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RE: [TSVN] To GPL or not to GPL

From: <Bill.Hughes_at_cgi-europe.com>
Date: 2005-08-24 17:16:50 CEST

Nicklas Norling wrote:
> Molle Bestefich wrote:
..snip..
> I wasn't suggesting that, I was thinking of TSVN as a minor part in a
> larger package of software where attribution is still present.
> Considering how rich and
> mature TSVN
> is I don't really see anyone
> going off and creating something mind boggling new and then releasing
> it under their own name without
> the source. What feature would that be? It would probably be
> easy enough
> to re implement without the
> code for it anyway.
Agreed, but wouldn't the LGPL allow this use without concern?

..snip..
>> There's also the possibility of stopping distribution of the
>> product, no? Perhaps release it later without the included GPL
>> source?
>>
>>
> Both would be a disaster, also when a baby is born... It
> won't go back
> in easily ;)
I find it hard to worry about this - if a company is going to use someone
else's code they should be careful doing it...

..snip..
> As it turned out it was difficult to draw the borders what
> needed to be
> under GPL and not. This analysis
> process and the risks involved of you "guessed" wrong turned
> out to be
> reason enough not to use GPLed
> code for anything else but pure tools.
Understandable.
I guess one of the things to be decided is if TSVN should be easy to
incorporate into someone else's project - and if it is important if that
project is proprietary. As I said before, if a company is going to use
someone else's code they should be careful doing it.

..snip..
> By demanding that companies make public their changes to the software
> they may have to disclose sensitive
> information such as hardcoded server names, specific work procedures
> etc. that could be seen as a competitive
> edge. Such disclosure would certainly mean TSVN won't be used.
If they can't think of a way to use either a registry, a config file or some
other means to de-couple data from code I'm not sure the code would be of
much interest ;-)
There are quite a few companies that aren't frightened off by the GPL - IBM
being a very important example. I can't see IBM releasing code under a BSD
license which it's competitors could then use to make a superior proprietary
version, releasing under the GPL raises no such concerns'

It seems to boil down to a few issues:
1) Ease of using external code in TSVN where that other code is under a
different license.
2) Ease of using TSVN code in external projects where that project is under
a different license.
3) Should someone be able to base a proprietary project on TSVN?
4) Would TSVN remaining under the GPL 'scare' companies off from using it?
5) Would TSVN remaining under the GPL 'scare' companies off from
contributing code to it?
6) Is there a better license for TSVN taking account of 1-5?
7) ???? guys????

I think my opinion is known, but to explain why:
I think TSVN is very useful and well-written, I think it should be available
to the largest number of people. To that end I dislike BSD-style licenses
and prefer GPL style licenses - to be precise I would prefer TSVN under a
strong copyleft license. The reason being that BSD-ish licenses may give the
first recipients more freedom (to commercialise the code) but a GPL-ish
license preserves the freedoms it grants for subsequent generations of user.

Bill

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Received on Wed Aug 24 17:18:27 2005

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