Rev/Livecode project and GPL Licenses

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Sat Apr 16 13:46:17 CDT 2011


Mark Schonewille wrote:

 > Don't forget that buying a LiveCode license, which is necessay
 > to compile any open-source LC stack, might be much more expensive
 > than paying for compiled open-source software.

True, and along those lines it may cost less to simply write the author 
of a component you need to get permission like I'd suggested as perhaps 
the simplest option.

But moreover, AFAIK (and again, I need to be clear that I'm not an 
attorney and can provide no specific legal advice) there's nothing 
stopping anyone who already has LiveCode from getting your GPL project, 
changing a line of code in it, and redistributing the modified copy in 
either source or executable form.

This is a feature of the GPL, not a bug.  If you have different 
requirements there are plenty of other licenses to choose from.


 > Im not entirely sure how you define 'free', but your statement
 > regarding free software seems flawed, since open-source software
 > is not about free as in free beer but as in free speech. (I might
 > have misunderstood your statement).

I've never claimed to be an able to provide authorized legal counsel on 
the subject.  Acknowledging this, I tried to avoid any specific 
interpretation of the GPL myself, instead strongly suggesting that one 
consult authorized legal counsel themselves, which can include the 
creator of the work in question.

I fully recognize that the GPL is about the Four Freedoms and not about 
price, but I also recognize that nearly everyone who uses the GPL also 
gives the executable away for free.  Most exceptions to this aren't 
governed by the GPL per se, but instead are offered under a dual 
licensing scheme such as that used by MySQL and others.

It may well be that most of the world is wrong on this, that there's 
actually no need for dual licensing and the folks who sell MySQL are 
just confused.

I only report what I see, and I see most GPL software being given away 
every bit as free-as-in-beer as it is free-as-in-freedom.

Nothing prevents you from putting a price tag on freely-available 
software, but nothing prevents anyone else from just going elsewhere to 
get it for free.

This is widely acknowledged as one of the keys reasons FOSS projects 
seek funding through services and training rather than through sale of 
the software itself.



> --
> Kind regards,
>
> Mark Schonewille
> Economy-x-Talk
> Http://economy-x-talk.com
>
>
> Op 16 apr. 2011 om 17:36 heeft Richard Gaskin <ambassador at fourthworld.com> het volgende geschreven:
>>
>> True, and indeed there are some who make getting and using their GPL source unnecessarily cumbersome, such as sharing the source with no make file.
>>
>> But such a gambit is too easily transparent and risks alienating the very people who are providing your components, the FOSS community. Moreover, anyone can make a tool to obviate such a trick to make it easy to share the software.
>>
>> And of course with LiveCode, turning source into an executable requires only one click, so the number of people who might be willing to milk that cow is much larger than those who think it's difficult to run a make file.
>>
>> The point of GPL isn't to trick people into giving you free components for your app, but to participate in an open sharing of software.
>>
>> There's a reason most commercial works using GPL also use a dual license for their commercial version, rather than expecting people to pay for something that anyone can download, modify, and redistribute for free.
>>
>> The bottom line is that if you want to participate in free software, make free software.
>>
>> If instead you just want to benefit from free software without giving anything back to the community, read the license agreement very carefully and it may be good to consider consulting an attorney who specializes in IP to make sure the implications are well understood.
>>
>> LGPL is a bit more flexible in allowing a free component to be used in a non-free application, but straight GPL may not be so clear, whether "linked" or not, if you distribute the GPL'd component as part of your app, as you noted in the article at your site.
>>
>> I'm not an attorney, so local state law prohibits me from making any specific recommendations regarding licensing or other legal matters.
>>
>> But I am a contributor to a few open source projects, so I feel fairly confident that if a component developer chooses GPL instead of LGPL he did so for a reason, and under the rights acknowledged by international law we should honor their decision.
>>
>> When in doubt, the best way to understand the intentions of the creator of a work may be to simply ask him directly.  If he's a free-software zealot he'll probably make that clear, and if he's willing to make a proprietary-use license available for reasonable terms he'll probably make that clear too.  I find few developers turn down the opportunity to make unexpected money. :)
>>


--
  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World
  LiveCode training and consulting: http://www.fourthworld.com
  Webzine for LiveCode developers: http://www.LiveCodeJournal.com
  LiveCode Journal blog: http://LiveCodejournal.com/blog.irv




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