[svlug] Subject change - Ubuntu Is Not Evil

Alan DuBoff aland at softorchestra.com
Sun Jan 17 19:23:00 PST 2010

>> From: Don Marti <dmarti at zgp.org>
>> To: Alan DuBoff <aland at softorchestra.com>
>> Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 17:52:06 -0800
>> Alan, that's a good point in theory, but in a lot
>> of real-world situations, maybe most of them, the
>> people at a company who are using and contributing
>> to a project _want_ to make their changes available.
>> But in order to do so, they need a reason to do
>> something other than the default, which is usually
>> to keep the code secret.  So if they're working on
>> a GPL or otherwise reciprocally-licensed project,
>> the license compliance gives them a built-in reason
>> to do what they wanted to, and overcome the corporate
>> inertia, without having to make any arguments other
>> than the license compliance one.  Unless the code is
>> core to the company's proprietary product, it probably
>> makes sense to release it, but it's much harder to
>> make the case for doing it, and make the decision,
>> than to deal with the compliance issue.

Somehow I missed Don's reply.

But if a company doesn't publish the code, in the end the 
commons could be destroyed over time, no?

In a way, the GPL prevents that tragedy from happening, even if 
nothing else but to get the corporations to publish the code in 
the first place.

Free and open software is just that in the end, and everyone 
should be welcome to use it however they like, IMO, but they 
shouldn't be allowed to exploit it, because that deteriorates 
the commons.

I used to be more critical on the GPL, but over the years I have 
learned that in many ways the changes have been made to the GPL 
to protect the very freedoms "we" as software developers 
implicity place on the code itself. Without such protection the 
commons can deteriorate over the long haul.


Alan DuBoff - Software Orchestration

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