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[REBOL] More About "Freedom"

From: robbo1mark::aol::com at: 23-May-2001 6:38

Holger / Everybody Just a some points; All software licenses try to define other peoples Liberties with regards to the software product in question. This applies to closed and open source software, it is generally accepted that the author of a piece of work has the right to determine which license if any the product is released under. This license states what is considered acceptable usage & what liberties and restrictions apply to this. The GNU GPL states it's liberties & restrictions & terms of fair usage as does the REBOL/Core license. In this way by reading the license beforehand you can judge whether the liberties & fair usage of a software product outweigh the disadvantages of the restrictions & decide whether you can practicably comply with the terms of the license and thus use the product for your purposes. When software comes without any fee ( ie free of charge ) then the license states the DEGREES of freedom attached to the usage of that software. The only totally FREE software is software that you write yourself or software without license which is classed as being in the "public domain". Everything else falls somewhere along the spectrum of degrees of freedoms from being very restrictive to very unrestrictive. There are various FREE SOFTWARE licenses recognised by the GNU Project. There are various OPEN SOURCE licenses recognized by the OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE. Whilst software source code availability is the major pre-requisite for both organizations there is a qualitative philosphical difference in that the GNU Project aims to promote the Degrees of "Freedom" it considers to be of paramount importance to the availability of source code. The Open Source Initiative tend to focus more on the engineering quality & practical benefits that can be derived from making source code open and available. ALL Licenses have their liberties and restrictions and terms of fair usage. The authors have the right to decide these terms, the GNU Project have their licenses just as RT inc. have their licenses which clearly state the products terms & conditions, it is then the USER'S choice to decide whether they find's these terms acceptable for their purposes and can properly USE the software in compliance with the license terms & conditions. If GPL Licensed Software does not suit a developers commercial needs then the developer should not be using that software as the basis of his commercial product if the derived product cannot comply with the requirements of the GPL. This equally applies to all & whatever License the original software was issued under. SURELY NOBODY HERE IS STATING THAT LICENSE ABUSE IS A CORRECT THING TO DO AND THAT GPL SOFTWARE IS NOT REALLY "FREE" BECAUSE IT CAN'T BE INCLUDED IN COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE WITHOUT COMPLIANCE WITH IT'S TERMS & CONDITIONS. How would REBOL Technologies Inc. act if someone openly flouted the terms & conditions of your licenses. RT quite rightly want re-compense & recognition for your hard work & sterling efforts in producing your products. If that recoginition is in terms of a financial payment then that is fair if that is what your license states. You have the right to decide those terms, equally the authors of GPL software have their rights, they are saying we are "giving" this to you, if you choose to use this for your benefit then you must "give" something back to us. Surely this is exactly the same? Surely REBOL Technologies Inc. and the authors of GPL licensed software are operating under exactly the same principle here? Are they not entitled to fair reward under the terms of their license? If people read my posts of yesterday then it will be clear that I fully support REBOL Technologies Inc. commercial position and your right to set whatever prices and licensing terms you think the market will bare. It is equally our right as consumers to act in our best interests and decide whether to use and / or purchase your products if the prices and licensing terms represent good value to us and do not restrict our purposes. If they are too restrictive then we can either try to come to some alternative arrangment with yourselves or failing that use or develop some other software that better meets our requirements. With regards to large portions of the commercial software market and many useful applications being devastated by the effects of the GPL on a platform, does this mean that people went out of business because of the availability of lower cost alternatives available under the liberties & restrictions of the GPL License. If so then this is because free market economics actually works and the price of a good or service can only be sustained if it provides sufficient added value over competing products. The market could provide a good or service at a lower cost and the higher cost producers could not establish a sustainable position. Whilst it is sad & regrettable that good people sometimes have to lose their jobs, we all benefit in the long run from economic efficiency and lower prices. It frees up capital for investment in areas where a higher return can be anticipated / realised. If Commercial Software Producers lose market share to GPL or other forms of open source or free software which comes at a lower price then they are not maximising their resources and targeting markets which provide the best return on investment. The available of low cost alternatives that are attractive to conumers / users means that the game is up for high cost producers unless they can provide sufficient added value to justify & sustain their prices.Unfortunately the world does not owe any of us a living & we have to maximise our resources as best we can. I can understand and sympathise will commercial software developers feeling their job security is threatened by open source & "free" software alternatives but that is a problem for them and their company it is not a concern of Joe Average software user because he will use whatever software that suits his price point & commercial / personal needs best. Sometimes this is what we loosly define "Free" software sometimes it is commercially developed & supported software. The world is a big place, there is plenty of room for both forms as both provide their own distinct advantages & disadvantages. That's all - sorry if anyone was bored by this! Cheers folks, Mark Dickson