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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Licensing issues

I've read the article from Jem Matzan, about how latest ramblings around licensing issues prove that reality will prevail the idealizm.

And you know what? I agree.

I always choose to use an open source software when I have the choice. I do it both idealistically (because I can easily connect to developers and users community, and get help and assistance), and because of technical merit (I find often that open source software is much better than many commercial ones), and definitely because of the cost (just bandwidth to download stuff) and mostly because I don't want to get into licensing debate with larger bodies.

I just use computing as tools. Think of it as when you buy a hammer, it comes with sort of a license agreement that only allows you to use it with specific type of nails. Sure, noone will really check what exactly for and how exactly are you going to use it, but license is there nevertheless.

I think such thing would be extremely stupid and worthless, but I'm not the one who decides. I just want my hammer as something heavy and convenient, and I do want to hit something else with it sometimes.

So it is for me with computers and software. My choice of open source software is a choice that assures me, that I can do anything I want or need with tools I get.

Now, what is the problem Jem describing here? The problem, as FreeBSD Foundation President put it, is that many think that what Free Software Foundation thinks is the right thing regarding the licensing. I disagree with their approach.

In a free world, as they would like it to be, anyone entitled to a free software, exactly as I am. But sometimes, for my own personal advantage, I would not like to open source to my product. Someone doesn't like that? Either close your code too, or shut up. It is a free world after all, I can do whatever I want. Many GPL proponents seems to care to their freedom only.

With all those additional open-source licenses, the only one more thing you get is the one thing that you're trying to avoid - DRM. The curse word in digital world, meaning that every single bit is restricted, and you can use the bit I created only under my own conditions, and if you don't comply, I'll sue you to death. But it's all ones and zeros, folks. Nothing more.

That's why I side with Linus on licensing issue (he was never bothered by commercialization of Linux, and in fact I think he's even happy about it).

I like the most the BSD license.

Free for all and for all purposes. Just don't forget to mention who created it.

The best ever.


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