Software licenses: Permissive versus Copyleft

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by JDTAY, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. JDTAY

    JDTAY Half Pepperoni, All Cheese

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Messages:
    422
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    I've been using the MIT license for my projects, but I know this one guy who's pretty hardcore about GPL.

    So I've been wondering, which side, permissive or copyleft, are each of you guys on and why?

    I think I should get my licensing correct for future projects in case any of them turn out to actually be good. >_>
     
    Tags:
  2. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    9,942
    Location:
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    All my stuff at present is GPL3+ licensed. That's really just my default though - if anyone cares enough I'm happy to relicense it in MIT or Apache or whatever really. Of course, noone seems to use my stuff, so nobody's ever put a pull request on me, which would mean I'd need to get a committment from them to relicense their patch in case anyone ever wanted it relicensed, but at present that doesn't seem likely, so I probably wouldn't bother and then it'd be GPL3+ forever.
     
    JDTAY likes this.
  3. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    4,081
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Depending on the project it is usually GPL3 or Apache 2. The latter is more feasible in a commercial setting.
     
  4. Elw3

    Elw3 ƐʍlƎ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    809
    Why exactly do we need licences at all?
     
    Kippykip likes this.
  5. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    4,081
    Location:
    Netherlands
    To prevent other people from making money by stealing your work. Or in case of the GPL, to prevent others from removing your essential freedoms.
     
    xnopasaranx, Failbert and JDTAY like this.
  6. ible

    ible Advanced Guard Tower

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Messages:
    2,079
    Location:
    Thrice in CA, twice in ND, once in the NL
    there's something in between GPL and commercial licenses (e.g. Apache) which i've found recently to be quite intriguing. with GPL, you need to open source everything in your code bundled with it. with the commercial licenses, you don't need to open source anything. but with the middle licenses, e.g. mozilla public license, you don't need to open-source any proprietary parts of your code, but you do have to open-source any modifications to the open-source-licensed code.

    (i'm not a lawyer, so don't take my assertions as legal advice, or even as if i understand any legalese.)
     
  7. Wally

    Wally TrashyMG's worst nightmare Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    2,895
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    You have projects?
     
    ible likes this.
  8. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    'STRAYA
    I just release my stuff as I please, couldn't give less of a fuck about licences whatsoever.xD I'm just happy if literally anyone finds my stuff useful.
     
    sm0kew0n likes this.
  9. Elw3

    Elw3 ƐʍlƎ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    809
    This is the default state already. So again why do i have to change that default state?
     
  10. FBnil

    FBnil Allan, please replace placeholder text

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2,417
    Location:
    Yurp
    I dual license stuff now a days. To allow me using my things in a commercial place without them having the need to open their source (GPL tainting) and without me losing my software because every intellectual capital you produce or incorporate is automatically theirs). I found that companies do not want to use GPL'ed software due to fears (so you either need to re-invent the wheel or open up to almost Public Domain, which is risky). I usually just fork with another name and add a non transferable license agreement.

    http://dev.perl.org/licenses/
     
  11. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    9,942
    Location:
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    Not in the West it ain't. In the developed west, you write something, you get automatically granted copyright on it, and you can sue anyone who derives their own work from it. Just because we publish something to the web doesn't mean you can use it. In the past there was plenty of commercial software that relied on the fact they didn't ship source to protect their assets, although the advance of lawyers means you normally have to click through an EULA (end-user license agreement) to get the program to run. Note that even without the EULA they could sue anyone reusing or adapting and reselling their stuff.

    In terms of open source stuff, in some territories you can just say 'I put the following in the public domain', but not all countries have that definition, so you can't rely on that everywhere. Hence the BSD license was written to codify effectively that notion (although the original version included a clause that specified you had to announce your use and give props, but that was fairly quickly ruled unenforceable). Then in the 1980s, Stallman found that printer manufacturers who used to ship the source code for their printers to their customers stopped doing that, stopping you from fixing bugs you identify, and he came up with the idea of the GPL, which means basically that stuff tagged with that is open to patches and general noses, but also will remain open henceforth.
     
  12. elvissteinjr

    elvissteinjr Very Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    363
    Location:
    Germany
    Isn't the default state (in most countries) that nobody else can do anything with the code? You own the rights to your creation. If you're gonna upload the stuff without any further notice it's only nice to look at, which is probably not your intention.
    A list of do's and and don'ts is also a kind of license (which may or may not hold up legally), if that's what you're trying to say.
     
  13. Elw3

    Elw3 ƐʍlƎ

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    809
    A private person wont care, a company will pay, one way or another.
     
  14. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    9,942
    Location:
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    If a private person gets sued by the EFF for trying to distribute binaries containing GPLed source, I'd have thought they'd reconsider their position very severely.

    It's true that the GPL has never yet been tested in court. That's because companies pay off the accusers usually, and I dare say they pay a fair whack more than they would have paid to develop equivalent code legitimately.
     
  15. shaddim

    shaddim Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Messages:
    177
    good question. There is for sure resistance against this permission culture

    Daniel J. Bernstein is a fan of license free .
    Also, Jason Rohrer has a distaste for licenses while publishing his game into the PD, he dislikes extensive license texts.
    Luis Villa noted a post-copyright movement http://lu.is/blog/2013/01/27/taking-post-open-source-seriously-as-a-statement-about-copyright-law/

    --- Double Post Merged, Jun 4, 2018, Original Post Date: Jun 4, 2018 ---
    The default state was changed with the US joining the Berne Convention somewhen 1978. Before that the default state was public domain, after that the default was fully locked and copyrighted. Since then, copyright gets worse and worse.

    well, they don't care. They even don't care that the GPLv2 to GPLv3 incompatibility killed libreDWG

    The GPL was tested in a German court and was accepted http://www.jbb.de/judgment_dc_frankfurt_gpl.pdf

    PS: about which license to chose: I would use a permissive or even public domain one (WTFPL, CC0 or unlicense) to prevent license incompatiblity. If it needs to be copyleft, either LGPL v2.1+ or GPLv2+. GPLv3 license incompatibility to GPlv2 separates you from some important project's code which are only GPLv2 (e.g. the linux kernel). And I'm of no case aware where the provisions of the GPLv3 were of any use over the GPlv2. IMHO the FSF did a great mistake with splitting the copyleft ecosystem, giving rise to the permissive licenses.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    levi likes this.
  16. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    9,942
    Location:
    Somewhere off the coast of the EU
    With respect that's not 'distributing a GPLed component as part of a proprietary binary and getting sued by the EFF'. I wasn't aware of the libreDWG relicensing shenanigans, and that does seem to be an unfortunate situation that may well have led to its stalling.
     
  17. shaddim

    shaddim Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Messages:
    177
    Indeed, I can't remember an exact incidence like that. But I'm aware of many incidents were the FSF behaved highly unreasonable and anti-community for the sake of politics; so I have no doubt the FSF would do that if that would help empowering the GPL's legal situation. See for instance the CDDL FUD campaign of the FSF: they had no problem in stripping the Linux ecosystem for a decade of the next generation file system ZFS for enforcing their point "there is no viable copyleft license beside the GPL" and killing the CDDL. Which started a license to fix some of the problems of the GPL (better license comaptiblity) while assumed to be compatible with the GPL. Years later, legal consensus is: it is compatible (enough)


    Well, that quite some exaggeration: there are plenty of GPL licensed software projects with a business case, especially video games where it works quite well to separate content from artwork, which is quite far of from public domain software. That said, you can even have a business with full blown public domain software: Jason Rohrer does this for years: "How I made $670K over the past 8 years with 100% Open Source games". (he speaks about Open source, but the license is even PD)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
    levi likes this.
  18. comradekingu

    comradekingu Glowing ember

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,902
  19. shaddim

    shaddim Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2016
    Messages:
    177

Share This Page

Loading...