Open source, closed source, and the value of code

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Tue Mar 1 18:50:51 EST 2016

Robert Mann wrote:

 > 1) my personal conclusion reading these is that the assumption you
 > make about stack files falling under GPL is.. questionable, but..
 > arguable, particularly if there are elements of interfaces buttons
 > so on that would link to the engine. And the more intricated these
 > become e.g. with widgets, the more linked this will be.
 > But, if the stack file contains only code, I doubt that can fall
 > onto GPL. The language itself is not copyrightable so a piece of
 > code really is an "output" of an editor program and as such is not
 > covered by GPL so long I can read!
 > Arguably, code dispersed in interface objects "sections" can also be
 > regarded as a kind of organization of code and thus treated as output
 > of the editor's program and thus not covered by the GPL.

A license is a way to express the wishes of a creator of an original 
work over how the work may be used and/or distributed.

The GPL is one embodiment people can choose to express a desire to share 
their work under the condition that works derived from it are shared 

The intent is pretty straightforward, and can become complex only when 
one invests time seeking ways to comply only with the letter of the 
license while obviating the intentions of the creator of the work.

While possibly survivable in court depending on the specific 
circumstances, where the GPL has been tested in court it has prevailed, 
and where it hasn't such pursuits are at best generally considered uncool.

When pondering edge cases not yet tested in court, my own personal 
decision is to err on the side of honoring the creator's intentions.

I wrote a note here a couple years ago about such an edge case with 
regard to the Joomla project, and if these sorts of things are of 
interest you may find the links included there useful, esp. the one for 
the Drupal project with regard to their interpretation of derivative works:

 > 2) are you saying do I rightly understand? that in order to be
 > published by apple a program has to be written FROM scratch up
 > in a commercial version???
 > So that one cannot start up to write code in OS version and later
 > switch to commercial????  Are there any.. markers in the code?

"Commercial" is not relevant here; the GPL expresses no opinion about 
cost.  The distinction is "proprietary", which may be non-commercial 
just as GPL-governed works may be sold.

As Mark Waddingham explained earlier, the issue with Apple's app store 
is that it limits the number of downloads of an app by an account, and 
in the view of the authors of the GPL this conflicts with the GPL's 
freedom granted to the user.

The code needs to be licenses in ways that do not include GPL-governed 
elements.  Whether sold or not sold as part of a commercial venture is 
not a part of this.

A license is a way to express the wishes of a creator of an original 
work over how the work may be used and/or distributed.

If you wish to apply a license to your media separate from your stack 
files, LiveCode provides many ways to do that and doing so may clarify 
the relationship between them.

The owners of the copyright here has expressed their intentions with the 
GPL unambiguously with regard to stacks.

What others choose to do is up to them. And no matter that I tend to 
interpret software licenses conservatively in accordance with 
commonly-acceepted conventions, I'm not an attorney and nothing I've 
written can be construed as legal advice.

For me life is much simpler:  when I want to share with downstream 
provisions for sharing I choose GPL, if not I choose something else.

This lets me spend more time on code.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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