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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] [fossil-users] [OT] Who's interested in projec

From: Zygo Blaxell
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] [fossil-users] [OT] Who's interested in project management & collaboration tools? And...
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:32:38 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 07:55:32AM -0700, Mark Holmquist wrote:
> >Since the code will be GPLd (or other open source license) it is freely
> >re-distributable.  It's just that WE won't be re-distributing it openly
> >until we get to a reasonably shaken down release 1.0.
> OK, you clearly don't understand this.
> If you're selling software to people for price X, but not giving
> them the source code, that's _not_ the GPL. That's something totally
> different. Basically, you're charging them extra for the GPL, and
> selling the poor people the non-free version.

That's not what I get from reading the price sheet and discussion so far.

There seem to be two distinct pieces of software involved.  In grossly
oversimplified terms, there is a client and a server.  Both are produced
by the same author.

Both pieces of software will distributed simultaneously in binary and
source form (or possibly only source form, e.g. Javascript code) under
the GPL.  Miles has asserted this many times, although it doesn't appear
in the text Mark has quoted so far.  Maybe that could be made clearer
so fewer people miss it.

The two pieces have different first-sale distribution fees.  Pay $X to
get one free software package after some date, but pay $X + $Y to get
two free software packages, or $X + $Z for the one package with earlier
distribution dates.  For maximum price get all of the above at the
earliest date.  Pay less than $X, get no software at all until after
some final date when the funded project ends.

The lower price tiers seem to include usage of an instance of the server
software hosted on Miles's server, but no code for that server (other than
scraps of Javascript) until some later date.  You'd have a free software
client for a network service built using GPL software.  Some GPL variants
do mention this sort of scenario, and require that all users of a server
have access to a copy of its source code.  Is that the real problem here?

Even if Miles never ever distributes the code gratis from his own site,
it can still be free software.  Anyone could pay the $X distribution fee
once, download the source code, and redistribute it to as many poor people
as can be found.  Such redistribution would seem to be counterproductive
in this particular case, and maybe some social pressure would be applied
to keep the software from being more widely distributed, but "please buy
my software from me and not someone else if you can afford it, because
I can use the money to do constructive things" is not the same as "It's
illegal/immoral/kitten-harming for you to use my software without prior
payment to me in full, constructive side-effects of such use be damned."

To muddy the waters a bit, there are some non-software non-gratis
services that are included for the same payment, but those seem irrelevant
to *software* freedom.

> Maybe that's cool in your mind, but hereabouts, we prefer to give
> people freedom, even if it means working around what might once have
> been a good business model, but is clearly not anymore.

Kickstarter (or reasonable facsimile) seems to be an excellent model
for creating more free software, at least within the constraints of a
capitalist environment.

I for one hope Miles's project ends up being simultaneously successful
*and* free.

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