VLC and GPL and LC on iOS (was: Re: MergEXT now included with Indy/Business IDE)

Richard Gaskin ambassador at fourthworld.com
Fri May 6 17:57:42 CEST 2016

Bob Sneidar wrote:

 > On May 5, 2016, at 21:33 , Kay C Lan wrote:
 >> Pick your license carefully - you should ALWAYS read the fine print.
 > This is why I am always leary of people who want to change the world.
 > The devil is always in the details.

I prefer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's variant, "God is in the details."

Neither the invention of the GPL nor its selection among those who use 
it is in any way accidental.

Our LiveCode community is comprised mostly of people who have decades of 
experience using and building exclusively proprietary software.

In our milieu, the "free" in "free software" is often seen with a focus 
on price.  But it's important to remember that the GPL expresses no 
opinion about price at all.

This is a limitation of English, in which "free" refers to both "gratis" 
and "libre".

With "free software", the "free" is about "libre", or "freedom", the 
explicit freedoms granted in the license to receive source code, to be 
able to study it, to modify it, and to share those modifications with 
your neighbor.

There are many open source licenses. While the GPL and its derivatives 
are the most popular, there's also the Apache License, Mozilla License, 
Python's and PHP's unique licenses, and many others.  There's even a 
WTFPL (see <http://www.wtfpl.net/faq/>, though be forewarned about the 
language you'll find there <g>).

There are almost as many different open source licenses as there are 
proprietary ones.  And like proprietary licenses, each has its own 
unique terms and conditions.

One of the reasons the GPL has remained so popular with so many projects 
is because of the values it represents. When your goal is sharing, the 
GPL can be a very good choice because it ensures the sharing will 
continue downstream, that no one can hoard the code released under it.

If that reflects your own values and your goals for a project, the GPL 
is a widely accepted solution to make that happen for you.

But as mostly proprietary-only developers, many in our community view 
the value of code with different goals, mostly monetary and often 
specifically with revenues derived from per-user licensing, which 
requires the code remain concealed from the recipient of the software.

In my own view, I see no harm in either approach.  Both have a useful 
place.  But they do represent different models of how value is derived. 
  While relatively few here see sharing source code as more valuable 
than being paid to keep it secret, there are large numbers of developers 
in other corners of the world with different goals, where the value of 
community contributions outweighs potential license fees.

It may be tempting for those who work exclusively in proprietary 
software to dismiss the GPL as idealistic, just as some free software 
advocates dismiss proprietary software as user-hostile in preventing 
users from fixing bugs or adding features they need.

Personally, I see the GPL as a very pragmatic solution when the goal is 
proliferation.  By ensuring downstream enhancements are shared with the 
world community, a software released under GPL can only become ever more 

Consider the Internet that deliver this post to you.  Much of the 'Net's 
infrastructure is run on truly free software, and most of the routers, 
switches, and servers are running Linux.  Linux is also at the heart of 
80% of smartphones, 65% of tablets, most embedded devices, and 95% of 
the world's supercomputers.  While Windows continues to dominate the 
desktop, every other form of computing today is largely a Linux story.

This would not likely have been possible without the GPL.  But by 
ensuring that any modifications of the software get shared back to the 
community they came from, Linux has become adapted for a much broader 
range of use cases than any other OS.

We can hope that over time we'll see similar community-driven 
enhancement with LiveCode. And now that v8 is here with Builder, at last 
we have a scriptable interface to OS APIs and object definitions 
(Widgets).  So going forward enhancing the LiveCode experience is no 
longer limited to those proficient in C++.  Anyone who can script can 
extend, modify, and share.

And as a dual-licensed system, LiveCode lets us choose either GPL or 
other licenses depending on our goals for the project at hand.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at FourthWorld.com                http://www.FourthWorld.com

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