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Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software
Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software to the Project
Sat, 22 Dec 2001 01:24:57 +0100 (CET)
"Scott Francis" <address@hidden> wrote:
> i'm curious about something (yes, genuinely curious) - i am a fan of
> opensource, and free software. but i've also been working in the
> corporate world for quite a few years, so i'm a little out of touch.
> my questions:
> 1. is it the position of GNU that all "paid-for" software is bad?
No. If the software is GPLed, it can be "paid-for".
What's bad is when a customer ask you as a consultant and says: "Hey
look here I have this software and that software, and I would like to
add a small feature here to be able to forward data there." Then you
call the providers of these software for the sources to be able to do
it and it's "No way. We keep the sources for yourselves."; then you
ask them to include this feature as soon as possible, and it's "Thanks
for asking, please come back and buy next version, and in the mean
time pray enough people ask for the exact same feature."
Not to speak about the innumerous companies running software for which
the source is no more available because the developer closed its doors
and the sources were on hard drives reformated before being sold at an
> 2. is it ok to pay for the "service" that someone supplies (ie, hours
> of time and toil), rather than the finished product? can someone be
> "paid" to write "opensource" or gnu software? i mean, rather, is that
> considered "legit"?
Yes, of course.
Up to now, what has been developed as OpenSource has been the
platform, the OS, and the tool used by the developers. This has been
mostly developped on unpaid time because it was developed by its own
But I guess (and I hope) we're going into a second phase where some
user/business oriented software will be contributed or developped
under GPL license and paid for their users.
The beneficiaries would be all the small companies that don't have the
budget to develop their applications from scratch, but that would have
the budget and do have the need to develop their specific features and
> 3. the logical extension of this thing seems difficult to understand to
> me... the position that you should not buy software seems interesting to
> me... ie - don't buy the operating system, use the free one. or help
> write the free one. so far so good. but how about the hardware? do we
> all need to use only free hardware? how do we acquire such free
> hardware? how about the firmware that runs much of the hardware? does
> that need to be opensource as well?
We should need to buy and use only free hardware. Free hardware being
hardware fully documented, built from parts available from a range of
When you buy a Logitech QuickCam and have to fight nights long and
reverse engineer its protocol to be able to use it on your non
MS-Windows system, or when you buy a Matrox video card and they're
nice enough to provide a Linux driver but only in binary form and you
start wondering if it'll still work with the next version of the
kernel, then you'll understand the meaning of free hardware.
Also, that's the existance of "proprietary" closed and undocumented
hardware that prevent us to use, or slow us porting free software on
most of them (Linux on NeXT computer comes to mind).
Of course, the firmware should be free in the sense that source of the
firmware is available too.
Have you seen what's inside you GSM phone? Have you seen what's on
your hard disk controler? Can you tell the difference? Now, if you
don't have the source of the firmware of your hard disk controller,
and if you don't compile and download yourself, how can you be sure
that there's not some spyware in your firmware? Or some delateware?
Note that one of the things that initiated the OpenSource ideas was
the inability of Stallman to correct a bug or either get a correction
of a bug in the firmware of a printer.
Personnaly, I have this criteria: imaging you're on a spaceship with
that hardware or that software and the provider's lightyears away. Now
it breaks. What do you do?
> adam, i understand why you are declining accepting the gift from vmware,
> and that it doesn't fit with the gnu paradigm, but i don't think it
> makes you a "dolt" :) there are people who are wanting to contribute to
> gnustep who are not quite as committed to GNU in general - ie, they use
> windows (god forbid) and other paid-for software, but are also
> contributing to free software projects. i don't see anything wrong with
> that, personally, but that seems like an individual choice. getting the
> free licenses was a way to encourage those people to contribute and to
> test their code on multiple platforms without having to buy multiple
> machines, or dual boot them. however, advertising the provider of those
> licenses doesn't fit with the free software motif.
In the sense that VMware may be viewed as some kind of hardware
platform. Or a mere tool _used_ to build better free software.
Also since there's no need of adapting GNUstep to make it run on
VMware, VMware don't gain much if anything at all giving to the
GNUstep project some licenses. They would gain much more giving it to
Linux of OpenBSD or FreeBSD developers.
Therefore I think that the licenses could be accepted and used as a
mere tool, but effectively this should not have been the object of an
> i've used a trial version of vmware, and it is a very professionally
> written product, i've enjoyed using it. i'm not willing to shell out
> $300 for it though :) no matter how well advertised :)
Yes, at that price you can get one true hardware CPU.
> if they drop to
> $50 though, then i'm in! hey, i pay for games, so why not for some
> other random piece of cool software :) its entertainment value as
> well... i pay for dvd's and movies and lots of other stuff...
> let me close by saying: my apologies if any of this post is offensive,
> i just haven't participated in many discussions on free software
> philosophy, so i'm missing the FSF/GNU points of how should software
> developers support themselves, when (if ever) is it okay to ask for
> compensation for software written (finished product), and when (if ever)
> is it okay to pay for software, hardware, services, or goods in general
> (not just software).
> please, feel free to take this offline and just reply to me if you want
> to educate me without spamming the list :))
> Subject: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary
> Software to the Project
__Pascal_Bourguignon__ (o_ Software patents are endangering
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1962:DO20I=1.100 2001:my($f)=`fortune`; http://petition.eurolinux.org/
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Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software to the Project, Adam Fedor, 2001/12/21
RE: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software to the Project, Scott Francis, 2001/12/21
Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software to the Project, Philippe C.D. Robert, 2001/12/22
RE: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of Proprietary Software to the Project, Peron, Stéphane, 2001/12/21
- Re: [OT] Re: import, (continued)
- Re: [OT] Re: import, Jeff Teunissen, 2001/12/22
- Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of ProprietarySoftware to the Project, Fred Kiefer, 2001/12/21
- RE: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of ProprietarySoftware to the Project, Scott Francis, 2001/12/21
- Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of ProprietarySoftware to the Project, Philippe C.D. Robert, 2001/12/22
- Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of ProprietarySoftware to the Project, JW, 2001/12/22
- Re: GNUStep: An Apology for Announcing Donation of ProprietarySoftware to the Project, Jeff Teunissen, 2001/12/22