[erlang-questions] [ANN] Erlang UUID

Michael Truog <>
Mon Mar 12 04:32:53 CET 2012


On 03/11/2012 06:59 PM, Robert Melton wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 7:27 PM, Michael Truog <> wrote:
>> On 03/11/2012 02:27 PM, james wrote:
>>>> There are two sides to every story.  A good link to some discussion of pro-GPL versus pro-BSD can be found here:
>>>> The GPL license is conducive to liberating software.
>>>> The BSD license is conducive to liberating people.
>>> How is this relevant?  I don't like the GPL.  So what?
>>>
>>> What you said is simply wrong.  What you said is:
>>>
>>>> This is a little misleading.  You can never sell anything that contains GPL software
>>> Whether BSD or GPL is better in some way (or even in every way) is not relevant at all to whether you have materially misrepresented what GPL requires, and is simply diversion.
>>>
>>> Which clause of the GPL justifies your statement?  They are numbered, it should be straightforward for you to identify the one you think has this effect.
>>>
>>> I think its bad to let a clearly erroneous statement go unchallenged and fester malignantly in the archives for posterity.
>>>
>>> James
>>>
>> I can understand that this subject is a tough subject to reach agreement on, due to our own viewpoints of what open source software is, free software, freedom to reuse software, etc..  So, I don't expect us to agree on the specifics.  When looking at the newest version, v3 (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html), the relevant numbers are: #5 and #6.  You may notice the paragraph hiding at the bottom of the page with the first sentence that says "The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs.", which is a useful summary of the problem.  Any modifications of GPL software retains the GPL license and must be distributed with the source code.  This is good for making sure that modifications always feed back into the open source community.  However, this is bad for any proprietary changes that give a company a competitive advantage.  I don't regard my previous statements as erroneous, just simply more abstract.
> You keep trying to use wordplay to make this seem far more complicated
> than it is.  Your exact words were "You can never sell anything that
> contains GPL software" ... this is outright false, as multiple people
> on this list have been kind enough to tell you, link to you the GPL
> FAQ.  Now, you try to relabel your position as "abstract" while your
> statement was anything but.  You made a clear, obviously ERRONEOUS
> statement.
>
> I can go online, download a piece of GPL software, put a $20,000
> price-tag on it and sell it tomorrow, the only catch is -- the
> customer who gets it now has all the same abilities I did, ability to
> redistribute, copies of the source, etc.
>
> It might not be a good value, or a good investment for the buyer, but
> I can absolutely sell it.  Don't confuse the ABILITY TO SELL SOMETHING
> with the intelligence of BUYING it.  The two are NOT RELATED.  See
> garage sales as proof.
>
> Beyond that, if I made changes to the GPL software I downloaded, maybe
> a customization for a specific customer.  I don't have to share those
> changes with anyone until I distribute a copy, which means I could
> easily and directly charge for at least the first copy.
>
> What you said was -- erroneous.
Only if you don't believe in a free market.  I believe that prices adjust and value is immediately lost in what you describe.  That is why I don't consider that approach profitable.  It is much simpler to charge for a service that uses GPL code, since then you don't have these problems with distributing the source code with custom changes.  I still believe my viewpoint is valid, because:
1) People will not pay $20,000 for a product available for free, unless you are manipulating the situation in a way I would consider contrary to the GPL license purpose (i.e., making the downloadable harder to find, download speeds slower, etc.)... that may be more of an ethical dilemma
2) Your charge for the modifications to the source code only makes money for the first modification, unless you are manipulating the situation to somehow suppress the new code changes, again contrary to the GPL license purpose

So, charging money for a service that uses GPL source code, or for support related to using the GPL source code makes much more sense.  I have not had the pleasure of watching someone argue for selling a product as GPL source code, as you have done, because it is uncommon to promote the idea of disposable intellectual property.  I say that because the work for custom modifications is then only paid for once.  That would only encourage writing the same code modifications in N ways for N clients, all implementations being different, to receive separate charges for all custom implementations.  So, you would knowingly be forced to keep re-inventing the wheel just to maintain a consistent flow of profits, while ignoring any need for innovation.  I see that as counter-productive and a type of commercial suicide, since the business becomes stagnant, is not able to grow its inherent value, and dies with roughly the same product after a competitor has been able to replace the
functionality with a better solution.  That is a sad end all due to a GPL license for a commercial product.







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