- To: slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [SLUG] Re: Copyright assignment + the GPL [Was: Streaming media servers]
- From: QuantumG <qg@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 12:44:50 +1000
- User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 (Windows/20041206)
Jeff Waugh wrote:
Which is the case, even if the copyright owner distributes the software
under another license.
If they distribute exactly the same code under another license. They
hardly ever do this because the user has no interest in getting
something under a proprietary license if they can get the same thing
under a liberal license. What they do is distribute the same code with
proprietary extensions. The user has the choice, use the code available
under a liberal license and do without the features, or give up their
freedom for the features that are only available under the proprietary
license. This is exactly what RealNetworks is doing with Helix.
No, complete lack of software freedom inspired the creation of copyleft
licenses, not sensible business models built upon the foundations of
The BSD licenses were around long before the GPL was drafted. RMS
rejected the BSD because it failed to prevent this kind of proprietary
forking. At least that's my understanding of it.
But that's not the argument. The argument is whether or not the
community would benefit more from having someone like RealNetworks not
demand copyright assignment. I believe they would because any
extensions RealNetworks makes to the work of contributors will remain free.
The community benefits *more* from the availability of the software, source
and commitment of the organisation that owns its copyright than it would if
the source were closed.
I'm sure the situation with RealNetworks is a lot more complicated than
it appears. For example, I'm sure their proprietary product includes
some licensed technology that they obviously have no permission to
integrate into the open source distribution. On the other hand, they
list things such as Ad-Serving Support and Live File Archiving as a
features that is only in the proprietary version. I have no idea what
they entail, but I can imagine that people would want this and be
willing to fore-go their freedom to get it.
Suppose I wasn't happy with RealNetwork's ad-serving.. maybe my
customers were complaining that the ads take up too much bandwidth or
something. I can't fix that. Well boo-hoo, I gave up my freedom to get
that silly feature so it's my own problem. Say I decide to do something
about it and write an ad-serving extension for the open source
distribution. Are RealNetworks going to accept my patch? Presumably
not. That's a terrible situation for the community to be in.