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[libreplanet-discuss] help with FSF incompatible but community oriented
[libreplanet-discuss] help with FSF incompatible but community oriented licence(s)
Thu, 4 Oct 2012 11:37:49 +0100
On Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 5:00 PM,
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2012 09:33:09 -0400
> From: Patrick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] help with FSF incompatible but
> community oriented licence(s)
> Message-ID: <506C3E95.firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Hi Everyone
> I hope this post won't upset anyone.
> I have been going around in circles with free software licences for a
> few years now.
> I have posted to FSF on IRC and pretty much received a message of GPL is
> the way to go for nearly everyone including me.
this stems from a position where people recognise that business is
about serving others, and are prepared to pay the full value of that
a non-free software license and also non-GPL licenses can be viewed
as coercion. you're forcing people to pay, rather than offering them
the opportunity to pay open-heartedly.
the question that you therefore need to ask yourself - *especially*
in light of the nature of the work that you are doing (helping serve
autistic children and their parents) - do you *really* want to receive
money from people who are completely ungrateful for the service that
you have provided?
if they were truly grateful, they would pay you *regardless*,
wouldn't they? they would recognise that you are the main author,
recognise that in order to help themselves, they need to make sure
that the software is functional and up-to-date, and so, *regardless*
of the license, they would pay you, wouldn't they?
then there will always be people who cannot afford the software, but
who will be grateful anyway. these are your most important clients.
instead of paying you directly with cash, they will most likely pay
you in "free advertising" by telling other people at autism
conferences of your software.
so the problem is not with the GPL software license, it is with your
own attitude towards the value and nature of your work, and of your
own attitide towards your potential clients. in effect what you have
said is that you do not trust people not to steal your software. that
is an incredibly... damaging position to be developing such charitable
the other thing that you might wish to accept is the fact that if you
release software under the GPL, you automatically get the support and
help of the Software Freedom Law Centre - for free - should any
problems arise. given that the software you are considering writing
is of a charitable nature, the sheer embarrassment factor for any
Copyright violators significantly increases the clout that you (and
the SFLC) will have in resolving matters, if it comes to that.
so what this means is that you need to have much more confidence in
how Copyright Law actually works, and operate from a position of trust
rather than paranoia.
and you need to have confidence in yourself. if your software is
good, and does a job, and - critically - you *keep on* doing a good
job, people will pay you.
think about this: what are you going to do once you have some clients
who have paid for and become dependent on your software? once you
have them in your control, are you going to fuck them over, huh? i
use a swearword to emphasise how distasteful i find proprietary
licenses to be, because of this absolute "total control" mentality. i
at least with a free software license such as the GPL, if for some
reason you become incapacitated, or lose interest, or even become
disinterested in maintaining the software, or... well, there are many
many perfectly legitimate reasons why the original author is no longer
the best person to continue to maintain the software.... but should
that happen, do you *really* want your clients to suffer just because
you cannot be involved any more in the project that you started?
i trust that i have given you much to think about, here.