastic about OS/2 as it is now about Linux, things could be very different now. 2004-06-04 2:48 am I think you’ll find that the whole “patent” house of cards will become so unwieldy that even a big funded company can’t manage and it will come tumbling down. Although there may be ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3722509.stm ) hope before things get that bad. 2004-06-04 2:49 am You should at least identify yourself by YOUR TRUE ideological position in the movement, that of FREE SOFTWARE. The open source side of the movement has always been based on the cooperation of open source software developers and small proprietary developers for the greater good of both against monopolist proprietary developers like Micro$oft. What I’m proposing with TrollTech and QT fits this philosophy quite nicely as there is only ONE LOSER. To prove this here is the run down on the winners and losers if TrollTech made an inexpensive commercial QT license for Linux only. TrollTech WINS-> They pick up a new and I predict lucrative revenue stream. OpenSource Software WINS-> They pick up new allies in the battle against software patents and interface copyrights from the shareware and other small proprietary developer community who will be developing for QT/KDE/Linux if such a license were made available. Linux WINS-> The best windowng standard so far developed for linux QT/KDE can now be accepted as a standard without leaving any developer behind. Linux USERS WIN-> This will bring a choice of software near equal of that for Windows to Linux. We do NOT have Open source solutions to everything as FREE SOFTWARE ideologues trumpet AND NEVER WILL. In fact what looks like a good open source solution to certain things, (particularly music notation software and RAD IDE development environments) often dies on the vine for lack of funding and interest to keep them up. No ein niemand, when shareware comes to Linux it will NOT be the 300th proprietary text editor. It will be games, LEGAL DVD playback, specialty software (like RAD development environmnments, musical notation programs and packet writing kernel modules and software) and other types of software that you FOSS types WON’T or can’t develop. Micro$oft LOSES-> As I said since I started promoting this idea the QT inexpensive shareware development license would be for Linux ONLY and based only on the free version of QT that ships with Linux distributions. TrollTech would keep the separate Cross Platform versions of the QT libraries at the same price as they currently are. 2004-06-04 3:53 am “I think you’ll find that the whole “patent” house of cards will become so unwieldy that even a big funded company can’t manage and it will come tumbling down.” I don’t believe you could be more wrong.(unfortunately) Once things like patents are in place (at least in the U.S.) they become a beast very difficult to overcome. I can’t give you a exact percentage of U.S. patents which have been repealed; however I would venture a guess we a dealing with a number smaller than 1%. This stuff sucks no mattter what you think about open source, closed source, or anything in between. The problem IS; I don’t believe any/all of us can do a damn thing about it. The U.S. goverment is not the brightest star in the sky by design; by the time they get a clue we are all hosed. 2004-06-04 4:08 pm Can we say paranoia? It bothers me that this particular topic or software patents has been construed as an attack on Open Source and the zealots equate that to an attack on Linux specifically. If the Open Source community (referred to as “we” in the article) is so concerned about software patents then they would have been outraged when Microsoft got sued for using another company’s web browser technology patent (i think it was). This “battle cry” is disingenuous as it largely seeks to further a single interest, that of promoting Linux/OSS Socialism. I see no indications from the Open Source Community towards protecting the legitimate “Closed source” software business. 2004-06-04 4:52 pm Say no to software patents… say no to profiteering. WHAT!! Say no to profiteering? I would like to know what kind of ganja you’re smoking because it has seriously warped your noodle. That has got to be the worst stance I’ve heard to this day. What the heck is wrong with Software Patents if they’re reasonable (not “double click action” type patents). Why can’t I make a buck by developing software? I think you need to “pull yo head out yo ass” because you’re looking the wrong way down the tunnel. 2004-06-04 4:54 pm It bothers me that this particular topic or software patents has been construed as an attack on Open Source and the zealots equate that to an attack on Linux specifically. If the Open Source community (referred to as “we” in the article) is so concerned about software patents then they would have been outraged when Microsoft got sued for using another company’s web browser technology patent (i think it was). Not that you, or any one else likely cares, but I was not impressed by that move. When Microsoft got sued by those jokers, I was hoping that Microsoft would come out on top, and I believe that they did, eventually. Although I’m not a tremendous fan of theirs, given the choice, I’d rather live in a world without patents than in a world without Microsoft. I am an open source fan, FWIW. 2004-06-04 10:16 pm If the Open Source community (referred to as “we” in the article) is so concerned about software patents then they would have been outraged when Microsoft got sued for using another company’s web browser technology patent (i think it was). I don’t know what rock you have been hiding under, but they were outraged. 2004-06-05 4:02 am “Not that you, or any one else likely cares, but I was not impressed by that move. When Microsoft got sued by those jokers, I was hoping that Microsoft would come out on top, and I believe that they did, eventually.” I know what you are saying about wanting MS to win on this deal. People here and other places get all up in the air about MS patenting this that and the other thing. They may in fact be doing this out of self-defense more than anything else…. Seems everybody with a piss ant sized company, and an IQ smaller than their shoe size wants to sue MS, IBM, or anyone with money. I don’t worry a bit about MS getting the patents. What I worry about is them selectively enforcing the patents. Do I ever think they will…. Not likely, they understand this can cut both ways.