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6 Reasons To License Software Under the (A/L)GPL 367

Posted by timothy
from the do-not-remove-this-tag dept.
Henry V .009 writes with a link to Zed Shaw's "newest rant," which gives a cogent description of his reasons for choosing the not-always-popular GPL for his own code: "Honestly, how many of you people who use open source tell your boss what you're using? How many of you tell investors that your entire operation is based on something one guy wrote in a few months? How many of you out there go to management and say, 'Hey, you know there's this guy Zed who wrote the software I'm using, why don't we hire him as a consultant?' You don't. None of you. You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it. You don't give out any credit, and in fact, I've ran into a vast majority of you who constantly try to say that I can't code as a way of covering your ass."
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6 Reasons To License Software Under the (A/L)GPL

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:36AM (#28690911) Journal
    Zed, man, we gotta talk. Your site has changed since Slashdot last led me to it [slashdot.org]. Back then I thought it was black and had huge scrawled letters over the top of it that said "Zed's So Fucking Awesome!" So what happened to ZSFA? Also, now when I click that link you seemed to have replaced [zedshaw.com] your badass rant against people with an apologetic explanation of your "parody" and you won't grant poermission to publish it? That's a shame I quoted the best part [slashdot.org] on the Slashdot story.

    What happened to you, man? You used to be cool! Where's all the in your face swearing and abrasiveness? You used to be hardcore! Your 'music' is so alive with raw power but now your site is somehow more respectable.

    And now in your latest rant you're complaining that by writing Mongrel you weren't given a consulting job? You weren't handed a company to destroy? Well, way to stick it to the man, my friend. You seem to enjoy bashing the hell out of developers trying to get a job done for not standing up and screaming "Zed's So Fucking Awesome" but now you are complaining that didn't win you a job.

    You, are a great software developer. Much better than I in all probability. You are a complete and utter asshole in nearly every other respect (yes, even in your music) and it should come as no surprise that you cannot land a job on a team. I would not pay money for your projects since I don't use them but I will send you $20 to stay in a hole, write software and restrict yourself from communicating with the outside world. Really, the world would be a better place.
    • Hey - don't forget that he's a boxer and could kick your ass, too.

    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:43AM (#28691021)

      Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead.

    • by Antidamage (1506489) * on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:46AM (#28691071) Homepage

      Oh my god, this is THAT loser?

      Zed Shaw convinced me I never wanted anything to do with open source development. That very rant you just linked helped me decide it was better to use what was available then fuck off leaving open source in the dust. I concluded if you don't have complete, absolute control over your project then the Zed Shaws of the world are going to take all of your successes and mar them with whiny drama antics.

      Slashdot does itself a great disservice publishing this sort of story. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Sometimes, no matter how bad you think a whiner is, he has supporters who want to keep hearing him whine.

      • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:37AM (#28691737) Homepage

        Let me tell you a little secret. Proprietary software developers are just as big assholes.

        Sometimes even worse, because sociopathic bosses and the economy make their contribution as well.

        In the closed source world you almost never have complete control of your project. What happens if the OS, language, or vital module of your project is dropped by the maker? If you work on .NET for instance, then one day it could be abandoned, to be replaced by something newer and shinier. In comparison, C and Perl are ancient and aren't going anywhere.

        • Eh? Wha? ... Sorry, gotta get this COBOL code change in place...

          • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @12:50PM (#28692795) Homepage

            Well, for instance, there's lots and lots of VB6 code out there that became obsolete when MS dropped it. The .NET version is different enough that large apps can't be translated and need to be rewritten.

            Actually VB6 code is still getting written even today, but it's a dangerous proposition. There's no guarantee it'll run on future Windows versions. Especially there's no guarantee that the OCX you need will work on future Windows version.

            COBOL is an exception because it was used in important systems developed entirely in-house with full source available.

            But VB6 isn't like that. A vast majority of programs need some OCX or another that performs a crucial task. And the VB code itself is just glue (something every VB book likes to point out). Many VB apps are completely uninteresting and say, use an OCX to interface with some specialized piece of hardware, another OCX to present data (some fancy grid control for instance), and a database. If any of that stops working, you're screwed. And chances are those companies that made that stuff are now gone or uninterested in maintaining it.

            Compare for instance, Perl or C. Perl isn't that popular anymore, but it's still actively worked on. Even if development stopped, the source would still be there.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hairyfeet (841228)

              Uhhhhh....I thought that the whole point of XP Mode [wincert.net] on Win 7 was to fix problems like that? Hell I always thought the whole point of desktop virtualization was to deal with those "mission critical" PITA apps that won't keep running on a newer OS.

              Of course if you just really love the BASIC language you could move over to REALBasic [wikipedia.org]. While I haven't tried moving some uber complex piece of code from VB to RB (but then again you were nuts to write something gigantic in VB in the first place) but the languages

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by TheRaven64 (641858)

              Actually VB6 code is still getting written even today, but it's a dangerous proposition. There's no guarantee it'll run on future Windows versions. Especially there's no guarantee that the OCX you need will work on future Windows version.

              That's okay, VB6 works under WINE, and the number of supported OCX controls increases every version...

          • by ckaminski (82854)
            You laugh, but I'm having a hard time finding cogent resources to learn Cobol on the internet. Yes, I support Cobol -> Web Service middleware. fun fun.
    • Nobody hired you? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:55AM (#28691157) Homepage Journal

      Have you ever stopped to think that if you have fantastic technical skills and nobody will hire you, perhaps it isn't your technical skills that need work?

      • Re:Nobody hired you? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by k10quaint (1344115) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:16AM (#28691437)

        Have you ever stopped to think that if you have fantastic technical skills and nobody will hire you, perhaps it isn't your technical skills that need work?

        ^^^there isn't enough bolt font in the world to give this quote it's due attention

        Dear Mr Z,
        My boss knows exactly what software we use in our product. So does our legal department. So does IT, because they make all the source code in it available. Investors know what powers the company as well, in fact the CEO probably brags to them about the companies extensive use of open source (like Oracle, IBM, and Google).

        Mathematicians are plagiarists. We copy theories and proofs all the time. Welcome to the universe.

        And I used to think that all open source developers were selfless. BOY WAS I A MORON.

        • Re:Nobody hired you? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mellon (7048) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @01:36PM (#28693507) Homepage

          I don't know if I'd necessarily call you a moron, but you were definitely mistaken. Open source developers do it because it works for them, not because they want to wear a hair shirt.

          I don't have any complaints about the open source software I wrote that you probably use, because I did actually get some recognition for it. But we could never make money at it, because it was licensed under the BSD license. If I had it to do over again, there's no way I'd release it under the BSD license - what that meant was that all the open source people flamed me for not GPLing it, and the corporations took it and submarined it into their products, which they then sold in competition with the company that was paying me to write the software, so that despite having the best DHCP client and server at the time, we never made a penny on it.

          Unfortunately my company went to closed-source rather than GPL, but after that experience I can't really blame them. So when I read Zed's rant, I was singing "right on, brother" the whole time.

          • because it was licensed under the BSD license.

            Really? you couldn't make money using the BSD license on your own code but you could using the GPL? How so? I want to start a photography business, which may not be a good idea in this economy, and because I can't afford to buy all the software I'd need to run the business I want to use open source software and modify it so it's better for me. Now I figure that if I am going to tyme a considerable amount of tyme programming then maybe I could try to sell the

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mellon (7048)

              You're mistaken. You own the software. Whether it's BSD or GPL, you can sell it, because you own it (presuming, of course, that you actually wrote it yourself). The difference is that with BSD, if you ever release the source code (and if you didn't, who cares what license you use on it in-house?), anybody else can *also* sell it as a closed-source product.

              With the GPL, they have to sell it as open source. It doesn't mean no-one will sell it, but for whatever reason a lot of companies are uncomfortab

              • I am? I said you don't own the software?

                The difference is that with BSD, if you ever release the source code (and if you didn't, who cares what license you use on it in-house?), anybody else can *also* sell it as a closed-source product.

                The difference is that with the BSD you do not have to release your code, even if all you do is modify someone else's BSD code. You modify someone else's GPL code and you have to release your code if you distribute it.

                Falcon

      • Re:Nobody hired you? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#28691787)

        Actually, having met Zed once, I was surprised at how personable the guy was--I'd be surprised if there was a group he couldn't work with. I chalked it up to the Maddox Effect: Maddox [xmission.com] writes as a bombastic douchebag, but is a pretty shy and soft-spoken dude in person.

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Computer Courage is an amazing thing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Actually, having met Zed once, I was surprised at how personable the guy was--I'd be surprised if there was a group he couldn't work with. I chalked it up to the Maddox Effect: Maddox [xmission.com] writes as a bombastic douchebag, but is a pretty shy and soft-spoken dude in person.

          Yes, but if a potential employer can google your Maddox Effect rants, they're not going to give you the chance to screw up a team. In other words, if you want to be a professional, be professional. Duh.

      • Tech types that think they are god and this means that they shouldn't have to be nice to anyone. No, sorry, not how it works. While there are some very few jobs where you don't have to deal with other people at all, there are extremely rare. For the most part, any job involved people skills. This is particularly true in the case of tech jobs. In every tech job, you are customer support to some extent or another. It may be supporting people internally only, but it is still support and thus people skills stil

    • by steveha (103154)

      What happened to you, man? You used to be cool! Where's all the in your face swearing and abrasiveness? You used to be hardcore!

      So, you say this now. But I read your post that you "quoted the best part" from Zed's previous rant. You concluded:

      I hate to say this but after reading this first part of the rant, I think Zed is just as big (if not half) of the problem of the community being in shambles as any of his targets are.

      In short, you criticized him big-time for his abusive ranting. Now, he has toned th

  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:37AM (#28690935)
    I can't code is my excuse! Don't go messing that up for me! I have a good thing going.
  • Not really for that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:41AM (#28690997)
    Licensing as BSD, MIT or Creative Commons Attribution is as much valid as a way to get recognition for your work as licensing as GPL. The only thing the later adds is that not only your work can be freely (as in the 4 freedoms) distributed but also the improvements on your work must also be.

    If recognition is all you want, by all means, just choose any attribution license. If having your work used by the most people is more important, use a BSD style one. Now, if your goal is to assure that your code will be always free, use GPL, LGPL or AGPL.
    • by Enleth (947766) <enleth@enleth.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:32AM (#28691659) Homepage

      I guess I have some 30 seconds now before heavy airborne objects thrown by the GPL and BSD advocates bring this thread into a total mayhem, but I'll try to make an unorthodox argument there, anyway.

      IMHO, both GPL-like and BSD-like licenses protect the freedom equally. The question is, whose freedom it is. Roughly speaking, GPL protects the freedoms of users by restricting the coders, while BSD protects the freedom of the coders, which might result in restricting the rights of the users. Which is more important, that's a whole new problem, but it's not about one license being "better" than the other.

      Another, no less interesting way of looking at the problem is asking who do we exactly mean by the "users" of the code - the people "using" the resulting binary, or the people taking the code and "using" it to create new code? Or maybe both? This question alone puts the issue in a new light, and it's not an obvious one.

      Many times I've seen people fighting over the GPL/BSD issue here and not ever once they agreed beforehand what do they mean by "users", "freedom", "better", etc. - heavy object throwing took over.

      • by Hatta (162192) *

        IMHO, both GPL-like and BSD-like licenses protect the freedom equally. The question is, whose freedom it is. Roughly speaking, GPL protects the freedoms of users by restricting the coders

        Nonsense. The GPL protects the freedom of coders by ensuring that they are free to modify code.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Enleth (947766)

          That's a rare view, I think - the majority seems to claim that GPL restricts coders by not allowing them to do whatever they want with someone else's code, and this is why I phrased it like that. Indeed, at the same time, this protects the original author.

          Actually, yet another important question arises here - does "the coder" here mean "the author who released the code under GPL" or "some other programmer who found the code and wants to use it"? Do you see it now, that even your statement can be dangerously

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by derGoldstein (1494129)

          Nonsense. The GPL protects the freedom of coders by ensuring that they are free to modify code.

          The parent post did point out that this will, unnecessarily, turn into a license war thread. At which point he started that war by throwing the first stone (wrapped in an "IMHO", but we know that doesn't change anything).

          Licenses have nothing to do with TFA, as the comments above have well pointed out. There's no need to get sucked (suckered?) into another one of these flame wars just because this guy (who wrote TFA) decided to make licenses the cause of his problems, almost arbitrarily.

          Attempting

      • by Nursie (632944)

        GPL protects your investment.

        If you put work into GPL'd code you know that anyone that ports it or modifies it and distributes it then must give out their changes. It puts conditions on coders, sure, that they have to reciprocate if they want to use it.

        If that says "less free" to you, that's fine. To me it says "this way free stuff gets better".

      • please explain in what way the bsd license restricts the rights of the users

      • ...I'll try to make an unorthodox argument there, anyway.

        IMHO, both GPL-like and BSD-like licenses protect the freedom equally. The question is, whose freedom it is. Roughly speaking, GPL protects the freedoms of users by restricting the coders, while BSD protects the freedom of the coders, which might result in restricting the rights of the users...

        That viewpoint has been repeated ad nauseam in virtually every GPL-vs-BSD discussion I've seen.

      • by WNight (23683) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @02:48PM (#28694485) Homepage

        The problem with the freedom for who, coders vs users question is that is draws a line between the two. By being focused on only the current coders and users. Users become coders - if they have the means.

        Yes, the BSDL offers one more freedom, for THAT coder, the right the close the source.

        The GPL offers that coder one less freedom, but offers all the rest to everyone else in perpetuity. Not only do they have access to the code you originally wrote, but to anything current which is based on it. Not just some neat old code, but code to THE binaries they're currently running.

        But frankly, I've never seen a 'GPL is bad/BSD good' post that was anything other than an entitlement whine. "I should be able to close-source your code or I can't really use it, wah."

        To anyone who feels this way, good. I mean great. Any license that keeps you from profiting and being stingy is doing its job.

        This is a tempest in a tea-pot though. I challenge anyone to point out a real developer (other than Microsoft) with this GPL-bad attitude. The reality is that the GPL is no-more viral than a proprietary license. By mixing your code with someone else's you no-longer have full control over it. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something.

        I've certainly never seen a prominent BSD community member with this attitude. Not that BSDers love the GPL, but that no real open-source BSD dev is whining about their inability to close-source some GPL'd project. Their complaints are that our (GPLers) caring about what they see as a minor issue harms open-source in general by preventing BSD/GPL mixing.

        Real coders and users don't fight over the BSD/GPL, because they benefit from both - whiners are never happy and will lie about their reasons (greed).

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      Quite -- the author even cites "being able to license your code how you like" as a basic right of programmers... And yet, what the GPL does is tells the people who contribute code back how they must license *their* code.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They told themselves by taking this GPL'd code and reading the license (that allows them to take the code) and agreeing that their code should be licensed under the GPL too.

        If you take the lines wholly copyrighted by you and put then in another project, YOU CAN.

        The GPL isn't telling you how to license your code. It's telling you the terms if making a derived work from others' code.

  • Money quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davide marney (231845) * <davide,marney&netmedia,org> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:44AM (#28691033) Journal

    But the days of quick-flip corporations and ingrate programmers making money on my software are over. My new motto is:

            Open source to open source, corporation to corporation.

    If you do open source, youâ(TM)re my hero and I support you. If youâ(TM)re a corporation, letâ(TM)s talk business.

    A very sensible position, IMHO. Dual-licensing always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dual licensing is like dual booting or being bisexual. If you look at dual license (open/closed) projects, every on uses the GPL as a tool to encourage closed source usage. I don't know about you, but I'll stick with the vagina, thanks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem with dual-licensing is that it practically kills reciprocation: If you use the open license, you can't contribute back, because then the merged code base can no longer be dual-licensed, unless you do what the original author just rejected: Allow someone else to make money on your work while you get nothing. Big projects often require that you sign over your rights to patches or they won't consider them for inclusion. It's a form of "do as I say, not as I do."

    • OSS 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:25AM (#28691569)

      Dual-licensing always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

      This cannot be emphasized enough.

      Businesses have money. Their sole purpose is to make it and not use it. If you give them the option to not use it, they will gladly accept. But if you don't give them that option, they will gladly pay, if what you are offering is worth the price.

      Nothing is personal about a business, and it seems many GPL programmers expect some transaction on some personal level, like an IOU or something. But if you take the money element out of a business transaction, there is no human element left. Unless the law requires it, they owe you nothing, and they have better things to do than console you.

      If you don't dual license your OSS, then you are not interested in making money. You are making it clear, and you cannot expect anything in return. If you do dual license, then you are asking for money from those who make it. They will review your value proposition, and either accept, or go to a competitor.

      Make your intentions clear with the licenses you choose, not with your mouth or your blog.

      It is that cut and dry. There really isn't much to rant about.

      • If you do dual-license your OSS, you just made it damn impossible for anyone to contribute back.

        Ain't that a bitch?

        • No, not really.

          People can contribute back just fine, but if you want their contributions to go into your closed-source product, you need the copyright from them.

          If significant contributors want to share in the profit of their labor, I'm sure an arrangement can be reached with sensible project owners. Many are unreasonable though and try to maintain a dual licensed closed source version by collecting copyrights from contributors but reject any revenue sharing arrangements.

      • If you don't dual license your OSS, then you are not interested in making money.

        At least, you aren't interested in making money off of software licenses for things you release as OSS. Of course, if you have release software as OSS, you might as well give up on doing that anyway.

        But big businesses want accountable support; that may typically come with enterprise software licenses, but if it is separate they'll pay for that even if the license is free. Supporting software costs money if done in house, too, a

  • I like to implement open source, show them what it would've costed, and then ask the company to donate to the project so we can continue to get updates or support. Usually larger companies have some money sitting around so it's pretty easy to get 40-100 bucks to send to an individual for a good package. FYI, The last one we contributed to was jqGrid [jqgrid.org], because it's awesome.

    • The last one we contributed to was jqGrid [jqgrid.org], because it's awesome.

      Firefox can't find the server at www.jqgrid.org

      Hopefully they'll use some of that donation for a beefier server :P

  • I do! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:46AM (#28691073) Homepage
    Every chance I get to tell my manager that my team has used an OSS product for one thing or another, I mention it. I'm trying to get him to stop usign the term, "freeware" or "shareware" which implies something less than ideal.

    Sure, we use multi-thousand dollar products for development, but there's always some tool, some image, some utility, some code that is just better and licensed under GPL or CL.

    Like I always say, "why improvise when you can plagiarize."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tixxit (1107127)
      Yeah, same here. I am trying to change the misconception open source software has at my place of employment, so you can bet your ass I make sure everyone knows this great new-fangled-thingy they're using is open source. Although, I admit, I do sometimes wait until they've actually used it and tell me "how great it is"/"what an improvement it is" before I drop the f(ree)-bomb.
      • Valid point. Since the misconception is that "free == cheap", I usually wait until something is up and running well before I mention it.

        Sadly, my software developers (my staff) still haven't embraced Linux as much as they should. (Maybe it is because one of my main developers has a brother who works for the Evil Empire.)
    • While I don't like the "plagiarize" comment in particular, I do agree that it's a plus to point out to your employer that you've implemented OSS. If they have half a brain, they will recognize that being able to implement/integrate OSS into a project is a *credit* to the developer. It means that they can spot, and take advantage of, resources that don't need to be constructed from scratch.

      If your employer wants you to do X, which one of the following answers will they most like to hear:
      1) I can get it
  • by russotto (537200)
    I never heard of any of this guy's software, I don't use it, and I don't care. Sounds like he has an inflated sense of his own importance.
  • You mean people are dishonest and misleading? Next thing you'll tell me is that politicians lie.

    Technically, it's part of the risk of writing OSS. You know going in that someone somewhere will capitalize and profit from your hard work and sweat. If you feel that is the case and it bothers you, change the license and charge for the product. And when an OSS is used, I see it more used as a starting point to tackle a unique issue that can't be solved by any existing product. When that comes into play, whatever

  • Reason 7 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:02AM (#28691259) Homepage

    The way the GPL has turned out is:

    You use a product written by people who didn't foresee what you were going to use it for and they end up integrating changes to benefit someone whose use they didn't foresee. By keeping the code free over the long haul you get fascinating cooperation at the code level.

    • Re:Reason 7 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @03:08PM (#28694719) Homepage Journal

      You use a product written by people who didn't foresee what you were going to use it for and they end up integrating changes to benefit someone whose use they didn't foresee. By keeping the code free over the long haul you get fascinating cooperation at the code level.

      Yeah, I've told this before, but anyway: my company had an itch that needed to be scratched so I wrote a program to address it. My boss let me release it under the GPL [sourceforge.net] since we had zero interest in profiting from the program. It exists solely to perform one specific task for us, and not so that we can sell or charge support for it.

      As it turns out, that seems to be a fairly popular itch, and I've gotten requests from people all over the world to add new features or to handle special circumstances that never would have occurred to me. Everybody came out ahead on this! The world got a handy piece of Free software, and we got some new ideas that made it work better in its original role here in our office. To reword your statement:

      You write a product used by people who don't use it the way you foresaw and they end up suggesting changes that benefit your own needs in a way they didn't foresee.

  • Whining (Score:5, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:03AM (#28691277)
    Oh God! I hate whining bastards! They just WHINE WHINE WHINE!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by incense (63332)

      Oh God! I hate whining bastards! They just WHINE WHINE WHINE!

      STOP WHINING!

  • Some good advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:08AM (#28691331) Homepage

    Here's some good advice for anybody who does anything creative, be it programming,art, writing a story, anything...

    Do _not_ create something and then expect the masses upon which you bestow your baby to be happy.

    I've seen tons of open source coders quit because their public was only complaining about features and bugs. So don't start out with such expectations. You should create something because _you_ want to make something. If anybody praises you afterward then count your lucky stars. But the only way how you can remain a creative person is by doing it for yourself in the first place.

    I'm sure some of my code/programs are being used in the wild. And that makes me happy. I haven't gotten a lot of positive feedback, but that's ok. I'm happy because writing it made me happy.

    • by tcopeland (32225)

      > But the only way how you can remain a creative person
      > is by doing it for yourself in the first place.

      Right on. I think Jamis Buck did a good thing along those same lines when he announced that he was burned out on Capistrano and would stop maintaining it [jamisbuck.org]. There's no reason why he should feel obligated to run himself into the ground sorting out Git-on-Windows bugs; just letting go was the right thing to do.

      That's one of the nice things about GitHub - a project owner can just stop working on someth

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:12AM (#28691391)

    HR Person (to Zed): "We see on your resume that one has paid you to do rails development in the last year and a half, and that you've been writing some "mongrel" thing in your spare time. We're really looking for someone with more relevant and recent Ruby-on-Rails experience."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:12AM (#28691393)

    This is nothing more than typical programmer entitlement EGO issues.

    I want credit for this, I want credit for that, I want a job at your company, because I made XXX.

    But what about the OTHER people who made YYY, so YOU could do XXX?

    What about all the other libraries, API's, and documentation YOU used? Did you give credit to them?

    Get off the high-horse, and get rid of all this entitlement you THINK you deserve.

  • Because you'll never get recognized in a corporate environment. It doesn't matter if the GPL portion is 1 line out of a million written by paid developers, all those millions of lines have to be made available because they were so "blessed" with your greatness for a tiny portion of the project. There are no shortage of non-viraly licensed projects out there that I don't need your GPL version.

    There are a ridiculous number of GPL projects that are essentially trying to copyright "hello world." And an even

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      There are no shortage of non-viraly licensed projects out there that I don't need your GPL version.

      Then what's the big deal? Just let them use their little license and ignore them.

      Honestly I just don't understand the hostility from any side, coding is supposed to be fun people, stop getting all worked up!

  • If your code... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938)
    is anything like your writing capability, it's no wonder people say you can't code.

    I've ran into a vast majority of you who constantly try to say that I can't code as a way of covering your ass.

    Editors. When you see something so blatant, please use [sic] after it so people will know it's not you doing the mangling the English language.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by aynoknman (1071612)

      Editors. When you see something so blatant, please use [sic] after it so people will know it's not you doing the mangling the English language.[sic]

      it's not you doing the mangling of the English language.

      There, I fixed it for you.

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:28AM (#28691611)

    You don't. None of you. You take the software, and use it like Excalibur to slay your dragon and then take the credit for it.

    No, asshole, some of us think it's important for our employer to know which third party libraries and tools we're using (whether they are open source or not), so they aren't blindsided with a lawsuit. I conjecture that you're projecting your own need to be the hero onto the rest of us.

  • ... that is pro GPL.

    Well, times change. Those rants used to be against the GPL and we used to slap "use a BSD license and write code for fun" in their faces. They used to complain about the GPL not being enforceable and companies ripping them off, now they think it is and they'd rather not see their code used than someone else getting rich with a company using GPL code.

    While I do see a great value in having GPL software available for everyone, the fact that it is actually for the most part used intentio

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:31AM (#28691647) Journal

    Sadly, none of Mongrel's success mattered for me. Even though everyone was using my software, the vast majority of firms using Mongrel were startups. The last thing a startup wants to admit is that they don't own their intellectual property. They want everyone, especially the VCs and investors, to believe that they're all geniuses who "innovated" everything they run.

    So if I build the next great NASCAR engine, I should credit Craftsman(TM) for making the sockets I used to assemble it? Maybe these startups should also credit the RAM, mobo, and PS manufacturers for the parts in the server.

    • So if I build the next great NASCAR engine, I should credit Craftsman(TM) for making the sockets I used to assemble it?

      If you intend on distributing Craftsman(TM) sockets with it in a production run, then yes. Ford had to credit Cummins Inc. when distributing their engines in Super Duty trucks, for example.

  • by hany (3601)

    After reading the article I can say "me too".

    Now I just have to take a look at all the open source projects I'm releasing ... :)
    (almost none but not zero)

  • OSD? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shadowknot (853491) * on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:39AM (#28691781) Journal

    I think Zed needs to read this as he seems to have lost the spirit of open source entirely:

    1. Free Redistribution
    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.
    2. Source Code
    The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.
    3. Derived Works
    The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
    4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
    The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
    6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
    The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
    7. Distribution of License
    The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
    8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
    The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
    9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
    The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.
    10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
    No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.
    The Open Source Definition [opensource.org]

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:41AM (#28691811)

    He says: 'I Dont Want To Be Ignored Again'.

    Well then maybe you shouldn't release your software with no marketing what-so-ever?

    First of all: You wrote a HTTP library for Ruby. Big fat hairy deal. Frankly, I never knew and I couldn't care less. Second of all: The Rails crowd gained traction and scored bizar amounts of hype for one reason - and one reason *only*: They had, by standards of open source - a massive marketing campaign to push Rails into the FOSS webdev field. They have a website that, for *once* in the FOSS field, didn't look like shit (and changed the FOSS-Project-Website & Enduser Awareness Game for ever - God bless them!), they pratically invented the concept of screencasts to showcase their FOSS webkit in short understandable fashion and they abandoned all snotty-nosed elitist crap in favour of building a community for webdevs while at the same time doing huge inroads into the Java & academic community who needed Ruby to boost their ego and to seperate themselves from the PHP crowd. And who, until the rails hype, weren't aware of any FOSS webkits. Of which Rails, btw., isn't a particuarly new, good or innovative one anyway. Other kits from ages ago are still leading the field by far technology wise - with nobody careing. Due to, guess what?, no marketing.

    Your conclusions are wrong, Mr. Shaw. People care squat about what you licence your software under. If you want money, you demand money. If you want attention, you demand attention. Rails did it, you didn't. Your Mongrel site isn't bad, by FOSS standards that is, but it doesn't look particuarly interesting either. Learn you lesson, licence with whatever you want - wether it's the GPL or not *nobody* of *any* importance fucking cares - and do a little marketing and reasearch before you push your next FOSS tool. That, and nothing else, will enable a business on top of it.

    My 2 Euros.

  • by mortonda (5175) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @11:42AM (#28691825)

    From the article:

    That's my first reason I use the GPL:

    Because I want to, and if you disagree with it then don't use my software. It's as simple as that.

    You know Zed, that's all you have to say. The rest was at best... silly.

  • Of course! To not tell opens the company up to various potential lawsuits. That does however mean that as soon as we hear "GPL", that project gets dropped. LGPL gets consideration though.
  • by 12357bd (686909)

    Good to see that developers are starting to realize that those lasts years big companies are using open sorurce but not giving back any substantial part of his owns developments.

    That's why i encourage to use the AGPL v3 license for any piece of code that could be executed on a server related to internet. Starting by the Linux kernel ASAP!

  • After all the bluster about wanting to get credit, code, and/or compensation, I looked over the site for Lamson, Zed's MTA, and didn't see anything to the effect of "if you like this code but the distribution license is incompatible with your business goals, please contact me to discuss an alternate license with reasonable terms." It's not in the README, either. Anyone who can't use the GPL is probably just going to keep looking. After all, trying to convince someone to change their license is being a "g

  • I read through the whole rant, and there is little to argue here.

    He used GPL for a Python project? Not that big a deal; his stuff won't ever be folded into the Python base distribution, but no one will seriously get upset.

    He offers commercial licenses for companies that fear GPL? Very sensible; not even RMS would object.

    I enjoy his vigorous and clear writing, too. "You guys are all giant pansies, even with a project like Lamson you're still all afwaid of big bad monsta SMTP." Heh.

    steveha

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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