On Fri, 14 May 2004, Ronan Cunniffe wrote:
> I can see what you're getting at, but I'm appalled.
GPL is about ensuring people have access to source code. It is not
about ensuring software is free, though the GPL will quickly
commoditise software once it is released though.
The GPL has no problem with people paying for software. And a model
of 'first sale', where eg either a company/community/body
(essentially) commissions work to be done on GPL software or pays for
it after the fact based on the market rate is quite valid under the
GPL. People do have to eat and put a roof over their head, some might
even like to raise a family, the GPL does not try deny programmers
the right to earn a living by selling software.
> If a company protects their extensions to a GPL work behind a $HUGE
> copying fee, they have de facto taken away source code access.
How? If noone pays, they can not release it, they get no money back.
(presuming they have derived from a GPL'd work.) So if a company
wished to pursue this model they'd have to lower their asking price.
> Unless there is a ceiling on the physical copying cost, there is no
> difference between GPL and BSD licenses, because the extra freedoms
> provided by the GPL can in this way be extorted shut.
They can't be extorted shut. The company modifying and improving GPL
software has a choice:
- demand the highest 'first sale' price the market will bear.
(because once they sell one copy, the cat is out of the bag - there's
nothing stopping their customer redistributing it, so the value lies
entirely in the first sale.)
- Don't distribute it at all, in which case they dont make money. In
which case they probably have to revise the price
There's a tonne of models 'first sale' could apply to. Just try think
of it in terms of having work commissioned where the work itself has
no value other than first sale. Eg, auction where
community/persons/etc bid until an interested developer takes up the
offer, or dutch auction where interested developers bid each other
down to develop some requested functionality. Or just plain old
commission. The most unlikely unscenario is the one above, where
someone implements a feature unasked and then announces their price
to release it.
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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