Enterprise Linux Log

Jun 7 2007   10:45AM GMT

Alienation Nation: Is the GPL turning off developers?


Slashdot commenter captnitrino:

My drive is in writing code, and being able to look at other code that has what I want, plain and simple. In that sense, the GPL made it easy to do those two things: all technology is driven by convenience. PHP isn’t popular because of its “enterprise-class frameworks”, it’s popular because it’s easy to grab code from elsewhere, easy to write code in. Windows is easy because it comes with your computer. The GPL made it easy to be open-source.

In the past few years it seems everyone has become a zealot for something in computing, not because they’re a visionary, but because they’re a bully. And to be honest? I don’t really give a [****]. I don’t plan on using licenses for the advancement of some idealogue’s great Cause, and I don’t plan on consulting a lawyer just to write code and see if I’m Compliant.

So in the past few years I’ve released stuff as BSD/MIT/etc. (Gasps.) Do I care that people can use my code and not contribute back to the “community”? Not really. For one, I haven’t found that to be the case. But secondly, it’s just easier. It’s easy to use code and to release code. No Visions, no Causes, no lawyers, no Compliance and papers-please-style-development. Just some guy on the internet putting his code up for use.

The comments came after Slashdot linked to a William Hurley column on the death of software licenses. In that column, Hurley (formerly of Qlusters, btw) says, “current revisions to the GPL are diluting any viral effect it may have had in the past, and distracting us from the real issue: Version 3 is going to distance Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation from the developers that make the organization so influential to begin.”

As Microsoft continues to snatch up companies with its patent protection pledges, this issue could come to ahead in 2007. But a lot of the commentary is more emotional heat than any real substance, I’m finding, so I’m asking IT managers to weigh in on how this kind of stuff affects their bottom line. We know how it affects lawyers (it gives them work), and how it affects developers (their livelihoods), but what about the “IT guys?”

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