'GPL encumbrance problems'

Mike McCarty mike.mccarty at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jan 19 14:52:01 UTC 2006

Tim wrote:
> On Thu, 2006-01-19 at 04:43 -0800, jdow wrote:
>>this is why I do not elect to develop for Linux. I see it's viral
>>licensing as being too big a risk for one person to face alone. That
>>is all I said in that first comment. It's all I continue to say. For
>>*ME* it is not a suitable choice for development efforts that are
>>designed to provide me with my living.
> Not knowing anything about what you might be doing, if you considered it
> worth your while, is this really a problem for you, a lost opportunity
> for us, or just an intellectual discussion?  

That all depends on perspective, doesn't it? I've given an example of
the reasoning of lawyers in large corporations with regards to the
[L]GPL. In particular, the LGPL is thought by the lawyers I talked to
to have clauses which would not stand in court, specifically the
reasoning that linking with a library creates a derivative work.

OTOH, going to court might well mean revealing the source, and
demonstrating that none of the code is actually derived kills any
trade secret status of the code, because it has been revealed.
In any case, companies are unwilling to risk going to court
in order to use Linux, when other OS with more interpretable
licenses exist, and which are as cheap as Linux when you factor
in the support issues which come with the "cost free" Linux

> There's plenty of other computer OSs to earn your living through, with a
> wider user base, too.  And have we *really* suffered, as Linux users,
> because we don't have Microsoft Office, et all?  Much of what I've used
> that's commercial hasn't been "better" than what wasn't commercial, just
> different.  Thus far, virtually everything has been an improvement, the
> more I've moved into using Linux instead of the dark side.

In part it depends on whether you consider deployment good for an OS.
If you don't mind being a 2% market forever, then you don't care
whether you get deployment. If you want to grow, then you have to
ask whether the deployment you are missing is deployment you want.

It also depends on whether you think that eventually everything
you will ever want will eventually be provided in a form which
conforms to the GPL, and whether you are willing to wait. In particular,
I'm aware that many new devices have proprietary interfaces, so
you can't create device drivers for them in a timely manner. This
is a topic of discussion here, on a frequent basis. Is that something
you consider "suffering", or is it just a minor nuisance? Or is it
something that you think you can defeat by refusing to purchase these
items? If the last, then 2% of the market is not much muscle, and we
wind up with the deployment question again.

Some people seem to *like* the idea that they are suffering in some
way, and like to enjoy it being because "other" people are "greedy".

> As an abstract concept, I can't really think of a way of making masses
> of money out of selling fancy writing paper, and aren't concerned that

I don't understand what the allusion is.

> other things don't allow me to do so.  I make my money in some other
> way.  Now, if the thing that I couldn't exploit was the only possible
> way that I could earn a living, that would be a problem.  But it isn't.
> I tend to view Linux like many other things that are hard to define
> their worth in dollar terms, but it's existence is worthwhile.  Not
> everything in life should be about money.

Hmm, you may be one of the "some people" I mentioned above.

Eating is often about money, and is something I like to do
on a regular basis. I love creating software, and I want to
have a job doing what I love to do. So long as the GPL applies
to GNU (and "Linux" is mostly GNU) then GNU will not be a target
of my efforts.

Those things I wish to contribute to others, I don't do by
hamstringing them with the GPL or even LGPL. I do it by
putting them into the public domain. Then it really is free.
GPL and LGPL are, IMO, not the way to contribute to a free
effort. I am philosophically opposed to them, as well as
practically opposed to them. For those who live in the USA,
I recommend investigating Benjamin Franklin's position on
patents. He was opposed to having a patent office in these
USA, and failed. He therefore indeed got patents, and
promptly put them into the public domain, because he
was philosophically opposed to profiting from something
that could benefit his fellow man. If that is the way
you feel, then public domain is the way to go, not
GPL or even LGPL.

This message made from 100% recycled bits.
You have found the bank of Larn.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you.
I speak only for myself, and I am unanimous in that!

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