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Re: [TSVN] To GPL or not to GPL

From: Simon Large <simon_at_skirridsystems.co.uk>
Date: 2005-08-19 22:31:41 CEST

Nathan Kidd wrote:
> Simon Large wrote:
>
>>No license I know of will force anyone to contribute improvements,
>>and I don't think either one is better than the other at encouraging
>>people to do so.
>
> [snip]
>
>>Neither license will *stop* parts being sold commercially, but GPL
>>requires that anyone who does so must also supply the source.
>
> Which is, to me, the point. If someone makes improvements to TSVN and
> then starts distributing it, everyone else gets those improvements back
> as something of a 'payment' for the main work done in the first place.

Not really. If someone copies the source into their own private
repository, they only have to provide source at release points. It would
be difficult to get diffs and feed them back into TSVN. The only
effective way of sharing improvements is by submitting to the main
repository.

> GPL provides this, BSD/Apache licenses don't. As long as everyone plays
> 'nice' GPL vs. BSD/Apache may not make a huge practical difference, but
> sadly Sleazy&Co seems to be an expanding franchise.

There is a good volume of open source work under exactly this type of
license. Do you know of examples of active open source projects being
hijacked by commercial developers? Am I just being naive?

> Besides allowing harmonization of licenses, is there another
> reason to go with Apache/BSD license? (Besides "some people would
> contribute if we used license foo" because I think the inverse is at
> least partially, if not fully, true.)

Harmonization and easier terms is one good reason.

My personal feeling is that GPL is too invasive; if you add 0.1% GPL
code to a project, the whole project must be GPL'd. I don't like that
'my license must take precedence over every other license' way of
thinking, so I don't want to perpetuate it by continuing to use it in
our project.

But Stefan's is really the only opinion that counts here, as he is the
principal copyright holder having contributed 99.999% of the code ;-)

>>In practical terms, no company could ever compete with Stefan for
>>productivity, so a commercial version of TSVN is just not going to
>>happen. Any commercial product would have to be *much* better to
>>persuade people to pay, and it is already the best :-)
>
> I agree it is the best! :) But the power of vendor branching and easy
> merging in svn means that nobody has to compete with Stefan. They just
> keep merging in his changes (very little work) while adding in their own.

Not that little work, given the rate of change. And if the products have
diverged significantly, which they would have to in order to justify
producing a version which people actually want to pay for, merging
becomes hard work.

Simon

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Received on Fri Aug 19 22:32:25 2005

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