Friday, July 13, 2007

Why GPLv3? (rant on crippled commercial products with Open Source in them)

After writing about my intended move to GPLv3 yesterday, I was asked if that would really be clever to do it. Even more, I was pointed at http://www.builderau.com.au/blogs/syslog/viewblogpost.htm?p=339270811, which thinks GPlv3 is bad because it does limit what commercially can be done with the software.

Actually, I think that is a strength of GPLv3. I devote time for my projects. This time does not bring me any money. It's fun, sure. It brings insight. Sure. Probably it has some side-effects, that fund the project somehow. Great. But I would not like to see someone taking my hard work and making money out of it without contributing back. I would not like to see rsyslog running on e.g. TIVO while that very same TIVO cripples my freedom and takes money from me. Why should I contribute to something that I do not like? Am I supposed to be a fool?

No folks, forget about it. Does that mean TIVO can not build products? NOT AT ALL! They are free to do whatever they want. They can even hire me to write a subsystem for their use, without any GPLv3 restrictions. All they are not permitted to do is use my work for free without contributing back. Much the same as I am not allowed to share my legally recorded videos. Why should I provide code for such? Again, they are not limited to do whatever they like to do. The music and movie industries as well as their helpers are marauding us and torturing even paid use with digital restrictions management (DRM). They obtain well enough money to do their own development. This is the way they should do it. And if they want something for free, then they need to contribute back. It's that easy - and this is why I am a big fan of GPLv3 (yes, I know there will be subtle issue, but anyhow - these will be sorted out over time).

Now replace TIVO with "your-favorite-crippled-crap" and you got the full message ;)

Have fun!
Rainer
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