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Re: [DotGNU]Ethics Question

From: Matthew Tedder
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Ethics Question
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 09:25:17 -0400

Great ideas.  The software in question is an admin. tool for a particular 
class of hardware.  Perhaps if I built-in a web service for on-line support, 
image (driver) updates, and documentation then it would link the product back 
to my company for the hardware (which is the point).  I'd like the tool to 
work with hardware from other companies but would like to GPL the tool and 
create a preference for our hardware--not by purposely making it work better 
with our hardware but simply by advertising.  If we provide the tool for free 
then don't we deserve at least some strong advertising in return?  Should a 
competitor be able to modify the tool making it advertise their products, if 
we put all the money into creating it?


On Friday 07 June 2002 05:56 am, Rhys Weatherley wrote:
> Matthew Tedder wrote:
> >     Is it ethical, according to the Free Software movement, to require
> > that my advertising remain in any derivative products of software I plan
> > to free?
> It's not really an ethical question, so much as a license
> question.
> The GPL implicitly gives anyone the right to create any
> derived work, as long as that work is in turn under the
> GPL.  If someone decided to only take the non-advertising
> bits of your code and build upon that, it would be
> perfectly OK according to the license.
> You are essentially trying to prevent people from creating
> certain kinds of derived works.  This isn't in keeping with
> the principles of Free Software.  The only thing you can
> prevent is derived works under non-GPL terms.
> Other Free Software and Open Source licenses are more
> permissive as to derived works, so they wouldn't help
> you much either.
> If advertising revenue is important to you, then it needs
> to be handled some other way.  Instead of restricting the
> code, build a service that is indispensible to the use
> of the software and advertise through that.
> e.g. If your software has an ad feature, then there's
> nothing to stop someone creating a derived work that doesn't
> have that feature.  So don't create an ad feature.  Instead,
> have a "content" feature, that delivers arbitrary content
> from your service.  Ads are then indistinguishable from
> ordinary content and so it is harder for someone to build
> a client that filters them out.
> HTML is like this: there is no "advertisement" tag that
> can be filtered out (as much as I wish there were :-) ).
> Ads are just clickable images like everything else.
> Building a client that understands HTML means that you
> have to take the ads too.
> Of course, there's nothing to stop someone setting up their
> own ad-free content service.  That's why you need to be
> "indispensible": you need to provide a better service,
> or the users will go elsewhere.  This is a good thing.
> Cheers,
> Rhys.

Anything that can be logically explained, can be programmed.

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