>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.
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. 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
>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?
>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? ;)
>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.
I worked for a startup. The founder took an unpaid leave of
absence from his employer to program in his living room. He had a
small child at the time and, though he enjoying programming, he was
not "independently wealthy" and neither he nor his wife planned to
continue indefinitely without any income. That company grew into a
leading name in desktop publishing and word processing software.
They *paid* people to help program, to test, to burn disks, to print
manuals, to stuff boxes, to visit reporters and reviewers, and to
deliver Chinese food late at night. Most of those people enjoyed
what they were doing, but they couldn't have afforded to do it
without a paycheck, and it wouldn't have gotten done if they only
worked nights and weekends. There were a lot more of those
companies than there are RedHats, and RedHat itself is not exactly
an inspiring story.
Of course the GPL argument should be orthogonal to Ada, but a
number of people seem to think Ada would be well served by
solely promoting GPLed Ada products. I think that's a serious