Tom Moran [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>shouldn't ask for money. The question is whether programmers
>>will be allowed *not* to ask for money.
> You should check that Dan Gillmor column in the SJ Mercury News.
Read it. Did you read the article on kuro5hin? Very
cute. They stole a march on segfault on the Allchin story.
>Allchin didn't say the GPL should be outlawed, he just said things
>paid for *and owned by* the government (or universities using
>government grants) should not be under a restrictive license like
>GPL. There is no question about allowing programmers to use any
>license they like for copyrights they own.
But here's the rub: if the government owns the software
(which is the case I've been talking about the whole time)
and they impose a license with a high entry fee, then only
the programmers who work for the big companies (like you-
know-who) will get an opportunity to improve it.
On the other hand, if the software is covered by a BSD or
Apache-style license, the big boys will run with anything
they find that's worthwhile.
Anybody who wants to do open source development using
source they find on a government site with a BSD/Apache
style license is going to find himself competing with the
proverbial 900-pound gorilla.
For example, if HLA really takes off (we should be so lucky)
and the current open source HLA effort publishes with a BSD
or Apache license, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the
open source project that grabs it and puts it on sourceforge
suddenly finds themselves with a lawsuit for infringing on
the patents in Microsoft Visual HLA++ and having to prove
that the "innovations" they infringed on were in the original
government source. I might find myself the richest person on
the team and therefore the probable target of the harrassment
Wait. Never mind. Microsoft would never do anything like
that just to squash a competitor. Forget I suggested it.
The open source community is very, very vulnerable to
predation from powerful companies. The GPL currently stands
as a barrier between open source developers and the rich but
>As you point out, of
>course, if Microsoft or somebody knocks on the door with a big
>check, the owner of the copyright can sell them a different set of
>rights. I doubt many university finance officers, or faculty in the
>less well-off departments, are ignorant of the Netscape/U of
Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know about that one.
>>The company has gone out of business, and there is literally no way
>>you can get a legal copy of those filters at any price.
> And if *nobody* exists who owns, and can sell, the copyright,
>then just exactly who is going to demand that you stop selling
>copies, let alone sue you?
"Legal copy" /= "nobody can be found to sue me".
>>were the patent now in the hands of
>>receivers who had no idea how to sell it, but knew how to sue
>>someone who infringed, we'd be farther still from the goal of
> So you believe creditors of a bankrupt company would be happy
>to spend money on a lawsuit to stop you from using the patent,
>but they would refuse to accept money from you to license the
>patent? You aren't thinking of the oil companies and the
>engine that runs on water, are you? ;)
No, I'm thinking of a typical receiver who has no idea how to
sell the product (that not being his business) but who has a
very good idea how to sue someone (that being his business,
since receiverships are frequently run out of law offices).
In fact, I wrote to a receiver asking for a license for a copy
of some software and got a letter back that said "We are unable
at this time to sell you a license, and we will sue you if you
obtain a copy illegally."
I'm only taking them at their word. It's not improbable at
all. If I can find it, I'll show you the letter.
>>Just who *would* you take arguments from?
> We hear lots of pro-GPL arguments from people who don't have any
>economic interest in selling software (though their employers
>might). I'd take a lot more seriously arguments from people
>trying to work full-time starting, or working for, a start-up in the
>early, cash-poor days.
Sorry, can't accommodate you. My startup days were too long
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