[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"
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!