Shawn Gordon is founder and president of theKompany.com, producer of a variety of open source and other software for Linux and other platforms. In his essay at LinuxAndMain he explains why the GPL is not so good for graphical or end user friendly applications.
TheKompany’s Shawn Gordon On The GPL
2002-03-19 Open Source 9 Comments
Good to see others that don’t like GPL
Why nop? (sorry, couldn’t resist)
arougthopher, hehe, made me laugh, and heck, if you cant laught at yourself then… Just as long as its not pony, Eugenia has a tendancy to call me that … you know that strange feeling you get like when your ma’ calls you by your full name .. thats how i feel when people use pony I mean heck at least if your gona be offical try useing Mr. Pony or Lord Pony .. that ok by me..
DavidGentle, Read the last decade of List/Email/Web to find out why some people dont like GPL. I don’t participate in list wars. So thats all i will say on that.
If you realy want to just talk with me about my views on GPL .. then email me .. i will be happy to rant with you there.
*sigh* There are just too many fanatics in this world…
Assuming that you mean positive/productive (like in open source) fanatics I’d like to add that IMHO the (sw)world would be nothing without these fanatics.
I guess I am a little confused, as I too thought that if your app used the GPL license, you could sell it but still had to give away the source.
Anyway, as far as people giving him a hard time for selling his apps, I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing programs and wanting to get paid for it. I DO have a problem with people/companies who are in it *only* for the money (because quality almost always suffers) or those bastards who put adware/spyware into their programs and then advertise them as free. I’m sorry, but ‘adware’ is NOT freeware.
Anyway, he’s right about one thing – if Linux gets more popular and more mainstream as a desktop OS, you’re going to see more and more companies starting to develop for the oS, and they’re going to want to get paid for their work. This means that many apps developed in the future will not be free and certainly not open source.
I wonder how the Linux community is going to act the first time some company puts spyware in their Linux app. I’m sure it will come as quite a shock
>I wonder how the Linux community is going to act the first time some company puts spyware in their Linux app. I’m sure
it will come as quite a shock :
The same way they act to everthing else, Oh its not GPL, the author didn’t spend his life working for use just to open source it, well then we aren’t gona use it .. we will just wait around a few months until one of Our gpl friendly developers steals all of there ideas and makes a clone-app.
Maybe thats not how it is .. but thats just me.
Adware and Spyware for Linux has already happened – an adware version of a gnutella clone (Limewire?) included spyware. The software maker promply blames their advertising partner and removed the spyware component.
The GPL requires that source code is distributed with the application – thus if you buy GPL software, the seller must either include the source code, or provide it upon request. The GPL doesn’t require seller to give the source code to anyone who asks – only to the people they sell the software to.
TheKompany’s policy of selling GPL’d sourcecode violates the spirit, but not the word of the GPL. If the software was entirely produced by theKompany, this is OK; however, if it includes GPL code taken from other programs or volunteer programmers, it is IMO immoral.
The GPL was design to protect programmers contributing their work for free to the OpenSource community. It was design to prevent companies or individuals from selling GPL software for profit without compensating the programmer.
The programmer (copyright owner) of a GPL program may sell a non-GPL license to proprietary software company. The company can integrate the software into their products, and the programmer gets compenstated for his/her work.
It wasn’t designed to benefit commercial software manufactures, so its hardly surprising it doesn’t.
As Linus himself has said – the programmer chooses the license. If theKompany choose not to use the GPL, that’s their right. The GPL fanatics can choose not to purchase the non-GPL software, they can choose to develop a competing, GPL product. That’s their right.
The GPL fanatics do help consumers – their fanaticsm keeps the GPL alive. GPL software gives customers/users an alternative to restrictive and burdensome licenses used by many software companies, like Microsoft.
This choice, and the fact GPL fanatics publicize it, pressures proprietary software companies to use reasonable, though not necessarily open/free, licenses. And that benefits all software consumers.