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Re: Flight Computers



>Is the goals and motivation for using GPL which I describe, not the terms.

So what? The goal and motivation of most capitalists is to make as
much money as they can, not to benefit society as a whole. But under
classical Adam-Smith-style free-market economics, this nevertheless
ends up creating products and services that do benefit society as a
whole. I.e., people often do the right things for the wrong reasons.

>Is not compensation to the owner because he does not assume the rights 
>of bug fixes and/or enhancements. Only the limited license to use 
>granted via GPL on the contributor's code.

How is the right to use bug fixes and/or enhancements by others not of
value to the original author of a GPLed package? As you said yourself,
that's often a major motive for releasing a package under an
open-source license.

>> As with any piece of copyrighted software, if you don't like the
>> license terms, you're free to not use it. Just return it to your
>> place of purchase and receive a complete refund. :-)

>Which because there isn't a credit card paper trail for when such 
>happens with GPL'ed software, you deny it happens?

Eh? At least with GPLed software you don't have to live in fear of the
SPA and BSA jackboots raiding your home or business because of a tip
that you might be using software you didn't pay for.

>An example I know of was when a pretty neat thing was added to a GPL
>package and used in-house. One is free to do anything to GPL code
>in-house. GPL source code clauses only kick in on external distribution.
>As a result Legal nixed further distribution. Upper management slapped
>some wrists for wasting resources on a project with dead end revenue
>prospects. Due to GPL almost nobody benefited.

The modified package was used in-house, so obviously the in-house
people benefited. Obviously the original GPLed package was of value to
them, otherwise they wouldn't have used it. And they should have known
of the implications of the GPL before they started; ignorance of the
law is no excuse, you know. If everyone is expected to read and
understand those fine-print click-through licenses on commercial
software, then they can also be expected to have read and understood
the GPL before using and modifying GPLed software.

>"Good capitalists" are the worlds most generous contributors to 
>charitable causes.

That's pretty funny.

>"Giving away software" is not a statement of "...so somebody else can 
>make money with it" but more of an "I'm not going to bother to try to 
>make money off of this and don't care if you want to try." If one uses 
>GPL then one poisons the "gift" making revenue generation more 
>difficult, which is what W4LNA said with the word "hamstrung."

Or perhaps it's simply a matter of the author of the GPL software
deciding that, as a condition for using his software, he wants to be
compensated by being given free use of any bug fixes or modifications.
No one is forced to "poison" themselves.

>Yeah? So how is that different from any other form of government
>service? You try to make it sound like the PTO is unique in this aspect.

Hey, you got me there. But consider this: most of the government
simply wastes my tax money without impairing my freedom to innovate
and create in the process. But the PTO does. As the saying goes, be
thankful that you don't get all the government you pay for.

>Yeah, yeah, yeah. People have been saying that for hundreds of years.
>Clearly the PTO is of no use because everything has already been
>invented.

The fundamental problem with the PTO is its basic premise that every
invention is conceived in a total vacuum, without building on anyone
else's work, and each invention would not have been made by anyone
else for at least 17-20 years. That's hardly reality.

>Ever consider the software industry might be running at the pace
>*because* if they happen to invent something of value that they stand
>a chance of recovering their costs and making a profit?

Actually, if anything, the pace of software innovation has slowed
since the widespread use of software patents. And yes, people are
motivated to innovate by the promise of selling a product, as it
should be. If anything, the indiscriminate granting of software
patents acts to diminish this incentive because of the fear that your
product may infringe any number of unknown patents. Remember, the only
sure-fire way to avoid being sued for patent infringement is to never
make, sell or use any actual products.

>Proof this behavior is rampant is the popularity of Microsoft
>Windows. Further proof is how Linux imitates Microsoft rather than
>invent anything new. And how Linux uses Microsoft as the yardstick
>for measuring accomplishments.

That is, quite frankly, just hilarious. People were using a GUI
interface (X windows) on UNIX long before Microsoft released their
first version of Windows. A hierarchical file system was in UNIX since
the mid 1970s before Microsoft picked it up (and gratuitously changed
the character that delimits directory names).  File serving and the
Internet were around for more than a decade before Microsoft finally
put TCP/IP into their operating system, displacing companies such as
Novell and FTP Software who sold after-market networking add-ons for
DOS and Windows. Microsoft didn't release Internet Exploder until well
after Mosaic and Netscape had become very popular.  People were
encrypting network connections and files long before Microsoft finally
put those facilities in W2K. And so on.

In fact, I can't think of a *single* innovation in computer science
that, despite claims to the contrary, Microsoft has actually
pioneered. On the other hand, I do give them credit for their many
remarkable innovations in aggressive marketing and abusive business
tactics. These innovations have also won them significant acclaim and
recognition from several federal courts.

See

http://www.vcnet.com/bms/departments/innovation.shtml

for an excellent and quite exhaustive list of claimed "Microsoft
Innovations". So far, the only innovations that truly seem to be
Microsoft originals are "Microsoft Bob" and the talking paper clip.

Phil


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